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Poor, sad, neglected blog!

I’ve been whisking off to school visits and conferences, but I’ve not been too busy to blog. Too lazy, perhaps. And I have an avalanche of awesome authors and illustrators waiting for me to post about their books. I need a swift kick in the pantaloons.

Remember when Twitter was introduced, “they” dubbed it a micro-blogging platform? (“They” are always busy, have you noticed?)

Well, I’ve been micro-blogging. Here are some recent tidbits of #pubtips…

Don’t follow me on Twitter?

Let’s fix that, shall we? (Does that make us a “they”?)

And now, here are “they” who won recent giveaways here:

Cate Berry’s PENGUIN & SHRIMP DON’T DO BEDTIME
Amanda Sincavage

Tracy Marchini’s CHICKEN WANTS A NAP
Carole Calladine

Troy Cummings’ CAN I BE YOUR DOG?
Kara Newhouse

Congratulations, winners! I will email you shortly…

This list of literary agents on Twitter is mostly comprised of kidlit agents, and it isn’t comprehensive, and some are no longer agents…but all are worthy of a follow. They are in no particular order.

Know other literary agents on Twitter? Please post a comment and I’ll periodically add to the list.

You can also find this list here: http://twitter.com/#!/taralazar/literary-agents/

Pippin PropertiesLovethePippins
Pippin Properties
We are a boutique literary agency dedicated to the management and representation of the finest authors and artists working today.

Kelly Sonnack

KSonnack
Kelly Sonnack
Children’s agent for the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

Jamie Weiss Chilton

Jamie Weiss Chilton
Agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency, shameless caffeine addict, farmer for Marbles, my gray and white rescue bunny.

Jen Rofe

Jen Rofe
Children’s lit agent with Andrea Brown who dreams about being a bakery-owning cowgirl. Nevermind that I don’t bake much or have a horse.
Steven Malk
Literary agent with Writers House musing on publishing, music, and sports–not necessarily in that order.

The McVeigh Agency

The McVeigh Agency (Mark McVeigh)
A boutique literary agency representing authors, illustrators, graphic novelists and photographers.

Donald Maass

Donald Maass
President of Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York, author of Writing the Breakout Novel, The Fire in Fiction and other craft books for fiction writers.

SlushPile Hell

SlushPile Hell
Literary agent. Supervillain.

Kathleen Ortiz

Kathleen Ortiz
Associate Agent & Foreign Rights Manager; Books + Chai + Tech. = Life

Joe Monti

Joe Monti
Children’s & YA, F&SF, Literary Agent & Hero Myth Cycle believer.

Joanna Volpe

Joanna Volpe
NYC lit agent and lover of pizza.

Michelle Wolfson

Michelle Wolfson
I’m a literary agent. Check out my site and if you think we’re a fit, let me know. Otherwise just support my authors and buy their books!

The Knight Agency

The Knight Agency
Our talented agents include Deidre Knight, president, Pamela Harty, Lucienne Diver, Nephele Tempest, Elaine Spencer and Melissa Jeglinski.

Kate McKean

Kate McKean
Literary Agent, www.morhaimliterary.com Image (c) William G. Wadman

DeidreKnight

DeidreKnight
Literary Agent and New York Times bestselling author of romance/women’s fiction who loves to travel to far away places, mentally and geographically.

Mary Kole

Mary Kole
Kidlit enthusiast and associate agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency!
TracyMarchini
Editorial Consultant, former Literary Agent Assistant, freelance copywriter.

Suzie Townsend

Suzie Townsend
book lover, former HS teacher, literary agent, sci-fi/fantasy nerd, and owner of an unused $6000 wedding dress. love my life.

Michelle Andelman

Michelle Andelman
Dark Lady of Letters

Upstart Crow

Upstart Crow
We’re a brusquely friendly literary agency.

Chris Richman

Chris Richman
Kid’s book agent, music snob, Philadelphia sports fanatic.

Michael Bourret

Michael Bourret
Literary Agent, bran muffin enthusiast and nerdy cat person

Nathan Bransford

Nathan Bransford
Author of JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW (coming in May)

Colleen Lindsay

Colleen Lindsay
Publishing browncoat. Cat herder. Queer human. Professional nerd. TARDIS fan. Athlete’s foot survivor. Part of Penguin Group (USA) Business Development team.

