Thursday, December 29, 2011

Two New Year's Resolutions To Add To Your List: Get a Mentor. Be a Mentor.

Carrie A. Pearson is a writer who has a wonderful series on her blog, Mentorship Monday.

Carrie shares the impact of her own mentorship, that moment when Newbery Award winner, Lynne Rae Perkins,

"validated that I had a story worth telling and that she, a gifted author who won the highest honor in the industry, enjoyed reading it. She helped me recognize the value of my words on paper. Could there be a better gift?"

And I think Carrie is right.  From my own experience being formally mentored by Emma Dryden in the SCBWI Nevada Mentor Program, to the many, many wonderful professionals in our industry who guide and cheer me on me today, being mentored is a turning point.

And equally powerful is that moment where you mentor someone else.  Someone at an earlier stage in the journey.  It's amazing how much you can learn when you try to teach... And I've been very fortunate, especially in my Speaker Visits to schools and libraries over the past year and a half, to do that as well.

So perhaps, as we all contemplate the New Year 2012 ahead of us, we can reflect on the power of mentorship in our own lives, and set out to both:

find a mentor to take us to the next level professionally,


be a mentor to someone else.

Being both a mentee and a mentor will strengthen our own art.  And those bonds will strengthen our community.

And that is a beautiful thing.

Here's to an amazing (and mentorship-filled) 2012!

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Symbolism. What do the greats have to say?

"I would never consciously place symbolism in my writing.  That would be a self-conscious exercise and self-consciousness is defeating to any creative act.  Better to let the subconscious do the work for you, and get out of the way."
-Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury's answer to the questionnaire on symbolism sent to him by a 16 year old in 1963

So this 16 year old, Bruce McAllister, back in 1963, sent out 150 mimeographed surveys to famous authors to find out what they thought about symbolism in their work.

The amazing thing is that HALF of the authors replied.

This article in The Paris Review goes into depth on many of their answers, and it's fascinating reading.

Jack Kerouac.  Norman Mailer.  Ayn Rand.  John Updike.  Isaac Asimov. 

I love Asimov's answer to did he plant symbolism in his work?

“Consciously? Heavens, no! Unconsciously? How can one avoid it?” 

Bruce grew up to become a published author himself and a professor of literature and writing. And yet, this project he did as a teenager still has such power to make us think:  How do I handle symbolism?

How do you handle symbolism in your writing? And what about in your illustrations?

Delicious food for thought!

Illustrate and Write On, 
ps- My thanks to Suzanne for the heads-up about this great article!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mark Twain on assembling a critique group

This is brilliant!

Mark Twain's words are performed by John Lithgow, and the illustrated animations are by NYPL artist in residence Flash Rosenberg.

Happy Holidays!

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Give Yourself The Present of Attending The SCBWI Winter Conference

It's a season of candles and songs and gifts for everyone else...

We've even wrapped it for you!

...and we humbly suggest you consider giving yourself the gift of coming to The Lucky 13th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City, January 27-29, 2012.

It's a gift that will super-charge your illustrating and writing career journey.

A gift that will let you dive into intensive - and essential - days on marketing, and in the writers roundtable intensive, a chance to get immediate feedback from agents and editors!

A gift that will educate you about the business of children's publishing from experts at the top of the field.

A gift of spending a weekend surrounded by - and knowing that you are a member of - your Children's Literature community.  Your (and my) SCBWI tribe.

And it is a gift of inspiration that will resonate with you long after you return home.

Attending the SCBWI Winter Conference is a gift you can give yourself.  And there's no wrapping paper to buy!  (Kudos to Sarah Baker for the gift image above!)

Here are some of our pre-conference looks at the Friday Intensives and SCBWI Team Blog interviews with the conference faculty:

Jean Feiwel, Senior Vice President & Publishing Director, MacMillian

Ginger Knowlton, Agent at Curtis Brown Ltd.

Lin Oliver, SCBWI's Executive Director, on the Writers Intensives (The Roundtable Intensive for Writers and the Marketing for Professional Writers Intensive)

Lin Oliver, SCBWI's Executive Director, on the Illustrator's Marketing Intensive

Darcy Pattison, Author and creator of the Random Acts of Publicity Day

Nancy Paulsen, President and Publisher of her own imprint at Penguin Young Readers Books.

Rubin Pfeffer, Agent at East-West Literary

You can check in at The Official SCBWI Conference Blog for more up-to-the-minute pre-conference interviews as the holidays roll into the new year, and to get a taste of past conferences.

Registration is open, and you can explore the schedule and full list of faculty and events (like the portfolio showcase and the Gala Dinner) here.  We hope to see you in New York!

Happy Holidays!

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rethinking the Book Tour

There's an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about how authors today need to reconceptualize their whole approach to a book tour.  To rethink standing there and reading three chapters, and doing a Q&A.  That maybe, in the current climate, that's no longer enough.

The article includes some anecdotal reports from bookstores all over the country, and quotes from authors, including:

• Rainy Day Books, an independent bookstore in Kansas City, Kansas will only sponsor author events that feature a conversation or mini-lecture, a PowerPoint or slide show and maybe reading one or two paragraphs at the most from the book to illustrate a point. The owner Vivien Jennings says,
"I tell publicists 'it's no longer a reading,'"
• In lieu of readings, Roxanne Coady, the owner of R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Conn., will sometimes conduct an interview with an author. "Audiences feel they're getting something unusual and intimate, and sales of the book go up," she said.
 • Brad Meltzer, the best-selling author of thrillers like "The Book of Fate" and "The Book of Lies," stopped doing readings two books ago. "Jim Dale," he said, referring to the voice of the "Harry Potter" audio books, "and all the audio-book stars made most of us authors look like a bunch of misfits. We can't compete."

