Interview by Lynne Marie
Every month eight Rate Your Story Members get an opportunity to get a rating and feedback from an Industry Professional. Last month, Adam Blackman, of Cardinal Rule Press was Guest Guru, and this month, we are pleased to have Helen H. Wu as our Guest Guru. In that Helen is often open to submissions, non-Members can also benefit from this Interview!
And now, let's get to know Helen!
What do you LOVE about children’s books?
Children’s books have the potential to pass on the joy from generation to generation. Children’s books are one of the channels that children can learn about the world when they snuggle on the laps of parents and grandparents. It’s a magical format that I feel can perfectly encapsulate a feeling, a moment, a subject, a place and time. As an art lover, I also find it’s very entertaining and soothing to simply enjoy the artwork of children’s books.
What brought you to children’s books?
I was first introduced to the world of picture books by Jimmy Liao’s books, when I was in college. I’ve been passionate about writing and drawing since I was a kid; however, I never thought it would be a career option when I grew up in China. My parents were very supportive, but we didn’t have typical picture books when I grew up. We had black and white comic books and only in the last two decades, picture books were introduced into China. The Chinese children’s book market started much later than other markets around the world.
Name something you loved / enjoyed as a child?
I loved watching animated movies adapted from classic Chinese tales. My favorites include The Monkey King, Lotus Lantern, Journey to the West, to name a few.
What do you look for in a project to make it a favorite, or, to add a writer to your list?
Yeehoo Press publishes picture books in the US and China, in English and simplified Chinese, respectively. Starting with the US and Chinese markets, our goal is to find common ground between different countries and cultures and provide books with universal interest and appeal for readers worldwide. We are drawn to projects with kids relatable topics, universal messages, educational purposes, and multiple hooks.
Share a story that you love and why, or, a book you simply had to acquire.
I’d like to share one of our many wonderful new books, The School of Failure: A Story About Success by Rosie J. Pova, illustrated by Monika Filipina. It provides a reassuring, empowering perspective on mistakes and perseverance. The humorous tone reminds kid readers to take their mistakes in stride. It has timeless appeal of a school setting, one that welcomes self-discovery, gives space to explore different interests, and models failure as a part of success.
What is a common issue with the submissions you receive?
Some submissions didn’t follow the submissions guideline. We prefer query or cover letter pasted in the body of email with the manuscript sent as attachment. If it’s an art submission, we’d like to see a link to an online portfolio, instead of separate images as attachment. If the submission includes a dummy, a formatted PDF instead of an online gallery of separated images will be much easier for us to present to our team.
Our Rate Your Story 2022 Word of the Year is Professionalism. In terms of becoming a writer, what does this word mean to you?
Do research and follow the submission guidelines.
Please share a Submission tip with our Members.
Do your research. Before submitting a manuscript, please review the publisher’s catalog or the agent’s website and get a sense of what they’re looking for.
Please share a Revision Tip for our Members.
An essential part of any submission letter or query letter is the pitch. Writing a great pitch can be an effective way to outline your story and help summarize its core message.
Name subjects you would like to read about, or, see in your in-box.
Our editorial team at Yeehoo Press is especially looking for books with a clever combination of fiction and non-fiction, so that at the end of the story, readers have the opportunity to learn something new.
Name subjects you would not like to read about and not see in your in-box.
Not really anything in particular. One thing I’d like to mention is that I enjoy reading rhyming books, but I feel it’s hard for me to help improve a rhyming manuscript as an editor.
Share a fun fact about YOU!
I always love to write a theme song for my books. I wrote a song for the book trailer of my new book Tofu Takes Time, and I’m working to write one for my next book, LONG GOES TO DRAGON SCHOOL. I enjoy exploring creative ways to promote the books and connect with readers and audience.
Also is there anything in particular you want or don't want to give rating and
Biography of 1000 words or more.
Helen H. Wu is a children’s book author, illustrator, translator and publisher. She is the author of Tofu Takes Time, illustrated by Julie Jarema (Beaming Books, 2022) and Long Goes To Dragon School, illustrated by Mae Besom (Yeehoo Press, 2023). Helen is the Associate Publisher of Yeehoo Press, an independent children’s book publisher. Being fascinated by the differences and similarities between cultures, Helen loves to share stories
that can empower children to understand the world and our connections.