Jessica Faust

Jessica Faust
literary agent, blogger, business owner, book lover and foodie

Kim Lionetti

Kim Lionetti
Literary Agent representing women’s fiction, romance, mystery, true crime, pop culture and pop science.

Ginger Clark

Ginger Clark
I am a literary agent. I work at Curtis Brown. I respond only to queries I’m interested in. This twitter account will be boring.

holly root

holly root
literary agent, theater wife, cat person, iphone addict.

Lauren E. MacLeod

Lauren E. MacLeod
A literary agent @strothmanagency with an emphasis in YA and MG fiction and nonfiction. Opinions are my own.

jennifer laughran

jennifer laughran
literary agent at andrea brown lit, children’s bookseller, reader, raconteur, eccentric multi-millionaire and patron of the arts… and some of those are lies

Jill Corcoran

Jill Corcoran
Literary Agent with Herman Agency representing primarily MG and YA authors.

Rachelle Gardner

Rachelle Gardner
Literary agent, firefighter’s wife, mom of two awesome girls, Starbucks freak.

Elana Roth

ElanaRoth
Elana Roth
Brooklynite, children’s book agent, Squarespace support specialist, semi-pro Jew, bourbon drinker. I work for lots of people. None of these tweets are theirs.

Marie Suzette

MarieSuzetteYA
Marie Suzette
At work, I’m a literary agent focusing on the YA genre, and I have to bite my tongue. On Twitter, I’m the anonymous Marie Suzette, who says whatever she wants.

Kate Epstein

EpsteinLiterary
Kate Epstein
Literary agent representing nonfiction for adults and nonfiction and fiction for YA and MG readers I tweet mainly advice for writers and updates on my books.

Alanna Ramirez

AlannaLitAgent
Alanna Ramirez
Alanna Ramirez is a literary agent with Trident Media Group.

Michael Stearns

mikalroy
Michael Stearns 

Literary agent. A bit obsessive compulsive about words and writing, books and pop culture.

Edward Necarsulmer

edwardnecarsulm
Edward Necarsulmer
Director and Principal Agent, Children’s Department, McIntosh & Otis, Inc.

Janet Reid

Janet_Reid
Janet Reid 

Writer wrangler. President of the Fabulosity Fan Club. Reader. Easily annoyed, often amused, devoted NYer. I love my job more than makes any kind of sense.

Barry Goldblatt

barrygoldblatt
Barry Goldblatt

Julia Churchill

JuliaChurchill
Julia Churchill
We’re the Greenhouse Literary Agency, a transatlantic agency specialising in children’s fiction.

Adams Literary

adamsLiterary
Adams Literary 

A full-service, boutique literary agency exclusively representing children’s and young adult authors and artists.

Sarah Davies

SarahGreenhouse
Sarah Davies
Founder and agent of children’s/YA at Greenhouse Literary Agency, based in DC and London. Dachsund-slave, photographer, lover of history and wild places.

Mandy Hubbard

MandyHubbard
Mandy Hubbard
Agent with D4EO Lit and multi-pubbed author writing as Mandy Hubbard and Amanda Grace. I like words. And pasta. Not necessarily in that order.

Sarah LaPolla

sarahlapolla
Sarah LaPolla 

Associate Literary Agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd., pop culture junkie, writing enthusiast, all around book nerd.

Sara Kendall

seekendall
Sara Kendall
Literary assistant and junior associate at Nancy Coffey Lit. Lover of books and food. And cupcakes.

RebeccaSherman

RebeccAgent
Rebecca Sherman
Literary Agent at Writers House. Midwesterner transplanted to NYC. Musical theater loving, pop culture addict vegetarian.
Kathleen Rushall KatRushall
Kathleen Rushall
There’s more to life than books, you know, but not much more. Children’s Literary Agent at Waterside Productions, Inc.
Taylor MartindaleTayMartindale
Taylor Martindale
Literary Agent with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency Proudly representing YA, children’s picture books, and some adult projects!

queryfailIn early March, several literary agents, organized by Colleen Lindsay and Lauren E. MacLeod, participated in QueryFail on Twitter. They sat at their desks, inboxes open, a pile of envelopes at their side, and then read queries one-by-one, Tweeting examples from undesirable letters: “I know that I have attached a file, but please have a read even though it’s against your policy.”

Lesson #1: follow submission guidelines.

