KEYNOTE: Building a Writing Career
Listen to Mary Kole below!
Jade M Loren: Welcome, all! You’re listening to a 2020 WriteOnCon podcast. My name is Jade. I’m part of the WriteOnCon team, and I’m incredibly excited to chat today with editor, Mary Kole, about building a writing career. Thank you so much for joining me today, Mary!
Mary Kole: Thank you so much for having me! I love WriteOnCon, and I am here to answer, hopefully, some pressing questions about writing careers and how to build them, sustain them, do’s and don’ts, so fire away!
Jade M Loren: Something we all need to know. Everybody listening is like, “yes, please tell me!”
For those of you who may not know, Mary is a freelance editor. She’s a former literary agent, she’s also the author of Writing Irresistible KidLit — I recommend you all go and check that out.
Mary, you have a plethora of experience with nurturing writers, so you must have witnessed many a career take off and many a career not take off. What is the first thing you think a writer needs to do to set a career on the right foot in order to start building that successful career?
Mary Kole: That’s a good question. It’s one a lot of writers need to be asking, if they’re not already. There’s so much focus on getting published or getting your foot in the door, and then there tends to be this question mark of “well, what’s next?”
One of the biggest misconceptions that a lot of writers still have is that getting published is immediate access to marketing. And that’s kind of a dirty word for a lot of creatives — they don’t really want to see themselves as salespeople. It seems a little bit cheap to push yourself or push your craft. That intersection of art and commerce can get uneasy sometimes. One of the biggest things that differentiates people who do take off from those who maybe don’t is this growing comfort level with marketing. Because a lot of writers expect their publishers to do it, but more and more — and this has been true especially over the last 10 years — I’ve seen more and more publishers are expecting writers to advocate for themselves.
Figuring out how to market, what to market, best practices for marketing, — this is where a lot of writers run into a big obstacle. So, at least starting to think about marketing, even if you have yet to place a manuscript. That’s going to be really important for positioning yourself well to get started.
Jade M Loren: Yeah, I think that’s a good point. A lot of people use social media now. What are a few important dos and don’ts to consider when building a career in writing? You mentioned marketing , but are there any things that they should not do — or should really pay attention to — when they start building that foundation?
Mary Kole: In the marketing and community life cycle, I have found that a lot of your early fans and a lot of your early supporters are going to be other writers. If you are a writer that hasn’t published yet, I would still try to make some kind of presence in the social media world for yourself. Now, what does that mean? The bare minimum, for me, is claiming a simple website that says “hey, this is who I am, this is how to contact me”. Just so you start building Google presence. Organic search is a huge part of my client base and my incoming inquiry base — I owe a lot to having started the Kidlit blog in 2009, which is forever ago in internet years. In 2013 started MaryKole.com, which is my editorial services website. Just a couple weeks ago, I started GoodStoryCompany.com and CritCollective.com. These are new initiatives for me to reach more writers, provide more writing content.
People think “oh, maybe I’ll put a website up when I’m ready, or when I have something to talk about.” But I would really highly recommend putting up a website whenever you get around to it. Because you’re going to start building up search history. Google is going to start crawling your website and you’re going to be rising in the search rankings for your name. If you have a common name, this is a big problem — if you’re a Jane Doe, or whatever, you’re not going to be very high in the search rankings when you first start your website or your social media presence.
Laying some groundwork, maybe read some articles on SEO — which stands for search engine optimization — to try and make sure that your wording your website in a way that helps Google rank you a little bit higher. And just start getting some days, and weeks, and months, and years underneath your online presence. I think that’s really important.
There’s a proverb that says “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is today.” In terms of getting a website up, there is no better wisdom. A lot of people think “oh I’ve fallen behind, I’ll do it later. It doesn’t matter, I don’t have anything to talk about anyway”. But getting a website up and running even if it’s a simple website is key.
And then, I would say, pick one or two social media venues where you feel comfortable getting out there. Whether that’s Twitter and Instagram, whether that’s Facebook, just set up rudimentary profiles for yourself and start connecting. And you’ll be connecting, for the most part, with other writers. Find a blog that you like to follow and start commenting on that blog. Find other writers wherever they’re congregating. I started CritCollective.com because one of the questions I was getting over and over was “hey, where do I find critique partners, writing partners, that sort of thing?” And so, I started a very focused forum to help facilitate — kind of like online dating for writers.
