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Hello kidlit friends and welcome to another Tuesday From The Trenches!! I hope you are enjoying these as much as I am, because I am seriously having a blast! I love hearing all of these different stories and learning about different paths to representation. We've had people in the trenches for years and years and others in the trenches for only a few weeks. It's all so different, but an overall theme is: It only takes ONE yes! So keep at it friends. And in the mean time, as your trudging through those trenches, help me welcome the amazing Ebony Mudd to the blog. She is an extra bright spot in the kidlit community and I have loved connecting with her. You can't help but smile when you interact with Ebony and I'm thrilled to be sharing her story today!


Thank you so much for joining us today, Ebony! I have loved connecting on Twitter and you are such a light and support to the KidLit community. I love how you are always encouraging others. Welcome to the blog today and thank you for taking this time!

Kailei! First of all, this is amazing. Tuesday from the trenches?! As soon as I saw that this was going to be a thing, I was like.....People. Need. This. So what I’m trying to say is, congrats on being a genius- haha! Secondly, thanks so much for even considering me and for being so kind/welcoming to me. I always refer to myself as the “new girl” in kidlit and so I really appreciate the fact that you want to know more about my journey! I truly just want all of the books on the shelves for kids and I love this community so much! (Ps: this whole interview is about to get real exclamation point heavy!!!)


I love a well-placed exclamation point (or three)!!! My CPs are always reigning me in. haha! And wow, thank you so much! These interviews have been such a blast. When I was in the query trenches, I was one of those people who would google the agents I had queried, desperately trying to find blog posts from their clients to see what average wait time was, when to expect a follow up, etc. So it's been so fun to create a whole series answering those questions. And you are just so lovely! You might feel new in the Kidlit community, but you have jumped in with both feet and have been so kind and "all in." It's been great to get to know you! So let's jump in...


Can you share your query stats with us? (as far as you know/remember. It’s okay if some of these numbers are zero):

Time Spent in the Query Trenches: 2 months :)

Number of Agents Queried: 18

Number of Requests for Additional Work/Full Manuscript: 5

Number of Twitter Pitch “Likes”: 26

Number of R&Rs: 0

Number of Rejections: I had 8 actual rejections sent to me from people who didn’t request more work. And of course some agents who have a no response is a rejection policy.

Number of Offers: 1 (Thankfully, the only one I needed!)

Agent and Agency: Lori Steel with Raven Quill Literary Agency


WOWZA! Only 2 months in the query trenches and 26 twitter pitch likes! That is amazing, and congratulations!! How did you keep track of it all? (Especially all those twitter likes!) What was your method for organizing queries? Spread sheet? Query Tracker? Etc.

I initially started off with a fancy excel spreadsheet that my husband spent so much time putting together. But, to be real.....I eventually just started updating things in the notes section of my phone. However, I did also use query tracker which was actually satisfying to update.

Gotta go with ease for sure! But bless your husband for being so awesome and involved in the process. I know your time in the query trenches was fast and furious, but you did still experience some rejection. So tell us... How did you handle those rejections? Did any sting more than others?

I’ve spent my adult life dancing professionally so I’m real acquainted with rejection. I also spend a lot of my time judging dance auditions. I have the perspective of the other side. Even some dancers that are super talented, won’t get a part. I think that’s helped me in the publishing world. Rejections don’t bother me. I get it.


With that being said, if I had to pick a rejection that was hard it would be all rejections that came after full requests. Not so much because an agent “got away”, but because those rejections fan the flames of your already brewing imposter syndrome. Because those rejections aren’t just about one manuscript that’s not a good fit so it was harder to swallow.


However, I truly wanted an agent who was in love with my work and passionate about it so I never stayed down for long.

I felt the same way about rejections. The hardest ones were the ones that were nos after the request for more. But you are SO right. You want someone who is completely passionate about your work.

How did you find agents to query/how did you decide who to query?

I’m an information snob and absolutely love to research. This part was so much fun for me. The main resources that I used were query tracker comments, publisher’s marketplace, agency websites, the manuscript wishlist website, and agent‘s twitter accounts. Yes, twitter helped me. I wanted to make sure that the agents I chose to query seemed to be interested in the types of books I want to build a career with. Did they want all funny? Because your girl isn’t funny so that probably wouldn’t be a great fit.

