Ink Smith Publishing & Native Ink Press are proud to announce the addition to our editorial team, Monica! Monica will be acting as the Creative Editorial Intern for Native Ink Press!
Our Children’s Editor Intern has just been promoted! Angela Johnson is now Native Ink Press’ Children’s Acquisitions Editor. Her amazing work ethic and incredible background has astounded us, and we are so honored that she has chosen to work with us in the effort to bring more wonderful children’s books to the Native Ink Press catalog!
Angela Johnson, Children’s Acquisitions Editor – Native Ink Press
Angela is an educator, editor, writer, and poet. She received her Masters of Fine Arts and Masters of Science in Education in New York City where she worked as an elementary school teacher. Her classroom was always filled with literature and she learned earlier on in her tenure that she wanted to edit/write children’s books. Angela has been an editor for two years and currently works as a freelance writer and poet.
Native Ink Press: Where do you do most of your writing? What is your process like?
Michele McAvoy: Anywhere where I can hide from my family. Seriously, I have two small children and a husband who all want attention, so I sneak away to write. I will write early in the morning (for an hour or less) before I sign onto my law job and the same at night when all are asleep (and I should probably be sleeping, too). During those times not only do I write, but I also market my published books and keep myself in the loop of the industry (ie: get caught up on Twitter, a virtual playground for children’s book authors).
Native Ink Press: How did you come up with the idea of this book? How long did it take you to write?
Michele McAvoy: The Gorilla Picked Me! is based on a true story from when I was a little girl. As a Girl Scout Brownie, I attended a daddy-daughter dance. When I was little, I was chubby and felt like I didn’t stand out in a positive way like my friends who were tall and skinny. During the dance, my daddy stepped away and a dancing gorilla appeared. The gorilla picked me up and danced with me. It wasn’t until my 30’s, years after my father had passed away, did I think that it was possibly him in that gorilla suit. Simple moments can define a person and I love that my father’s love gave me this special moment. He is no longer here for me to ask if it was, in fact, him in that gorilla suit. It’s his forever secret, and I love that too.
The Gorilla Picked Me! has gone through many (many!) revisions. The first draft came pretty easily and closely resembles the final story. But there were many revisions in between as I tried to navigate the opinions of publishers who don’t prefer rhyme, and as I perfected the rhyme and meter to stand out on a professional level.
Native Ink Press: Who are your favorite authors/books? Why?
Michele McAvoy: I love Andrea Beatty and her children’s picture book, Rosie Revere Engineer. Ms. Beatty is an inspiration for writing in rhyme and I love the message of Rosie Revere, that little girls can do anything they put their minds to and to never let others steer you away from your passion. Be yourself!
I also love picture books illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. A personal favorite of mine (and my 5-year-old daughter’s) is I’m Bored written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. This funny picture book pegs how little kids think and get frustrated and Ms. Ohi’s illustrations are fun and full of positivity.
Finally, I love Dav Pilkey, the genius behind The Adventures of Captain Underpants. Mr. Pilkey came to my rescue in my struggle to encourage my son (now 8 years old) to read. His fabulously flawed mischievous characters, George and Harold, kept my son’s interest and got me through First and Second Grade reading logs. Mr. Pilkey’s unhindered imagination and attention to what kids like (not grown-ups) is an inspiration for all those writing for children.
On a more mature level, I love Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (at this point it’s become so mainstream I’m afraid it’s a cliché.) But, I’m a romantic and complicated like Elizabeth Bennet, so Mr. Darcy gets me every time!
About the Author
Michele McAvoy is a children’s book author, an attorney and a mother of two young children. Michele’s love of books began as a young girl excited to order Troll books at school (that Troll traveling bookstore was the best!) As a child, she loved taking trips to the Barnes & Noble in the Village of NYC to buy Judy Blume when visiting with her grandmother. Michele always enjoyed the quiet creativity that came along with reading and writing. She now finds peace in her often-hectic days when she’s writing. Michele’s debut picture book “My Superhero Grandpa” is the recipient of a 2016 Children’s Moonbeam Book Award. She is excited about the release of her newest picture book “The Gorilla Picked Me!” coming in 2018. Michele graduated cum laude from both New York University and Brooklyn Law School and considers herself a “cool nerd.” She currently lives in the suburbs of New Jersey and embraces her “joisey” accent (it’s a losing battle otherwise).