I asked Bruce Coville, the award-winning and best-selling author of over 100 books for children, and a master storyteller, if it's enough to just read from your book and do a Q&A.  Here's his response:

"Being a writer in these times requires a certain degree of professional schizophrenia. In order to write, you need to be able to work in isolation. Yet as soon as you're at all successful at it, people want you to come out and talk about it. So a writer needs to be able to deal with extended periods of solitude, and also with being asked to stand in front of crowds and speak. But in the end, it's all about communication, and that is, at heart, what we need to be: communicators. I think writers can reap great benefits from learning storytelling, from taking acting lessons, from getting voice training - all things that give you tools that will help you be effective in presenting your work to a live audience."        

What's your take?  When have a book event, how do you approach it?

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More blog readers. Check. Promoting a good cause. Check. Getting Books Into the Hands of Children. Check out this Teaching Authors' Holiday Project

The six Kid Lit authors behind the Teaching Authors Blog came up with a neat idea.  For every comment on their blog in December, they'll donate $1 to First Book, an organization that gets books into the hands of needy kids. 

Here's their project:

This month we’re sponsoring a fundraiser on our TeachingAuthors blog in support of First Book, an organization “determined to see that all children, regardless of their economic conditions, can achieve more in school and in life through access to an ongoing supply of new books.” (

For every comment we receive on our blog this month (one per person, please), we’ll donate $1 to First Book. We’ll keep track of comments from now until the end of the year, we'll post periodic updates, and we’ll donate up to $225. Every $2.50 donated provides a brand-new book to a child in need. And through Dec. 31, Disney Publishing Worldwide will match every $1 donated with another new book.

Very cool.  There's a lot the rest of us can learn from what April Halprin Wayland, Carmela Martino, Esther Hershenhorn, Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford, JoAnn Early Macken and Mary Ann Rodman have cooked up.

One of the big challenges we illustrators and authors face in promoting ourselves and our books is the hurdle of 'How do I keep talking about my books without driving everyone else nuts or coming off like a raving egomaniac?'

Undertaking projects to help others like this one is part of the answer.  Be part of the larger conversation about literacy, children's books, and the things that you're passionate about, and make it broader than "I have a book I hope you buy."

The focus of The Teaching Author's project isn't THEIR books - it's about engaging their blog readers to team up with them to do something good.  They're also promoting a literacy organization they believe in.  And they've got a tie-in with Disney publishing...  They're giving back.

As I've mentioned before, I think you get a lot from giving.  It feels great to make an impact for the better in our world.  A single book has the power to change lives.

And yes, I am sure their Teaching Authors blog will get more traffic.  And the attention they'll get (including this blog post) will also increase the profile of all six of them, and their books.  Without them having to come out and say, "I have a book I hope you buy."

It's an inspiration.

So go comment, and think about how you can broaden the conversations you're having to be someone not only known for illustrating and writing, but for doing good...  And it will be good for you, too.

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Craft, Business, Inspiration and Community

Happy to share with you the latest...


• For writers, check out best-selling author, SCBWI board member and Regional Advisor for Nevada Ellen Hopkins' advice for writers online.  It's like having a sage mentor sit down with you and lay it out about writing, writing poetry, craft, publishing and agents.  Ellen's a marvel, and it's well worth reading.

• For illustrators, take a look at Dan Santat's book trailer page at his website.  He not only explains how he makes the trailers (including technical stuff and how much time he devotes to each one) you can watch how he uses his illustrations, combined with text and music, to blow viewer's socks off.  And those viewers become readers!  Watch his trailer for his graphic novel "Sidekicks."  Wow!  (And Dan's on faculty at the upcoming Lucky 13th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City, January 27-29!)


• The New York Times reports that European E-Books are taxed at a rate much higher than print books. (In some countries at 25%!)  One e-book author from Britain, Damien Seaman, said that the value-added tax gap
“discourages traditional publishers from innovating by effectively subsidizing them not to.”

• Love your independent bookstore but read e-books?  The American Booksellers Association announces that:
"Book lovers who purchase their e-books from independent booksellers online now have their own device-based reading application – The IndieBound Reader..."
In the words of the ABA's Technology Director Matt Supko,
“A year after the launch of Google eBooks, indies have become a vital and fast-growing part of the e-book market, thanks to their creativity, marketing savvy, and knack for matching the customer with the best book for them — print or digital. The IndieBound Reader app gives independent bookstores a home on the most popular mobile devices, making it easier than ever for customers to shop local when they shop digital.”
Right now it's available on the Android operating system, and they say it will soon be available on the iOS systems as well.   I found out about this through Darcy Pattison's Fiction Notes newsletter.  (Darcy's also on faculty at the upcoming Lucky 13th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City, January 27-29!)

• Do e-books burn?  Not sure about that, but I am excited to learn that "Fahrenheit 451" by the remarkable Ray Bradbury has been released as an e-book.

• More titles, more pages, more roundups...  here's an interesting article about how the New York Times is changing its approach to covering and reviewing Children's books under Pamela Paul (their fifth Children's Books Editor).

• Neil Gaiman shares a cautionary tale about an author whose novel's audiobook didn't achieve what it might have.  It's interesting to note that the remarkable children's book author Bruce Coville also runs an audio book business, Full Cast Audio.  Famous authors helping other authors get great audio books of their novels?  That's pretty fascinating.

• Amazon Enters Children's Book Market!  Publisher's Lunch reported this week that Amazon announced a deal to acquire Marshall Cavendish Children's Book's US trade publishing list, comprising more than 450 children's books.  The company says in the announcement
"the acquisition creates the foundation for Amazon Publishing to further expand into picture books, chapter books and YA novels."


Just one of the gems I discovered through the Booklist's Quick Tips newsletter

• For a great font of inspiration for both illustrators and writers, sign up for Booklist's Quick Tips newsletter, put out by the American Library Association. In their latest issue, just one section highlighted six different virtual field trips you can take to world class museums around the USA. Did you know The Art Institute of Chicago had among their online offerings "Cleopatra: A Multimedia Guide to Ancient Art," with fully bilingual English and Spanish text, video clips, time lines, and lesson plans for grades 4–12 in five subject areas? While the newsletter's focus may be on teachers and librarians, there's lots of great information here for those of us who create children's and teen literature.