I love that! I was a total twitter stalker while in the query trenches. I wanted to know everything I could about and agent. And I love how thorough you were in researching agents. So amongst all of those awesome resources, how did you ultimately connect with your agent? Did you cold query? Participate in a twitter pitch event? Or connect in some other way?

I’m actually a PBPitch success story! I participated in the June 2020 twitter event and Lori liked TWO pitches (different manuscripts) that day. That really showed me that she was intrigued by my body of work. After that, I did some research and then decided she was someone I wanted to query.

That's amazing!! I love twitter pitch success stories so much. And her liking two must have been such an amazing day! How much time passed between querying Lori after her "like" to getting “the call”?

Okay, so:

Query sent - 6/25/2020

She requested more- 7/8/2020

And we had THE (BEST) CALL- 7/21/2020


Less than one month!

Wahoo! That is really exciting! Can you tell us more about “the call”? How did you know Lori was the right choice?

So’m going to try really hard not to say, “when you know, you know” because I’m sure people want more than that.


The way Lori spoke about my work and her reasons why it needed to be in the world lined up with my why behind writing those manuscripts. It was magical. I was like this woman is surfing my brain waves! The two manuscripts she was most drawn to were the ones closest to my heart. They represented what I wanted to write throughout my career. She just got me and got my books. I felt really safe thinking about collaborating with her.


Then of course, I spoke to her clients. I found out what type of editorial style she had. I spoke to Lori about the challenges that will come up for me being Black in this industry and again, I felt very seen, heard, and safe. I definitely KNEW on the call, but as I dug deeper and took my time to think about it....it was further confirmed that Lori was my agent! I had a really unique situation because I got an offer very early into my writing and querying journey. So for me, I wasn’t necessarily in a rush to sign with whoever offered. I am only 29 years old and want a long career with one agent so I really wanted to be sure. And months later, I don’t know how I could ever have anyone else represent me besides Lori!

I love everything about this so much! That feeling is something that's so hard to explain, but you nailed it. I especially love you feeling seen, heard and safe. How perfect. I cannot WAIT to see all that you and Lori accomplish together. I remember your pitches and they were fire. The world needs these books.

If you could give querying authors a piece of advice, what would that be?

I’m going to try and limit it to three things, because this could be a whole separate interview, am I right?!


For reals! This is probably my favorite portion of these interviews!

First thing is, don’t query too early.....it’s not worth it. That manuscript that you think is ready? Put it away for a week and then look again. Do this several times. Get critique partners that will challenge you. Paginate it. Study it line by line. Really give it the time and care it deserves. There’s a difference between your work that won’t ever sell and your work that was queried too soon.


Don’t let other people’s query experiences be imprinted so deeply on you that it stops you from believing in yourself. Again, I’m an info snob. I love to know what all of the outcomes CAN be. I love to hear people’s experiences. But most stories that I’ve heard are nothing like mine. I started writing this year. I queried this year for the first time. And I got an agent this year. All from a pitch contest. It can happen. But the word on the street was that it could never happen that fast. I’m glad I knew that so I was mentally prepared for a marathon and not a sprint, but I’m even more glad that I didn’t use what other people experienced as law.

Lastly, make yourself a rejection care box and a “wins” box. Maybe it’s mini bottles of wine? A face mask? A gift card to your favorite restaurant? A coupon to watch a trashy tv show? A book on your TBR list you can start reading? A bath? A note to yourself? A copy of the first draft ever of your manuscript so you can be proud of where it is now? Maybe you should print out positive critique notes from critique partners and put it in there, too? Decide what you need. Figure out how you will celebrate each win and what you’ll do when each rejection comes in. And yes, celebrate EACH win. You get a full request? That’s a win. A nice rejection? Win. It all counts.

Love, love love this advice! Especially the note to remember that every journey is different and there is no "one right path" to representation. You had a whirlwind of a year, Ebony, and I am absolutely thrilled for you!! Thank you so much for taking this time to share your story. I have been inspired and I know that our readers will be too! Before I let you go, where can we connect with you online?

I’m on Twitter at @ebonylynnmudd and I feel super fancy saying this, but I have a website

https://www.ebonylynnmudd.com

Thanks so much for joining us today, Ebony! And THANK YOU so much for this insanely generous

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY!

Ebony is offering one lucky winner a complete PB submission packet critique! This includes a query letter and FOUR (4!!!) PB Manuscripts!


Don't miss this opportunity, friends! To enter, retweet THIS tweet and follow both Ebony and Kailei on twitter.


Winner will be announced next Monday on Twitter.