Figure out where you want to hang out online and start socializing a little bit more in the writing community. When it comes time for you to submit to an agent, or when you, hopefully, land a publishing deal, some of those people that you connect with are going to be your champions and some of your first beta readers or people that you want to send arcs to. Some of these secondary marketing things that you can get into once you actually have a project to talk about. But until you do, at least hang out your shingle in at least two social media places and a simple website. And try to get a .com domain. Try to get a domain with your name — Jane Doe Writer or Jane Doe Books or something similar if you can’t get JaneDoe.com. Those are good preliminary steps.
Best practices for your actual social media presence: one of the things that could take a person down pretty quickly is being unprofessional to other people online or unprofessional in your social media. Whether it’s posting a lot of expletive-filled rants if you’re hoping to be a picture book writer, overly political and inflammatory material can get people polarized — I’m not saying to censor yourself or to present a fake image of yourself — but. Present your best self online.
One of the things that stuck with me forever: when I was an agent — I was an agent for five years at Andrea Brown — I had an active slush pile, and I had a writer who I declined. This writer did not take it very well, and responded something along the lines of “you don’t know anything, just you wait and see!” And see, whenever I get a colorful reply, I would see if the writer had any kind of social media, or maybe a blog. And in this case the guy did have a blog that was basically talking about people that he’d submitted to. By name. Calling them morons — you know, not very favorable behavior. I get it, emotions run high when you’re writing, you’re getting rejections, you’re trying to get published. It is a very emotional sort of place to be in. But the internet’s memory lasts forever. And if you have a blog attached to your name — even if you delete it — cached versions will always be around and searchable on the internet.
You just have to think very hard about making that transition of your mindset. From being just A Person Online to being A Person Online that wants to put their best foot forward and convince other people to get interested in their work. So, I would say, just keeping an eye out on how you present yourself. I think that’s the biggest way it could go south very quickly.
Jade M Loren: Are their things that a writer should really get right from the outset? For instance, can I write to recover from a bad agent or a failed debut novel — even a social media mishap, like you said. Is there any recovery from, maybe, not the most ideal start in the career?
Mary Kole: I think this is a great question, because these are things that, sooner or later, a lot of writers run into. Whether they have a book that doesn’t perform as well as some of their other books, or they have a bad day, respond to a bad review online, and start trending for all the wrong reasons. Or an agent relationship blows up. Unfortunately, these things do happen. How do you keep moving “onward and upward” rather than getting bogged down in it?
One thing to remember is that anything bad that happens might seem like it’s a huge deal to you — the internet’s memory does last forever, and yet, the news cycle is really short. Unless you are involved in something super major — which not a lot of people will be. SCBWI, a couple years ago, had a big scandal. A lot of writers were rolled into this big #metoo movement type of explosion that that happened. And for a lot of writers, it did give them publicity — maybe not the best publicity. Some have recovered, some have not. These things do happen.
Let’s tackle all three separately, if you don’t mind.
I would say the least serious would be a social media mishap. Maybe you post a negative review, the author gets wind of it, and then you have it out on Twitter. I think that being a nice, approachable person — owning up to any mistakes you make — goes a long way. People really like it when you can be genuine and humble about anything that’s happening on social media. I would counsel anybody who has a beef, or any kind of SNAFU, that you have: own it and say “hey, you know, what I know I did X Y & Z, I know that I was involved in this or that — let’s have a conversation about it. I’m not here to make excuses, or defend myself, but such-and-such happened. Let’s talk about it. I’m willing to hear your feedback, and I’m willing to learn.” A lot of the negative things that happen as a result of a social media backlash-type of situation happen because the person is not really willing to listen to anybody else or, hear reason, or see any other perspectives.
If you think about it, a lot of people out on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook — they just want to be heard. If you find yourself the target of a negative review or the target of some social media backlash, a really big — hard but positive — thing that you can do is to say “hey guys, I’m listening. I’m totally open to the idea of this different perspective, that different perspective, let’s talk it out.” And you give their perspectives some consideration. And I think that goes a long way in terms of making any repairs necessary to your image or cooling down a situation if something becomes heated.
