Monday, January 30, 2012

The Big Six Publishers

There are different types of book markets: trade publishers, classroom publishing, publishing for educators and caregivers, parenting publishing, regional publishing, special interests, and religious publishers. "The Big Six Publishers" are the ones that everyone dreams of getting a book deal with. It's the nickname given to the largest group of trade publishers. On July 1, 2013, a huge merger (The Penguin Group and Random House) took place and it is now considered the BIG 5 Publishers.

The Big Six Publishers || what are the big 5 publishers? | 2013 publishing merger | what publishing houses will help me be the most successful

According to,, and Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe (I personally asked her at an SCBWI conference), and multiple Google searches, the BIG SIX (now the big five) are listed below. I have included some of their imprints, as well. Those that publish picture books are in bold.

  1. Simon and Schuster
    • Aladdin
    • Atheneum
    • Atria Books
    • Beach Lane Books
    • Folger Shakespeare Library
    • Free Press
    • Howard Books
    • Little Simon
    • Margaret K. McElderry Books
    • Paula Wiseman Books
    • Pimsleur
    • Pocket Books
    • Scribner
    • Simon & Schuster
    • Simon & Schuster Audio
    • Simon & Schuster BFYR
    • Simon Pulse
    • Simon Spotlight
    • Threshold
    • Touchstone
  2. HarperCollins
    • Greenwillow
    • Joanna Colter Books
    • Laura Geringer Books
    • Katherine Tegan Books
    • HarperTrophy
  3. Penguin Random House
    • Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
    • Bantam Books
    • David Fickling Books
    • Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
    • Delacorte Press Trade Paperbacks
    • Dragonfly (paperback picture books)
    • Yearling Books
    • Laurel-Leaf
    • Disney Books for Young Readers 
    • Doubleday Books for Young Readers
    • Golden Books 
    • Little Golden Books
    • Knopf Trade Paperbacks
    • Random House Books for Young Readers
    • Robin Corey Books (pop-up books, novelty formats, board books, the occasional picture book)
    • Schwartz and Wade Books
    • Wendy Lamb Books
    • Tricycle Press
    • Wendy Lamb Books
    • G.P. Putnam's Sons
    • Dial Books for Young Readers
    • Dutton
    • Grosset and Dunlap
    • Philomel
    • Puffin Books
    • Viking Children's Books
  4. MacMillan/Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group
  5. Hachette Book Group (formerly Time Warner)
    • Little, Brown and Company
So if you want to "make it big" in the trade book world, you pretty much have to get an agent. And if your goal is picture books, then check out my Agents Tab for 50+ agents that represent picture book writers. Good luck!

Keep on keepin' on...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Winner's Circle Saturday: Fall 2011 Winner

alligatorThe Lucky Clover Picture Book Contest is announcing the winner for the FALL 2011 contest. Thank you to everyone who entered. It was a lot of fun. You can now enter the WINTER 2012 contest (click above for details). The deadline is March 31, 2012.

Congratulations to...

Catherine Johnson!

Her early picture book manuscript, Big Al, is cute, funny, and clever and comes in at under 150 words (a feat I don't think I could ever accomplish). Big Al is an alligator living in the Everglades, but he's having trouble catching some lunch. Until he comes across an unlikely food source for an alligator. Hilarious! Hope to see this on bookstore shelves one day. And if this one becomes your debut book, I hope you'll interview with me for my monthly HIGH FIVE feature. Congratulations!

Check your inbox for your critique.    

Hope to see more entries for the WINTER 2012 contest throughout the coming weeks.

Keep on keepin' on...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Book About Money, Books, and Hard Times

Published in 2003 (2020 words)
This week's Read-4-Luck pick (the feature that acts as a recommendation, review, teaching tip, and writing lesson) is The Hard-Times Jar by Ethel Footman Smothers, illustrated by John Holyfield.
"Emma, the daughter of poor migrant workers, longs to own a real book, and when she turns eight and must attend a new school, she is amazed to discover a whole library in her classroom."
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Year: 2003
Word Count: 2020
Book Level: 3.1

Age: 4-8
Topic: Money
Theme: Doing what's right (integrity)

 I was surprised that my son wanted this book a second time over another book we had previously read. He identifies with Emma's longing for something she loves. It's a great book with a good lesson, but a little long for younger children. 

 Teaches good morals. Fun to read in a thick southern accent, which isn't hard to do coming from North Carolina.

 Great introduction to a money, saving, or social studies unit about migrant workers. Great way to incorporate values into a character development lesson. Activity: have children write a story on torn pieces of brown paper bags.

 This is a good one to study to see how the word count works. More than 2,000 words for a picture book is pretty rare, even for the year 2003. Comb through the pages and make a list of cool phrases and action verbs. It is such a wonderful story! THAT'S why it was published. I'm looking forward to reading it again.

YOUR TURN: Think of a time when you had to make a tough moral decision as a child. How did you handle it? What did your parents do? Now compare your story to that of Emma's.

Be sure to visit other perfect picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Keep on keepin' on...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Spilled vs. Spilt

wrote a story that utilizes a cliche, horror of horrors (no that's not the one), and it was brought to my attention the spelling of a word by one of my lovely critique partners. The cliche is "don't cry over spilled milk," but I wrote "it looked like spilt milk." So do I spell it S-P-I-L-L-E-D or S-P-I-L-T? 

Irregular Verbs || Grammar | spilled vs. spilt | british english vs. american english | regular verb inconsistencies | Don't cry over spilled milk

So I thought I'd do a little research and share with everyone. According to The Grammarist, spilt was once accepted as the past tense usage for spill. Very interesting graphs that show when the change took place. Now it is more commonly accepted to use spilled.