Lesson #2? Even though many writers felt QueryFail was interesting and helpful, there was a considerable backlash from those who felt it was unfair to share query letters meant only for the agents’ eyes. But listen, if you’re an aspiring author, that means you want your words to go into print someday. You have to be ready for the criticism. If you’re not confident about sharing your query letter, perhaps you should try writing another one.

QueryFail2 was all set for yesterday, but it didn’t happen. Instead, we got QueryDay. The guidelines were supposedly the same, but the tone was decidedly different. Agents opened the floor to questions from writers, making QueryDay an interactive event. And because writers became participators, I doubt that anyone who witnessed QueryDay had anything negative to say about it.

Several positive spins emerged. Elana Roth of Caren Johnson Literary Agency announced her first QueryWin of the day early on. She requested “a YA light sci-fi novel. Strong query. Good voice in sample pages.” She was also impressed with a “Smart cookie author/illustrator: did not attach art to email, but pointed me to link of her art online. Win.”

Later on Ms. Roth passed on “a 3,000 word picture book” and a “YA novel set in college. Still on the fence about that. And only 39,000 words.” Writers, you need to know the proper word counts for your genre.

Agents also provided tips. Rachelle Gardner offered, “This may be hard to hear, but I suggest you avoid being in a rush to get published. Take TIME to develop your craft.” Later she confessed, “A query that makes me laugh is a great thing! Whether or not the book is for me, it definitely gets my attention.”

Agent Lauren MacLeod shared information on her preferences: “For the record, I prefer not published to self-published. For me, self-published has to try harder. Others feel differently.” She then explained, “Why my self-pubbed position? 1) I assume it has already been widely rejected by agents, 2) might have already exhausted the market.”

Some themes and suggestions emerged repeatedly, like submitting polished work. Lauren MacLeod announced, “I assume you have edited your work, have a writers group and have shown this to someone who likes it.” Later on, Colleen Lindsay said, “A writer needs to get the manuscript into the best shape possible before querying. An agent’s job is not to handhold or coddle or boost a writer’s self-esteem. An agent’s job is to sell the manuscript.” Editor Kate Sullivan presented this caveat, “Remain open-minded and be ready to revise. You need to be open to changes every step of the way.” Even a polished manuscript can be improved.

The most important thing learned from QueryDay is really quite basic: write a sharp query and follow guidelines.

And just how much time does an agent devote to your query? Lauren MacLeod answered, “A query that is to our guidelines, within normal word count range and my genre? About 5 minutes. These are rare.”

She then summed it up: “More important than anything: WRITE A GOOD BOOK. Good writing, good plot & good voice trump all.” Rachel Gardner agreed, “Fiction writers…it’s ALL about the writing. Nothing’s as important as what’s on the page. If it rocks, nothing else matters.”

Got that? Now if only the word “good” weren’t so subjective…

I collected a number of questions and answers from QueryDay that other writers may find useful. I’ll post separately…coming very soon.

twitterbirdA few weeks ago, YA author Mitali Perkins put together a list of young adult authors on Twitter.

In the same spirit of connecting children’s authors with fans and other publishing professionals, here’s a list of published picture book authors and illustrators who maintain a Twitter presence. Also included are debut authors with books due for release in the coming year or two.

UPDATE AUGUST 2013: It’s been eons since I’ve updated this list, but I see it’s been referenced online in several places and has become a popular resource. Unfortunately, I can no longer take the time to update this list–there are just too many changes to keep up with. But if you want to be included, simply add a comment with your Twitter handle and you’ll be seen there. Thank you!

Enjoy! Make new connections; discover talented people!

