Happy Friday and welcome to Picture Book Spotlight!
I am writing to you from deep within the bowels of Quarantine Zone 2934901-54 Sector A. Better known as the Gehrlein dining room.
Yesterday was a sunny day and my family and I went on a walk outside in our neighborhood. The birds were still birding. The sun was still sunning. And my legs remembered how good it feels just to be in motion. Wherever you find yourself during this uncertain time, my hope is that you can be reminded of life's simple joys and connect to that which matters most--and to not take one moment for granted.
But I don't want to dwell too much on all of that. I believe we've given it enough of our collective fear, anxiety, and attention. So let's get down to something more normal. There are agents to spotlight!
Joining us today is agent Lynnette Novak of The Seymour Agency. She has a pretty nifty giveaway for this post so watch for details about that at the end of our interview!
Stuck inside with the kids? Yep. Me too. But who says it has to be boring!? Check out these story time opportunities with some familiar faces.
Finally, I have been slowly working on a kidlit resources page and would LOVE your input! Click the link here to share any resources that have been helpful for your author or illustrator journey.
You may now proceed to read. Please read with caution. Please wash your hands and eyeballs after reading. Please keep a minimum 6ft distance from the words on your screen.
You are far too close. Sigh. Have it your way...
My eyes (LOL)—okay, probably not the answer you were expecting. To do my job, I need my laptop, the Internet, and my talented clients.
What genres of picture books are maybe not the best fit for you?
I’m not a huge fan of rhyming picture books or nonfiction. Although, if done well and with the right topic, I’d be game.
What qualities make queries the MOST effective for you?
It’s a tie between voice and premise. I really need to love both.
Too much about the author and not enough about the story.
What essential ingredients go into an exceptional picture book?
Fantastic voice, unique premise, and a good understanding of the market. Bonus points for #diversity and/or #OwnVoices.
In picture books, do you prefer humor or heart, and why?
Both. It all depends on the story!
DRAGONS LOVE TACOS by Adam Rubin
I AM ENOUGH by Grace Byers
And THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT by Drew Daywalt.
If we had “Lynnette Novak goggles” to look critically at our work, what is ONE THING that you always look for that we can too?
Is there a story arc?
What are some essential questions authors and illustrators should ask themselves before they query you?
Will your story stand out? Is your story a derivative of or too similar to a bestselling story? Are you open to revisions? Is there a market for this book, and if so, why?
will see you through the good and bad times, who will be kind but honest, and who has an open-communication style.
Thank you for sharing with us, Lynnette!
And thank YOU for reading, kidlit fam! For this post, Lynnette has graciously offered to do a picture book manuscript critique for one lucky winner. Does your manuscript need a little love? We both know it does...see details below on how to enter the giveaway!
Picture Book Manuscript Critique!
TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:
Retweet this post on Twitter
Subscribe to Picture Book Spotlight
Share our Facebook post
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The deadline for this contest is Friday, March 27th at 9AM CST
The winner will be contacted on Friday, March 27th and announced on Twitter and Facebook
About Lynnette Novak
Prior to joining The Seymour Agency, Lynnette spent seventeen years freelance editing. She worked with new writers, advanced writers, as well as New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. Lynnette earned a bachelor of education degree from the University of Manitoba, where she specialized in English and French. She excelled in Advanced Creative Writing in university and studied writing for children and teens through the Institute of Children’s Literature. She was a Pitch Wars mentor in 2015 and 2016. Both her mentees acquired an agent.
Although Lynnette was born and raised in Manitoba, Canada, she now lives in Minnesota with her husband, twin girls, and many pets. Her personal interests include reading, writing, exercising at the gym (okay, that’s a love/hate relationship), working on an assortment of crafts, all things having to do with animals (if she could own a farm, zoo, and animal shelter, she would), and enjoying time with family and friends.
In adult fiction: thrillers, psychological suspense, horror, contemporary romance, romantic comedy, and mysteries (traditional, amateur sleuth, and cozy).
In young adult fiction: thrillers, psychological suspense, horror, mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy, and contemporary.
In middle grade fiction: fantasy, sci-fi, action/adventure, mystery, contemporary, horror, and humor.
In children’s fiction: picture books (non-rhyming preferred).
To Contact Lynnette Novak:
Other: firstname.lastname@example.org (No queries to this address, please.)
Follow Lynnette on Twitter: @Lynnette_Novak
Brian is currently making cinnamon rolls for the sixth time. Brian is currently trapped in his home. Brian has read all of the books and has found the end of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus and the actual internet (you won't like the ending). He has crawled the walls (twice) and stared into the abyss of his own eyelids. While studying the dirt of his potted plant, he found a civilization of tiny humanoids who now believe he is their god. He should probably frost the cinnamon rolls. He should probably write a book or something. He should probably shower. Looking for a hidden emoji code? Are you trapped and crawling the walls too? I suppose we're all in this together. Until we punch COVID-19 in its stupid face--which we will. Keep looking. It's around here somewhere. Probably toward the bottom. Or maybe. Not the bottom. It's a hippo. A hippo. Toss a hippo on to your retweet of this post and I will add your name to Lynnette's raffle five additional times. Five. And now I will ramble incoherently for a few more sentences to throw off the people who just scroll to the bottom to look for the code. How dare they. How dare they scroll to the bottom and not consume every nuance of my pretend bio. Don't they know this is the best part of every Picture Book Spotlight blog post? Don't they know that if I just wrote a fake bio for an entire post it would be the single most read post ever? I think this is probably about good. Seems long enough. Who would actually read all this? Certainly not you. You have much better things to do. Time to shower. Cheers, kidlit fam. Wash those filthy hands, stay healthy, and finish that manuscript already! You know the one...