• It's the holidays, and sometimes, the best gifts are the ones you give.  Here in Los Angeles, our local SCBWI chapter joined in an industry-wide Kid Lit Drink Night Holiday Party this past weekend, with librarians, illustrators, agents and writers from all over Southern California joining in.  Everyone brought books to donate to two needy Los Angeles schools - The Knox Elementary School in South Central Los Angeles (which has a library but no librarian and no new books) and the 29 classroom Continuation High School of our Los Angeles public school district (for at-risk youth, with no centralized library and just shelves of books in each classroom that the teachers provide.)  We collected 5 boxes of picture books through middle grade titles for the elementary school kids and three overflowing bags of YA titles for the students in the Continuation High School.

Seeing how excited Ms. Ward, the Principal of Knox Elementary, was at receiving the books for her students made me feel like I was the one who got the gift.

Me being silly with the giant piles of donated books!

Our SCBWI and Kid Lit community, reaching out to our larger community?  That's an awesome thing.

Illustrate and Write On,

ps - The book pile photo is by Rita Crayon Huang.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The MeeGenius contest - have you voted for your favorite text for a children's e-book?

In yet another example of innovative ways to "break in" to Children's Publishing, specifically e-books for children, check out the MeeGenius Author Challenge 2011!

The chance to enter a story has passed for this year, and now it's time to vote for your favorites (from now until December 18, 2011.)  And every vote counts, as the number one book as of writing this post ("The Treehouse in Your Sock Drawer" by Nicholas Wilmoth) is ahead by only 119 votes.

Here's details on how the contest works.

Kudos to Heather Harris-Brady, a SCBWI member in Michigan, USA, who contacted me and asked if I could let our readers know about the contest, because there might be other SCBWI members hoping for people to read, love and vote for their stories as well.  That's how to appropriately self-promote and use all these social media tools.  And that's why I chose Heather's story, "The Berry Jam," for the screen shot above.  Oh, and that link to her story.

And if you've got a story in the running, add a link to your story's MeeGenius page here in comments.

Good luck to our SCBWI competitors!

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Will Your Book Be Considered For the 2012 Golden Kite Award?

Awards can give your book buzz.  It can raise your cache.  It can boost sales. (Interestingly, Publisher's Lunch is reporting that Bloomsbury upped its reprint order for National Book Award fiction winner SALVAGE THE BONES by Jesmyn Ward to 50,000 copies.)

Being a member of SCBWI makes you eligible for the Golden Kite Awards.

The Golden Kite Statuette

Here's the scoop from the SCBWI website:

Presented by the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators the Golden Kite Awards, given annually to recognize excellence in children’s literature, grant cash prizes of $2,500 to author and illustrator winners in four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Book Text, and Picture Book Illustration. Authors and illustrators will also receive an expense-paid trip to Los Angeles to attend the award ceremony at the Golden Kite Luncheon at SCBWI’s Summer Conference in August and a lifetime membership in SCBWI.

Here's Rukhsana Khan giving her Golden Kite Award acceptance speech - she won for picture book text for "Big Red Lollipop":

Rukhsana brought down the house at #LA11SCBWI

A commemorative poster with the winners will be created and distributed to, among others, various schools, libraries and publishers.
Last year's winners are featured in the debut poster beautifully illustrated by John Parra, 2010 Golden Kite winner for picture book illustration:

In addition to the four Golden Kite Award winners, four honor book recipients will also be named by the panel of judges which consists of children’s book writers and illustrators.

Instituted in 1973, the Golden Kite Awards are the only children’s literary award judged by a jury of peers. More than 1,000 books are entered each year. Eligible books must be written or illustrated by SCBWI members, and submitted either by publishers or individuals.

Sara Rutenberg, SCBWI's Golden Kite Award Coordinator, lays out these five steps for

How can you make sure your book is a contender for the 2012 Golden Kite Awards?

1. Go to and click on awards to familiarize yourself with the guidelines for the Golden Kite Awards.

2. Make sure that your SCBWI membership is current!

Only current members of SCBWI are elligible for the Golden Kite Awards. Not sure when your membership expires? Log in at and click on "Membership Renewal." Your member expiration date will be shown at the top of that page.

3. Log in at and update your publication information!

Click on "Manage Profile" and be sure to enter the name and publication date of your most recent book. Then, choose your publisher from one of the drop-down menus. If you have any trouble updating your profile, feel free to call the SCBWI offices at 323-782-1010 during business hours (9 AM - 5:30 PM, Pacific, Monday - Friday) and someone will be happy to assist you.

4. Check with your publisher to see if they've sent us your book.

Most publishers have their publicity departments handle awards submissions, but a quick email to your editor to make sure that someone is submitting your book for the Golden Kite Award is a good idea.
5. If you're an individual submitting your own book, be sure to follow the guidelines for individual submissions carefully.

So what are you waiting for?  Don't you want the chance of getting one of these

for the book you illustrated and/or wrote?  Make sure your book is considered for a Golden Kite Award!

Good Luck,

credits:  The Golden Kite statuette photo is by Stephen Mooser.  The photo of Rukhsana Khan accepting her Golden Kite award is by Rita Crayon Huang.  The Golden Kite Poster was designed by John Parra.  The Golden Kite seal was designed by Don Freeman.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No query? No pitch? No Problem! The Young Adult Novel Discovery Contest

Regina Brooks, Founder and President at Serendipity Literary Agency, who'll be on faculty at our upcoming Lucky 13th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference in New York, January 27-29, 2012, let us know about this contest for YA writers.

How do you enter? 

You submit an "enticing" title and the first 250 words of your YA manuscript.  No query.  No pitch.  Just an opportunity to let the work speak for itself.

It's a chance to break through, but there's not much time left - the contest ends tomorrow, November 30, 2011!  You can get more details here.

Also, if you want to do your homework on Regina Brooks, check out her Agent Spotlight page on Literary Rambles, where Casey McCormick and Natalie Aguirre have compiled wonderful profiles on 109 (and counting!) kid lit literary agents from a multitude of online sources. 

