Sunday, January 29, 2012

SCBWI Winter Conference Links Roundup & Submissions Guidelines

Whew! I had a terrific time teaching at the SCBWI Winter Conference yesterday. In my presentation, I mentioned or included links to the following:

Because two sessions of my presentation didn't leave time for any questions, I told participants that they could send general questions about writing, revision, editing, publishing, etc. to my website e-mail address, chavela_que at yahoo dot com. I will collect these questions through February 14, then answer ten of them here on my blog shortly afterward. If you're sending a question, please put the number of revision techniques covered in my workshop in your subject line, so I know you were actually at the session, and include your name with your question in the body of the e-mail. Thanks.

I also said that I would announce my submissions guidelines here once I had figured them out -- and I now have! If you were in one of my sessions, you may submit to me in the following manner:
  1. You can see my general "What I'm Looking For" at the Submissions page on my website. I will add to that I tend to acquire far more novels than picture books, and my list is pretty stuffed with great YA right now, so I'd love to find some more great middle-grade to balance it out. That doesn't mean I don't want to see terrific picture books or YA if it seems right for me! I encourage you to check out the Books page on my website and the "Books I Edit" label to the right to see more about the kinds of things I publish.
  2. Writers who attended my sessions may submit one manuscript within the next six months.
  3. When that time comes, open up a new e-mail to CBKEdit at gmail dot com. Up until this point, I have accepted unsolicited submissions solely through the post, but I decided this was a great opportunity to experiment with e-mail submissions. (Alas for the U. S. Postal Service, denying them one more source of support...)  If I like it, I may continue to use it for future conferences or even general unsolicited submissions, but right now, these guidelines apply to the SCBWI Winter Conference only. Agented submissions should continue to go to my work address.
  4. At the beginning of each of my sessions, I listed three key principles we work toward in revision. Put one of these principles in the subject line, followed by the title of your manuscript and your name. That is how I will know you actually attended my sessions. (I gave those of you in my third workshop a code word; you can put that code word in place of the principle if you like, but either works.) If you do not include a correct principle or code word in the subject line, your e-mail will be deleted unread.
  5. In the body of the e-mail, please include the following elements in this order:
    1. Your name
    2. The title of the manuscript
    3. The format/age/genre of the manuscript. To keep this simple, include any of these options as appropriate:  Picture Book / Easy Reader / Chapter Book / Middle-Grade / Young Adult / Nonfiction / Fantasy / Mystery / Romance / Paranormal / Historical / Poetry
    4. Your query letter, including your contact information, and a flap-copy-like summary of the work as a whole.
    5. A portion of the manuscript as follows:
      1. Picture Book: complete text
      2. Novel (whatever age): the first chapter
      3. Nonfiction / Poetry Collection / Etc.: the first ten pages
    6. If you are an author-illustrator with a picture book text that you want to illustrate, I suggest any of the following methods: (a) paste the full text here, then include one sample illustration in the body of the e-mail; (b) paste the full text here, then put a link to your website in the query letter  so I can see your style; (c) if you have a full dummy available online, simply include a link in your query -- no need to paste in the text.
  6. I am able to read HTML submissions, which will retain manuscript formatting; I am also able to read plain text, whichever you send and prefer. Please do not send attachments. I do not care about any formatting questions beyond the inclusion of the elements above in the order I specified them, so please don't ask them.
  7. You will receive an automatic reply letting you know your manuscript has been received. It says that you will get a response within six months, and I will do my best to keep to that. I have often failed to stay within these expectations in the past, which I regret, but I'm doing the best I can. 
  8. As with my submissions through the regular mail, if I am interested, I will send you some  personal response; if not, you will receive a form letter. Due to the demands created by the many manuscripts I receive and edit, I will not be able to correspond further than this if I am not interested. 
Thank you for attending my sessions, and your interest in sharing your manuscript with me. 


  1. Thanks for all the links. Wish I could have attended the conference to see you again. And that's great you're looking for middle grade.

  2. Thanks for sharing so many resources with those of us who couldn’t make it to the conference. (I feel a bit like I'm eavesdropping).

  3. I loved your talk!!! It gave me so much to think about. And do...back to work then. PS: can't wait to get your book...they ran out at SCBWI :-(

  4. Thank you so much for the amazing presentation.

  5. Your talk on REVISION was priceless! In addition to being a middle grade/YA writer, I teach aspiring writers in a graduate program and I will surely share your techniques with them. Thank you for your generosity, including opening your office and your heart to our submissions.

  6. Cheryl, I found you on Pinterest and you have a gazillion and two followers but no boards to follow. This is a sad state of affairs. I thought if I clicked "follow" that I would be ushered into the secret Cheryl Boards, but I was wrong. Now you have a gazillion and three followers.

  7. Thank you for the fantastic presentation. It was a semester-long seminar packed into a single dizzying hour. I have been a working writer for a long time, and I still learned a great deal. I am going to buy your book. Today.

  8. Thanks for giving to the community of future writers. Best wishes, (I remember the fiancee reference).

  9. I loved your presentation at the SCBWI conference in New York. You are a wonderful speaker and I learned a lot from you that day. I had your book in my hands at one point but I had to put it down to go to a lecture but when I came back to the bookstore it was gone. So when I arrived back to Canada, I ordered on-line through your website. I am reading it again for a second time. Your book has guided me through the process and showed me a wealth of your knowledge.
    It was great chatting with you at the gala. Your picture is up on my blog. Thank you for a wonderful time!
    All the best,