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About CBI’s Above the Slushpile Submission System



Dear Reader,

Starting in January 2022, we have implemented a new system for our special Above the Slushpile submissions. We’re confident this will open up submission opportunities to a larger number of agents and editors, and help you write your best query. But before we explain “how” the


Young Adult Books 101


What is a Young Adult Book?

  • Fiction and nonfiction for ages 12 and up or 14 and up. Books tend to be 150 pages or longer. Manuscripts are generally 40,000 words and higher.
  • Fiction can be any genre. Some of the most popular are fantasy, paranormal, dystopian, cyber punk,

Ask Us Anything Webinar – April 24, 2019



Discount Links Mentioned:

Manuscript Magic:

Manuscript Submission Blueprint:

Self-Publishing Blueprint:


Start Here: How to Self-Publish Your Book

by Jane Freidman


Industry veteran Jane Friedman gave us special permission to reprint the following article, which outlines the steps necessary to self-publish your print or ebook, and includes links to numerous resources. If you’re thinking of self-publishing, this article is a must-read. Another must: subscribe to Jane’s blog


Writing Prompt: Who’s the Antagonist Here?

Did Dr. Seuss turn the antagonist-protagonist relationship on its head in The Grinch?  Hmmm… Let’s talk about it!


In Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch is the protagonist (main character) and yet he’s the bad guy. What he’s battling (the antagonist) is the whole idea


Perfect Your Pacing


As you’re building your plot or moving bits of information around in a nonfiction book, here are some tips to keep your readers glued to the page.


Use Pacing to Your Advantage


Books that have a very even tone start to finish tend to lull the reader


Using Slang in Children’s Books

If someone told you to “fade”, would you ignore them or guard your wallet? The answer depends not just on who is doing the talking, but when. Joe College in the early 1930’s use the term to mean “to leave”; a 1940’s zoot-suiter “faded” by covering a bet; it meant


Writing Rhyming Picture Books


Dr. Seuss did it, and in the process changed the face of the publishing industry and became a beloved household name to children for several generations. So why do so many editors say they don’t want stories written in rhyme?

Many beginning writers ask about this well-known submission “Don’t”.


CBI Insider Exclusive Video: Emma Dryden on the 5 Biggest Pitfalls That Kill Children’s Writing Careers

insider bonus

When Laura sat down with acclaimed children’s book editor Emma Dryden for her writeforkids interview, she saved something very special just for our Insiders. In this CBI Clubhouse-only video, Emma describes the 5 things that can kill your career before it even gets rolling.  This is really powerful advice


Take Chances To Get Published



In an editorial several years ago, I described a tree house in the backyard of a local restaurant. I wrote, “The entire structure has been pieced together from recycled lumber, much of which still bears the paint, logos or posters of the original walls from whence it came. The generous


VIDEO – Using Real People in Fictional Stories



Video: When Should I Give Up On a Story?


Picture Books 101


What is a Picture Book?

  • Illustrated stories and nonfiction for children ages 3-6, or 4-8.**     Designed to be read out loud to a child.


  • Text averages 1000 words or less (500-800 words is most common); books average 32 pages.


  • The text focuses on the characters, plot and action of the book. Very

Easy Readers 101

What is an Easy Reader?


  • For readers kindergarten through second or third grade.


  • Designed to be read by children just learning to read on their own.


  • Books can be 32-64 pages long, fiction or nonfiction, with texts ranging from about 50 words up to 2000 words.



Chapter Books 101

What is a Chapter Book?


  • Called “transitional books” (ages 6-9), or “chapter books” (ages 7-10), these short novels are broken into chapters that average 3-5 pages each.


  • Books range from 64-96 pages; manuscripts average 6000-15,000 words (transitional books being on the shorter end).


  • Characters can be animals, fantasy creatures or

New Picture Books from Three Fightin’ Bookworms!

We’re pleased to highlight new picture books from three Fightin’ Bookworms: Natasha Yim, Allyn M. Stotz, and Carrie A. Pearson. In this interview they give some of their best tips on writing, revising and getting published.



Cixi “The Dragon Empress” by Natasha Yim, illustrated by Peter Malone, published


VIDEO – How Do I Determine the Proper Age Group For My Manuscript?

In this video, Laura gives tips about how to target the correct age group for your book.


Plot Guidelines for Writing in Different Fiction Genres

From mysteries to thrillers to historical fiction – learn the rules of the road for developing your plot.


Genre writing requires particular attention to plot, as each genre has its own unique plot structure. When creating your characters and determining your story’s catalyst, keep in mind where the overall


How to Write a Plot Synopsis

There is no way around it— if you plan to submit your manuscript to publishers, you're going to have to write a plot synopsis. But many authors, even those who write long novels, cringe at the thought of summing up their plots in a few sentences. Here are some tips


How to Decode a Rejection Letter

You know you’re a writer when you get your first rejection letter. It’s an inevitable part of the process. And it stinks. After you yell, or cry, or curse out the editor who clearly doesn’t know a good thing when he sees it, it’s time to decipher exactly what that rejection letter means.


How to Write a Great Query Letter

In an ideal world, you’d be able to pitch your manuscript to an editor over a leisurely cup of coffee. But we’re forced to inhabit the real world, where you’ve got about 10 seconds to hook an editor before she decides to continue reading or reach for her form rejection


Assembling the Perfect Submissions Packet

You’re now at an exciting time in the submissions process. You've polished your manuscript, researched appropriate publishers and studied their submission guidelines. Now you're finally going to send your manuscript out into the world to be read by editors.

Publishers will specify on their guidelines exactly


How To Analyze a Publisher’s Catalog

Before submitting your work, it’s essential that you study publishers’ lists to find the best fit for your manuscript. Your first stop is Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market published by Writer’s Digest Books. Note which publishers do the type of book you’ve written, and are also accepting submissions from new


Formatting Poetry for Submission

If you’re submitting a rhyming text to a book publisher, you’re going to format a bit differently than prose formatting.  For books written in verse, using a full double-space between lines might make the text too loose and hard to read. Instead, use 1.5 spaces within the verses, and double