Good luck!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Life Cycle of a Book - a very cool resource

Life Cycle of a Book is a free online site that shares 11 different four-to-seven-minute-long video interviews with experts - who are doing that job - describing each developmental stage in the life of a book:









Book Buyer



Author Publicity

It's an excellent resource, and I like how it comes full circle back to the author.  So go watch these great videos, and get a bigger-picture understanding of the Life Cycle of a Book.

I found this resource via twitter (a tweet by @syntactics - Rachel Stark, an Assistant Marketing Manager at Bloomsbury Children's Books), which linked to a blog post on Rachel's blog, which linked to a website (the Publishing Trendsetter newsletter), which linked to Publishing Trendsetter's Life Cycle of a Book site. Which is a very cool example of how all this social media stuff works to get the word out - and now I get to share it with you!

And for our readers in the U.S.A., Happy Thanksgiving!

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Craft, Business, Inspiration and Community

Continuing sharing the best of SCBWI:  Craft, Business, Inspiration, and Community:


For writers:

Darcy Pattison has a great exercise called "The Shrunken Manuscript" that is very cool.  Basically, you do exactly that, shrink your work-in-progress down so you can see the whole thing on 30 or so pages, lay them out of the floor, and with a highlighter you can mark your strongest scenes.  Stand back and look - are your strongest scenes spread out, or do you have "the dreaded Sagging Middle?"  Step-by-step instructions for the exercise and how it can tell you so much more are here on Darcy's website!  Darcy Pattison will be on faculty at the upcoming #NY12SCBWI conference talking about "Creating Book Trailers and Other Random Acts of Promotion."  You can check out her pre-conference interview with Martha Brockenbrough of SCBWI Team Blog here.

For illustrators:

Are you in the know about Illustrators Friday?  It's a weekly challenge to illustrate to a theme, where you enter your own piece (linking back to your blog) and it's all compiled in a giant list.  According to Marsha Riti (in the third video on a post on Mark Mitchell's blog), it's a great way to drive traffic to your illustrator blog.  In fact, Marsha suggests that the earlier in the week you get your piece in there, the more visitors you'll get.  A way to flex your craft muscles and build your following?  Sounds great.  Going through the weekly archives, you can browse by medium or style (including 'children's art'.)  And it's pretty fascinating to see how over 650 artists all approach illustrating "silent" or "stripes." 


Do you mind ads while you read?  Publisher's Lunch reports that
Within the next two to three weeks, Kobo will match Amazon's ad-bearing ereaders with their own "Kobo Touch with Offers" with "valuable offers and sponsored screens in discreet places outside of the reading experience." The ad-driven model will sell for just under $100, a $40 discount over the ad-free model."

As Newspapers continue to figure out how they can fit into the new world of technology, The Los Angeles Times has become an e-book publisher.  They're planning to release 8-10 titles a year.

The Authors Guild has weighed in on Amazon's new e-book lending program for it's premium members, and they're not too pleased about it.  They also give some advice of what to do if YOUR book is in the program.

E-book-reading adults, when it comes to books for their youngest children, are choosing print books - according to this article in the New York Times. Among the reasons?

“When we go to bed and he knows it’s reading time, he says, ‘Let’s play Angry Birds a little bit,’ ” Mr. Thomson [one of the parents interviewed] said. “If he’s going to pick up the iPad, he’s not going to read, he’s going to want to play a game. So reading concentration goes out the window.”


You've got a story to tell, right?  Well so did debut author Thanhha Lai, who just won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature for her novel, Inside Out & Back Again (HarperCollins.)  A debut author winning the National Book Award?  Now that's inspiring!

Jimmy Fallon, as Jim Morrison, sings "The Reading Rainbow" theme song.  It's brilliant.

Thanks to the awesome Alice Pope, who posted this on facebook.


This story, also from the New York Times, might have been filed under "business," but it spoke to something very powerful about the community of people who love books.  Ann Patchett, the best-selling novelist, is opening up a new independent bookstore, Parnassus Books, in Nashville, Tennessee.

“I have no interest in retail; I have no interest in opening a bookstore,” Ms. Patchett said, serenely sipping tea during a recent interview at her spacious pink brick house here. “But I also have no interest in living in a city without a bookstore.” 

While the news for independent bookstores may seem dire (in the USA we're down to 1,900 who are members of The American Booksellers Association) there's a counter-trend of "a small band of bookstore owners who have found patches of old-fashioned success in recent years, competing where Amazon cannot: by being small and sleek, with personal service, intimate author events and a carefully chosen rotation of books."

Bookstores are more than just a way to acquire a book.  They can be a vital hub of the community.  Do you have a bookstore in your town?   In Ann's words, “If you like this thing, it’s your responsibility to keep this thing alive.”

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The SCBWI Bulletin

One of the amazing benefits of membership in the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators is the bimonthly publication, The Bulletin.

Here's the cover of the latest issue, November/December 2011, by Dan Santat

SCBWI President and Bulletin Editor Stephen Mooser says of The Bulletin,

"My goal has always been to make it practical.  To let people know how to advance their careers.  We focus in on articles of practical interest for the professional member and we like to mix in, whenever possible, some inspiration and humor."

And it's chock-full of great stuff.  Like what? you'd like to know?  Well, let's take a look at eleven great things about the current issue, Nov/Dec 2011:

1.  The cover by Dan Santat is hysterical, and there's an interview with him inside (A regular feature called "Illustrator Profile: About the Cover") where Dan explains about his creative process - from drawing over 1000 pages for his 200+ page graphic novel "Sidekicks," to the media and supplies he uses, to his inspiration for the cover.

"I remember feeling totally worried during my first art critique that my work wasn't good enough while some art director or editor evaluated what I'd done.  You can see that same nervousness in everyone who goes through the process.  Everyone in the SCBWI can relate to this moment at least once in their life."

2.  "Trailers, For Sale or Rent" - The latest installment of an ongoing series "What the Tech?" by Mark London Williams shares his journey to release his entire "Danger Boy" time travel series - a number of which have been traditionally published - as ebooks.  This article goes into the nitty gritty of how he put together his first book trailer. Where did he get his images?  The free (and license-free) music he used?  Mark shares lots of great tips and links.

