RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 24 Kendra Marcus of BookStop Literary

Welcome to

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 24

Agent Kendra Marcus


   RPBM 15 Kendra


 Today’s guest blogger is my wonderful agent! Forgive me as I tell a short story about my journey in hopes that it may help someone out there…

I am so blessed to have met her last summer in Georgia at Kristen Fulton’s WOW Conference. The really scary thing is that I almost didn’t go to that conference. Money was tight and I had already paid for the LA SCBWI Conference, which was on my bucket list, and my husband needed convincing that this week-long conference was that important…

Thank goodness I went. I met all my closest writing friends face-to-face, I signed with Kendra and I almost sold a picture book that week. Can you imagine if I hadn’t gone? I probably would not be writing now. My point is, if you feel strongly that you must do something to further your career…do it if you can. Fortunately, I had the joy of calling my husband to tell him that I finally signed with an agent after 20 years of writing! I’ll never forget that moment, sitting by a lake, crying, and telling him that the stars aligned in Georgia. They really did!


This is the lodge where Kendra and I met.


This is Kendra’s session and we had not yet met, but I loved her already!


Angie Karcher, Darshana Khiani, Kristen Fulton and Karen Brueggeman


This is what I was wearing for a cookout/costume contest, with my fake campfire and all, when she tapped me on the shoulder and said, “You need an agent!” Can you imagine what that felt like? It was surreal and I said, “Yes, yes I do!” That was pretty much it. She liked my writing, liked me for being me and I liked her professionalism and fun, witty personality. It was a perfect match. I am blessed and, though my hand accident in LA was a setback, we are working hard to put my work out  into the universe for all to see! She is a wonderful person and completely dedicated to me. I know she represents many other very successful writers, but she makes me feel like I am the only one she represents…what a lady!

Please meet

Kendra Marcus.

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Bird with Feather


Tough Time Selling Rhyme


You would think that rhyming picture books would be snapped up by publishers.  Who doesn’t take delight in repeating Mother Goose and other rhymes over and over.  My grandmother at 90 years old easily recited all the rhymed ditties she’d learned in her childhood.  Rhymed verse sticks with us and its predictability is often helpful as a child learns to read.

So, why do we have a really tough time selling rhyme to publishers?  And why do so many publishers specifically say they do not want to see picture books in rhyme?  And why do we see so many rhyming picture books on the shelves in bookstores?

The answer is that it is a challenge to integrate rhyme into plot, setting and character–the basic building blocks of a picture book.   And, since rhyming picture books are some of the most difficult to craft, it is no wonder that publishers shy away from them.

Uninitiated writers ask, how difficult can it be to write a picture book. After all, they say, it’s only a five page manuscript and it wouldn’t take more than a few hours, at most, to whip out good story.

But, picture books, even without rhyme, are deceiving.  They need to catch the attention of a wiggly three to five year old without using many words.  It is, indeed, a challenge to develop convincing characters, distinct voices and plot in just a few pages.  In a rhyming picture book not only do you need to craft all of the fore mentioned items, but you have the added challenge of crafting them all in perfect rhyme, with rhythm, cadence and flow that scans perfectly.

Remember, not every picture book needs to be in rhyme.  Rhymes are good for the very young because they tend to be straightforward and easy to understand, without a lot of clauses and complicated sentences.

Some common pitfalls of rhyming picture books are mundane and overly predictable rhymes, meaningless and forced rhymes, and distorted sentence structure (to maintain the rhyme scheme).

Consider these examples:
He rushed to the bus in the nick of time
it was just taking off but stopped on a dime

(Did the bus really stop on a dime? Will a child understand this? Is this fact important to the story?) I suspect the writer was looking for a word that rhymed with time and figured out that he could add this irrelevant detail so the rhyme would work.

She was often the last to arrive at a show.
Did she know something that no one else did know?

(usually we would use the word knew but clearly, the writer needed a rhyme for show?)

We often see rhyming manuscripts that are heavy with descriptions that tend to slow the pace of the story.  Description is an easy crutch for the writer who is searching for the right rhyming word and has to wander off course to find it.

