Tracy C. Gold


Free Virtual Event: The Basics of Writing Picture Books

Always wanted to write a picture book, but not sure where to start? Or maybe you’ve written a few and don’t know if they’re any good, or what to do with them now that you’ve written them.

Join me for a free class on “The Basics of Writing Picture Books” via the Orange County Library System on Tuesday March 9 at 6:30 to 7:30 pm EST. You don’t need to have a library card there to attend. Anyone can register at this link!

We’ll cover picture book writing basics, trends in the current picture book market, and what to do after you’ve written a book. Plus, we’ll do a fun creative writing exercise! Hope to virtually see you there!

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Print-at-Home Coloring Pages for “Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby”

Oh my goodness, the art for “Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby” is so darn cute, and now your kids can color some pages in themselves at home! (I mean, adults can too. It’s a super zen activity!) Adèle Dafflon‘s illustrations are so fun and baby-friendly, I’m thrilled to have them in this format!

To get the full-size pages to print at home, simply sign up for my email newsletter! I promise I don’t email too often; only when I have fun giveaways or big news! You’ll get a link to download the pages in a thank you email from me.

Meanwhile, here’s a sneak peak!

Thanks to Kapowza for the design help!

Since “Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby” is a great book for new babies and baby shower gifts, and babies don’t do much coloring, one fun way to use these coloring pages would be for an older sibling of the baby who is receiving this book.

Remember, I am donating a book to ShareBaby for every book that’s preordered before March 2! Simply email your receipt to tcgpreorders@gmail.com. More details here.



The Ivy Bookshop

Barnes and Noble

Workman Publishing

I will also donate a book if you request that your local library purchase a copy and let me know.

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Literary Agent Query Template and Favorite Query Writing Resources

I sent hundreds of queries over the years of my search for a literary agent, and I had a darn good request rate (about 40%, on some projects!). I also read thousands of queries as a literary agent intern. While I didn’t end up actually getting my agent from cold querying (full story here!), I’m a pretty dab hand at writing query letters and helping other writers improve their letters.

So, here is my favorite format for query letters. Caveat: there is no one right way to write a query to a literary agent. You have to do what makes your book sound amazing. This is just what worked for me, and what I loved when I was going through the slush pile as an intern.

I’ve also included a whole bunch of resources, including links to successful query letters, at the end of this post.

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28 of the Best Baby Shower Books that Go Beyond “Goodnight Moon”

Books are amazing baby shower gifts! In fact, for my baby shower, I asked everyone to bring a book instead of a card (many board books are the same price as a nice card!). I put lots of books on my baby shower registry and my daughter has a wonderful library. Giving books as (socially distanced) baby shower gifts is an even better idea due to Covid-19, as many parents don’t have the same access to the library as before.

Great baby shower gift book, "Everyone's Sleepy but the Baby"

Now that my daughter is a toddler, I have two picture books coming out in 2021, and one is a perfect new baby book! It’s called “Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby,” which, come on, is guaranteed to get a chuckle at a baby shower (in my unbiased opinion). However, unlike another personal favorite, “Go the F** to Sleep,” you can actually read it to your child. It came out in April, 2021.

But of course you need more than one book for a baby shower registry! Thus I’ve listed some of my favorite new baby gift books. My aim is to go beyond the classics everyone already knows about, like “Goodnight Moon,” because I got 4 copies of this when my baby was born! She’s enjoyed them all in different spaces in our house, but it’s nice to have variety.

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How to Gear Up Your Toddler for Staying Outside (For Covid-19 Safety)

My daughter has been going to a local preschool that has kept the kids almost completely outdoors due to Covid-19. She LOVES it! She’s been going since October and they’ve taken the whole class indoors for about one hour due to a rainy cold day. That’s it!

Friends have been asking me what I do to keep her warm. Her school sent us a supplies list but it wasn’t exactly easy to find things small enough for her (she’s 2.5 but even a lot of 2T stuff is too wide for her, so anything that came in generic “kids” sizes or that didn’t offer 2T/3T was a no-go). I did a lot of digging, and I’m here to share my list of my favorite outdoor gear for toddlers. I bought this all in somewhat too-big sizes hoping she’d grow into it. Even though it’s only been a couple months, it is already starting to fit her better.