Spill is actually considered an irregular verb. Among others. A regular verb is one that uses "-ed" as an ending to make the verb past tense. Such as end (I ended the game), jump (I jumped on the bed), or toss (I tossed it in the trash). Irregular verbs end differently, such as write (I wrote a story), run (I ran in a race), and eat (I ate all the grapes). It's no wonder we hear children say, "I writed, I runned, and I eated." (I'm constantly correcting my 5-year-old daughter. She's still learning). That's part of why we lovely Americans want to write spilled, burned, etc. because the regular verbs are easier to say and spell.

spilled - spilt
burned - burnt
learned - learnt
smelled - smelt
spelled - spelt
spoiled - spoilt
dreamed - dreamt
leaped - leapt
kneeled - knelt

These verbs are considered irregular. This is for the past simple and past participle form of the verbs. Both spellings are acceptable in both forms of English, however the irregular "-t" ending is more acceptable in British English, and the regular "-ed" ending is more acceptable in American English.

Part of the confusion, I believe, is that we sometimes like to pronounce these words with the "-t" sound and therefore want to spell it to match the pronunciation. Anyway, I have spelt my last word for this post because I dreamt about the toothfairy and I leapt for joy. I hope you learnt something. Have fun!

Keep on keepin' on...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pot-O-Gold Blogger Award #12: The Word is My Oyster

Pixel Berry Pie Designs
It's time to award another lucky blogger with the Pot-O-Gold Blogger AwardI created this award for excellent blogs based on interesting and helpful content AND visually appealing and easy-to-navigate design. It's an award that says, "Look at this awesome blog! There's a wealth of information here! If you visit once, you'll want to return again and again." In other words, it's like discovering a pot of gold.

Today's award goes to Lydia Kang over at The Word is My Oyster. She is a doctor and a writer. Her debut, The Fountain, is a sci-fi YA novel due to be released in 2013 by Dial/Penguin. The most popular feature of her blog is Medical Mondays, where she discusses everything from Achondroplasia (whatever that is) to Willow Bark, by answering questions related to fictional scenarios. Lydia is coming up on her two-year blogging anniversary and has over 1,100 followers.

My ratings (out of 4):  Content  Design 

The Rules (you can copy and paste them):
  1. Say thank you to the person who gave it to you.
  2. Thank the giver (include image of award, link to the giver's blog and to WRITE WILD).
  3. Award FOUR bloggers this award and tell why each is a Pot-O-Gold!
  4. Share FOUR simple things about yourself: 
    1. a time you had to exercise FAITH
    2. something you HOPE for
    3. something you LOVE
    4. a time when you experienced LUCK.
Keep on keepin' on...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum by Lisa Wheeler

Little, Brown & Co. 2004
This week's Read-4-Luck pick (the feature that acts as a recommendation, review, teaching tip, and writing lesson) is Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith.
A variety of animals get stuck in bubble gum melting in the road.
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.
Year: 2004
Word Count: 352
Book Level: 1.6

 This book is so fun and does not get boring! Kids enjoy predicting the next animal and the rhymes.

 What parent wants to read a short rhyming book to their children over and over again? I do! I'm telling you, there is so much rhythm and word play in this book, it will not get old.

 Can use this to help teach rhyme, animals, cooperation, or basic story-telling skills. 

 Analyze word play. A MUST for any rhymers out there.

YOUR TURN: If you were to write a line for your own bubble gum book, how might it read? "Bubble gum, bubble gum, juicy fruity bubble gum. Grow me a watermelon in your tummy tum." Anyone else?

Keep on keepin' on...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

From Walking to Jogging in 4 Weeks Flat

Happy New Year! One of my recent goals is to start running again. Last year, I decided I would run two races a year to help me stay focused on my exercise. So, I set myself a schedule to get back up to speed. I thought I'd share a similar plan with the rest of the world.

Walk to Run Plan || how to run for 20 minutes | how to adjust your walk run ratio | couch to 5k plans | learn how to run in 4 weeks

If you can walk 3 mph for 20-30 minutes or more, and you feel like you could jog for 2 minutes at a time, then this is the plan for you. If you have any doubts, check with your doctor.

The Goal: to run (or jog) 20 minutes nonstop without a walking break by slowly adjusting your run/walk ratio over time.

The Time Table: EVERY single day for 4 weeks. Then you can scale your runs down to 3-4x a week.

The Speed:

  • If you feel like a slow walker, choose 3.0 mph for your walk breaks and do 4.8 for your jogging. 
  • If you can handle 3.5, do that speed for walking and do 5.0 for your runs.

The Warm-up and Cool-down:

  • Always walk for a 3-minute warm-up. Do a quick 1-minute stretch (30 seconds for each leg). Start with your calf for about 6 seconds, then your shins, then your hamstrings, then hip, then quads. Switch legs.
  • Cool down for 2-3 minutes at a slower walking pace. Slowly get your heart rate to come back down. Stretch again, but 1-2 minutes per leg, this time.
The Plan:
As seen in the chart below, here is an explanation of the plan for the first three days. Run for 2 minutes. Walk for 2 minutes. Repeat that 4-minute cycle five times for a total of 20 minutes.

Day #   Run-Walk   Repeat   Total Run Time
1, 2, 3       2-2          5x          20
4, 5, 6       2-1          7x          21
7, 8, 9       3-1          5x          20
10-12        4-1          4x         20
13-15       5-1          3x          18
16-18       6-1          3x          21
19-21       7-2          2x          18
22-24       8-2          2x          20
25-27       9-1          2x          20
Day 28!    20-0        1x          20

Congratulations! You've just walked yourself into 20 minutes of running! Now you can scale down to run 3 to 4 times a week and add time or distance to each run. Happy running!  

Keep on keepin' on...


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