Peg366's Blog

Words of Wisdom From Lisa Graff

Posted on: April 30, 2010

Lisa Graff, former Associate Editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, spoke to the SCBWI members about the importance of distingushing their project from the hundreds of other project that land on an editor’s desk. She covered the need for a fabulous cover/query letter that would catch an editor’s eye.

For those who are not sure what the difference is between a query and a cover letter Lisa provided a simple explanation. She said for the most part they are the same letter. The difference is that the cover letter is sent with a submission.  Query letter do not include a submission for the editor to consider for publication.

Prior to selecting the publishing house to query or submit a cover letter and submission to, it is important to do your research. Finding the right publishing house will increase your chance of getting an acceptance. Go to the library or a bookstore to see what books are selling. Check out the publisher’s catalogs. Get a copy of the Writer’s Market Guide or other similar books to see what publisher is accepting submissions. Once you’ve determined what publisher you think fits your work best, be sure to follow their specific guidelines.

Now you are ready to write your letter.

That is when Lisa answered the question that is often on the mind of a new writer,  What should I include in my cover letter?

First, she said, you should make your cover letter your professional introduction to an editor. Be concise but brief, not more than a page of text. Editors are busy people, just like us.

In your letter, you should describe yourself and your project.  Your letter should detail your publishing history as well as demonstrate that you are a rational sane person who they would love to  do business with.

Then, you should wrap up your letter with a gracious thank-you.

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peg366


I am an aspiring picturebook writer with some magazine credits just no picture book contract yet. I know it is coming and I am more than willing to work for it.

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Twitter.com/peg366

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I love the children's movies Wizard of Oz and the Neverending Story. Both movies make me feel the lesson that hope is alive and well. After seeing UP this past week, it just might have a chance at being added to this list.

I love the cool colors of blues and purples.Those colors are peaceful for me.

I love The Velveteen Rabbit. Even as an adult, I still feel the urge to cry when he becomes real. I know, silly, but a good book can make me laugh and cry as it takes me on a magical journey.

Authors and Illustrators:

Authors, Author/Illustrator, Illustrators that I know and/or Like.

Catergories:

C= Children

MG= Mid Grade

T= Teen

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A= Adult

Names:

Bonnie Adamson *

Kathi Appelt *

Tedd Arnold

Avi

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Molly Bang

Bonnie Becker

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Judy Blume

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Eric Carle

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Denise Fleming

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Jeff Kinney

Jackie French Koller

Ursula K. LeGuin

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Dav Pilkey

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Aaron Shepard

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Cynthia Leitich Smith

Jerry Spinelli

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Chris Van Allsburg

Rick Walton *

Lisa Wheeler

Mo Willems

Karma Wilson *

Audrey Woods

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Favorite Websites:

http://www.institutechildrenslit.net/

http://www.cbiclubhouse.com/

http://www.scbwi.org/

http://www.underdown.org/

http://www.verlakay.com/

http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com

Favorite Blogs:

• ShelfTalker: A Children’s Bookseller’s Blog
• Alice’s CWIM Blog
• A Fuse #8 Production
• Cynsations
• Nathan Bransford – Literary Agent
• Editorial Anonymous
• Miss Snark’s First Victim
• Writing for children and teens

Favorite Quotes.

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