Imagine the mountains of manuscripts editors and agents face every day.  We are all looking to clear our desks so we can get to the real work.  If the first few rhyming stanzas of a manuscript are purely descriptive and filled with forced rhymes and distorted sentences, it is abundantly clear that the author hasn’t mastered his craft.  The easy solution for an editor is to dismiss such a manuscript quickly and get on with the next one.  But, you ask, what if it was basically a good story?  It may be a case where a good story was hidden by bad rhyme but an editor doesn’t have the time to wade through it all.  Don’t let this happen to your manuscript.

For solidly crafted rhyming books I urge you to study two of my favorites, GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT, CONSTRUCTION SITE by Sherri Duskey Rinker and THE THREE NINJA PIGS by Corey Rosen Schwartz.

A good rhyming book needs to conform to all the basic tenets of good picture book writing (plot, setting, character and voice) AND it needs to scan well with good meter, syllables and stress.  The rhythm, cadence and flow should enable a smooth and engaging read by whomever picks it up.

So, before you submit your rhyming manuscript to an editor, ask yourself if the rhyming really contributes to the storytelling and the reader’s experience of the book. Then listen to readings by a variety of readers.  If those readers stumble on your rhymes or word choices or meter …you still have some reworking to do!


There’s one thing you all need to know, if you’re going to write like a pro.
If the story is weak, not shiny and sleek, but the rhyme has spectacular glow,
it will be detected and quickly rejected because…





*Bookstop Literary Logo


About Kendra:

Kendra Marcus started BookStop Literary Agency in 1984 and since then the agency has grown to be one of the most well-known and well respected agencies for children’s book writers and illustrators.
Kendra gravitates toward quirky and funny picture books, fiction with unforgettable characters and stories that will bring her to tears. Unusual non-fiction, especially science presented in new ways and little gems of history are also her cup of tea. Stories with Hispanic or Latino characters are always welcome, and she is thrilled to find accomplished illustrators with a fresh style who can tell a strong story in pictures to accompany a text.

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Optional Writing Prompt: 23


This is NOT part of the pledge. It is an option for a writing exercise for those interested. You will not publically share this as part of RhyPiBoMo but may keep a journal of your writing this month for your own review.


Today’s writing prompt is to complete that rhyming picture book manuscript that you have been working on, apply all the tips you learned this month and submit it to a publisher or agent.  But, don’t send it until the story is clever, unique and has that magic, read-it-out-loud-ability! Don’t send it until the meter is perfect, the rhyme is brilliant and poetic techniques are obvious to the one reading it that they are intentional and effective!

I wish you the best of luck and please let us know, on the RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group, if you have a rhyming picture book or poetry book published!!

I can’t believe this month is over!

First of all…Thank you to all our Amazing Golden Quill Guest Bloggers!

Thanks to all of you who came everyday to read, learn and celebrate RPBs and Poetry with me!

Here is the badge of RhyPiBoMo Honor for participation and support of this event! You earned it! Please post it on your blog, your Facebook Page and anywhere you like.

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Graduate Badge

Isn’t this so adorable!!! Tanja Bauerle, you rock!



Watch this spectacular clip of fireworks in New York City to celebrate as this Ray Charles Version of America The Beautiful seems so fitting today as I announce the winners of the

Golden Quill Poetry Contest with a theme of Freedom!




Congratulations and thank you to all the winners

and all who submitted poems!

Also, a huge thanks to our

Golden Quill Poetry Contest Judges

Jackie Wellington, Dianna White and Iza Trapani!

You ladies are all so busy and I thank you for your help with this contest!

fireworks 3Golden Quill Poetry Contest Winners


 The 1st Place winner of  a manuscript critique

by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen is

Ann MaGee



by Ann Magee


In the whisper of hummingbird wings

Where lanterns beam and dreams soar

She trusts the star and all it brings.

In the whisper of hummingbird wings

Listen and dream as the stream sings

A promise of something more . . .

In the whisper of hummingbird wings

Where lanterns beam and dreams soar.



2nd place winner of a scholarship for Non-Fiction Archeology by Kristen Fulton is

Darlene Ivy


Breakout Poem

by Darlene Ivy


Laces loosened. One boot. Two.

Wedging, wrestling. Off with you!

Thick knit socks! You’re next to go.

Bunched up blobs – two balls to throw.