Michele’s book The Gorilla Picked Me! is available for pre-order on our website, Native Ink Press and Ink Smith Publishing. The pre-order sale includes a hardcover, author signed edition! You can pre-order your copy here.
Michele McAvoy is a children’s book author from New Jersey. As a child, she read Judy Blume and drew Garfield comics. For her 10th birthday, she asked for a pink typewriter. Michele always loved the smell of new books. Now all grown-up (typewriters near obsolete) she loves bringing joy to children through her own books. The Gorilla Picked Me! is based on a true story from her childhood. Michele’s debut children’s book My Superhero Grandpa is the recipient of a Children’s Moonbeam Book Award.
BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR:
The Gorilla Picked Me!
In honor of National Gorilla Suit Day, we are happy to announce Michele McAvoy‘s newest children’s book, The Gorilla Picked Me! coming March 2018! Beautifully illustrated by the talented Valentina Carboni The Gorilla Picked Me! is a fun and sentimental story about little Olive’s single defining moment when she realizes, no little girl is plain! Pre-orders open today exclusively on Native Ink Press! What’s better than a pre-order sale? A pre-order sale that gets you an autographed hardcover edition!
Angela Johnson, Children’s Editor Intern – Native Ink Press
Angela is an educator, editor, writer, and poet. She received her Masters of Fine Arts and Masters of Science in Education in New York City where she worked as an elementary school teacher. Her classroom was always filled with literature and she learned earlier on in her tenure that she wanted to edit/write children’s books. Angela has been an editor for two years, and currently works as a freelance writer and poet.
It’s that time of year again! Ink Smith Publishing has opened submissions for 2017! Genres accepted can be found on our website: www.ink-smith.com/submissions. We love fantasy, so if you do not see your specific fictional genre listed, we encourage you to submit to us anyway. There are so many fiction genres (particularly hyper-specific genres) that we cannot list them all.
But, please note, we do not accept non-fiction or children’s (12 years and under) titles at Ink Smith. For non-fiction/children’s titles please submit to Native Ink Press. Guidelines and requirements apply to Native Ink Press as well.
Submissions will be accepted January 1 – July 30 each year, with a closed reading period beginning August 1.
- Novellas must be 30,000 to 50,000 words and novels must be at least 50,000+ words.
- No fan fiction.
- No short stories.
- Manuscripts must be polished. No first drafts or incomplete manuscripts.
- Manuscripts that you submit cannot be previously self-published.
- No attachments in the email.
- No manuscripts on first query. *We will request your manuscript if we are interested in moving forward.*
- No non-fiction titles.
- No children’s books aimed at ages 12 and under.
- No submissions from outside the U.S./Canada at this time.
Submit Your Book Query
Please follow ALL guidelines below. Submissions not meeting submission guidelines are automatically rejected regardless of the quality of the work submitted.
- Title Your email: Query, Your Last Name, Title of Your Book
- Cover letter: Tell us about yourself. Please include current address, as we use this to verify that you are currently residing in the U.S. or Canada.
- Story information: Genre, Word Count, etc.
- Synopsis: no longer than 1 page, please.
- Your marketing plan! In the event we move forward with your manuscript for publication, please note that we expect our authors to be active in the marketing of their titles alongside our efforts. Your ideas, opinions and comfort level with marketing tools are essential for us to develop a marketing plan that works for you and your book.
- The first three chapters of your story copied and pasted into the body of the email. (NO ATTACHMENTS)
- Send your query to firstname.lastname@example.org!
As a final reminder: NOT FOLLOWING GUIDELINES WILL RESULT IN AUTOMATIC REJECTION.
When I was first starting out as a writer, people constantly told me to “write what you know.” That makes a lot of sense. Writing what you know gives your story a solid basis in reality, accurate reality.
What do I mean by accurate reality? You can create any reality you want as a writer. A world where dogs live on the moon, where people are born with hands as their ears–any world you want. But it has to make sense, it has to be believable. Connection to the reader matters.
One of the reasons people love books, is the idea that it represents someone or something they can connect with in addition to reading for enjoyment. Even though your manuscript falls into the fiction category, it doesn’t mean the entire book is made up. Relationships, people, emotions: they are based in reality.