  1. Bonnie Adamson @BonnieAdamson
  2. Laurie Halse Anderson @HalseAnderson
  3. Boni Ashburn @BoniAshburn
  4. Carin Berger @CarinBerger
  5. Phil Bildner @PhilBildner
  6. Deborah Blumenthal @DeborahBlu
  7. Susan Taylor Brown @Susanwrites
  8. James Burks @JamesBurksArt
  9. Heather Ayris Burnell @HeatherAyris
  10. Clay Carmichael @ClayCarmichael
  11. Tara Larsen Chang @TLCillustration
  12. Susan Chodakiewitz @SusanChodak
  13. Rob Christianson @RobChristianson
  14. Peggy Collins @PeggysBooks
  15. Susan Crites @SusanCrites
  16. Kristy Dempsey @KristyDempsey
  17. Sarah Dillard @SWDillard
  18. Brandi Dougherty @BrandiDougherty
  19. Elizabeth Dulemba @Dulemba
  20. Ame Dyckman @AmeDyckman
  21. Wendy Edelson @WendyEdelson
  22. Carol Gordon Ekster @CEkster
  23. Claudia Golden @Claudiamm37 (Account deleted)
  24. Gus Gordon @IllustratorGus
  25. Jean Fischer @JeanFischer1
  26. Kakie Fitzsimmons @KakieF
  27. Alison Ashley Formento @AFormento
  28. Roz Fulcher @Rozzieland
  29. Neil Gaiman @NeilHimself
  30. K.L. Going @KLGoing
  31. Lorie Ann Grover @LorieAnnGrover
  32. Diane Dawson Hearn @DDHearn
  33. Anette Heiberg @AnetteHeiberg
  34. Leeza Hernandez @leezaworks
  35. Ryan Hipp @HippHop
  36. Lisa Horstman @LisaHorstman
  37. Oliver Jeffers @OliverJeffers
  38. Ward Jenkins @wardomatic
  39. Dani Jones @danidraws
  40. Cathy June @CathyJuneArt
  41. Michelle Knudsen @MichelleKnudsen
  42. Kara LaReau @KaraLaReau
  43. Tara Lazar (me!) @taralazar
  44. John Lechner @JohnLechner
  45. Kelly Light @KellyLight
  46. Grace Lin @pacylin
  47. Wendy Martin @wendymartinart
  48. Anne Mazer @AnneMazer
  49. Rich McCoy @McCoyDigital
  50. Kate Messner @KateMessner
  51. Jennifer L. Meyer @JenniferLMeyer
  52. Jamie Michalak @JamieMichalak
  53. Amy Moreno @EarthenVessel
  54. Cyn Narsisi @CynDraws
  55. Jeannine Norris @JeannineNorris
  56. Neil Numberman @NeilNumberman
  57. Dianne Ochiltree @WriterDi
  58. Eric Orchard @EricOrchard
  59. Alicia Padrón @AliciaPadrón
  60. Todd Parr @ToddParr
  61. The Pigeon @The_Pigeon
  62. Jamie Pogue @JamiePogue
  63. Jean Reidy @JeanReidy
  64. Peter H. Reynolds @PeterHReynolds
  65. Jacqui Robbins @JacquiRobbins
  66. Shelly L. Rogers @KidsIllustrator
  67. Candace Ryan @CandaceRyan
  68. Tammi Sauer @SauerTammi
  69. Niki Schoenfeldt @NikiofWare
  70. Corey Rosen Schwartz @CoreyPBNinja
  71. Jon Scieszka @GuysRead
  72. Diana Scimone @DianaScimone
  73. Cynthia Leitich Smith @CynLeitichSmith
  74. Kim Sponaugle @PictureKitchen
  75. Laurel Snyder @LaurelSnyder
  76. Ruth Spiro @RuthSpiro
  77. Patricia Storms @stormsy
  78. Susan Marie Swanson @Susan_Marie
  79. Don Tate @Devas_T
  80. Nikki Tate @WriterGrrrl
  81. Jennifer Therms @JenThermes
  82. Holly Thompson @HatBooks
  83. Renee Ting @ReneeAtShens
  84. Joyce Wan @wanart
  85. Kathy Weller @wellerwishes
  86. Leah Wiedemer @RoamingArtist
  87. Karma Wilson @KarmaWilson
  88. Paula Yoo @PaulaYoo
  89. Laura Zarrin @CreativeGirl
  90. Paul O. Zelinsky @PaulOZelinsky

Earlier this week I wrote about writers using Twitter to deliver short stories a few lines at a time, á la the cell phone novel craze in Japan.

And today I have a list of TwitLitters. These writers are either telling a tale tweet by tweet, or delivering 140-character and less micro fiction stories.

Bravo to these writers for experimenting in a new fiction format. I’m following them all to see how they merge tales and technology.