Giggling, wriggling winter toes

sunning . . . drumming. There she goes.

Spinning, splashing, splattering,

barefoot girl’s first dance of spring.

3rd place winner of a scholarship for Pacing Picture Books to WOW! Class by agent Jodell Sadler is

Sherri Rivers


by Sherri Rivers


The clanging door is quickly clicked in place.

She knows the drill, still hates this locked-up space.

Inside the confines, whimpers, whines, and wails—

The scratch, scratch, scratch of dirty doggy nails.

The hours drag inside her lonely tomb.

She’s trapped behind the bars of dreaded doom.

But, then, a hand unlocks the leaden latch.

Two happy yelps—“You throw the ball, I’ll catch.”

Congratulations to our Honor Poem winners in no particular order!



by Rebcca Colby


Destitute, she lives alone,

forced to make it on her own.

Works two jobs to pay the rent,

for years on end until she’s spent.

Tired and grey, ill health, bad knee,

but can’t retire at seventy.

Trapped and strapped to constant strife;

she freed herself…she took her life.




by Stephanie Salkin


Oh for Oz, where wrongs are righted,

hurts are healed, blind are sighted,

justice lives, kindness thrives,

people lead enlightened lives.

Oh for Oz, no tyrants here,

no witches spreading hate and fear.

Oh for Oz, where wizardry

may grant me freedom—to be me!




by Karen Affholter


Will this wedding ever end?

This dress is just the WORST!

It’s itchy, scratchy and too tight.

The seams are bound to burst!

Can’t we get these “I-do’s” done?

I need this dress off, FAST!

The bride and groom best close their eyes ….

Aaaaaaaaaaah! Freedom, at last.




by Natalee Creech


On a fine china dish beside lemon and fish

Sat a succulent portion of peas.

Lightly buttered and salted, then highly exalted,

One orb felt a sense of unease.

Shouting, “There shall be freedom for those in my pea-dom!”

He plunged to the floor down below.

Did our plump little friend meet a fortunate end?

The dog came… regrettably, no.



Free as can Bee Poem

by Maria Oka


Holding fast to balloon strings, I jump, then I fly.

I tip-toe ‘cross clouds, and I soar through the sky.

I swing from the strings while I wave at a car.

The passengers gawk like I’m something bizarre.

Then trouble comes at me in thousands of bees,

Their stingers are out, but I hide in the trees.

I flutter away, floating low over town.

I’m free, yes I’m FREE! And I’ll never come….{POP!}




 Congratulations to Week 5 Prize Winners

Monday      Copy of WRITING RHYMING PICTURE BOOKS Donated by Laura Purdie Salas and Lisa Bullard

Winner: Judy Rubin


Tuesday      Copy of GOODNIGHT GOODNIGHT CONSTRUCTION SITE and Game Donated by Sherri D. Rinker

Winner: Annie Bailey


Wednesday Copy of

STEAM TRAIN, DREAM TRAIN and Puzzle Donated by Sherri D. Rinker

Winner: Sarah Haroff


Thursday    Manuscript Critique by Kristen Fulton

Winner: Val McCammon


Winners, PLEASE message me your information on Facebook

or email it to Angiekarcherrpbm@gmail.com



Don’t Miss the

Friday Night BIG Finale Rhyming Party!

RhyPiBoMo 2015 Rhyming Party



Diverse Books Logo

The amount donated to We Need Diverse Books from the Barnes and Noble BookFair for will be available soon so watch on Facebook for the amount. Thank you for all the support for this wonderful organization!





Watch the



Here on Youtube!

Please share this link!


We are pleased to announce the

RhyPiBoMo 2015

Best in Rhyme Award Committee!

Rhyme Award Best In Rhyme

Thank you Tanja Bauerle for your beautiful award designs!

This committee of dedicated RhyPiBoMo members is busy reading, reviewing and nominating the best rhyming picture books and poetry books of 2015. Only members of the RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group may nominate books to the committee for consideration. There will be much more information coming soon with specific guidelines and voting requirements!


Thank you to the 15 members of this committee!

