I’m excited to continue diving into Alayne Kay Christian’s world as author and editor for Blue Whale Press. If you missed Part 1 of this interview, click HERE.
Follow the directions below to win a signed copy of Sienna, the Cowgirl Fairy: Trying to Make it Rain OR a golden ticket to submit to Blue Whale Press.
Tell us about your background.
Like many authors, my career started with my need to tell the colorful stories I felt churning inside me and to touch those who read them. But then, having spent years taking courses, asking questions, and digging deeper for knowledge than what is generally provided in the many writing courses available, I began to feel that I could save other budding writers some time in their career development by offering manuscript analysis in the form of free critiques. Following several years of sharing my knowledge gratis, and seeing some of my clients receive offers of representation and become published, I launched a professional critique service under the Blue Whale Press umbrella. I later decided to share this knowledge in a more structured format through my course, Art of Arc.
My business savvy husband, Steve, brought to my attention that everything I had done in my writing career positioned me to partner with him to grow Blue Whale Press into the publishing house that he always intended it to be. I love that you don’t always understand the path that you travel until you get to the destination.
How does being a writer affect your acquisition process?
As I mentioned above, being a writer led me to seek more. Therefore, the knowledge that I gained as a critique writer is the true key when it comes to acquisitions. I understand good storytelling. I understand good writing skills. Living with a marketing guru for forty years and being immersed in the writing community for seven-ish years has taught me a thing or two about what has marketing potential. What I like most about all of the above is that I can now spot a story that has so much potential that it is worth my time to analyze it and see if we can polish it into a gem. Once signed, the final polishing begins. We’ve had some fantastic success so far! I am so excited about our growing catalog.
How does it affect your editorial process?
The editorial process is less about me being a writer and more about my experience and knowledge gained after fifteen years of experience in writing, editing, teaching, and analyzing manuscripts. I have a strong instinct for what works and what doesn’t work.
Advice for Creatives
Which genres and subjects are you looking to acquire?
We consider picture books, chapter books, and middle grade. Currently, we are only open to middle grade and illustrator submissions. However, we expect to open back up to chapter book and picture book submissions in November.
We want unique stories that standout from all the rest. We seem to gravitate toward humor, but we would love some stories that tug at the heartstrings, but again, in a unique standout way. A strong and unique grandparent story would be good. Funny chapter books are welcome. Fiction that also has elements of nonfiction appeals to us. For example, our forthcoming picture books by Nadine Poper and Sarah Hoppe are fiction, but there are facts within the stories that teach something about certain animals and behaviors.
What’s definitely not on your wish list?
We aren’t able to produce board books at this time. We are not against faith-based books that give a mild universal message. However heavy messages or stories about specific beliefs based on specific religions aren’t a good fit for us.
We are not interested in trends. Trends eventually lead to an abundance of similar stories. If you haven’t seen it before, your chances are probably better with us.
Right now, we are not considering young adult.
Do you have advice for children's writers/illustrators who wish to submit to Blue Whale Press?
Read the guidelines carefully. Do not send attachments other than PDFs. We usually discard anything that doesn’t come in a PDF for security reasons. Contact information is not just your email. Provide your name, physical address, phone number, email, and website/blog if you have one/them.
Ask yourself what makes your story different. Once our upcoming books are released, read them. They will give you a better feel for what appeals to us. If we aren’t able to acquire your story, don’t let that discourage or stop you. But do keep working to hone your craft. Now, having said that, there are many reasons that we pass on manuscripts and sometimes it has nothing at all to do with writing skills. No matter what, always do your best and keep on keeping on.
Always check our website before submitting. If we are closed to submissions and you send a manuscript, it will not be read or responded to.
Thank you for inviting me and Blue Whale Press to be featured on your blog. To express my gratitude, I’d like to offer a choice of two drawing prizes to your readers.
Anyone who comments on this post (or part 1) and on the Blue Whale Press Facebook page (with a follow) will be included in the drawing. The winner’s choice will be a signed copy of Sienna, the Cowgirl Fairy: Trying to Make it Rain OR a golden ticket to submit to Blue Whale Press and go right to the top of the slush pile. This means, even though we are currently closed to picture books and chapter books, you may still submit. It also means that your manuscript will be read before any other manuscripts waiting to be considered. The deadline for the drawing is September 29, 2018.
Alayne Kay Christian is the content and developmental editor for Blue Whale Press and an award-winning children’s book author. She is the creator and instructor of a picture book writing course, Art of Arc. She has been a professional picture book and chapter book critique writer for five years. She has been a critique ninja for Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 picture book forum for three years. Alayne is a graduate of the Institute for Children’s Literature and she has spent the last ten years studying under some of the top names in children’s literature.
Where can you be found online?