For context, we are in Maryland, and the worst weather we’ve had so far has been windy, rainy, and about 40 degrees. I may add to the list as the weather gets even colder.

Some of these links are affiliate links, meaning I get a little money if you buy these products, which I will likely use to get my daughter more winter gear.

Rain Pants
It’s hard to stay warm when you’re soaking wet, thus my daughter’s school recommended rain pants. The best place I found for toddler rain pants was Oaki. They aren’t cheap, but I bought them in a size up so they’ll last. The tie-waistband makes sure they stay on and she has plenty of room to grow. I bought two pairs so one could live at school in case of sudden rain. She also frequently wears these to school when it’s not rainy, as wind protection.

Ava in her North Face raincoat
Ava in her North Face raincoat

Rain Jackets
My daughter has a ridiculous amount of rain jackets . . . four!! . . . but one stays at school just in case, and the others are frequently wet from being rained on, spilled on, or washed, so four has actually been the right number of rain jackets.
North Face
Land’s End (they have great sales so don’t buy full price!)

*Note that on any waterproof product, the waterproofing can wear off. You can extend their life by using a waterproofing spray. I would especially recommend this if you’re using hand-me-downs.

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Preorder “Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby” and I’ll Donate a Book

If you’re looking for a baby shower gift book or durable volume for a toddler to enjoy, Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby, is available for preorder! It comes out on April 13th, 2021. I definitely recommend preordering as it looks like the first print run may sell out quickly.

If you preorder a book and let me know, I will donate a book to ShareBabya Baltimore-based charity that gives baby items to families in need.

All you have to do is forward your preorder receipt to tcgpreorders@gmail.com and your preorder will be counted (or order through this Amazon affiliate link and I’ll know automatically). You should receive an automated response right away. I will also check the emails manually; if you preorder multiple copies, I will donate multiple copies.

The book is available for preorder most places where books can be bought. I might be signing books/dropping off stickers at the following local stores, but details are pending everywhere but The Children’s Bookstore, which has agreed to ship signed copies! Yay!

Signed Copies

The Children’s Bookstore, 4717 Harford Road in Lauraville (Baltimore, MD): preorder via this direct link for pickup or delivery. Write in the order comments who you want it signed for!

National Bookstores

Amazon: I am using an affiliate link to track sales here; your preorder will be AUTOMATICALLY counted with no need to send a receipt, but you still should so you can get the printable card about the donation I include in my auto response!


Barnes and Noble

Workman Publishing

Local Bookstores

The Ivy Bookshop, 5928 Falls Road, Baltimore, MD: preorder at this direct link for pickup or delivery

Greedy Reads, 1744 Aliceanna Street in Fells Point: preorder at this direct link for pickup or delivery

Greedy Reads, 320 West 29th Street in Remington: preorder at this direct link for pickup or delivery

Charm City Books, 782 Washington Blvd in Pigtown: preorder at this direct link for pickup or delivery (local delivery is free!)

 I will also donate a book if you request that your local library purchase a copy and let me know.

More details about the story behind this campaign here!

Praise for Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby

“My new favorite bedtime read, EVERYBODY’S SLEEPY BUT THE BABY has it all: pleasant rhyme and rhythm, cute illustrations, a plot every parent can relate to, and most important at bedtime, brevity! I smiled the whole way through.”
Amanda Rawson Hill, author of “You’ll Find Me”

“With the gentle, rhythmic cadence of classics like Goodnight Moon and fun art featuring frazzled parents, Everyone’s Sleepy but the Baby is perfect for the modern (sleepy) parent to lull their little one at bedtime.”
June Smalls, author of She Leads: The Elephant Matriarch

“It’s a scene familiar to any exhausted parent: everyone is drowsy, sleepy, ready to hit the hay—except the baby, who is wide awake! As the parents, the dog, and even the toys wind down for the night, the baby wants to play, scrub-a-dub, and coo. Gold’s gentle, rhythmic text and Dafflon’s bright and lively illustrations combine for a perfect bedtime read for sleepy parents and (eventually) sleepy babies. Bonus: it’s just the right length for that ‘one last bedtime story’ that sets the mood for sleep. I am looking forward to adding it to my go-to baby shower gift list.”
Kathy MacMillan, children’s librarian and author of Nita’s First Signs and Nita’s Day

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Poem in “Erase the Patriarchy!”