3.  Alexis O'Neill also does an ongoing column, "The Truth About School Visits" - it's indispensable, and I've read and re-read her advice many times.  This issue's topic is "Book Festivals: Are They Worth It?" and Alexis goes into depth on how authors are chosen, how you can make the most of festivals, and the pros and cons of both large and small book festivals.  She shares her personal experience and insights, and even gives a roundup of websites where you can find lists of festivals in Australia, Canada and the USA.  Like I said - indispensable!

4.  There's an "Art Tips" series where Alison Davis Lyne edits the advice of different experts and illustrators - this issue the tips (by Tina Nichols Coury and Monica Carnesi) are about blogging, and how for illustrators, they can lead to publishing opportunities. 

5. There a wonderful "Illustrator's Perspective" column by Anne Sibley O'Brien. "The Assembly of Book Projects" focuses on how she manages her life as a self-employed artist.  She asks, "when the only authority demanding results is me - and I'm not getting paid - how is it that I keep things moving forward?  How do I continue developing these ideas until they're fully formed enough to possibly generate a contract?"  And her answers were inspiring.  Anne's columns are always thought-provoking, and I particularly loved her two part column "White Mind" in past Bulletins pointing out and challenging how many of us in our culture - writers and illustrators - make our characters white by default. 

6.  Writer/Illustrator Agy Wilson also challenges us, but this time it's to play with language to keep it lively in her article, "Children's Writers make Bralls and Widges."  Agy writes, "Great stories are meant to be told.  But it's in the telling whether they take flight or exist through time."  How we use language (including nonsense words, playing with structure and even rhyme) become tools to make not just walls or bridges, but Bralls and Widges.

7.  "Speed Dating: How to make up titles for stories" - this exercise by Hazel Edwards was fast and challenging fun, and it did get me to come up with a new title for a work-in-progress that is a vast improvement.

8.  "A Report from KidLitCon 2011: Building community through the kidlitosphere" by the fabulous Alice Pope is a great rundown of the September 16-17 weekend when more than 100 kid lit bloggers came together in Seattle for the 5th annual KidLitCon.  I attended that conference as well, and Alice does a great job of sharing the highlights and passing along some of the wonderful tips from the various presenters.

9.  "Legally Speaking" is a column by SCBWI Chief Operating Officer and lawyer Sara Rutenberg.  Sara goes into depth in her columns, and this issue's focus is "Piracy Protection."  She walks authors through what to do if you discover your copyrighted material has been posted without your authorization.  She explains the "takedown provisions" statue of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and share the five steps you need to take to file a takedown notice. 

10. "Game Your Way To Success" - the "To Market" column by Susan Salzman Raab explores what we can learn about book marketing from entertainment and gaming.  Using examples like Jeopardy and Farmville, Susan shares tips and resources to re-think and calibrate your marketing plan.  There are even a number of links to sites that can help you set up games as part of your author school visits.

11.  And the wonderful "An Open Letter To The Industry," where SCBWI speaks out for writers on the no-response-means-a-rejection controversy, which I reported on earlier this week.

There's still more in this issue - poems and illustrations, an article on "International Bloggers: What they can do for your book," another on "IRS Changes Mileage Deduction Rates for 2011," and still others on opening lines, targeting your publisher, and inspiration - that one's called "Swing! by Nisha Coker.  There's a book review of Scott McCloud's "Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels," news and notes, the People pages packed with members' good publishing news, a master regional events calendar, a notice for SCBWI members who want to present and showcase their work at the Bologna Children's Book Fair, and Publisher's Corner by Connie C. Epstein with Award, Publishing News and Submission Information updates for the kid lit industry!

You can join SCBWI here, and among the many, many great things that gives you (information and support, networking, insider publishing information, access to SCBWI awards and grants, member discounts on conferences and local events, Craft, Business, Inspiration and Community) you'll get your own subscription to the Bulletin.  And it's awesome.

In addition to the physical copy that can arrive in your mailbox, members can also sign in and download the current issue (and past issues all the way back to 2005!) of The Bulletin here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

SCBWI's Open Letter to the Kid Lit Industry About No-Response-Means-A-Rejection Policies

One of the powerful things about SCBWI is that it functions as a collective voice for authors and illustrators.

There's quite a controversy going on since this summer, as the "If you don't hear back from us in x amount of time, it means we're not interested" policy of some publishing houses has been increasingly adopted by agents.

Agent Jill Corcoran of the Herman Agency wrote a post on her blog explaining "Why I don't send rejection letters" that talked about the negative karma of sending out rejections.  (One of the commenters quipped "first time I've heard of an agent's karma running over a writer's dogma.")  Jill was so swamped with negative reaction that she actually changed her query policy. She's still open to unsolicited queries, but says if the no-response-within-a-month-means-no policy doesn't work for an author, they should query a different agent.

Agent Rachel Gardner with Word Serve Literary Group also wrote about her agency's "If you don't hear back within 60 days it's a no" policy, saying "Cutting out the step of responding means I can read and consider twice as many in a given hour." (Rachel is also closed to queries at the current time.)

Agent Janet Reid of Fine Print Literary had a different take, in her post "No, you're wrong, and here's why," where she explained her system for sending rejections, and mused it might even give her a competitive advantage over agents who don't respond.  (Janet's open to queries)

Former agent Nathan Bransford chimed in with his take on responding as well.  He personally did respond, but agreed with Janet that he felt responding gave him an kindness edge.  He also said, "I know it's frustrating as an author to send queries into the ether, but agents have every right to set their own submission policy, and if an authors doesn't agree with it they are more than welcome to query someone whose policy they prefer."

And agent Jennifer Laughran at the Andrea Brown agency explained the reason why they have both a no-response-means-no policy and an auto-responder to let authors know their queries were received.  And yet she admits "But... I really do try to respond to things, at least with a one-line form rejection, despite the fact that our official policy is "No Response Means No." It is just a personal quirk of mine, I truly hate leaving loose ends."

The impassioned comments to these and other posts (hundreds and hundreds of comments) and many different conversation threads on kid lit listserves cried out for a reasoned, collective voice for authors to speak out.