  • Sixwordstories. Like Smith Magazine, tales that are just six words long.
  • Jeffrey Somers. Science fiction novelist, short story writer and creator of the zine “The Inner Swine” begins his Twitter serial on January 26th.
  • Matt Richtel. Author of the novel Hooked and NY Times business and technology journalist tells a “Twiller” (Twitter thriller) 140 characters at a time.
  • MyLifein140. Nikki Katz’s  sixteen-year-old fictional character learns that she can change her world by editing photos in the school’s Yearbook room.
  • Slice. A digital story-telling experiment by the UK division of Penguin books called We Tell Stories. Six authors told six stories over the course of six weeks. This teen novel only attracted about 100 followers, but TwitLit is still in its infancy. Teens are typically early adopters of technology, so I suspect once word gets out, they may follow in droves, especially if a well-known author introduces them to this story-telling medium.
  • Fuel Dump. Monk screenwriter Tom Scharpling just began this microblogging book in December. Look for posts marked #FD.
  • Joy Motel. A colloborative effort between a short story writer and an adman, this sci-fi Twitter novel has attracted 145 followers.
  • David Miller. A senior editor with Matador, an interactive travel magazine and online community, David began his Twitter novel in December.

Do you know of other Twitter novels and stories? What do you think about TwitLit? Exciting new venue? Or harbinger of a literary doomsday?

twitter2I first heard the phrase “TwitLit” from writing friend Christopher Cocca. I’ll give him coining credit. We both write flash fiction, so he had suggested using the 140-character Twitter format to tell uber-short stories. His first submission: “His probation stopped on a dime-bag.” Mine? “The gourmand often ate too much, but she was living life to the fullest.”

So how else can writers use Twitter? You might want to refuse answering the assumed question, “What are you doing?” Come on, that’s boring. We’ve got Facebook status for that. Twitter is nimble, Twitter is quick, Twitter has the power to change the world. (OK, a bit of hyperbole there.)

Agent Nadia Cornier used Twitter to update authors on Firebrand Agency’s “query holiday.” From December 15 to January 15, Firebrand invited submissions without a query letter. At final count, she had over 3500 submissions with 387 read and 30 requested. Useful, clever Tweeting. Thanks, Nadia.

Of course, agent Nathan Bransford already covered authorly Tweeting with a guest post by Tracy Marchini two months ago. Marchini suggests 21 ways an author can use Twitter. Yep, she’s got TwitLit covered.

But I’m going further with this.

You may be aware of the cell phone novel phenomenom in Japan. Authors deliver stories a few lines at a time directly to mobile devices and welcome reader feedback regarding the tale’s direction. Once the novel is completed, readers rush to buy the paper copy because they feel invested in the story. After all, they had a hand (or a thumb) in its creation.

Some critics consider mobile novels an omen of a literary doomsday. Others think the platform can’t be ignored, especially with five of the top 10 novels in Japan having originated on cell phones.

So why not tell an entire tale in Twitter a few lines at a time? OK, perhaps there’s a certain level of literary integrity you want to maintain and this ain’t the way. But it’s a fun and interesting new venue for fiction, and one that could elicit reader feedback. Applications like TweetDeck help you to organize Tweets by subject and keep track of responses to others (using the “@” symbol). But be careful not to use Twitter for conversations that will lose other readers.

What about a Twitter account for your fictional characters? Don’t they have something to say beyond the confines of your book? A Tweet or two and they’re brought to life in real-time. Or maybe you can create a new character who only exists in Tweets.

The format is experimental. Who knows if it will catch on for story telling. But with Amazon’s Kindle gaining popularity and cell phones evolving into integrated entertainment devices for music, web browsing, pictures and videos, surely books and zines can’t be far behind. Can you imagine your phone’s screen folding out like a newspaper and delivering any story you want anytime you want it? Will Twitter help push things in that direction? Perhaps with a million authors using it, it just might.

twitterfollowSo how are you using Twitter to enhance your writing career? Are you marketing yourself or using it creatively? Please share your ideas!

As a children's book author and mother of two, I'm pushing a stroller along the path to publication. I collect shiny doodads on the journey and share them here. You've found a kidlit treasure box.

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My Picture Books

COMING SOON:

THE WHIZBANG WORDBOOK
illustrator TBA
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Early 2019

YOUR FIRST DAY OF (CIRCUS) SCHOOL
illus by Melissa Crowton
Tundra/PRH Canada
Summer 2019

THE UPPER CASE:
TROUBLE IN CAPITAL CITY
illus by Ross MacDonald
Disney*Hyperion
Fall 2019

FOUR WAYS TO TRAP A LEPRECHAUN
illus by Vivienne To
HarperCollins
Spring 2020

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