Thursday, May 5, 2016

My Rate Your Story Success Story by Nancy Churnin

I was thrilled to learn about the existence of Rate Your Story when I began my journey as a children’s book writer. I was so unsure about what worked and what didn’t worked. How wonderful, I thought, to have a service where you can test stories to see if they’re ready for an agent or editor?

I started with Rate Your Story when it was a completely free service that judged stories on the first day of each month. I will never forget sending my story about William Hoy, one of the first famous Deaf baseball players, to RYS in July of 2013. It was the same month I submitted my manuscript to the 12 X 12 agent of the month, Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary.

That month I heard back both from Karen, who wanted to send the story out immediately, and Miranda Paul, the founder of Rate Your Story, who told me that she thought it was a wonderful story. That encouragement was so key to me at a critical time. It turned out that my story about William Hoy would receive an initial round of (kind) rejections and I would need to rethink and rewrite it.

But now, in March of 2016, as The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game rolls off the presses from Albert Whitman & Company, I think back about how the support and encouragement I received from Miranda and Rate Your Story strengthened me for the journey ahead. I have renewed my membership in RYS each year. I value the opinions of the writers, teachers and editors that judge the manuscripts in letting me know if I’m on the right path. I’m especially grateful when the judges see fit to include comments. 

Writing is a solitary journey and it can be fun to be alone. But it’s also fun to be alone together as Frog and Toad concluded long ago. I’m glad to be alone with RYS and my friends in the children’s writing community.

Congratulations, Nancy! For more check out Nancy's website HERE or read below for reviews on The William Hoy Story: 

New York Times

Monday, April 4, 2016

Author Pat Miller's Success Story: The Hole Story of the Doughnut

I am so grateful to author Miranda Paul and her hard-working reviewers at Rate Your Story. They had an important part in the publication of my first nonfiction trade book, The Hole Story of the Doughnut.

Here’s the behind-the-scenes timeline:

January 10, 2013 - I was a new member when I read Lori Degman’s post on Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 FB group. Lori introduced us to Rate Your Story and its amazing offer to critique stories at no charge. I had a historical fiction story ready to send to Highlights for its annual fiction contest. Perfect timing! Off it went.

January 13 – My story rating came back: 3: “Good Story—Get a critique or two and polish before submitting.” Some helpful suggestions were included.

I had no critique group, and the deadline was two weeks away. Luckily, I saw this at the end of the RYS rating: “Want a more in-depth, professional critique? Visit the RYS Professional Critiques page to hire a published writer to help make your manuscript better!” (page here).

January 14 - I read all the RYS reviewer bios and chose Jill Esbaum. Jill is the author of twelve books for kids and former instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature. We worked out a fee and Jill said she could turn it around well before the Highlights deadline. 

January 23 - True to her word, Jill got her comments back to me. I made changes based on some of her feedback, and got my story off to Highlights just before deadline. 

February 1 - For the first time, Julie’s 12 x 12 offered the opportunity to submit a manuscript to an agent for review. I rewrote my story as a nonfiction biography. Jill and I arranged another critique, and her responses helped me re-examine some parts. A few days later, at the SCBWI-Austin conference, I won a hotly contested silent auction prize—a critique from Newbery-honor winner Kathi Appelt. She also took a look at Hole Story and made suggestions.

February 26 - I submitted my NF bio, The Hole Story of the Doughnut to 12 x 12’s first agent Stephen Fraser. In two hours, he replied that he liked my story! Could I make a couple of small changes and resubmit? Of course!

April 1 - Stephen wrote “I would be interested in representing this manuscript if you can add one more sentence.” And it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke! He called me the next day, and I can report that I did not squeal like a pre-teen. At least, not until I hung up. 

April 2 – I withdrew my story from the Highlights Fiction Contest.

July 19 – Stephen wrote, “Houghton Mifflin Harcourt would like to publish The Hole Story of the Doughnut! I'll keep you posted.”  More squealing.

March 21, 2014 – I heard from Kate O’Sullivan, Executive Editor at HMH. She said she was excited about my “excellent story” and that the search for an illustrator would begin in the near future.

May 30 – Kate suggested several illustrators and asked me to submit some suggestions. Really?!

