Welcome~A New Beginning
My blog site received a face lift! What do you think? It's a new school year, and I've been taking new picture book classes, and so I figured it was time for a new blog look. So if you'd like to continue receiving my posts, please re-subscribe (located on the right). Thanks so much! And if you know of other links or perhaps your own blog that you'd like to have on my links page, please let me know.
And now for a special treat..one of my critique partners, Hannah Holt of Portland, Oregon, just signed with agent Danielle Smith of Foreword Literary last month. I'm so happy for her. I wanted Hannah to share her story, and so I interviewed her.
Thanks again for having me over. :) -Hannah
Tina: How did you get started?
Hannah: One Christmas during graduate school, my husband and I didn't have money for presents, so I created handmade comic books. While I worked I wondered: what if I gave myself year to write a children's book? That was four years ago.
Tina: Have you taken any writing classes that have helped you in your pb writing?
Hannah: I took a poetry workshop from Linda Ashman, and I'd recommend it to anyone. But overall I'm pretty stingy selective when it comes to classes. My favorite writing resources are books, like WRITING WITH PICTURES (Uri Shulevitz) and WRITING PICTURE BOOKS (Ann Whitford Paul).
Tina: How did you know which agents to submit to?
Hannah: In the beginning, I didn't. My first round of queries was a random selection of agents from THE CHILDREN'S WRITER'S AND ILLUSTRATOR'S MARKET. (Rookie mistake!) It felt like playing roulette and resulted a bunch form rejections. After that ill conceived initial batch, I took a break from submitting to work on craft. I joined a few writing groups, and this crazy thing happened: my writing got better, and I made friends with other writers. When two of my friends signed with agent Danielle Smith, I started following her on twitter. I liked her right away.
Tina: How did you nab an agent?
Hannah: Well, because I followed Danielle on twitter, I knew about events she was participating in. My first attempt to catch her attention was at the #PitMad twitter party. She didn't bite.
A few weeks later, I tried again during #PitchMas. This time she requested a manuscript. I sent it to her and heard nothing for over a month.
While I was waiting, I signed up for WriteOnCon and posted a query in the forum. Danielle saw it and recognized my name from my previous query. She requested the second manuscript and offered representation within a week.
Tina: Any advice to writers who are looking for agents?
Hannah: Keep hope. Start something new while you are waiting (something other than a sequel!). Challenge yourself to write bigger, deeper, fresher. Find a balance between researching, networking, and writing. If you only have time for one thing... always choose writing!
Tina: How do you know when your manuscript is ready to submit?
Hannah: Critique groups help. My critique group always gives me great advice. Their feedback usually falls into one of four categories:
1) Not much enthusiasm & major revision suggestions
2) Not much enthusiasm & minor revision suggestions
3) Lots of enthusiasm & major revision suggestions
4) Lots of enthusiasm & minor revision suggestions
Here is how I interpret it:
1) My idea stinks, and I executed it poorly.
2) My idea stinks, but I executed it decently.
3) My idea is okay, but I executed it poorly.
4) I am ready to submit.
Thanks for having me over, Tina. Best wishes to everyone actively submitting! Good luck!
Hannah Holt is civil engineer turned picture book writer. She's a two-time Barbara Karlin Grant Letter of Merit recipient and Phillip E. Rollhaus essay winner. She lives in the Portland, Oregon with her husband Josh and their four young children.
You can visit Hannah at her blog:
Kid Crafts | Kitchen Play | Children's Literature
Thanks, Hannah, for answering my questions. Hope this helps any of you who are agent-hunting! And thanks to all of you for stopping by!
9/10/2013 08:27:01 pm
What a beautiful blog Tina. So lovely and fresh, like spring! Bravo! I loved that your first post is one of our lovely critique partners, Hannah. She has done so well, and is so deserving of this recognition. A delightful person, who is always encouraging and full of wisdom to share. Congratulations, Hannah. :)
9/10/2013 08:42:30 pm
Nice looking blog, great interview, and I love your last answer, Hannah. Congrats on landing your agent and looking forward to more good news in the future.
