Sally Apokedak

Sally Apokedak - Editor

Atlanta, GA, USA

Literary agent specializing in children's lit. I edit and sell General Market (big NY houses) and Christian Market (Tyndale, etc.) books.

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Overview

I'm an agent, publisher, and freelance editor with over 20 years experience in General Market children's books, and in books for all ages in the Christian market. Books I've edited have won major awards and one series has sold over a million copies.

If you are writing novels, I can help you


1) find a vibrant voice that will make your books sing

2) build rich story worlds that will draw readers in and hold them captive

3) create active characters your readers will love (even long after they finish reading)

4) plan and execute twisting plots that will surprise and delight your readers

5) weave in meaningful themes so your readers will finish your books with a satisfied sigh.


I also have tons of experience editing board books and picture books. With these I can help you with plot (or concept), character development, voice (rhyme and meter and words that wow!), page turns (pace), and theme.

And, after reading tens of thousands of query letters, I can tell you very quickly if your query letter is going wrong and help you shape a letter that will grab an agent or editor's interest and make them flip to the manuscript and give it a read.

I do work on adult nonfiction and novels, but my first love is the children's market. Great children’s books entertain and also teach. The best books show children how to love well, cherish beauty, and think deeply; and they give children the courage to live heroic lives. With every edit I do, I strive to help authors write and publish books that are excellently crafted--books that will entertain children and also encourage them to live large.

Languages
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Children’s Non-Fiction
Christian Non-Fiction
Writing & Publishing
Fiction
Fantasy
Middle Grade
Picture Books
Young Adult

Awards

  • SCBWI WIP grant 2008
  • ECPA bestselling books over a hundred times
  • Edgar nomination
  • Realm Award Debut Winner
  • Foundations Scholarship
  • ACFW Genesis Spec-fic Winner
  • ACFW Genesis YA finalist
  • Sunshine State Young Readers Award
  • Georgia Children's Book Award nomination
  • Christian Book of the Year nomination
  • YAYOMG! Award
  • Creative Child Preferred Choice Award
  • Realm Award Book of the Year Finalist
  • Realm Award YA Finalist

Work experience

Publisher

My Company
March, 2017 – Present (over 5 years)

A boutique publishing company with an eclectic list, including YA fantasy, MG poetry, picture books, novels, and even nonfiction.

Writing Instructor

Udemy
December, 2015 – Present (almost 7 years)

I have four writing courses up on Udemy that cover Voice, Plot, Punctuation, and Query Letters. I have over 7000 students enrolled who live in over 90 countries.

Literary Agent

My Agency
September, 2012 – Present (about 10 years)

Specializing in children's books, I have a select few authors, including the award-winning and best-selling Hannah C. Hall and Taryn Souders.

Freelance Editor

Self-employed
September, 2001 – Present (about 21 years)

--I have done editorial assessments for SCBWI conferences for years. I'm honest about how much work is still to be done, but I'm proud to say I've never made a writer cry. I always point out what the writer excels at, as well as pointing out which areas need improvement.

--I love doing developmental edits. I help writers see where their characters are lacking motivation, and show them how to find exciting plots that are driven by active heroes readers can root for. In these edits, I focus on story world, character, plot, pace, and theme. Story world, character, and plot all must work to pull readers into the story, good pacing at the scene level will keep the pages turning, and a solid theme will make readers finish the book with a satisfied sigh, then go looking for another book you’ve written.

--When I do copy edits, I focus on voice, which is the most fun thing ever. I help writers find places to use fresh metaphors and other figures of speech. I look at each word, thinking about how it sounds and about connotations. I concentrate on pacing at the sentences and paragraph level--are the sentences and paragraph within each scene working to pull the reader comfortably forward? I also look at descriptions—how effective they are, and how consistent.

--Proofreading is my least favorite edit. But a necessary evil. Here I look at commas, exclamation points, and interrobangs (oh, my!). I tell you how many spaces go around em dashes (none) and ellipses (both sides). All that jazz.

