Monday, February 1, 2010

Jan/Feb 2010 SCBWI Bulletin and the Query Letter

I'm going to do something a little different and it will be especially beneficial to readers who are not members of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators. In three postings, I'll write about the wonderful Jan/Feb SCBWI Bulletin and about being in the list serve, but first the history.

I can't say enough about what a great organization SCBWI is for children's writers and illustrators. Going strong since 1971, SCBWI is world wide and for all it offers is well worth the yearly dues. They hold workshops, conferences, and retreats, and even though I've not been to a retreat, I can tell you the workshops and conferences are amazing. There is a fee to attend these functions, but there is the opportunity to help the regional advisor with the work of doing workshops and get fees waved. This is what I did for over five years and I learned much about writing and management.

I became a member of SCBWI over thirteen years ago, and what I focused on before I ever went to an event was to read the SCBWI Bulletin. There are seventeen departments in the Bulletin, covering many topics. Topics such as, Events of Interest, Book Review, To Market, Art Tips, Regional Events, Publisher's Corner, and Legally Speaking, to name a few.

To get to the meat of what prompted me to sing the praises of SCBWI, I want to share what's wonderful about the Jan/Feb Bulletin. I've been writing for fifteen years, and for twelve of those years I've read about and practiced the query letter. I don't remember being told in such simplistic and easy to understand words how to write that all dreaded, horrible thing called query letter.

Saundra Mitchell's article in the Bulletin, "How to Hook Your Query Letter" made me say out loud, "Of course, of course. Now I get it." This article is boiled down in a two page spread, so it's a very quick read (there is of course art work on the tops of the pages). It says more than the how-to book I read twelve years ago.

Here's a teaser from the article: "Hooks are not synopses or summaries. They're ads." Saundra Mitchell, that's the best news I've heard about queries. And you know what? It makes perfect sense. Thank you, Saundra, for writing "How to Hook Your Query Letter."

What if you're not a SCBWI member and you want to read the best article on query letters? Go to SCBWI's Web page and read how to become a member and get the Jan/Feb issue.

Until next time . . . when I'll write about another Bulletin article, "Page One: Your Contract With Readers."

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