The middle serious situation that writers can sometimes deal with is a bad agent or an agent relationship that starts out well, and maybe has some sales, but then goes south. I wrote a blog post years ago that said “agents are not a magic bullet”. They aren’t. A lot of people like to think that “hey, I get my agent! I’ve made it, it’s just up-and-up from there!” And a lot of the times that is the case but it really can and does happen that an agent relationship can go south for a number of reasons. There’s a lot of burnout in the literary agent community that I don’t think is talked about enough. It’s a job where you are keeping so many balls in the air. You’re responsible for 30-40 clients, you have submissions from your clients, you have submissions to publishers, you have slush that keeps coming in — it’s a lot to juggle.
And sometimes, if somebody has a personal setback or a financial setback — which is also very real for a lot of these people living in New York City, or in other big cities, and agenting there — things can get really overwhelming. A lot of agents stop communicating as much, and it leaves clients feeling a little left out and underserved. It’s not always riding off successfully into the sunset.
There have also been cases of agents and agencies imploding, and the clients are left suddenly scrambling without much warning. So, if it’s a bad agent — in the sense of, the agent was legitimately not doing their job and kind of flamed out — I don’t think that is terrible for a writer’s reputation. I think there’s a lot of empathy and understanding in the industry for situations like that. And if you then go out and try to find another agent — an agent who is actually doing their job and is able to take you on, I don’t think that needs to be a reputation- or a career-ending situation. It’s just like in every other profession. There are good doctors, there are not-so-great doctors. As long as they don’t kill you — maybe doctors wasn’t the best example!
Jade M Loren: I’ve yet to hear of literary agents killing their authors. I suppose there’s a first time for everything, yeah?
Mary Kole: Yes, the poison pen, indeed!
So anyway, that was a terrible simile, but in the case of a truly bad apple, you’ll have a lot of understanding as a writer to find another agent. Maybe somebody who’s a better fit, and move on. If you simply part ways with an agent — as long as the agent acts with decorum and doesn’t try to badmouth you — and again, we can’t really make allowances for personality types. Some people are a little vindictive. But I think in most scenarios, when it’s an amicable split, the relationship ends and you’re left looking for other representation.
It doesn’t have to be the end of the world. A lot of publishers understand. A lot of other agents that you may query understand. When I started agenting, initially it was pretty rare to see “divorcees” out in the slush pile. People who have had representation before. Unfortunately, but also fortunately, I’m seeing it more and more now from people who are on their second or third agents. The market has gotten really competitive, and there’s tremendous pressure on the agents. So, if something is not a fit, I think maybe agents and writers are coming to that conclusion more easily in today’s marketplace. I would say that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a dark mark.
On the positive side, if you did have a less-than-ideal agent relationship in the past, maybe now you know what you’re looking for better, and you also have more realistic expectations for the agent-writer relationship. I feel like any experience — you know, I’m from California, so I hate to sound so California — but it’s all for a reason. And hopefully it leads to some personal growth. Or is, at least, part of the journey. I do believe that. I do believe that if you are a teachable writer, and you are eager to learn, you can take some wisdom from any experience. Even if it seems like a setback — personally or professionally — at the time.
That being said, you are absolutely not precluded from searching for a new and more ideal agent if you have had a falling-out with an agent or a previous agent relationship. I see a lot of “divorcees” out on the market and getting re-paired pretty successfully — especially if their original agent helped to sell some books.
That brings me to the third thing you asked — about 20 minutes ago when this question began.
Jade M Loren: It’s all good information. It’s all good to know.
Mary Kole: You’re like, “do you breathe, or do you just keep talking?” I have these gills you see that allow me to breathe while I’m talking! I’m just trying to pack the most into this podcast.
One of the most serious and anxiety-causing situations that writers do come across in their careers — and this this could either be a first book, or a mid-career book, or a later career book — and it doesn’t do so hot. The book comes out, they are either forging a new relationship with a publisher, or they have an ongoing relationship with a publisher. Everybody is cruising along… and then, all of a sudden, the latest comes out and it is not the greatest.
We all want our most recent book to be, of course, our best one yet. And maybe the writer thinks that this was, but for whatever reason it falls a little short. And it happens. The debut writer is in this magical place in their career where they are an unknown, and publishers are betting on them. They have no numbers to go off of and everybody’s optimism runs high. Once you are no longer a debut writer, you will always have sales numbers following you around — for better or for worse.