September 8 – From Kate: “Excellent news: Vincent X. Kirsch is on board to illustrate DOUGHNUT” 

May 12, 2015  Kate sent “the mechanicals”, a color copy of the book pages as they would be sent to the printer.

July 23 – From Kate: “DOUGHNUT is on our spring ’16 list.”

November 2 – From Kate: “Great news: HOLE STORY is a Junior Library Guild Selection!”

May 3, 2016The Hole Story of the Doughnut makes its debut!

For more about Pat Miller, visit

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bring in the Money!

by author and RYS judge, Jennifer Swanson

No, this blog is not about a re-make of the movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr and Tom Cruise. No one is going to open their wallet and start throwing money around.
(Although if you want to, please feel free to throw some my way. I have one in college and another heading there. I will take any money for tuition I can get!)
This blog is about how to make money with your writing, even before you make it big! Let’s face it, we all know that the road to traditional publishing is long, difficult and at time frustrating AND  it is very worth it. I agree.
But what if it were possible to help yourself along the path while making money?
(this is beginning to sound like one of those late-night commercials, isn’t it?)
What I’m talking about is a way to break into traditional publishing. It’s called Work-for-Hire (WFH).
Now some see WFH as a lesser arm to traditional publishing. I don’t understand that. I know PLENTY of authors who’ve been published with big houses that did WFH before they got published and continue to do so afterwards.
WFH is a way to bring in a steady stream of income without having to wait for royalties. Like everything else, it has its plusses and minuses. But if you’re staring a tuition bill in the face and have no funds to pay for it, WFH looks pretty dang good!
What is WFH?  
WFH means exactly that.  A publisher sends you a contract to write a book to specific guidelines under a set timeline.
Who uses WFH authors?
The biggest employers of WFH are educational publishers and book packagers, although pretty much every major publisher has a WFH division.
Educational publishers are companies that write specifically to sell to schools and libraries. These books will probably not be found in book stores. They are very concerned with writing to exact grade and reading levels.
Book packagers are companies that are hired by other publishers to create books for their list. (I know, it’s a little confusing.)
51L0v+DtJFL._SL210_Here’s an example: Publisher A wants a series on earth science (volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc) but doesn’t want to take the time to find the authors, illustrators, and editors to do it. They hire Book Packager B. Book Packager B then hires authors, uses their own in-house editors and illustrators, and sends the completed manuscript to Publisher A for approval. The book is published with Publisher A’s name and the name of the author. (The book packager name doesn’t appear anywhere).
Major publishers usually use WFH authors for trademarked series like ones about super heroes or say Nancy Drew type books. These books are formulaic and stick to the series guidelines although each book has a new topic.
How do I find a WFH company?
Try some of these links. They are excellent sources for how to find educational publishers and book packagers.
How do I approach a WFH company?
You need to send a resume package to the publisher. A resume package consists of the following:
Query letter -- outlining why you are interested in working for this company. It helps if you have read a couple of their books or can point to a series they are doing that you are interested in working on.
Resume --  An up-to-date resume of your writing credentials. Include anything you’ve had published, even if it’s just on a blog. If you don’t have much, then put what you do – your job, your interests, whatever. It should be in a standard resume form and look professional
Writing samples --  These are really important. You need between 1-3 samples (check the publisher’s guidelines. Some tell you exactly how many you need to send). If they don’t tell you send at least two. These pieces should be VERY polished. They are your way of showing that you can write to their guidelines. It’s a good thing to study their books and write in a similar manner. Also, if you wish to write biographies, then send a sample biography. If you want to write science, send a science piece, and so forth. If you want to write fiction, send a fiction piece similar to something they have already published. If you want to write both, then send one fiction and one nonfiction piece. This shows depth.
What happens after I get hired?
First of all, Congratulations!  Second, get very familiar with your computer chair. The thing about WFH is that they work on fairly short deadlines. That means you may have a month or less to write a 3,000 word (or longer) book.  The one thing to know about WFH companies, is the deadlines RARELY shift. If you have a deadline for January 28, 2014, that is THE deadline. These companies roll out books by the dozens and have two cycles a year. They must stick to the deadlines to get everything done. That means you have to, too.
Another thing, get very familiar with ATOS Readability and Lexile reading levels. These will be your golden guides. Most educational publishers live and die by these reading level systems and your manuscript MUST be within the designated level and word count when it is submitted.
Drawbacks of WFH?
You receive a flat fee for your work and you sign over all rights for the book.  You do not receive royalties of any kind. Also, just a heads up, sometimes it’s easier to get hired by a book packager first, but they tend to pay half of what the educational publisher will because they are the “middle man.”
Plusses of WFH?
Someone has hired you to write a book! The book is published with YOUR name on it! You can use all of these books on your resume in the future – for more WFH or to approach other traditional publishers with your own manuscripts.  Most WFHpublishers are PAL publishers with SCBWI so you get all the perks that brings. You can go out and do school visits with your books and sell them at events, and so forth. Yes, you are a REAL author!
So, what do you think? Is this for you? If so, get to work writing those samples. Remember, in order to “Show me the money!” you have to start submitting resumes. The money isn’t going to show itself any time soon unless YOU send something OUT!
Jennifer is the author of over 20 fiction and nonfiction books for children. When she is not writing, she loves to read, walk on the beach with her family, and play with her two dogs. You can learn more about her at
this post was originally posted here