9/10/2013 09:15:27 pm
Congrats, Hannah, on the awesome agent!Congrats, Tina, on the "blog-lift!"
9/10/2013 10:00:17 pm
I like your new blog look Tina, crisp and pretty! Congrats Hannah on your agent. I really like your critique feedback translation, very interesting! :)
9/10/2013 10:28:48 pm
Tina, lovely, lovely new blog.
9/10/2013 11:38:14 pm
Thanks, Tracy, for your lovely comments.
9/10/2013 11:15:47 pm
Nice facelift on the blog Tina. Hannah great to hear your agent story. Hope to hear more good news from you in the coming year!
9/10/2013 11:23:37 pm
Tina, love the new website! It's fresh and inviting. Once again, congratulations to Hannah! Sending you both more good wishes for more writing success.
9/11/2013 01:22:24 am
Thanks again for hosting me, Tina! Your new website is beautiful. Thank you everyone for the congratulations. It's been a very exciting month for me. Danielle is great agent. She'll be one to watch!
9/11/2013 02:05:05 am
Great blog. GREAT News Hannah! Thanks for sharing your journey to an agent. I learn something from all of the "how I got my agent" posts! Looking forward to getting your book in my hands (er, kiddos hands). Good luck as the journey continues.
9/11/2013 02:16:21 am
I love the new blog format, Tina. Nice to start fresh sometimes!
9/11/2013 02:22:55 am
Love the colors and pretty flowers, Tina.
9/11/2013 02:46:30 am
First, congratulations on your new and BEAUTIFUL site, just like its owner :)
9/11/2013 04:17:57 am
Hooray for Hannah! I think I missed your initial agent announcement. Since we like so many of the same books, I am expecting great things for you. NEWTONs LAWS OF CAKE, perhaps?
9/19/2013 09:45:44 am
Thanks, Kirsten. And yet, Newton's Laws of Cake was probably the reason she offered representation. :)
9/11/2013 05:28:50 am
Love the interview and love the new blog look!
9/11/2013 05:43:42 am
Love your new look Tina. You left WP, so I have to access you through other means.
9/11/2013 08:51:27 am
Wonderful blog site, Tina! And great interview with Hannah...I love her answer about finding a balance between research, writing and networking...and her emphasis on the importance of writing as the key element.:) Congrats again, Hannah, on getting an agent...whoo-hoo!!!!
9/11/2013 09:39:58 am
Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Hannah!
9/11/2013 10:43:48 am
I love your header on your new site, Tina. Good on you for getting your own domain.
9/11/2013 01:08:13 pm
Ha! Love the critique response interpretation, Hannah. Thanks for sharing your story. I just had an "aha" moment reading your story. Maybe participating in contests IS a good idea to get noticed. But of course, the writing/pitch/query has to be great. Well done!
9/19/2013 09:49:27 am
Writing contests are sort of hit and miss. Some are better than others. I think the trick is to try A LOT of different things and with enough tries something will turn up. :)
9/12/2013 01:05:25 am
Terrific interview, Tina! It's nice to read about Hannah's success through hard work. Love the new blog look too.
9/18/2013 12:48:15 pm
I love your new site, Tina! Looks great! And, Hannah, huge congratulations to you on your agent! I'm not a bit surprised you succeeded in catching Danielle's interest. I remember being very impressed with your stories when I visited your website last year. Best wishes to both of you!
9/19/2013 09:51:47 am
Thanks so much, Ev. Your email was a turning point in my career. Your encouragement helped me start submitting. Thanks so much!
9/19/2013 09:53:48 am
Thanks again for celebrating with me, everyone! You've made me feel like one happy and lucky lady! I'm so grateful to the kidlit community for helping me get this far!
9/21/2013 02:39:53 pm
Wow, what a lovely blog, Tina! I love the new "you"!!!! And what an encouraging story from Hannah about her journey to land an agent. Yay!!!!
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Tina M. Cho, children's author
I'm a children's author and freelance writer for the educational market. Welcome!