This is one of the things that a lot of writers don’t really think about when they’re debuting — when they’re only trying to sell their first project. Nobody wants to think about “oh, what if this doesn’t sell to expectations?” or “what if this does less than expected?” This does happen a lot. If you’ve ever heard the term “midlist author”, that refers to a writer who has had a couple books out that have done okay. Pretty good, decent, but nothing to really set the publishers spreadsheets on fire. This can be a pretty hard situation to budge from, because when you have a sales number, the publisher will always look at it. Even if it’s from another publisher. And they’ll say “this didn’t do as well as we hoped,” and so your next advance is going to be calculated based on your previous sales figures.
And if you try to move houses and pretend it didn’t happen, that house is gonna be like “well, you didn’t do so well over at this other house.” And you can get stuck there. You can still keep writing books and keep publishing books. And, sure, maybe somebody will give you another contract. You can plug along slowly and steadily. But you keep loading down the airplane. It’s going to take that much more thrust to clear the runway for subsequent books if you have a couple of these books that don’t do so well.
One of the things that I really suggest to writers who find themselves stuck in that circumstance is to keep honing their craft. And perhaps make a pivot in terms of category, in terms of genre. Maybe try working on something else for a little bit. Because the point, ideally, is to keep writing. To keep getting better, and to keep doing better — and better commercially. Now, everybody has duds. But ideally the trajectory is an upward trajectory.
You guys can’t see me, but Jade can see me doing some lovely incline across my screen.
Jade M Loren: It’s like a dab.
Mary Kole: Yeah, I am dabbing. I am old — too old to be dabbing. I do a lot of gestures, I speak with my hands a lot, so you guys are really missing out.
So, the goal, really, is to keep that trend moving forward. And you cannot control what the market does — how the market receives your work at the end of the day. There’s just mysterious alchemy there. You may, despite all your efforts, still fall a little bit flat of what a publisher expected. You can’t control what your publisher does, or what another publisher does when they decide to take up your work. All you can control is the work. And if you feel like you have been pigeonholed in a bucket — let’s say, the quiet coming-of-age middle grade bucket, or the precious picture book bucket — and maybe it’s not entirely working for you. Or you feel that your reputation in that category is getting a little stale. I think it would behoove a writer in that situation to try to pivot. If they’ve always been curious about writing YA, maybe they write a YA. They try to freshen up their own creativity. We can grow stale sometimes. Not all of my ideas have been the best ideas. Sometimes, yes, I come up with an article that isn’t gonna set the world on fire either.
When I do that and when I notice myself in a pattern, because the majority of what I create is articles — content for writers — maybe I’m like “okay, I’ll just shoot a video.” Get out of this one mode of writing these articles, get into another mode. If you’ve never written a picture book before, maybe write a picture book. If you have a picture book that keeps coming in long, in terms of word count, maybe there’s a chapter book idea there. If you’ve written contemporary/realistic maybe try something in another genre. You’ve always loved to read fantasy, but you’ve never tried to write it. Well, maybe this is a good time for a pivot. You can do it under your name, you can do it under a pen name, there are strategies that you can employ to bounce back. Yes, the agent you’re dealing with, the publisher you’re dealing with will probably know who you are. A pen name is not going to trick your way out of those sales numbers that are following you around. But if you strategize, and if you are creative, and if you have an agent or a publisher on your team who’s willing to work with you, I think that these issues are surmountable. As long as you’re proactive.
Given the first thing that I said — about marketing and not being able to expect publishers to market for you — you can’t sit there and expect your agent or your publisher to say “hey girl, the book sales are a little flat. Here’s what I think you should do.” If you find yourself in that situation, you need to be bringing ideas. And another strategy that I’ve seen be successful for people is, maybe you take a break from your own work for a little bit and investigate some work for hire opportunities. If you have relationships with an agent, if you have relationships with a publisher, a lot of publishers — and even some agencies — have started trying their hand at content development; will have ideas sitting around that are looking for writers. And that could be a good creative reset. If you take somebody else’s project and work on that. Or do a ghost-writing project for somebody. There are a lot of ways to keep flexing your writing muscles and get yourself out of a funk.
That’s not to say that, if you get stuck in the midlist, it’s because you, the writer, are to blame and you are in some kind of creative funk. You might feel like you’re doing phenomenally. But it’ll take some effort from everyone involved — including you, including your agent, including your publisher — to try and think about things in a new way. And sort of massage your way through if you find yourself at an impasse.