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Celebrating 2016 With A RYS Giveaway!

To kickoff the new year and to celebrate all of you awesome people, we've organized our first RYS giveaway for 2016. Woot!

This is open to both RYS members and nonmembers while we're still open for 2016 member registration. But don't miss the next one! We'll be organizing more giveaways just like throughout the year for members only. Click HERE to register for 2016. 

First up we've got a fantastic webinar from Jodelle Sadler's KidLit College. The drawing for this prize will be held THIS WEEK so hurry to enter. 

Eve Adler's Unlocking the Mysteries of Writing the CB or MG Series - More details here. 
Eve Adler is a Senior Editor at Penguin. This webinar will be taking place on January 9th! We will draw a winner on January 7th at 12:00pm eastern time. You must enter before that in order to be eligible. Enter using the rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Next we'll be giving away a copy of RYS judge and founder, Miranda Paul's, newest book, Whose Hands Are These? 
Whose Hands Are These? is a "guessing game/picture book hybrid celebrating diverse occupations" - More details here
We'll be drawing the winner for this on January 15th. *You must live in the continental United States to be eligible.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Miranda Paul is also offering a manuscript critique (2000-words or less)! Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win this prize. The winner will be drawn January 15th. You must enter by midnight on the 14th to be eligible.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you can't make the first KidLit College webinar, don't fret! You still have one more chance to win a seat in an upcoming webinar. Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win a pass to Emily Feinberg's Nonfiction Picture Book webninar on January 23rd. Emily Feinberg is an editor with Roaring Book Press. The winner will be drawn on January 15th - More details here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't forget to sign up as a RYS 2016 member for more giveaways, critiques and added member perks. Spaces are now limited and registration closes January 15th! 

**Please follow the rules of the rafflecopters to enter. If your name is drawn, we will notify you via email. Note that the KidLit College prizes are for the webinar only and do not include critiques with the editors.**


Monday, November 9, 2015

A note from the Rate Your Story Team

New Member Registration, New Judges & What to Expect from 2016!

We can’t believe that 2016 is just around the corner now! This past year has been an big one for Rate Your Story and we are looking forward to another wonderful year. 

The new year also brings new and exciting changes. The fabulous Miranda Paul has handed the RYS reigns over to Sophia M. Gholz and Jennifer Swanson--though Miranda will still be involved with RYS as a judge--both of whom are ecstatic to join the RYS team. You can read more about that HERE

Registration for 2016 memberships will open Mid-November through January and there are a few changes to memberships this year as well. 

Pre-registration will begin November 16th (2015) and will run through November 30th (2015). Anyone who uses this early window to register for a 2016 annual membership will receive 25% off of the total membership fee for the year! 

Regular registration will begin December 1st (2015) and end January 15th (2016). 

All current and returning RYS members who register for 2016 will receive a 35% discount on their annual membership fee and can register anytime between November 16th (2015)-January 15th (2016). 

