Archive for February, 2015

You Can Judge a Book by Its Title, and Other Wisdom from the Submission Pile


RGPkey_with_highlightsGUEST POST by Rob Broder, President & Founder of Ripple Grove Press

We have received over 2000 submissions at Ripple Grove Press (RGP) since we opened our doors in 2013, and we have read them all. Only a few make it into our “revisit” folder for another look. Many do not make it there for a simple reason: they do not follow our submission guidelines.

Rob Broder signing off on printer's proofs Publisher Rob Broder signing off on printer’s proofs.

Follow the Submission Guidelines

Our website clearly states that we do not accept stories with a holiday or religious theme, yet my inbox receives submissions with a holiday theme or a religious mention, or submissions about God or the stars in the heavens. Not only do those stories get passed over, they make it difficult to want to move forward on any project with that writer. By not following our guidelines, that person wasted their own time…

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February 4, 2015 at 10:30 am Leave a comment

When I attended the SDSU Writer’s Conference

San Diego State University (SDSU) Extensions Program had their 31st annual Writer’s Conference this January, featuring all writing genres. As a 198–(you guess) SDSU Journalism grad, I’ve wanted to attend this conference for several years. Now that my daughter attends SDSU and my sister agreed to fly down from the Bay Area and join me afterward, it seemed a no-brainer, right?

I looked forward to meeting children’s books agent, Caryn Wiseman, from Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc. and Simon & Shuster Children’s Picture Book Editor, Alyson Haler. Allotted ten minutes each, in a semi-pitch session that resembled speed-dating meets American Idol, I received great feedback from both and a request for re-submission after editing.

I’d like to share a few nuggets gathered at the conference that apply to most genres.
From Agent Betsy Amster of Betsy Amster Literary:
*Regarding queries–make sure the first paragraph is easy to understand. “This ______ (word count) _________(genre, like distopian or historical, etc.)__________________(category, like YA, etc) is about…..
In the second paragraph, plunge into the scene.
In the third paragraph of your query, it’s okay to say you’re excited about this book and why.

*Amster said, “Agents love blogs.” Nuff said.

Book Architecture, an author-help website ( encourage blogging, too, using wordpress, ( the easiest site. (I’ll vouch for that) Blogging ideas offered: writing advice, excerpts from your manuscript, how hard the writing life is. Blogs, along with newsletters, increase traffic to your web site or social media page.

Picture book author, Susan Katz (“My Mama Earth,” “ABC, Baby Me,” and Scholastic’s upcoming “ABC, School’s For Me!”) said publishers are scrambling for non-fiction because of the recent adoption of new common core standards. You can download the ap for Common Core Standards to align with your manuscript. Social Studies and Science curriculums are not the same statewide but the other subjects are.

Katz said you can form a focus group of age appropriate kids and ask them what they want to know about the topic you’re writing about, whether non-fiction or fiction.

I enjoyed this three day conference, even managing to soak up a few minutes of San Diego poolside sun, between workshops, and meeting some lovely writers–one from my home state, Colorado. Great mid winter break!

February 3, 2015 at 6:03 pm Leave a comment

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