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WriteMentor Picture Book Mentorship

Welcome picture book writers! Children’s books are such a special type of writing: full of wonder, strong emotion, humor, and powerful storytelling. They may be short in words, but they leave a long-lasting impression on children and adults alike.

Working on my own picture book (LLOYD FINDS HIS WHALESONG, Page Street Kids 2020) has been a dream come true. it’s been some of the hardest and challenging work I’ve ever done. And the most rewarding.

Reaching this publishing milestone has made me so grateful, and I immediately wanted to give back and help others on their publishing journeys.

I’m offering a full manuscript package with multiple revisions on a picture book text. I’ll work with you on overall story and character development, how to work within word count realities, pages and pacing, and what to expect for illustrations. I’m happy to work with an author or an author-illustrator!

What I'm looking for

I am pretty open to anything that is a picture book, but I am probably not the best person to edit a baby book or board book. My number one love in this world is the ocean, and my book is about whales, so I have an affinity for sea and nature stories. I also grew up on a coastline so I do have some specialized ocean knowledge.

I love stories with humor, strong emotions, and lyrical writing. I am willing to consider a rhyming text, but it is not my specialty so I may not be the best fit for that.

Things that interest me:

  • Animals

  • Kickass girls

  • Nontraditional families

  • Nature

  • Ocean life

  • Weirdos and grumps

  • LGBTQ+ and POC

  • Humor

  • Anything else you think I should see!​

What I offer

I have about fifteen years of writing and editing experience in a ton of different areas. Learning and applying a wide range of skills has vastly improved my writing, my ability to give and take feedback, and my understanding of various markets. I have also applied to a number of contests (some won, some not), so I understand how the process works. 

I have received amazing mentorship and revision guidance from my editors at Page Street as well as other editors and writers who specialize in everything from picture books to novels to poetry. I've worked as a beta reader and editor on picture books, novels, poetry, short stories, and a whole slew of corporate marketing and advertising projects. So we can work on anything from the lyrical and storytelling qualities of your story to what makes a brand to how illustrations work with the text.

I strongly believe in sharing knowledge. If you’re ready to learn and work, there’s no secret, sacred, or key piece of information I won’t share with you and help you apply to your story or submission materials.

My feedback will be delivered online. I tend to use email, gchat, and google docs most. I don't like phones or video chat but I love chatting in instant messenger programs. I’ll deliver edits in redline (google or word) and we can chat over IM or email as needed. (Please note: you need to be able to use a redline/track changes function and know how to accept/reject changes.) I believe editorial feedback should include positive comments. I want you to know what’s working and what you’re doing well! But I will also include direct feedback about what can be improved. I will provide directed suggestions that are open-ended (not tell you exactly how to fix). Ultimately, it’s your story, and you have to find the specific solution, but I will guide you toward possibilities and away from pitfalls.

 

Some people think picture books are easy or quick because they are short or for kids. But writing a children’s book is extremely hard. Be ready to take a hard look at your text and be willing to heavily revise the story itself. We’re not here to just copy edit. If you think your story just needs a proofreader’s polish, you probably don’t need a mentorship!

I’m willing to do several revisions on your manuscript. I’ll include an edit letter and changes tracked directly on your document. And we can work on a query letter as well. I have some tools/templates that I may suggest you use, depending on if they will be helpful in your specific situation. If you are an author-illustrator, we can look at your sketch dummy along with your text.

another way of looking at revisions

What I’m looking for in a mentee

As a writer and illustrator, I know firsthand how special your project is to you, and my job is to help make your story the best it can be. 

I'm looking for someone who is committed to this process and their writing. You should be able to take and apply editorial feedback. It’s important to come to this process with an open mind and be willing to revise your story, climax, characters, whatever, as needed.

We can work out a schedule and timeline that fits your life and needs, but you have to be dedicated and willing to put in the work. I live with chronic pain, so I understand how hard it can be to balance everything. Until very recently, I worked full-time+ and did art and writing on the side constantly, so I know how frantic that can get.

If you have life stuff, let me know so we can figure out what will work. If something comes up, shoot me an email. Communication upfront will make the whole thing easier and more fun for both of us! 

I don’t care if you’re just starting out or have been doing this for decades. It doesn’t matter to me if you’ve won awards or any of that. I just want to fall in love with your story. That is the subjective bit. If I don’t pick your story, it doesn’t mean it isn’t good or doesn’t have potential. Don't give up!

More about me

I am an author and illustrator focusing primarily on children’s books. My debut picture book LLOYD FINDS HIS WHALESONG comes out from Page Street Kids in June 2020.

I have more than ten years’ experience in corporate communications, editing, and branding, and I recently left the rat race to pursue full-time creative freelance work. My writing has been published in literary journals, including Cirque Journal, Prime Number, and Lingerpost. I was a 2012 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship finalist and a 2005 Kidd Creative Writing Scholar at University of Oregon. I also have fifteen years of experience as a zine maker and bookbinder.

My illustration work focuses on the ocean, nature, and climate change in the worlds of science and kid lit. I believe that fostering a sense of wonder through writing, art, and science is the key to ocean conservation. I am a member of SCBWI and Women Who Draw. I am also an affiliated artist with Climate Science Alliance.

My other clients include Surfrider, Slate, Sitka Sound Science Center, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, 826 Seattle, Adventure! Children's Museum, Blue Ocean Institute / Sea Stories, Scientific American, Paxton Gate Portland, Northwest Science Expo, and World Savvy Sustainable Communities.

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If you have questions that aren't answered here, tweet me!

A few books I love:
  • The End of Something Wonderful, Stephanie VW Lucianovic
  • Greta and the Giants, Zoe Tucker
  • Ghost Cat, Kevan Atteberry
  • Wild, Emily Hughes
  • The Secret of Black Rock, Joe Todd-Stanton
  • The Storm Whale, Benji Davies
  • Hildafolk, Luke Pearson
  • Nightlights, Lorena Alvarez
  • Ocean Meets Sky, The Fan Brothers
  • On a Magical Do-Nothing Day, Beatrice Alemagna
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • wwd-icon
  • scbwi.jpg
THAR SHE BLOWS

© 2020 Skylaar Amann