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Summer is in full swing and so are the kids. Playgrounds and picnics, Freezies and fireworks, beaches, BBQs, sunflower seeds, and sunshine… there’s no end to the outdoor action.

Yet while the kids are hard at play, I’ve managed to keep hard at work. Thanks to my mobile office!

My Outdoor Office

I thought to share a few writing resources that have been invaluable to me these past weeks. Even if your book is not yet ready to send out to agents/editors, I recommend becoming familiar with these sites. It’s so much easier to learn-as-you-go rather than experience a crash-course at the end of it all, once your project is complete.

Query Tracker

Lists agents and publishers, their websites, and what they represent/publish. You can search based on genre, name, agency, etc. For instance, if I type in ‘picture book’ I get a list of agents/publishers who handle picture books. You can also select it to show only those who are currently open to submissions. **It is still recommended to use the submission guidelines from the agent/publisher’s website as it will be most up-to-date, but Query Tracker helps you find the right agents/publishers to begin with. Plus Query Tracker shares success stories of writers who find representation and many of them graciously post their query letters. These services are available for free.

SCBWI

If you write for children or YA then a SCBWI membership also offers access to a regularly updated online catalog of industry professionals. By nature of SCBWI this catalog automatically filters out non-children’s book agents/editors plus it also contains many other industry resources.

Manuscript Wishlist

Agents and publishers list their up-to-date in-the-moment wishlists for books they’d like to see submitted to them. It’s very current and nuanced information. For example, one agent posts: “I represent historical fiction, too, and I’m still waiting for the story told from the POV of a viking shield maiden. I’m open to just about any era of history, except for WWI, WWII, and Civil War.” You can subscribe via email for free.

#mswl on Twitter (Manuscript Wishlist)

If you search the hashtag #mswl on Twitter you will find current posts from agents/editors about what they are looking for. If your book matches a request you can go to their site and traditionally submit to them mentioning the #mswl hashtag. It’s kind of like a direct route out of the slush pile. (But be warned! The #mswl hashtag is NOT ever meant to be used to pitch or query agents via Twitter… they don’t like it, so don’t do it!)

July 28th was a day when many agents/publishers were on Twitter tweeting their requests. You’ll find some fresh information. Again, even if your project isn’t quite ready, I’d recommend checking it out to get a feel for things. Example tweet: “I would love a YA set in Berlin in August 1914. Themes: mystery, friendship, political intrigue.”

Thanks to Jessica Sinsheimer, KK Hendin, and Kelsey McKim for creating this excellent resource for writers!

AR Bookfinder

Wondering about word count? If your manuscript is long enough? Too long? Go to AR Bookfinder and click on teacher/librarian. You can search for numerous book titles and access information on them, including word count. This will help give you an idea of where other books like yours are at in terms of word count.

For children’s and YA writers, you should also check out the post Wordcount Dracula by literary agent and bookseller, Jennifer Laughran.

Well, that’s all for now folks. Let me know if any of these resources are new to you and if you find them helpful. I would love to hear from you on your new/most used resource finds. Happy writing!

***

New Grains of Sand: 3,422

Total: 57,626

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