About Ebony Mudd

Ebony Lynn Mudd writes picture books for underrepresented kids who don’t see themselves in the media. She is intentional about the diversity of her son’s bookshelf, and now she writes to contribute to the diversity in children’s literature. Ebony spends her time fighting fiercely against inequalities, toxic masculinity, and gender stereotypes. As a former professional dancer and current owner of a tuition-free dance company, she is a bridge for underprivileged kids that hope to work in the arts. She appreciates the creative freedom that choreographing to a song gives her and often compares it to creating a story from a blank page. Her other interests include restaurants with all-you-can-eat sushi, quoting Phoebe from FRIENDS, and eating anything edible that she didn’t have to cook.

About Kailei Pew

Kailei Pew is a wife, mother, and picture book author represented by the amazing Emily Forney of Bookends Literary. She is an active member of SCBWI, a 2019 Write Mentor Mentee, and a finalist in Susanna Leonard Hill's 2019 Holiday Writing Contest. She loves writing picture books that help kids see they can do anything they set their minds to. Kailei can't wait to get her stories into your hands.

Welcome, everyone, to another Tuesday From The Trenches! I have had so much fun with this series, and it has been even more amazing than I had hoped for. If you missed last week's interview with the wonderful Stephen Briseño, you can check that out HERE.


I'm excited to be hosting Heather Bell on the blog today! Join me in giving her a warm welcome!



Thank you so much for joining us today, Heather! I’m thrilled to share your query story with my readers!

Thank you for having me, Kailei! And thank you for sharing all of these different stories. It really helps put everything in perspective.

I absolutely agree! It has been so fun for me to see just have different everyone's journey is. It's so nice to see all of the different paths to representation. Can you share your query stats with us? (as far as you know/remember. It’s okay if some of these numbers are zero):

Time Spent in the Query Trenches: 3 years (with a year and a half break after my first round)

Number of Agents Queried: 25 + 2 straight to editors/publishing houses (including multiple stories to same agents)

Number of Requests for Additional Work/Full Manuscript: 3

Number of Twitter Pitch “Likes”: Somewhere around 9 or 12…Pitch parties always gave me the push to send.

Number of R&Rs: 1

Number of Rejections: All except the one

Number of Offers: 1

Agent and Agency: Kaitlyn Sanchez at Olswanger Literary Agency

How did you keep track of it all? What was your method for organizing queries? Spread sheet? Query Tracker? Etc.

I had an excel sheet, but it was fairly simple. It mainly listed the agency/agent’s name, which story I sent on what date, and when I should hear back (if they listed that info), and of course, date of rejection. There are so many rejections! But really, all you need is that ONE person.

That is absolutely the truth! It's all so subjective, and you only need the one yes!

How did you handle rejections? Did any sting more than others?

The first ones were rough. Most of the time I never received responses (ha! I know that’s pretty normal, but I spent many nights thinking “just TELL me you don’t like it”). After my first batch (I think I sent 10), I took a long break from querying to really focus on making my stories better and to make sure I had more than a couple polished pieces. When I started querying again, I knew the break was worth it, because even though I wasn’t getting a “yes,” the agents were actually responding. Lots of champagne rejections, some with actual notes on how the story could improve. And I think the one that stung most was when I submitted straight to a house, and it made it all the way to marketing, then died there. But that also gave me hope. The story had something, and I wouldn’t give up.

Oh my goodness. That definitely would have stung for me to. Those super close calls are hard. I also love that you took time to really hone your craft. That is essential in my opinion.

How did you find agents to query/how did you decide who to query?

MSWL was very helpful. Also, even if I didn’t get a like on a twitter pitch contest, I would see which agents were scoping things out and send to them.

Very smart! I think it's a great idea to go through twitter pitch contest likes to get an idea of what agents are looking for. There's a high chance they just didn't see your pitch, and knowing what they like will really help you know who to send them to. How did you ultimately connect with your now agent, Kaitlyn?

Early on when I first really dove into children’s books, I met Kaitlyn (my now agent). We were swapping stories after meeting in a Kidlit411 Facebook group (highly advise immersing yourself here), and after a few swaps she asked if I’d like to join her critique group. So, Kaitlyn was one of my first CPs. Once she was on track to becoming an agent, she approached me about possibly being one of her clients. As a critique partner she’s always been honest and I love how she can see the tiny issues as well as the big picture. I knew I wanted an agent who would be really hands on, passionate, and open. And Kaitlyn is basically Wonder Woman for all I know. After some discussion, she asked me to revise one of my stories. All her notes felt spot on, like she knew what I was trying to say and made it so much more concise and stronger. After making the changes, I resubmitted and here we are.