--As a literary agent I have gotten many thousands of queries and proposals over the last decade. I am well qualified to give you a query letter review, telling you what works and what doesn’t and helping you write the strongest letter your book can support.

--When I edit picture books, which I love to do, I look at all that I’ve listed above—I look at character, plot (or structure on concept books and nonfiction), voice, theme, pacing (page turns), descriptions, and so on. But I also consider what kind of opportunities the author has given the illustrator.

Portfolio (39 selected works)

The Button Girl

Apokedak, Sally

Coop Knows the Scoop

Souders, Taryn

Feelings Bouquet

Yordy, Janine, Vandenburg, Charlotte Hill

Fairies and Chimneys

Fyleman, Rose, Apokedak, Sally

God Bless My Family (A God Bless Book)

Hall, Hannah, Whitlow, Steve

Penguin & Moose Brave the Night

Hall, Hannah C., Curtis, Stacy

God Bless My Boo Boo (A God Bless Book)

Hall, Hannah, Whitlow, Steve

That's What Love Is

Hall, Hannah C., Kearney, Brendan

Jelly Bean Summer

Magnin, Joyce

God Bless Our Baby (A God Bless Book)

Hall, Hannah, Whitlow, Steve

Daddy Snuggles

Hannah C. Hall, Aleksandra Szmidt, Aleksandra Szmidt

Mommy Cuddles

Hannah C. Hall, Aleksandra Szmidt, Aleksandra Szmidt

Grandma Hugs

Hall, Hannah C., Szmidt, Aleksandra

God Bless My Friends (A God Bless Book)

Hall, Hannah, Whitlow, Steve

Sunrise, Easter Surprise!

Hall, Hannah C., Jatkowska, Ag

God Bless My School (A God Bless Book)

Hall, Hannah, Whitlow, Steve

God Bless Our Fall (A God Bless Book)

Hall, Hannah, Whitlow, Steve

Grandpa Love

Hall, Hannah C., Szmidt, Aleksandra

Star Bright, Christmas Night

Hall, Hannah C., Jatkowska, Ag

Would a Worm Go on a Walk?

Hall, Hannah C., Bolton, Bill

Penguin & Moose

Hall, Hannah C., Chernyshova, Anna

The Healer's Rune

Matuska , Lauricia

The Case of the Absent Answers (Mickie McKinney: Boy Detective Book 1)

Fink, R. L., Wooten, Antony , Delhauer, James , Wilson, Samantha , Apokedak, Sally

The Big Birthday for Blue Whale

Hlavaty, Jane, Hlavaty, Jane

Sally has 136 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Suellen Holloway
Sally is professional and a pleasure to work with. I appreciated her quick response and attention to details. Sally explained her work and did exactly as promised. She is an excellent communicator and I hope to work with her again in the future.

Suellen Holloway, October 2022


Lin Hawthorne
Sally is obviously a seasoned veteran and was prompt in her response and edits on my query letter. Having a professional query letter that gives my book an edge in the query process is a MUST in the competitive world of children's picture books. Thanks Sally!

Lin Hawthorne, September 2022


Charlotte Frohwitter
As always: perfection! Thank you Sally!

Charlotte Frohwitter, September 2022


Julie Lerczak
Sally gave me an outstanding editorial assessment of my manuscript and specifically identified areas that need further attention. I appreciate that she also helped me better understand what would make my work stand out for publishers and agents. Sally is very positive, encouraging, insightful, and professional. She also made every effort to complete my assessment in a tight time frame. She is t...
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Julie Lerczak, September 2022


Karin Bergemann
Sally did a great job with my edit. I can tell she sincerely considered everything and really did her best. Her take was very helpful! Her advice on target and appreciated. It was nice to hear that she did not see any need for much editing as my story and punctuation, grammar etc. were on target. She did catch that I spelled grey with an e when it's spelled with and a in the USA where I'm f...
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Karin Bergemann, September 2022

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