Jade: A lot of the things that you are talking about seem to be “focus on your stream, focus on what you can control.”
You mentioned switching between genres or potential categories. A lot of the questions we got were: is it different to set up your career as an adult author versus children’s, or, if you want to transition from children’s to adult, would it be different? Are there particular phases of that?
It might be a good question to end on, actually, because again there was a lot of requests about this particular theme. So, just wondering — for me as well who’s an adult maybe hoping to go into YA writing — is this kind of change tactical, or is it different, or is it still — do you work and be as authentic as you can be on social media.
Mary Kole: That is a great question I’m happy to speak to it. Especially because I just gave the advice of “do this”. It would be unfair for me to then not address how you do this. Yeah, just go, be excellent, The End. No, that would be a horrible interview!
Just like any category of fiction that you write — for example, a space opera or romance — there are guidelines within those genres that you should probably stick to if you want to write successfully. Especially something like romance. I don’t want to call it formulaic but there are boxes that get checked in a lot of romance stories that readers have come to expect. If they show up looking for a romance novel, you’re going to really disappoint them if you go far afield. And the same exists in children’s books.
If you are an adult writer looking to cross over into children’s books, one of the mistakes that I see or hear about most often is that people try to dumb things down. And I don’t think they’re doing it consciously or maliciously, but people do say “oh, it’s just middle grade” or “it’s just a picture book, 600 words, how hard could that be?” Hopefully some of my picture book writers are chuckling and outraged on my behalf as they listen to this. Because some people consider a really good picture book more difficult to write than a longer piece. So, don’t ever talk down to your writer in terms of content.
In terms of language and complexity of language — that’s completely different. I think your chapter book readers are just starting to read. Your middle grade readers, you still have a lot of people who are reading insecurely because they’ve started reading independently not long ago. A lot of writers who come over from adult (or from different categories) don’t quite have an emphasis on voice necessary to really make it in the children’s book space. Like you said, being authentic on social media is absolutely a priority, but you have to be authentic in your writing — with your voice — as well. And aim for simplicity of syntax, but not simplicity of idea. You can have complex ideas, but one of the biggest mistakes that I see made is that they’re phrased in extremely complex ways. You don’t want your work to be work to read. Especially for young readers in some of these earlier categories, where they’re starting to read, themselves, independently.
I think connection to character is another thing. In a lot of thrillers and other kind of adult categories, we don’t necessarily need very much access to the character. It’s nice to have, but sometimes plot can carry the day and the character is just sort of a good-looking — or whatever the case may be – an incredibly intelligent person that’s just a focal point for a much bigger story. Well, in middle grade and young adult especially, that connection to character is key. And so, you may want to write with more insight into the characters experience than you’re used to writing. That’s another thing that I would keep in your back pocket. For better for worse, these nine-year-olds, thirteen-year-olds, seventeen-year-olds that are reading middle grade and young adult — they are very self-involved. It’s just where they are in their development as people. It’s not a fault, it’s just where their perspective is at the moment. And so, characters that are really accessible, vulnerable, authentic — even if they’re authentic with nobody in the story — to have that connection to reader is really important for these age groups.
For a picture book, a lot of people take the parent point of view because we’re adults, that’s the point of view that comes easily. And you have to really keep the focus on the kid character. The kid character should solve the problems. They should be as proactive as possible. I think the real takeaway– and it seems so simple, and I know that this advice is given a lot — put yourself in the in the shoes of the young character that you’re putting on the page. A lot of people think they’re doing that, or they believe they’re doing that, but you haven’t actually taken yourself back to middle school. You haven’t actually taken yourself back to elementary school and tried to remember what was important to you then.
If you were ever a journal writer, one of the things I would recommend is maybe digging up some journals from yourself in the fifth grade, yourself in the ninth grade – seeing what kind of stuff you talked about. What was important to you, what was coming across. One of the things a lot of writers are lucky to have is a lot of their writing from growing up. For a lot of us, writing has been a lifelong passion. So, it’s this idea of trying to put yourself as authentically back into those shoes, and writing from that point of view.