Here's the Open Letter to the Industry SCBWI has published in response to all this:

THERE HAS BEEN much controversy of late about whether or not writers are entitled to expect a response from agents and editors to their unsolicited submissions.  Many publishing houses have adopted the policy that no response constitutes a rejection of the project.  More recently, some agents have begun to adopt this policy.  If there is no response in a given period of time, which ranges from three to six months, it is assumed that the project was rejected and writers are free to submit their work elsewhere.

We at the SCBWI understand and are sympathetic to the rigors involved in responding to each submission.  The last thing we want to espouse is additional unnecessary paperwork for editors and agents, whose time is best spent developing worthy book projects.  However, a writer's time is also valuable, and the no-response system steals months or even years from our marketing efforts.  The fact that a writer will never hear back about the fate of his or her manuscript leaves us hanging in limbo, never being sure that the manuscript arrived, was looked at, or was ever under consideration.

From the writer's point of view, never hearing back encourages us to undertake multiple submissions so as not to waste time waiting for an answer that may never come.  This is clearly bad for the industry; more multiple submissions will further clog an already overcrowded pipeline.  The SCBWI discourages mass submissions.  We teach our members, and provide them with the tools, to target their submissions specifically to agents or publishers who have demonstrated an interest in a particular type of work.  However, if our members never hear back, even in a form rejection or an auto-response email, how can they be expected NOT to mass submit?

There must be some way to accommodate the two sides of this issue by providing writers with the feedback we need without unnecessarily consuming an agent's or editor's valuable time.  As an organization, we encourage both publishers and agents to find a cost-effective and efficient way to let writers know that they are free to submit elsewhere.  Surely in this age of auto-response and other electronically sophisticated means, a quick and easy response click is readily available and would mean a great deal to writers who are trying to conduct their careers in a businesslike way.

Stephen Mooser, President
Lin Oliver, Executive Director


As published in the SCBWI Bulletin, November/December 2011 Edition

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Writers Intensives at the Upcoming 2012 SCBWI Winter Conference

I recently sat down with Lin Oliver, Executive Director of SCBWI, to find out more about the Writers Intensives on Friday January 27, 2012.

There are two different full-day writers intensives this year:

The Roundtable Intensive for Writers, where you get a chance to share your work with (and get immediate feedback from) editors and agents.   (This sells out every year.)

And new for this conference, a Marketing For Professional Writers Intensive.  In our video, Lin explains the what and why of this amazing new opportunity for authors.

You can see the full Roundtable Intensive for Writers and Marketing For Professional Writers Intensive schedules here.

Register for the intensive that's right for you, and the whole Lucky 13th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference here.

We hope to see you there!

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Inspiration, Craft, Business and Community

SCBWI offers writers and illustrators information on the craft and business of writing and illustrating for children and teens, loads of inspiration, and most importantly, community.

In that spirit, here's some Inspiration, Craft, Business and Community for you...


I followed the whole #YASaves kurfuffle this summer, when the Wall Street Journal published a piece by Meghan Cox Gurdon on how contemporary YA books were too dark.   Among the many passionate and well-reasoned responses in the #YASaves movement (#YASaves is actually a twitter hashtag that you can follow here even if you're not on twitter) this response by Sherman Alexie was inspiring:
"And now I write books for teenagers because I vividly remember what it felt like to be a teen facing everyday and epic dangers. I don’t write to protect them. It’s far too late for that. I write to give them weapons–in the form of words and ideas-that will help them fight their monsters. I write in blood because I remember what it felt like to bleed."  -Sherman Alexie
(A side-note:  I found this inspiring quote and link in "Expression Online" The SCBWI international online newsletter.  It's a great resource, and SCBWI members can sign up for it by emailing Beaulah at  bpteditor (at) yahoo (dot) com.  Be sure to use the email address you're using with your online
account at so that we can find you when we click on the Search Members button.)

Sara Zarr blew me away when she gave her Keynote address at the #NY11SCBWI Winter Conference, talking about sustaining the creative life.  Here, in this guest post at Nova Ren Suma's blog, Sara talks about what inspires her, and the answer is pretty surprising.  It's failure

"In a way, “failure” is just another word for “the journey,” for not being there yet but on the way. It’s the road we walk on to get wherever it is we’re trying to go."
And even though it's about failure, it's not a downer of an article.  It's actually... Inspiring.  You can read it here.


For writers, Emma Dryden has a great article at her blog on the definition of "voice" - and how to have one:

"Editors talk frequently about the necessity of an author staying true to their own voice in expressing the voice of their main character; a definition of "voice" in this instance encompasses the word choice, sentence structure, cadence, vernacular, slang, idioms, quirks, and the poetry of speech that help to identify a character within a setting. To my mind "voice" also encompasses that which lies beneath the actual words a character expresses—namely, the emotions, motivations, doubts, desires, fears, hopes, and internal trajectory of the character. These are the elements of a "character" that will turn an "anyone" into a "someone"—a distinct individual with whom readers might identify and in whom readers will believe."
Read the whole article here.

And here's some words on Craft for illustrators, from the multiple Caldecott-honored Marla Frazee, on putting together your portfolio:

Q:  Should I have only one style in my portfolio?
A:  Borrowing the word that authors use to describe their writing, the best portfolios are unified by the illustrator's "voice."  If every piece in your portfolio speaks clearly in your own unique voice, then it won't matter if you sometimes use watercolor, sometimes work digitally, and sometimes are into collage or whatever.

Q:  What should an illustrator for children be sure to include in a portfolio?
A:  Anything that the illustrator loves so much that they seem as if they totally get the essence of whatever it is they are portraying.  We are beyond the days of saying you need to have b/w, children, pets, everyday scenes.  If you are into wombats, and that's all you care about, then by all means, have a wombat-driven portfolio.

Essential reading, and there's much more at Marla's"Portfolio Tips" on the "Studio" page at her website.  And those tips are from a more in-depth article she wrote for Kite Tales, the quarterly Southern California Tri-Regions SCBWI newsletter.  (The regional newsletters are a great benefit of SCBWI membership.)