Dawn Young – Co-chair

Mandy Yates – Co-chair

Deirdre Sheridan Englehart – Co-chair

Kenda Henthorn – Co-chair

Danna York

Annie Bailey

Patricia Toht

Gayle C. Krause

Deb Williams

Corey Rosen Schwartz

Darlene Ivy

Lori Degman

Suzy Leopold

Angie Karcher – Founder

Tanja Bauerle – Illustrator


Angie will soon be blogging about some of the best rhyming picture books and poetry books we come across, so please contact her if you want your book to be highlighted.





Writing in Rhyme to WOW! class logo

ONLY 1 spot left!

The $99.00 discounted price ends Thursday.

Do you enjoy writing rhyming picture books?

Do you find rhyme challenging?

Do you want to pep up your prose with poetic techniques?

Then this is the class for you!


Writing in Rhyme to WOW! is a 4 week course,

M-F with daily lessons, writing prompts, rhyme journaling, creating tools you will use, group poetry readings, webinars and critique groups, and a one-on-one webinar critique with Angie.

Each class begins on the first Monday of the month and the weekly group webinars are on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, (Chicago Time) or at a time that best suits the group due to time zones of those involved.

I am beginning to sign people up for June and July!

If you register now for June or July, I will give you the $99.00 price!

Contact Angie with questions.

Sign up now before the classes are full!

Click here for more information!




Need a Rhyming Picture Book Critique?

Angie offers

rhyming picture book and poetry manuscript critiques.

A One Time critique is ($25.00) or a Twice Look critique is ($35.00)

See the tab above or click here for more information.



RhyPiBoMo Gift Shop is Open!

Cafepress notebook


Please stop by and see what’s available this year. There are notebooks, mugs, buttons and more. All proceeds will go to WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS!

Thank you Tanja Bauerle for these gorgeous images!!!



Official RhyPiBoMo 2015 Registration ended on April 8th.

If you are not officially registered you will not be able to participate in the Golden Quill Poetry Contest, in Rhyming Critique Groups or will not be eligible for daily prizes.

To see if you registered in time go to the Master Registration List on the drop down menu under the RhyPiBoMo Blog tab above.

*RhyPiBoMo 2015 Pledge

YouPlease comment below. You MUST add your FIRST and LAST names

You to be eligible for today’s prize!


45 thoughts on “RhyPiBoMo 2015 Day 24 Kendra Marcus of BookStop Literary

  1. Excellent advice from Kendra and congratulations to all the winners! I enjoyed reading all the poems, and it’s been an awesome month, so thank you very much, Angie! I look forward to RhyPiBoMo 2016!

  2. Pat Haapaniemi:
    Great advice, Kendra – thanks! Congratulations to all the winners. And finally, Angie, thanks so much for the terrific month!

  3. Thank you, Kendra, for sharing what “a good rhyming book needs.”
    Congratulations to all the Golden Quill Poetry Contest Winners!
    I really enjoyed reading Breakout Poem by Darlene Ivy.
    Angie, thanks for a great month of rhyming fun. I look forward to June’s class.
    – Manju Howard

  4. Kendra,

    Wonderful post chocked full of useful advice. I can completely understand why you and Angie connected. Thanks so much for taking the time to share great information to us.

  5. Thank you for wrapping up the month, Kendra. I can’t believe it’s over. Wow, time flew! Congratulations to all the winners, too. Your poems were terrific — funny and moving and sweet and masterfully crafted.
    I will miss seeing everyone in the comment section and on Facebook each day. Rhyme on rhymers!

  6. Awesome post! Wonderful examples of how to and how not to rhyme. And congratulations to all the winners! I’m honored to be an honor.

  7. Thanks for the rhyming advice, Kendra. Congratulations to the Golden Quill winners! Thank you, Angie, and peeps Dawn & Tanja for your time, creativity, effort, and passion. RhyPiBoMo rocks! Carrie Charley Brown

  8. Ginger Weddle- Kendra, Thank you for the great advice! Angie, Thank you for running RhyPIBoMo! I have learned a lot and mined my memory for much more! I needed this. Thank you!

  9. This month flew by in a flurry of meter and rhyme! Thank you so much for all the coordination, inspiration and dedication, Angie! And congrats to all the winners.
    –Katey Howes

  10. Aimee Haburjak
    Great advice Kendra and loved your ending!
    Thanks for sharing your story Angie:)
    And a bigger thank you for your time and amazing creation!

