Lindsay Ward has a BFA in Illustration from Syracuse University. Her most recent books include It's Show and Tell, Dexter!, Don't Forget Dexter (Two Lions, 2018), and Brobarians (Two Lions, 2017). She is also the author of The Importance of Being 3 (Dial, 2016), Rosco vs. the Baby (S&S, 2016), Henry Finds His Word (Dial, 2015), When Blue Met Egg (Dial, 2012), and Please Bring Balloons (Dial, 2013), which was produced into a play by the New York City Children's Theater in 2017. Her work has been reviewed in Kirkus Reviews, Publisher's Weekly, The Plain Dealer, and the New York Times. Lindsay lives in Peninsula, Ohio, just south of Cleveland, in the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley National Park, with her husband, author Frank Tupta, two sons, and dog. Most days you can find her sketching and writing in her studio, editing manuscripts for Critter Lit, or working on new designs for her stationery company, Foreword Press + Design.
Sounds good, right? My publishing career in a few sentences, gives you only what you need to know. But everyone's story is always more complicated. What my bio doesn't say is what it actually took to get published. How I decided at seventeen to move across country from California to New York to study illustration. How I bounced around from New York City to Boston for a couple years, hoping to find the right fit. How I sent postcards of my illustration work for almost three years, every three months, until someone took a chance on me. How I struggled to make ends meet while I was trying to get my first illustration job. Or how hard it was to pursue a dream that most people thought was impossible. The road to publication is different for everyone. There is no formula. I wish I could say, "do this, this, and this," and you'll be published. But unfortunately it doesn't work that way. So that leaves me with the one thing I can offer you: my experience and advice.
Because having the best job in the world is tough. And it takes a village and a massive amount of creative energy.
Thus Critter Lit. A place where you can get FREE one-time critiques. Where you won't feel as if you have been sent to the Waiting Place for an undetermined amount of time. A place where you can get real advice from a practicing author and illustrator: me.
So, what does this all mean exactly?
Well, for starters it's time to give back. There are so many up-and-coming writers and illustrators who need a chance to tell their stories. But unfortunately publishing has become more and more competitive, to the point where it's nearly impossible to break-in. Critiques are expensive. Conferences even more so. And getting your work in front of an agent or editor seems unattainable.
So here's a crazy thought...FREE critiques from someone in the business.
I want to help you shape the books of tomorrow in hopes that they will make a difference for the next generation of readers.
I wish all of my time were up for grabs, but unfortunately it's not. I have a family, responsibilities, and my own creative projects to develop, just like all of you. So here's my promise: all first-time manuscript and illustration critiques are FREE. Second manuscripts or passes and dummy critiques are available for an additional fee. There's no obligation. If my advice or suggestions helped you, great! Come back and maybe we can work on something else together. If not, hopefully you gained something out of the experience to take with you along your creative journey.
What can you expect from a Critter Lit critique? Each manuscript or illustration critique will offer honest, constructive feedback. My goal is to help you make your book better. I'm not going to placate you and say that your book is perfect as is. Because that's probably not the case. You wouldn't be sending me your work if you thought it was ready to submit, right? If you're looking for someone to go easy on your work, then I'm probably not the right fit. I want to help you become a better writer and/or illustrator, which takes a lot of hard work, and a heavy-handed red pen. I'll offer my insight as both a children's book author/illustrator and as a previous bookseller who's well acquainted with the market. Execution and marketability are equally important to making it in this industry. My notes will always address both.
For manuscripts critiques, I'll give OVERALL NOTES, that generalize my initial thoughts, reactions, and concerns to your submission. In addition to this, you'll receive a marked up version of your manuscript with my LINE BY LINE notes. All marked-up manuscripts will be sent back as Word documents.
For illustration critiques, you'll receive OVERALL NOTES as described above. I'll also focus on composition, style, execution, balance of words and art, and how your illustration works together as a whole.
For dummy critiques, you'll receive a combination of the what I do for both manuscript and illustration critiques, as outlined above. Page by page notes, in the form of comments, will be provided in an attached PDF of your picture book dummy.
Your work gets published! Whether you choose to traditionally publish, self-publish, or create an amazing app, I want to help you make your story the best it can be. Many, many people helped me on my road to publication, and for them I will forever be grateful. People who donated their time and advice without question. Because that's the best thing about the Kid Lit Community, we support one another.
So here's my chance to support you.