*Please keep in mind that last year we reached membership capacity quickly and had to close registration early.* 

For more details on registration and memberships, please visit us by clicking HERE

We’ve also added a slew of new faces to our judging panel. Get to know some of our new judges and check out some freshly updated info on our current judges by clicking HERE

In accordance with our founding mission, will also continue to offer a free service to writers who have not signed up to be paid members. However, we are also striving to provide constructive and timely critiques to all of our members. Therefore 2016 will consist of 6 “free submission” days open to the public. 

Both new and returning 2016 members can be prepared for some fun surprises and opportunities throughout the year. We’ve got all sorts of things planned! 

As always, for any questions, please feel free to contact us at RateYourStory [at] gmail [dot] com.

Cheers and happy writing! 
The RYS team

For weekly updates and RYS news, connect with us on TWITTER and FACEBOOK too!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Why a 500-Word Children’s Story Is Not Flash Fiction

Today we've got Rate Your Story judge, Anne E. Johnson, breaking down the differences between flash fiction and shorter works of fiction.

You may have heard the term flash fiction defined as a story of 1000 words or fewer. Many publications cap that at five hundred words. And then there are micro-fiction, nano-fiction, and drabbles, not to mention Twitterfic, joining the flash family. Flash fiction is not just a flash in the pan.

Magazine submission guidelines often require that stories for children be under 1000 words – even significantly shorter than that for very young readers. Humpty Dumpty Magazine, for example, has a “Build-a-Book” feature with a limit of 125 words. Yet you never hear these tiny kidlit stories being referred to as flash fiction. 

Here’s an article from The Guardian about how a top author of literary fiction approaches flash works. Some aspects of his process you might recognize: Use only a few characters, edit down to size, have a strong last line. But the other advice might look a bit mysterious to a kidlit writer.

In fact, a short children’s story and a piece of flash fiction have little in common. Flash fiction depends on two elements that are practically useless in stories for novice readers: metaphor and implication. Readers of flash stories are expected to extrapolate, infer further information (often not only details, but even major plot elements), and read between the lines.

Ernest Hemingway famously wrote what is often referred to as the shortest story ever, a prototype of microfiction. It goes like this:

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

As an adult with experience – not only in living, but in reading literature -- you can look at those six words and fill in likely facts: 1. Somebody had a baby or was expecting one, and bought baby shoes in anticipation of the joyous occasion. 2. Because the shoes have never been worn, the baby must have died. 3. You can even assume that the seller is suffering, not only the pain of loss, but also poverty, since the shoes need to be sold.

Do not ask a kid to build a complex emotional world from six words! That sort of perception and analysis of language comes with years of practice.

When you write a super-short story for a child, it must include all the essentials of the plot. But only the essentials, plus just enough decoration to give a sense of atmosphere and characterization. The story can be simple, but it must be clearly told, not implied. It’s a special skill to be concise yet also complete. And then there is the craft of making a picture book text, a whole different writing skill in which the concision with words is interdependent with visual communication. Oh, and while you’re doing all this, make sure to keep the story fun!

Tricky? You bet. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel that creating stories for children is easier than other kinds of writing. 

Anne E. Johnson’s middle-grade story collection, Things from Other Worlds: 15 Alien and Fantasy Stories for Kids, is available in print and ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers. Learn more about Anne’s writing on her website.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

October 1 is Free Submission Day!

Hey Rate Your Story followers - it's that time again! October 1 is free submission day, and it will be our second-to-last day for 2015. (The final one will be November 1).

Please remember to read all submission guidelines first, before you submit. Don't submit twice. Oh, and if you haven't heard back from your September submission (there are a few still outstanding), you're free to submit a different manuscript in October. We're working on getting a couple of September manuscripts back to you, and hope that we can return those soon.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 31, 2015

September 1 is Free Submission Day!

Please make sure to check our submission guidelines page before submitting your work. Happy writing!

Monday, June 8, 2015

2015 RYS Contest Winners!

We had hundreds of entries again this year! Thank you to all who entered, and a special congratulations to our winners and honorable mentions.

*A note: we were having some trouble getting photos to line up, so when we figure that out, we'll have everyone else's photo loaded.*

Picture Book Category

1st Place

I WISH I WERE A TREE by Jill Proctor

A young girl, imagining herself living life as a tree, celebrates her relationship with nature's visitors, critters in residence, and changing seasons until her memory of her life as a girl tests her wish to be a tree.