Subscription & member-supported access to children's books is an innovative business model in the news.

Here's a physical bookstore trying it:

Point Reyes Books in Point Reyes, CA is experimenting with a member-supported model they dub "CSB", for Community Supported Bookstore. The CSB, which launched last month, "allows customers to deposit anywhere from $150 to $500 into a bookstore account, draw purchases from that balance and receive a 5 percent discount on all items." Owner Steve Costa tells the Point Reyes Light the store hopes to enroll at least 200 customers in the CSB by the end of 2011 and to have at least 500 members within 12 months. 
You can find out more and even become a Point Reyes Books Community Supported Bookstore Member at the store's website here.

Amazon just announced that they're going to be in the business of lending out e-books (one book a month, and according to Publisher's Lunch, mostly back-list titles) to their Amazon Prime members. They're starting with 5,000 titles, but for now, as the Wall Street Journal notes,
"None of the six largest publishers in the U.S. is participating."
And in an interesting twist, Publishers Lunch reports in their article, "Kindle-Lent, Without Consent" that some of the publishers/rights owners/authors of books on that list of 5,000 didn't agree to the deal with Amazon... for those, it would seem,
"Amazon pays the publisher the wholesale price each time a qualified Prime member "borrows" the ebook. Those will count as sales, because, well, they are sales..."

And uTales is a new e-book subscription business for picture books that launched this month.  As their founder Nils von Heijne says:

"Our aim is simply to build something good; good for talented storytellers, good for parents, and good for kids. uTales is a new way to enjoy modern picture books, and in doing so also making the world a little better for kids, one story at a time."

uTales also supports the non-profit Pencils of Promise to help build new schools in developing countries.  That's another trend of note, creating new business models that are "as focused on giving back as they are on turning a profit."

As you get deeper into the world of Children's Literature you find that, indeed, It's A Small World After All (thank you, Disney!)  Here, I can prove it:  Who's the head of the editorial panel ensuring the quality of the books included in the uTales e-book library?  The remarkable Emma Dryden.  See?  Small world.  Fascinating innovations.


There's a fun celebration of picture books (the physical kind) going on all November, organized by SCBWI member Diane De Las Casas - with 30 days of picture book champions (like Peter Brown, Anastasia Suen and Jane Yolen) sharing their takes on "Why picture books are important."  Dan Yaccarino's essay had this gem:
"Picture books are important because they are with us for life. They are the most important books we’ll ever read because they’re our first. No matter how many books we’ve read since, they will always have a place in our hearts."

Lin Oliver often refers to those of us writing and illustrating and creating children's books as a tribe.  And SCBWI is a tribe - I felt it at my first Summer Conference.  That these were my people.  Our people.

One of the easiest ways for you to plug into the community is to join the conversation.  Comment here.  Follow us on twitter.  Like our SCBWI Fan page on facebook.  Check out the offerings of your local SCBWI chapter.  And consider joining us at the upcoming Lucky 13th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference in New York, January 27-29, 2012.

However you connect, know that just by reading this, you're part of our tribe.

And we welcome you.

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Marketing Intensive for Illustrators at the 2012 SCBWI Winter Conference: What You Need To Know

I sat down with Lin Oliver, SCBWI's Executive Director, to find out more about the upcoming full-day intensive program, Marketing For Illustrators, on Friday January 27, 2012.  

You can see the full Marketing For Illustrators Intensive day's schedule here, and register for that and the whole Lucky 13th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference here.

What an amazing - and essential- opportunity!

We hope to see you there.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kid Lit Industry Catch-Up

A lot's been going on lately, and as we head into November, I wanted to make sure you knew about these stories:

Lauren Myracle is a National Book Award Finalist. Err, wait. She’s not.

Evidently "Shine" sounds a lot like "Chime."  And "Lauren Myracle" sounds a lot like "Franny Billingsley."  Hold on there...

Here are three angles on the story:

The Publishers Lunch version

Libba Bray pulls no punches in her backstage pass assessment of the situation (her husband, Barry Goldblatt, is Lauren Myracle’s literary agent.) It’s funny and passionate, but if f-bombs offend, read the other two links instead. Here's Libba's blog post.

Vanity Fair has an interview with the remarkably gracious Lauren Myracle, here.

Amazon's exclusive digital rights deal with DC comics, and what happened next

The new deal means that hundreds of DC’s popular graphic novels (think Superman, Batman, Watchmen...) will only be available on Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablet. Barnes & Nobel and Books-a-Million responded by pulling all the physical volumes of those titles from their shelves, saying they wouldn’t carry any book it they’re denied the right to sell the digital version. The New York Times story is here.  

Sales Data Sharing With Authors

And there was more news featuring Amazon, this on Amazon driving changes in how publishers do business – since Amazon announced they would share some sales data with their authors, Simon & Schuster (and now Random House and Hachette Book Group) will do similarly. It’s an interesting article in Publishers Lunch.

New Radio Book Club for Kids

“Prisoners of NPR” (kids in the back seat forced to listen to ‘All Things Considered’ because their parents are listening) are getting their own Back Seat Book Club.  Here's the story at Publishers Weekly.

Traditional Publishing's path of Print first, digital second gets flipped

Ruckus Media is teaming up with Scholastic to publish digital first, and print second.  You can read more about it here.

Is a book ever finished, or just published?

For the 40th anniversary edition of the best-selling horror classic, "The Exorcist," author William Peter Blatty not only polished, but revised and added a whole new character.  You can hear the interview (and read the article) from NPR's Weekend Edition here.

And finally,

If you won the Newbery Medal, would you want that gold sticker on the cover?

On the right, the old cover, Newbery Medal flashing.  On the left, the new cover

Turns out this isn't a mistake.  It's the strategy for attracting adult readers.

Find out more about the new cover without the Newbery Medal for Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book" at this Media Bistro post.

And interestingly, "The Graveyard Book" will be the inaugural title for the new NPR Back Seat Book Club.  Fun how that came full circle, isn't it?