Erasure is a wonderfully cathartic literary form. Take an oppressive text, and just cut away the worst parts. Or highlight the worst parts so that all the mitigating fluff is cut away.

I’m thrilled to have a poem in the recently published “Erase the Patriarchy! An Anthology of Erasure Poetry” edited by Isobel O’Hare. My poem cuts away the lyrics of a Justin Timberlake song about a guy cat calling a girl until the girl’s voice shines through instead.

The poems featured in this beautiful book show many artistic and creative approaches to erasure poetry. I was wowed and inspired: feelings that are hard to come by given world events.

You can preorder the book on Amazon, below, or get it now directly from University of Hell Press.

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“Writing Your Novel” Class at Johns Hopkins Odyssey

Finally write that novel you’ve always been dreaming about, with support and guidance. I’m excited to teach “Writing Your Novel” via Johns Hopkins Odyssey on Monday nights starting 10/5. Odyssey is Hopkins’ continuing education program. Everyone can join in the class. We’ll do live discussions on Zoom every week and this will be a small, interactive group. I’m bummed it won’t be in person but the silver lining is you don’t have to be in Baltimore to join! We’ll cover different systems for plotting and outlining, what makes a good novel concept, and processes for drafting. If you keep up with the course schedule you’ll have a rough draft of most of a novel by the end (and you can also do NaNoWriMo alongside the course). Please spread the word if you know anyone who might be interested!

The link to register is here: https://aapnoncredit.jhu.edu/CourseStatus.awp?&course=21F91925301

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How Long it Takes to Traditionally Publish a Book

My editing clients often come to me saying they want to find a traditional publisher for their book and hope it will be published within a few months or a year. Buckle up, I tell them. If you want to publish a book quickly, in the vast majority of cases, self publishing is the way to go. (And most people’s self publishing timelines are far too ambitious, too.)

To educate those who have big dreams of getting a book published, here is a rough sketch of just how long it takes to get a traditional publishing deal (if you’re lucky), and then how long it takes for the book to be published after that. Of course, there are exceptions in both directions. Right now with Covid-19, I am hearing of launch dates getting pushed back left and right. Books can also be rushed, which is called “crashing,” if they are extremely timely (but this would likely not involve a first-time/not-famous author).

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How to Write a Good Edit Letter for a Book (Plus a Template!)

Critiquing an entire book can be daunting. I remember how nervous I was about the first full novel I ever critiqued. I wanted so badly to get to the heart of the novel and help the author figure out how to make it better. Even now that I am a full-time freelance editor who has worked with many published authors, I still look for ways to improve my edit letters so that they are inspiring, kind, honest, and thorough, but not overwhelming. 

Recently, I’ve seen a few people ask on social media about how to write better critiques. I’m not saying I have a magic formula figured out, but I write a lot of edit letters, and I’ve developed a template and system so that I am not reinventing the wheel each time I write a letter. Of course, I customize these as needed, especially when I work on a memoir or non-fiction book instead of fiction.

Why should you trust me? Well, for one, my clients say they love me. You can read testimonials and reviews from them on Reedsy. For another, many of my clients have been traditionally published, I have my Masters of Fine Arts, and I worked for literary agent Carrie Pestritto, who is now my agent. I am always open and learning, though, and would love to see your comments about how you approach edit letters!

So, here is how I approach writing edit letters for my editing clients. 

The Emotional Angle
Before I get into the nitty gritty, a note about the emotion of writing edit letters. My end goal is not to show off how good I am at critiquing someone (see: Guy in Your MFA). My end goal is to inspire an author to improve their work. It’s hard to be inspired when you’re crying, so I always endeavor to make my edit letters positive. I’m not going to go too deeply into the emotional element because this would get even longer, but I loved this post from Michelle Hazen on the topic. In the explanation of my process and template, I’ll briefly touch on the ways that I make sure I am being positive and thoughtful. 

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