  11. Brenda Huante
    Thank you, Kendra, for your great advice. Thank you, Angie, for all the work you put into this.

  12. Natasha Garnett
    Thanks, Kendra. I am trying to put in everything a good rhyming picture book needs. Not easy but I do enjoy the process.

  13. Vicki Wilke
    This is a wonderful and concise description of how to revise and check your rhyme! Thank you to all the authors involved in this month. I learned so much!

  14. A great post to end a great month. Thank you Angie for all your hard work! And thank you Sherri– I’m so excited to be a winner this week!

  15. Kristi Veitenheimer — What great advice that I seem to need to hear over and over — story first! I found this especially helpful:

    “We often see rhyming manuscripts that are heavy with descriptions that tend to slow the pace of the story. Description is an easy crutch for the writer who is searching for the right rhyming word and has to wander off course to find it……. If the first few rhyming stanzas of a manuscript are purely descriptive and filled with forced rhymes and distorted sentences, it is abundantly clear that the author hasn’t mastered his craft.”

    Thanks, Kendra, for a very helpful post! And Angie, thanks for a fantastic month!

  16. Lynn Alpert – This is something I have to tell myself over and over when I’m writing – thanks for the reminder! Congrats to the Golden Quill Poetry Contest winners!

  17. Mary Warth
    Thanks Angie and. Kendra for your story! It’s a great inspiration. I’ve had a terrific month following all the creative posts.

  18. Rita Allmon– Thanks, Kendra, for sharing your wisdom about rhyming picture books. I will work on writing that shining and sleek story first… then rhyme! Thanks, Angie, for this great month of fellowship and information. I’m happy for you that the lights didn’t go out in Georgia but instead the stars chose to align and shine on you so you and Kendra could meet… and in turn allowing us to glean some insight from her as well.

  19. Appreciations from Jan Annino to Angie Karcher & Kendra Marcus.
    Thanks for shaing Kendra with us, Angie. And Kendra, appreciations for your end poem & insider tips.

    The Freedom poems are vaired in topics & form. All worth returning for a reread.

    Luv seeing judges I know in this list. And luv every day of the month of good poetry madness!
    Many many many thanks, Angie.

    Brava to all the winnahs – which means ever’body, because we read a children’s poem a day & a children’s rhyming book a day.
    I know I wouldn’t have done that in bizee April without the boost from AK.

  20. WOW! What a wonderful month 🙂 Thank you, Kendra, for sharing your wisdom and tips about rhyme. A huge thank you to Angie, the team, and all the inspiring blog guests. Congratulations to the winners of RhyPiBoMo 2015!!

  21. Joanne Sher SO appreciated this post 🙂 And a HUGE congrats to the Golden Quill Winners (especially Ann Magee, who I met through a rhyming crit group here LAST year!). Fabulous month, Angie – thanks a TON!

  22. Congratulations to everyone, the week five winners and the poetry winners. Hard to believe that this enjoyable month is over. Maria

  23. Ann Magee Well, all I can say is WOW! Thanks so much for the honor of first place in your contest, Angie! I enjoyed the challenge very much. congrats to all the participants for putting your pen to paper. Thanks, Kendra, for your important message about story, even in rhyming books. It was a pleasure meeting you at the WOW retreat and I look forward to seeing you again in July. Amazing April, Angie! (. . . see what I did there?) 🙂

  24. What a great final post. I can’t thank you enough, Angie for all the work you put into this for us. Angie and Kendra will you be going to the WOW retreat this year? I will…hope to see you there!!!

  25. Thank you for the advice, Kendra Marcus. Angie, thank you so much this event. I cannot imagine how much time and work went into coordinating all the blog posts, prizes, rhyming parties, etc. The month was informative, entertaining, and productive!

  26. Melanie Ellsworth

    Angie, it was fun to read your inspiring tale of meeting Kendra! Kendra – I enjoyed your post about rhyme and am glad that you have faith that there’s room for good rhyme out there. Tanja – thank you for your illustrations for RhyPiBoMo. Congratulations to all the poetry contest winners! It has been great fun to be part of RhyPiBoMo again.

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