Writers and Editors

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I enjoy words. Along with my award-winning picture books, I have written for a variety of sources and publications from reviews to freelance magazine articles, songs and poetry to technical white papers, adult nonfiction to inspirational pieces. My writing has been described as "tight, concise, funny and fluent." I enjoy the process of writing and particularly the editing process that lets me hone each written piece to its finest.

It's also a perk of being a writer to be invited to speak to students, teachers and other writers through school presentations, teacher seminars and writers' conferences. I enjoy meeting and encouraging writers and imaginations of all ages, and there are links below that have some great information too.

In 2005, I made the move into art and illustration. Colored pencil has become my favorite, but I enjoy experimenting with different media and techniques as I learn the art of communicating with "a picture or a thousand words."

Books By Valerie Coulman

About Valerie Coulman

Publishing Credits

Illustrations

It's My Day Job (a blog by Val)

Writing and Editing Services


Professional memberships:


Photo SCBWI — Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators
CPSA — Colored Pencil Society of America

Past memberships:

CANSCAIP — Canadian Society of Childrenís Authors, Illustrators and Performers —2002 - 2010
CCBC — Canadian Children's Book Centre —2002 - 2009
OCW — Oregon Christian Writers —2004 - 2009
ICWF — InScribe Christian Writers Fellowship —2005 - 2011
SOSA — Southern Oregon Society of Artists —2009 - 2012


FAQs from Writers

I have an idea for a book — how do I find a publisher?

This is a loaded question because many writers and illustrators spend years polishing their writing skills and learning the ins and outs of the publishing world. And the first decision is often deciding whether to pursue traditional publishing, or to try self-publishing (or "indie" publishing). Either way, there are a lot of excellent resources available. Here are some I've found helpful when looking at working with a traditional house:

How to Write a Children's Book and Get It Published by Barbara Seuling — There are a number of titles like this but this is the book I started with. Because Ms. Seuling is both writer and illustrator, it presents information directed to both.

Get Published! The Writing for Children Kit — The Canadian Children's Book Centre has put together this very informative and inexpensive kit that offers practical advice about finding a publisher, working with an editor and more.

Every Page Perfect: A Full-Size Writer's Manual for Manuscript Format & Submission Protocol, 4th Edition by Mary Lynn — Part of being professional is looking professional and this book is a great guide for formatting different types of manuscripts.

2014 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market (Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market) by Alice Pope (editor) —There are a number of annual market guides available but this is the one I am most familiar with. Market guides help you select publishers most likely to be interested in your work by giving a description of themes or genres, terms and submission information.

If I've written a story, do I have to find an illustrator?

No. In fact, the majority of publishers insist that you don't. There are some exceptions but a good rule of thumb is if you're a writer, write. (Of course, if you plan to self-publish, then yes, you do.)

Do I need an agent?

Again, no. A good agent is a real asset, but it is possible to publish without one. There are some excellent resources available that will keep you smart when looking for an agent. The Association of Authors' Representatives offers answers to some frequently asked questions about agents. And a good market guide will help you know which publishing houses accept from unagented writers or illustrators.


Additional Resources for Writers:


The Writers' Union of Canada offers some sound advice on getting started in publishing. They also offer a Contracts Self-Help Package and other valuable publications that address agreements with agents or film/screen companies, e-books, grants, ghost writing, incorporation and more.
The 7 Biggest Myths of Publishing (Know the Truth) by Elizabeth Sims. A very practical article for writers.
The Other Side of the Story with Janice Hardy An invaluable resource for writers with over 500 articles relating to the craft and business of writing.
Between the Lines Another great blog from the agents and staff of Books & Such Literary Agency. They really give an inside look at publishing, writing, marketing, submissions and more. Well worth the visit!
10 FAQs About Children's Book Publishing By Robin Michal Koontz — A good overview of some of the common questions about publishing for kids.
Icing the Cake: Writing Stories in Rhythm and Rhyme By Dori Chaconas — An excellent article I was pointed to about the perks, pitfalls, techniques and practices of writing in rhythm and rhyme. Highly recommend!
Winning Writers has some excellent resources for poets and writers. I especially appreciate their Contests & Agencies to Avoid advice. It would have saved me some trouble when I first began writing.
Advanced Fiction Writing — A site by Randy Ingermanson, " The Snowflake Guy ". He offers a free e-zine, writing courses, marketing tips and more!
Fiction Matters A fantastic and informative blog on writing by author Bonnie Grove.
50 Free Resources That Will Improve Your Writing Skills — The editors of Smashing Magazine have put together this great list of resources for writers. You'll want to check them out!
InScribe Christian Writer's Fellowship — Over 8500 links to information on getting published in a variety of genres, contest listings, resources, the craft of writing, and so much more! For more information on writing for children, click here to go directly to their Children & Youth section.
Write4Kids — Lots of information about writing for children.
Rights: What They Mean and Why They're Important by Marg Gilks — An informative overview of the various rights that a writer holds.
What Does That Mean? Literary Definitions —A great guide to some common literary terms and acronyms from the editor of Guide to Literary Agents, Chuck Sambuchino. Lots more great information in the blog and a very informative free e-newsletter too.
5 Quick Tips for Writer/Agent Negotiations by Howard G. Zaharoff — Very concise and very informative.
Totally Honest Tax Tips for Writers (US) by Sandy Cathcart
Christina Berry — Author and editor, Christina offers her "apple pie" editing services to writers that want to take their fiction manuscripts to the next level. Highly recommended.
Donna Fleisher —Donna is a talented fiction-writer-turned-sports-editor (go figure!) with a wealth of information available on her site for writers, including a great fiction self-editing package.
Karen Ball —Writer and veteran editor Karen Ball has a wealth of writing tips, advice for editors-in-training and more fun stuff.
Funds For Writers— Hope Clark offers several free e-newsletters that include how-to advice, writing markets and more. Includes Funds For Writers, Small Markets & Writing Kid.
Sheri Radford: For Writers— Sheri (author of Penelope and the Humongous Burp and Penelope and the Monsters (The Penelope Series) shares some very funny thoughts on being a writer.


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