February Guest Guru: Editor/Author Adam Blackman

This month, we are pleased to introduce Adam Blackman, who will be the Rate Your Story February Guest Guru. This means he will read, rate and give feedback on submissions from 4 lucky RYS Members. But since Cardinal Rule Press is currently open until February 1st, this Interview will provide insight into Adam for all who can make that deadline. See more here: https://cardinalrulepress.com/submissions/

What do you LOVE about children’s books?

The same thing I love about all books - to be edified, encouraged, tickled, and tested.

What brought you to children’s books?


Name something you loved / enjoyed as a child?

I used to set up all my action figures in a basement-spanning tableau.

What do you look for in a project to make it a favorite, or if you are an Editor or Agent, to add a writer to your list?

The most annoying, but in my case true, answer: I know it when I see it. Seriously, I want to be moved. That doesn’t mean I need big heavy weighty issues. Sometimes it means being moved to laugh! And I can be moved by language, by a particular character’s arc, by a perspective I’d never considered before or a familiar topic rendered in a delightfully surprising way.

Share a book you simply had to acquire.

This Could Be You by Cindy Williams Schrauben jumped off my screen. The language and rhyme scheme were so fresh I thought yes right away.

What is a common issue with the submissions you receive?

I see a lot of 4th drafts, when I want to see final drafts. Specifically, that means a lot of stories where the conflict isn’t pushed far enough or the resolution comes too easily with “and then Jenny (or Marco or Tristan) knew just what to do!”

Our Rate Your Story 2022 Word of the Year is Professionalism. In terms of becoming a writer, what does this word mean to you?

Putting your best draft forward.

Please share a Submission tip with our Members.

Make your cover letters spare and your manuscripts fully rendered.

Please share a Revision Tip for our Members.

Don’t give names to characters if they don’t need them.

Name subjects you would like to see in your in-box.

Characters with disabilities and stories that include economic disparity. If you can tell these with humor, then that’s a winning combination.

Name subjects you would not like to see in your in-box.

Well, anything that doesn’t meet CRP’s guidelines.

Share a fun fact about YOU!

In college, I dressed up in a polar bear suit (school mascot) over alumni weekend.

Also is there anything in particular you want or don't want to give rating and

feedback on?

Picture books only please!

BIO: Adam Blackman is Acquisitions Editor of Cardinal Rule Press and nonprofit management professional of over 15 years. As a writer, educator, and father, he loves picture books of all stripes (and spots) and is eager to find stories that will help children grow into kind, empathetic adults.

Social media Twitter @Adamdblackman