That's really awesome! Goes to show you how important it is to really put yourself out there in all the great kidlit communities. Can you tell us more about “the call” with Kaitlyn? How did you know she was the right choice?

It felt like destiny (haha)! But really, it did. I still had my story out with two other agents and was waiting for their responses. When they both declined, I told Kaitlyn. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to receive rejections! After lots of shrieking and dancing about, we discussed details. I’ve told this to others before, but she is all heart and fire. You can feel the fervor in everything she does and when she supports your work, she does so whole-heartedly. It wasn’t even a question.

Love that so much! Feeling that spark on the call is essential in my mind! You know you will be in good hands. If you could give querying authors a piece of advice, what would that be?

Be persistent. And get to know the amazing people in the kidlit community. We are all writing and illustrating stories for children, hoping that it will touch at least one child’s heart. And if you keep sending, keep querying, someone will see that in your work and feel that connection. It just takes one.

Wonderful advice! Thank you so much for such a great interview. Before I let you go, where can we connect with you online?

Instagram: heather.bell37

Twitter: @heatherbell37

https://heatherbellbooks.com/

Thanks so much for joining us today, Heather! This was so much fun. I think my biggest take away from this awesome interview is to never stop putting yourself out there and to never stop making connections. You never know what will come from those connections, plus it's essential to have people who understand in your corner in this publishing journey.


GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY!!

Heather is offering a PB MS or Dummy Critique to one lucky reader!! To enter: Retweet THIS tweet and Follow Heather and Kailei on Twitter. Winner will be announced on Twitter on Monday, November 16th.


About Heather Bell

Heather Bell whole-heartedly believes that hidden within our everyday lives is a secret realm glimpsed through books, music, and children’s laughter. Holding a BFA in Painting from the Kansas City Art Institute, she is a member of SCBWI, a participant in the 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge, a Children’s Book Academy graduate, and a mommy. When not illustrating and writing, she searches out story ideas as an undercover school bus driver.

Heather Bell is an author/illustrator represented by Kaitlyn Sanchez at Olswanger Literary Agency.


About Kailei Pew

Kailei Pew is a wife, mother, and picture book author represented by the amazing Emily Forney of Bookends Literary.

She is an active member of SCBWI, a 2019 Write Mentor Mentee, and a finalist in Susanna Leonard Hill's 2019 Holiday Writing Contest. She loves writing picture books that help kids see they can do anything they set their minds to.

Kailei can't wait to get her stories into your hands.

Hello KidLit friends! And welcome to this week's Tuesday From the Trenches... on Wednesday! I was busy worrying about the state of the world yesterday, so we postponed this interview a day to watch... things. And while things still aren't completely settled... we all need a little bit of awesome in our lives right now, so I am THRILLED to be sharing this interview with Stephen Briseño! I was able to live chat with Stephen over a month ago and I've been so anxious to share this story because I had SO much fun chatting with him. If you missed the last few interviews, you can catch them HERE.


And now, join me in welcoming Stephen Briseño to the blog!


Hi Stephen! Thanks so much for joining me today! I’m so excited to be doing this interview!


Hi Kailei!

Yay!

This is great!


Agreed! I love these interviews so much!! Should we dive in?


Absolutely!


I am thrilled about this new blog series and can’t wait to share your story. I was one of those people in the query trenches that would google absolutely every possible thing I could think of to give me an idea of what was “normal” in the trenches or what a response time was like for an agent, etc. It was maddening. I know that everyone’s path is different, so I’m really excited to have a one-stop-shop so to speak to show everyone’s different paths and to hopefully help people know that they are not alone in the trenches.


I’d love to start off by asking about your “query stats:”

Time in the trenches:

Number of agents queried:

Requests for additional work:

Twitter Pitch “Likes”:

Number of offers?


Oh sure.


I’m kind of an anomaly. I began querying March of 2019 after writing two picture book drafts.


I have a daughter who’s now seven and since she was in the womb, I would read to her. 3 books every night, with a few nights here and there where I didn’t.


It wasn’t until she was almost five that I began writing. So I feel like I had a firm grasp of how picture books worked.


I began writing in December 2018 and dove into the process of “how do these words of mine become a book?”


