Wednesday, February 20, 2013

RYS Welcomes New Volunteer Judge Ella Kennen

Today is a great Wednesday indeed!

We've got a new volunteer judge on board at RYS. And that means we're going to be re-opening for submissions. Please welcome:


About Ella Kennen:
Freelance writer and editor Ella Kennen has authored a sci-fi storybook series and children's ebook. Ella has also published over a hundred pieces, including over two dozen articles and stories for children in magazines such as Girl's Life, Appleseeds, Boy's Quest, SuperTeacherWorksheets, Knowonder!, and more. A staff editor for Musa Publishing's mystery and science fiction imprints, Ella obsesses about structural issues like plot, pacing, and characterization, but is also a mean line-editor.
Here are some links to Ella's relevant publications:
The Reluctant Caterpillar, MeeGenius, 2012:
Amazing Tales series, 2012-13:

We are super excited to have Ella on board as an RYS judge. (Miranda can actually attest to her awesome critique skills—she was one of the many critique partners who helped shape the first book Miranda sold.)

Now.....another double-dose of great news! Not only are we re-open to submissions, we're keeping our critique rating service free (for the time being, anyway)!


There are some new guidelines, however, and we encourage you all to read them carefully on our submissions page. The most significant change is the "one at a time" policy. Simplified, it means you can send one MS at a time to Rate Your Story, and you may send another once yours has been read, rated, and returned to you.

(Just to clarify, you may still submit revisions of the same manuscript up to a total of three times. After you've had the same MS rated three times, however, we ask that you seek out a professional critique or find critique partners who can help you further with it.)

Speaking of getting outside help, and learning more about the craft and self-editing, we've heard that RYS Judge Mira Reisberg also has a few spots left open in her next course at the Picture Book Academy! (Those spots fill up fast, so click here to learn more.)

If you illustrate picture books for children (or write them, but don't illustrate) you will want to take this course. Here's what Miranda had to say about it:

"I took Mira's course mostly for the one-on-one Skype critique time, which was fabulous. But there were SO many valuable nuggets of information in the highly interactive and time-flexible course that new authors, published authors, and writers who don't illustrate, like me, could take from it. One particular lesson on pacing and structure provided me the perfect idea for a manuscript I had been struggling with for some time. Her suggestion made revision easy and fruitful. 'Attending' PBA was well worth my investment."

Lastly, we'll leave the blog post with a reminder to read the terms of submission at the bottom of the submissions page. While your manuscript will never be shared online, as we value privacy, we reserve the right to share pitches, any news in your cover letter or email body, or other part of your submission that may be helpful to other writers (similar to websites such as QueryShark, etc.). If we choose to do so, we will do so anonymously.

Have a great day! We look forward to your submissions.


  1. Welcome Ella! I am glad to see you open for submissions again. And, I only thought we were supposed to submit one manuscript at a time, so that is no problem for me.

  2. Welcome, Ella. This is great, but when I just checked the submissions page it says you are still closed to submissions.

  3. Thanks for catching that, Joanna. Seems I updated the entire page except the OPEN part. Appreciate it! We are OPEN!

  4. What a great addition Ella is to the RYS team! :)

  5. You all provide a valuable and welcome service! Picture book writers of the world...unite in a big Hip Hip Hooray for RYS.

    Welcome to new judge Ella Kennen...lovely to meet you.:)

  6. Welcome Ella. I really appreciate your service.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.