I came across this conundrum during a class in my master’s program at Lindenwood University. We read the book, Rose Metal Press Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers and Writers in the field. It talked about truths and making sure that when you are writing about certain types of people that you get them accurate. (A great source for writers – in addition to the Writing Flash Non-Fiction edition as well!)
If you aren’t someone who is intimate with the particular group of people you are writing about, than you need to be careful about writing about them. You don’t want to misrepresent their culture just because you felt like writing about them one morning. This goes for any group or culture–misrepresentation does two things: offends the group you are misrepresenting and provides inaccurate information to people who are not familiar with said group/culture.
The basis of belief for Quakers, is that God exists in every person, and therefore should be treated in accordance with that belief. LGBTQ have their own slang, different parts of the U.S. have different accents, it is impolite in some countries to wear your shoes into the house–these facts may seem inconsequential to someone who is on the outside of these groups, but is essential in the representation of the culture.
So, if you are looking to write about the Aboriginals – do your research, make sure you understand their way of life. If you can, submerge yourself in the culture, talk to some of the people. Experience is the strongest learning tool.
Make sure you understand them and their way of life before you write. In essence, the notion of “write what you know” is 100 percent accurate. You may want to write something new, but make sure you do the research and write the truth!
Happy writing, and happier researching!
Whether you are submitting a poem to a literary magazine, a memoir to an independent publisher or a fantasy manuscript to one of the big five – you MUST make sure you follow all of the submission requirements. This also includes submitting your piece during the time the company is accepting submissions. Some companies, Ink Smith Publishing included, occasionally close submissions for a certain time frame each year to catch up on reading through submissions. Others, like our sister company, Native Ink Press, have rolling submissions, meaning they accept submissions year round.
But remember: Follow the guidelines.
As we sift through the submissions we receive the first thing we note is who followed directions. We do this for multiple reasons; the most obvious is: did this author take the time to read, research and decide upon our publishing company? Not following the submission guidelines, which are normally pretty simple, and for the most part universal amongst publishing companies, is indicative that the author may be either blindly submitting to every available publishing company, or that they do not pay attention to details. Two things that suggest the author is less serious about their handwork than they should be.
The second reason, is because we want to know how an author responds to direction. Each author/publisher/editor relationship is different. You will see authors working with different editors on different kinds of books, different publishers on different genres, etc. When in the editing process, editors will provide feedback, critiques and suggestions on things that may work better for the piece in question. The purpose of the editing process is to make a great idea even better – a project that both the editor and the author are invested in. Without an author who is receptive to change, suggestions and edits, that task is not one that will be possible to complete, at least not easily!
Finally, there are a lot of submissions. There are a lot of authors with great books, and a limited amount of books we can publish per year. If it comes down to two books, one where the author followed the directions perfectly and one who did not; the decision is easy.
Keep in mind, Ink Smith Publishing discards any submissions that do not follow the guidelines – no matter how good the book is, and no matter who the author is. We firmly believe that an author who is serious about their book, about their careers, and about publishing with us specifically – will make sure to follow the guidelines. If you are interested in submitting to Ink Smith Publishing, or Native Ink Press, please make sure to do the following:
1. Review the kind of content we publish
2. Make sure your content fits in
3. Make sure submissions are OPEN
4. Review and follow the guidelines
5. Give us your best!
For more information about Ink Smith Publishing and our submission guidelines visit www.ink-smith.com/submissions. You can also visit www.nativeinkpress.com to learn more about Native Ink Press’ submission guidelines.
Native Ink Press, an imprint of Ink Smith Publishing of Monrovia, California has just published a fascinating memoir about the storied high-end power caterer, Ridgewell’s, and the three generations of the family that founded and nurtured it through the Depression years, the Second World War, the era of Watergate and Vietnam and into the modern era of ‘inside the beltway’ Washington of today. The story, as told to the author by Bruce Ellis the grandson of the founders, begins with his granddad “Charlie” Ridgewell’s departure from the Isle of Wight, the tiny island athwart the English Channel in the very early years of the twentieth century who, nearly penniless, found a job with the British ambassador’s staff at their embassy in Washington as a ‘valet’. It was through this connection that he met his future bride, Marguerite Cuvillier