So, I was in the trenches from March 2019 to December 2019.


I queried 28 agents.


I had 7 agents request to see more work.


I did several Twitter pitch events and got a total of THREE likes. It was those three likes that really got the ball rolling.


I had two offers of rep before signing with my agent, Natalie Lakosil at Bradford Literary.


That’s all so awesome, Stephen! I think that reading picture books is such a huge part of a Picture Book author’s education and you are a testament to that… so ready to write because you read so much. I love bedtime stories with my girls too! What a great story.


Thank you! I was almost late to this interview because of picture book time! Haha!


That’s so great! NOTHING should get in the way of picture book time with the littles!

So you say that the pitch events got the ball rolling. Did Natalie like your pitch?


Well, there were two things that got the ball rolling.


1. I stumbled across Justin Colon’s PBChat Mentorship in its first year after reading an interview he did with my agent. I read every agent interview he gave and I thought, “She seems legit. I’d LOVE for her to be my agent!” So I queried her and I got a fairly quick rejection.

So I decided to submit to author Patricia Valdez, author of Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor, and in a total surprise, she chose me as her mentee. I was so thrilled because her book was one of my daughter’s favorites (she loves animals).

We worked on several manuscripts and I waited and worked for the agent/editor showcase at the end.


2. In the meantime, though, I still participated in Twitter pitch events. During #DVpit, I got a like from another agent and Asia Citro, editor at The Innovation Press. She ultimately passed on the manuscripts, but told me to keep sending her stuff. Right before the showcase, she emailed me asking if a manuscript I had mentioned was done, so I sent her what I had, and she said she wanted to publish it!


Well, the showcase rolled along and my manuscript got 6 requests from agents (one of them being Natalie) and one editor. So I sent my manuscripts off into the world. It was a flurry of emails. I had two agent calls back to back on the last day of school before the Christmas holiday. I didn’t even attend our Christmas party--I was in my classroom having these insane conversations that I’d never thought I’d get to have. At the end of my conversation with Natalie, she offered rep and...I know this is bad...but I immediately accepted. We just clicked and I knew this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.


That is amazing! And I would say nothing wrong with that at all. I think there is something to be said for that spark and just knowing! That is an amazing story! I felt that same “zing” with Emily, and I just knew she was the right agent for me. And I feel you on the string of nos followed by a sudden and unexpected yes. It’s an amazing feeling.


Oh yes. It was just this string of nos, one after another, and then this door swung wide open and I walked through it. It was a surreal Christmas break!

It’s so cliche that phrase, “It only takes one yes,” but IT’S SO TRUE.


And absolutely so well deserved for you! I loved your pitches and I am already anticipating buying your amazing books!


Oh my goodness, thank you! I can’t wait to see what you and your agent, Emily come out with!


Thanks, Stephen! I’m excited for the future as well!


So let’s talk a little more about “the call” with Natalie. How much time passed between sending her your MS and setting up your call?


It was a fairly quick turn around...maybe a couple of days!


That’s so nice! The waiting can be the worst part.


For real--I was totally anticipating this waiting game again, which I was ready for, so when she emailed saying she wanted to set up a call, I was floored for multiple reasons!


Natalie sounds really amazing! And if I remember correctly, you now have two book deals announced, am I right?


Yes. The Notebook Keeper will be coming out with the new Random House Studio imprint, which is a branch of the Schwartz and Wade imprint.


And Queen of Leaves will be coming out with The Innovation Press. Both in 2022.


That is amazing, Stephen! I am thrilled for you. What a year 2022 will be for you! I seriously can’t wait to buy these books


Thank you!!


You mentioned expecting a bit of a wait after sending out your requests from your mentorship. (And as an aside, I just have to say that Justin is amazing and I don’t know how he does all that he does. I didn’t interject above, but what an amazing program he runs.)


I’m convinced he is part machine! He’s become a good friend during this time and a critique partner.

The PBChat Mentorship is simply amazing. And the fact that he is pre-agented himself and yet he STILL pours out his heart and soul into it is simply astounding and a testament to how generous the kidlit community is.


I absolutely agree. I have been amazed from day one at the kindness and generosity of the community as a whole. I feel like I have so many close friends that I’ve never actually met, but they are cheering me on and keeping me going.

What got you through the rejections and the string of nos that you mentioned earlier?


Prior to picture book writing, I decided to try my hand at poetry and submitting to literary magazines.


