Welcome to the NEW DianneOchiltree.com

WELCOME TO THE NEW DIANNEOCHILTREE.COM!

The name is the same, but dianneochiltree.com has a brand-new look. The focus is still on ‘all things kidslit’ including manuscript critique and editing services for aspiring writers of all ages. Check out the book reviews, and upcoming author events, too. We’ll be adding new blog posts, photos and useful literacy resources as we move forward. I hope you’ll visit dianneochiltree.com again as my author website continues to grow!

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10 Steps To a Better Body (of Work)

10 Steps To a Better Body (of Work)

What Fitness Training Taught Me About Writing

I took my first aerobic exercise class years ago, after the birth of our first child. Although I never quite regained my pre-pregnancy figure, I’ve been a dedicated fitness fanatic ever since. Whether weight-lifting or jogging, the time spent in pursuit of muscle tone has taught me lessons which can be applied to my writing efforts as well.

1. GET TO THE GYM. This is an obvious first step, but one that has tripped up many a new health club member. You can’t see the results of a stair-climbing machine on your thighs until you’ve actually stepped onto it. Likewise, you can’t finish manuscripts and query letters until you’ve spent the hours required in front of the word processor or typewriter.

2...

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To Blog or Not to Blog

TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG?

That is “the question” facing pretty much all of us involved with the world of books today. Although I’m pretty good at maintaining an author website…it remains to be seen if I could maintain the large commitment of energy and time required to make a splash in the every-expanding universe of the internet blog-o-sphere. Since I working on the answer to the question myself, I’m tossing it out to those who have bravely gone where this writer is just now treading. Some of the answers are below. Kudos to all those who have pulled off this balancing act in their business and creative lives!

Cynthia Leitich Smith

www.cynthialeitichsmith.com

I believe that blogs are having a steadily increasing impact on sales, though I’m not sure how we could quantify it...

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Basic Toolkit for Children’s and Young Adult Writers

BASIC TOOLKIT FOR CHILDREN’S AND YOUNG ADULT WRITERS

Best organization to join for information on craft, marketing, and publishers in the field is the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, http://www.scbwi.org/

Your national membership enables you to connect with other writers and/or illustrators via online chats, through-the-mail critique partnerships, and regional conferences.

There are hundreds of websites devoted to or including information about writing and marketing stories for young readers. Here are a few internet addresses to start your discovery process.

Margot Finke: http://mysite.verizon.net/mfinke/index.html

The Purple Crayon: http://www.underdown.org/

Verla Kay: http://www.verlakay.com/

Cynthia Leitich Smith: http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/

Write 4 Kids: ht...

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Sample Query Letter

Sample Query Letter

A USEFUL TEMPLATE: YOUR HANDY-DANDY SAMPLE QUERY LETTER
(First step:  use business letterhead with your complete address, phone number, email)

(Date)

Editor’s Name (Make sure it’s spelled correctly!)
Editor’s Title (Is it the most current job title…assistant editor, editor, senior editor, etc.?)
Imprint Name (Doublecheck spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.)
Publisher Name (Ditto the above…get it right!)
Address (Is it complete, with street, city, state, zip code?  Is it up-to-date? Don’t trust old information. Even if you’ve submitted to this editor or publisher before, look it up in the latest directory or market guide. Publishers move and merge all the time.)

Dear Mr. or Ms. (fill in the blank):

(Provide this information in roughly this order)

HOW I KNOW YOU ...

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How to Play the Writing Game

HOW TO PLAY (AND WIN) THE WRITING GAME

Much like brewing the perfect cup or coffee, there’s more than one way to write something and get it published.  You try different methods until one works for you.

So, in an effort to augment my own advice given in this section, below are some other sources for what I think is pretty good guidance from others in the business.  Check back from time to time for additions to the ‘starter kit’ selection below.  And, please email me at Dianne@DianneOchiltree.com if you stumble across a source that you think would be worthwhile to add to this list.

From Rick Rishman, book marketing expert, on the top ten mistakes authors make in the submission process as posted on Kathleen Gage’s ‘Street Smarts Marketing’ blog: http://www...

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Pre-Submission Manuscript Checklist for Picture Books

PRE-SUBMISSION MANUSCRIPT CHECKLIST FOR PICTURE BOOKS

If you can check off the following, you’ve got a winner that’s ready for submission:

  • The title is catchy. It tells just enough about the story between the book covers without ‘tipping your hand’ by revealing any surprise plot twists or the ending itself.
  • The story ‘hits the ground running’. It has a beginning that makes the reader care about the characters and want to read on. It sets up the story’s central premise so the plot can flow naturally from it.
  • The plot makes sense. There are no character inconsistencies or internal logic lapses.
  • There are no mistakes in the punctuation, grammar, or spelling. When a new person talks, it starts on a new line.
  • The five senses are somewhere in the manuscript at least once: sight,...
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One Writer’s Motivation

One Writer’s Motivation

WHY ARE YOU A WRITER? ONE WRITER’S ANSWER.
This article first appeared in the FWA (Florida Writers Association) member blog, March 2010.

As a freelance writer/children’s author who often speaks to groups, and has done a lot of signings over the past twelve years of publication, a question I’m often asked is:  how do you stay motivated to keep writing daily?

A good question, in good times.  After all:  no boss looking over the shoulder, no fixed deadlines for project completion (other than those imposed by myself), no guarantee of a paycheck for a book manuscript when it is completed...

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Top Ten Things Every Author Should Know About Digital Publishing

TOP TEN THINGS EVERY AUTHOR SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DIGITAL PUBLISHING

Whether you believe digital publishing is revolution or evolution… the plain fact is that it represents the future of the book.  As writers and artists, we need to educate ourselves to meet the creative challenges and greet the new opportunities industry changes bring our way.

1.  CHILDREN ALREADY KNOW THE DIGITAL LANDSCAPE INTRINSICALLY.

If you’ve ever watched a toddler happily operating a parent’s iPhone at the grocery store, you already know this.  The trick is that we, as adults, need to play catch-up in finding our comfort zone with today’s digital technology (or ‘platforms’) upon which tomorrow’s stories will be told.  Knowing how the Nook, the I-Phone, the I-Pad, the Kindle, etc...

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