2nd Place

SWEET DREAMS, SARAH by Vivian Kirkfield

With freedom in her pocket and ideas swirling in her head, former slave Sarah E. Goode built a space-saving bed and became the first black woman to receive a U.S. patent.

3rd Place


How James Barrie’s own struggle to grow up and his adventures with the Llewelyn Davies boys inspired the creation of Peter Pan, Wendy, Tinkerbell, the Lost Boys, and Captain Hook.

Honorable Mentions - Picture Book Category

CAN'T MISS KISS by Debbie LaCroix

There's a kiss for almost everything...jelly donuts, chickens, candy, storytime... and for everything else, there's the Can't Miss Kiss.

MORE THAN A HOLE by Lauri Myers

Explore sweet holes where animals live, be wary of trap holes covered by old red rugs, watch holes patiently for spectacular surprises, and never think of a hole as just a hole again.

A MATTER OF RIGHTS by Beth Anderson

In 1854, when Elizabeth Jennings is refused entry on a streetcar due to her race, she decides to fight back, putting in motion a battle that will last a century.


Nothing stopped Liz from out-running every boy in town, and nothing would stop her from fighting in the American Revolution!

BLUE MOON BEAMS by Maria D. Laso

A child who believes gets the chance to fly.

(Photo coming soon)

Novel Category

1st Place

DUMB by Stacy McAnulty

Twelve-year-old math genius Lucy Marquez Adams dodges early entry to college by playing dumb, only to wind up in public middle school without the solution to the equation for fitting in.

2nd Place

THREE IN A BOX by Susan T. Paxton

When a series of fires break out on remote Vallon Island, Sonny Bulee, wrongly accused of starting a fire at a previous school, becomes the main suspect, but his attempts to prove his innocence ignite the interest of three ghosts who may not have his best interests in mind.

3rd Place

ECKAMORE by Andrew Hendryx

A middle grade mystery featuring pirates, ninjas, dodgeball, and a boy's quest to uncover his family’s dark secrets.

Honorable Mentions - Novel Category

Eleven-year-old Amado's journey crossing the Mexican-American border becomes a physical and emotional struggle for survival.

When disaster strikes during an audition for a TV survival show, Jade must face her worst wilderness nightmares to get home alive.

THE DREAMS OF TREES by Andrea Skyberg
Artie's been drawing the same card from her handmade tarot deck every day for a year, which makes her wonder if the cards are trying to tell her something or if they’re broken, like her family. 

Everything Else Category

1st Place

"Fishing with my Father" (Short Story) by R. Shane Parkhill

(Synopsis and photo forthcoming)

2nd Place

"Tom-Walking" (Poem) by Patricia Conway

The poem captures the excitement and longing of a young boy wanting to catch Sunday dinner to bring home to his mama.

3rd Place

"Kidz Flip Calendar" by Sally Clark
365 days of the most outrageous holidays for kids to celebrate and each day’s event is accompanied by a rib-tickling poem.   

Honorable Mentions - Everything Else Category

"Ladies Vs. Gentlemen: A Timeless Situation" (Short Story) by Patty Bennett
A Victorian lady goes for a celebratory stroll on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk.

"The Shed" (Short Story) by Andrea Skyberg
Hazel is of the earth—rooted to the soil, while Avi is from the spirit world—light and feathered, and the two meet each night in the shed—falling in love, but unable to touch, as Hazel works tirelessly to recreate the portal that will bring their two worlds together again.

"Hummingbird Hugs" (Short Memoir) by Maria Marshall
An encounter with a baby hummingbird offers hope and happiness to a family battling cancer.

by Irene Wittig

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Let's Beat It Out: Ninja Red Riding Hood

Today, guest blogger Heather Preusser illustrates how a well-written picture book can be more involved than it's word count would suggest.