Those rejections come fast and hard.


You send out a little batch of 3-5 poems out and it’s almost ALWAYS a no. That process taught me how to query, how to treat my work with a certain...detachment, for lack of a better word. I cared about what I wrote and put my heart into it, but the world of publishing is so subjective. You kind of have to develop a thick skin or you won’t make it.


So after a year and half of that, getting nos from agents was like an extension of that experience.


I let it get to me once and then I just told myself, “You’ll connect with the right agent. Keep your head down, keep writing, keep an open heart, and KEEP TRYING.”


I think so many of us as creatives are terribly sensitive. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we can get in our way oftentimes. We can let the hurt, which is really just temporary, block us from writing and pursuing the dream. We need to learn to take rejections as opportunities for refinement.


Oh wow, that is really beautiful advice! I’m going to remember that as I begin submitting… rejections as opportunities for refinement.

Is there any other advice you’d give to authors deep in the query trenches?


Oh my goodness, where to begin.


I just saw a tweet from a kidlit author I follow, Kate Allen Fox. She said something along the lines of, “would you buy your own book for $17.95?” or whatever it is picture books are going for nowadays.

We also forget that publishing is a business. So we need to push ourselves to create the best art that we possibly can. If you feel like your work is there, that yes, I truly believe that this is sell-able (is that a word?), unique, and truly written from the soul, then it’s time to query.


That is really amazing advice, Stephen! Written from the soul. I love that. I like the balance between it coming from my inmost heart and also being sell-able (and yes, totally a word).


Robert Frost has a quote that I say to my middle school English students,

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” You have to put that type of energy into your work or it won’t connect to agents, editors, and ultimately the children that we’re writing for.


Beautiful! This has been so much fun to chat and connect, Stephen! I’d love to hear about anything you’re up to that you’d like to promote as well as where we can find you online.


Yes! I’m a part of #Latinxpitch, a new Twitter event to expand the voices of Latinx creators in the publishing world. Please give them a follow and if you are a Latinx creator yourself, please consider pitching during our next event. We’re doing a “second chance” event soon actually, for agents and editors to give pitches one more look!


I’ve been happily following #Latinxpitch on Twitter and love what you are doing! How can those of us who are not part of the Latinx community best support?


Read books by Latinx creators. Request that your libraries purchase them. Hype them up on Twitter. The best thing though is to read them to your children!


Yes! I love that. I absolutely want my girls to grow up reading and loving books by and about Latinx creators.

Stephen, this has been awesome! Thank you again. Where can we find you online?


I’m currently only on twitter @stephen_briseno or you can follow my website, which will be getting a kidlit update in the coming months: stephenbriseno.weebly.com


Perfect! Thank you so much for sharing your story in the query trenches. I know that our readers will love hearing your experience! And again, congrats on the double debut year!


Thank you so much! I’m glad to be any help to those still in the trenches!


***



Thank you so much for joining me and Stephen today, dear readers! I hope that this has been a welcome distraction from current life and that you feel pumped to keep moving forward, keep putting yourself out there, and keep querying! Your yes is right around the corner. Make sure to read on for an awesome giveaway opportunity from Stephen!!


GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY!!

Stephen is offering one Picture Book MS critique to a lucky reader. To enter, follow both Stephen and Kailei on Twitter and retweet THIS tweet. For a bonus entry, subscribe to my blog below and tell me in the comments that you did. (If you're already a subscriber, you can still get the bonus entry!)

Good luck, everyone! Winner will be announced on Twitter on Monday!



About Stephen Briseño

Stephen is a husband, a father, an avid reader and coffee drinker (almost always those two activities are done together). 


He likes writing things--like poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction.


He teaches adolescent teenagers English and hopes to mold them into people who love the written word and thinking about life.


He hopes you enjoy his writing.



About Kailei Pew

Kailei Pew is a wife, mother, and picture book author represented by the amazing Emily Forney of Bookends Literary.

She is an active member of SCBWI, a 2019 Write Mentor Mentee, and a finalist in Susanna Leonard Hill's 2019 Holiday Writing Contest. She loves writing picture books that help kids see they can do anything they set their minds to.

Kailei can't wait to get her stories into your hands.

Hi! I'm Kailei. Thanks for stopping by!

I believe in books. I believe in imagination.

I believe in getting silly, messy, and crazy with my kids. Thus, For Little Readers was born. 

I write picture books and hope to someday feature

my own work here. 

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