One last point that I’ll make is about the marketing. If you are an adult writer and you have been connecting directly to your readers, all of that could go out the window when you transition to writing for kids. Especially, I would say, through middle grade. You’re not able to connect directly with your audience. I mean, of course there are kids online. Legally they’re not supposed to be there if they’re younger than 13, but they are. But they don’t have purchasing power. They can ask their parents for stuff, but until you get into older middle grade and young YA, it’s the parents the teachers the librarians the grandparents that are making the purchasing decisions. So your social media and marketing reach has to be adjusted to consider who is buying these books. If it’s a really sweet picture book story about grandparents on Christmas, you better believe that you are out there targeting Nana and Pop-Pop rather than the child that’s actually going to be your intended audience at the end of the day. And you do have to make allowances for understanding the many different kinds of target audiences that you’ll have in the children’s world that are not, themselves, children.
Jade M Loren: Yeah, it’s I think the target audience gets left behind sometimes. Our focus is on the writer friends. At the beginning, you mentioned that writer friends are very important, and they’ll be your first fans. But then you have to think of the fans that will come after, as well. That’s a good duality to see.
Mary Kole: One of the things that I just believe in so deeply — in terms of marketing. You never want to be just broadcasting about yourself, broadcasting about your work. If you are writing a book about butterflies… gosh dang it, you better get out there with some really interesting butterfly articles! Set up Google Alerts for yourself to get the latest and greatest. If you blog about butterflies, or blog about the chrysalis cycle, if you create butterfly materials, worksheets, coloring pages to download from your website that teachers can use librarians can use — they’ll be so grateful for those resources. Homeschooling moms or dads. These are all people that tend to shop in these children’s books areas. The younger, the more focused you should be on curriculum tie-ins.
And don’t just be “hey, here’s my new book! Me, me me! Look at me! I’m reading at such-and-such library!” Obviously, you do want to talk about any good reviews you get or any new books that are coming out. But serve the reader. Serve the audience. Give them something that they are going to be able to use. That is what makes for a successful social media strategy. If people figure out that your channel is all about blabbing about you, they’re gonna get tired. This is why I try to talk so quickly, and so much, is because I want to respect people’s time. When they tune in to this podcast, they’re going to pick up a few tips – hopefully, if I’ve done my job. And it’s going to be worth their while. They’re going to say “hey, that was really helpful. Good on WriteOnCon. Good on Mary Kole. I’m going to come back to that channel in the future.” And everybody walks away happy. But if it was just me being “well! You know the thing that makes me so great?!” Nobody cares at the end of the day, because we all think we’re great.
Jade M Loren: Yeah, we all have the cat mentality. We’ll come to you when we need you.
Mary Kole: Exactly. Keep it focused on the audience. Keep it focused on serving the audience, I think that’s a good success strategy. No matter what your target audience is, at the end of the day.
Jade M Loren: I think that’s really good advice. And I know you go really in-depth with the answers — but that is just because of your wealth of knowledge. You want to impart it to people who may be listening.
I could personally talk about this another hour, but I think we are out of time. Thank you so much, again, for coming on and chatting with me and WriteOnCon. I know you’re a huge fan of the convention.
Where might authors find you online speaking of social media.
Mary Kole: I have just launched GoodStoryCompany.com. We have all the associated social media that you can find on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and I’m probably missing a couple! But that really is my new initiative for reaching people.
Kidlit.com is my blog, and has been for 10 years, but I want to speak to all writers and all categories, all ability levels. I’m really trying to branch out my reach there with Good Story. It’s simple, at the end of the day, what we all want to do — we want to tell a good story. That’s really my new initiative.
You can also find at MaryKole.com. You can find me there for my editorial services. I work with writers one-on-one as well.
Jade M Loren: Well, hopefully people will find you and come and be part of your new organizations. And see you around on Twitter!
Thank you for being here and talking to me.
For all of you listening to WriteOnCon 2020, thank you for joining us. If you’d like to like to take part in the discussion, there should be a notes page down below.
Mary Kole: Well, thank you. It was absolutely my pleasure! And thank you for the opportunity. Thank you for your time, to those listening!
Jade M Loren: Yes, enjoy the rest of the conference, everyone. And happy writing!
Former literary agent Mary Kole provides consulting and developmental editing services to writers of all categories and genres, working on children’s book projects from picture book to young adult, and all kinds of trade market literature, including fantasy, sci-fi, romance and memoir.
She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and has worked at Chronicle Books, the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and Movable Type Management. She has been blogging at Kidlit.com since 2009. Her book, Writing Irresistible Kidlit, a writing reference guide for middle grade and young adult writers, is available from Writer’s Digest Books.