While working towards my MFA in grad school, I read Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need. Even though I was a fiction writer, I found this insider’s guide to screenwriting eye-opening, especially chapter four on “beating it out.” In this chapter, Snyder defines the 15 different beats of successful movies.
Could this apply to picture book manuscripts? I wondered.
To test it, I pulled one of my new favorites off my bookshelf: Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz, illustrated by Dan Santat. Using each of the beats on the official “Blake Snyder Beat Sheet” (a.k.a. the BS2), I deconstructed this fabulous fractured fairy tale:

Beat 1. Opening Image: In the end pages, Little Red walks across a bridge holding a pie. She is shown in profile with her hood covering her head, establishing a foreboding and predatory mood. Our eye follows Red as she moves from left to right, encouraging us to enter the story. The warm colors (soft yellows, peaches, and reds) invite us in as well.

Beat 2. Theme Stated: On the first page, we meet wolf, the protagonist whose will sustains the story’s action. The theme (who is in control – wolf or his prey?) is stated in the text and supported by the illustrations: a rabbit, a turtle, and a preying mantis all triumph over wolf.

Beat 3. Set-Up: We’ve seen wolf repeatedly fail at finding a good meal, so much so he’s now wasting away. We’ve also learned about wolf’s primary character tics: he’s frail (he has a black eye and a prominent scar on page one) yet perseverant.

Beat 4. Catalyst: Deciding huffing and puffing is no longer enough, wolf sneaks into the local dojo to attend classes.

Beat 5. Debate: Will wolf learn the necessary skills to scare up a good meal? After practicing, he can happily march into Act Two feeling equipped.

Beat 6. Break into Two: Wolf leaves the old world where he was victim behind and steps deliberately into an antithetical world, one where he is in charge. This is echoed in the illustrations, which show him as larger-than-life, emerging from the book’s gutter and dominating the spread while a miniature Red looks naively at the reader.

Beat 7. B Story: When wolf takes a shortcut to Grandma’s and discovers her gone, he dresses in her robe, places a flower behind his ear, and unfurls her fan. In bright red lipstick and fake eyelashes, he is the antithesis of wolf, a “new” character we haven’t yet met. This emphasizes the theme of identity.

Beat 8. Fun and Games: Still dressed as Granny, wolf tries to convince Red it’s him – er, her – by explaining his giant eyes, long ears, massive muscles and sharp teeth. This section is lighter in tone.

Beat 9. Midpoint: When wolf jumps “out of bed / to gobble up Red,” we discover she has gone to Ninja school too. Flinging off her hood, she strikes a defensive pose, which takes wolf so much by surprise he’s literally thrown off the page (we only see one paw, the snippet of his tail, and his muzzle in the foreground). Red and wolf grapple and appear evenly matched. This is an “up” beat, or false victory, for wolf.

Beat 10. Bad Guys Close In: And then Gran, who’s come from tai chi, enters the text, shouting, “Don’t you dare harm a hair on her head!” There is no way wolf can beat Red AND Gran; his fall is inevitable.

Beat 11. All Is Lost: The opposite of the midpoint, this is a “down” beat for wolf. Red dodges his next attack, and, after being thrown over her hip, he ends flat on his back. As he struggles to his feet and clutches his arm, there’s a “whiff of death” moment. The broken bits and pieces of Gran’s house also hint at death and destruction.

Beat 12. Dark Night of the Soul: Before wolf skedaddles, Red makes him promise to give up “Red” meat. Wolf consents. He is beaten and he knows it.

Beat 13. Break into Three: As the real Gran offers half her pie, her true identity shines through: she is kind and generous even in the face of a wannabe killer. This gesture allows wolf to discover the best solution: yoga!

Beat 14. Finale: Wolf applies the lessons he’s learned and attends the Downward Dog Center. He is no longer weak mentally or physically. His perseverance pays off and, at last, he truly finds peace.

Beat 15. Final Image: Wolf walks across a bridge, presumably on his way to yoga. Our eye follows him as he moves across the page from left to right, encouraging us to return to the beginning of the story and start again. Cool greens and blues juxtapose with the warm colors in the opening spread, symbolizing how the tension within the story has cooled as well.

Now it’s your turn: take your favorite picture book manuscript – or one of your own manuscripts – and “beat it out”!

Heather Preusser teaches high school English in Colorado. When she’s not teaching, reading or writing, she enjoys telemark skiing, rock climbing and learning ridiculously long German words. She is represented by Janine Le from the Sheldon Fogelman Agency. You can find her on Twitter at @HeatherPreusser.