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I've Got The Torch... And Here We Go!

Lee Wind, mid-air

I am honored and thrilled to be the new official SCBWI blogger and Captain of Team Blog!

Look for updates here on things going on in our kid lit industry and inside looks at the many SCBWI offerings of information, networking, publications, grants & awards, being a collective voice for authors and illustrators, and of course our amazing SCBWI Annual Conferences!

Your SCBWI Team Bloggers will be diving into pre-conference interviews to give you the scoop on what you can look forward to at our upcoming Lucky 13th Annual Winter Conference in New York City, Jan 27-29, 2012.  I mean, have you checked out the lineup of speakers?  The break-out workshops?  The number of agents and editors on faculty?  The gala dinner, a new mingling and networking event for Saturday night?  The portfolio showcase?  And the Friday day of intensive sessions on marketing for writers, marketing for illustrators, and writers roundtables?  There's so much great stuff!

But the conference blogging by Team Blog couldn't happen without our amazing team:

Martha Brockenbrough, one of the funniest people I've ever met.  And she can write funny, too.  Her book on grammar  had me laughing out loud (yes, grammar and laughing) and I can't wait to read her upcoming titles from Arthur A. Levine books ("Devine Intervention" sounds amazing!) Martha is deep and insightful and snort-milk-out-of-your-nose funny.  She's also a wonderful blogger, both at her own blog, and for our SCBWI Team!

Jolie Stekley is awesome. A YA writer bursting with creativity and energy, she imbues everything she does with heart and insight.  I love re-reading her conference posts (like this one), because they are personal and universal at the same time - and with all the photos and quotes the whole feel of the conference comes back to me in a wonderful rush!  She's a great blogger at her own blog, Cuppa Jolie (check out her fabulous weekly writing prompts!) and for our SCBWI Team!

Jaime Temairik, our resident illustrator on the team, changes things up for all of us by stretching the form and having fun with it all.  Like her commercial breaks and zombie sock puppet sketches, Jaime is wacky in the most wonderful of ways!  When I first met her, I thought she was Yoda-like, as in still-waters-run-deep.  What I discovered is that Jaime is deep - and she's quieter than me because she's busy planning all this amazing stuff while I'm chattering away!  She's a treasure of a blogger at her own blog, Cocoastomp, and for our SCBWI Team!

Suzanne Young is zany, charming, and prolific - with three YA titles out (her latest is the supernatural romance,"A Need So Beautiful!)" and more books coming soon...  Suzanne is also really innovative in her marketing efforts, and I recently saw her speak with Novel Novice's Sara Gundell about their super-fun and well-received do-it-yourself campaigns for her books.  Suzanne is a bright light and a super blogger, both at her own blog and for our SCBWI Team!

What all these amazing bloggers share is a huge sense of heart and passion.  (And twitter accounts:  follow them at
I'm beyond grateful for their friendship and support - and so glad to continue Team Blogging the SCBWI Annual Conferences with them!

And I have to take this opportunity to offer my heartfelt thanks to Alice Pope, who not only had the vision to create Team Blog with Aaron Hartzler (and bring me on board) but for believing in me and now passing me the torch.  Thank you, Alice! 

So I'll raise the flame high and run with you all, as we explore the grandeur and endorphin-rush of our passion - writing and illustrating and editing and agenting and art-directing and publishing and blogging and bookselling and teaching and librarian-ing (!)  and marketing and innovating...  as we create and celebrate creative content for children and teens.

Run with me!

ps: You're welcome to follow me on my home blog, "I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?" and on twitter at @leewind
pps: My photo above was taken by the wonderful writer and photographer Rita Crayon Huang.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Passing the Torch: My Final SCBWI Blog Post

Dear Readers,

Today, in a swirl of mixed emotions, I offer this post announcing that I will no longer be blogging for SCBWI.

I happily started this gig in May of 2010, a month after leaving my position as the long-time editor of Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market. I was so grateful and excited that SCBWI gave me the opportunity to continue to communicate via the blogosphere with the amazing community I'd come to know and love throughout my 18 plus years at Writer's Digest Books.

While I was an editor at WD, I attended countless SCBWI events all over the country. Without a doubt, my favorite event has always been the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles. I learned so much, made so many terrific contacts, saw success stories unfold, and, most importantly, became lifelong friends with some tremendous people.

So of course I was beyond thrilled with the formation of SCBWI TEAM BLOG in 2009. The brainchild of former SCBWI Director of Communications Aaron Hartzler, the team--including me, Jaime Temairik, Martha Brockenbrough, Jolie Stekly, Suzanne Young and Lee Wind--brought you pre-conference interviews with conference faculty and exhaustive as-it-happens coverage of the LA and NYC conferences. We blogged and social networked our fingers to the bone, with joy.

I'm thrilled to announce that the SCBWI blog and TEAM BLOG will survive--and thrive--under new the leadership of Lee Wind.

Lee, always an enthusiastic and energetic TEAM BLOG member and award-winning blogger at I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read, is taking over as the official SCBWI blogger and is the new captain of TEAM BLOG! (He's being fitted for his SCBWI cape as I type.)

Lee will will begin posting here in a few days (at which time the blog will get a bit of a makeover), and he'll tell you a little more about himself. So please be sure to visit the blog often to read Lee's posts and watch as he clues you in on the pre-conference fun and offers his terrific faculty interviews as the date for the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference in New York draws nearer. (I'll be popping in frequently here and at the Official SCBWI Conference Blog to enjoy things from the other side.)

So I bid you farewell, but not goodbye. (We can keep in touch on Facebook and Twitter afterall.) Thank you for reading both the SCBWI blogs. Thank you Lin and Steve for allowing me to be a part of them. Thank you Jaime, Martha, Jolie, Suzanne and Lee for all your hard work and for your friendship. I love you guys.

Now I leave you the same way I greeted you...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Every Poster Has a Story: The Scoop on the First-Ever Golden Kite Awards Poster

SCBWI recently unveiled its first-ever poster featuring winners of the organization's coveted annual Golden Kite Awards. The debut poster was beautifully illustrated by John Parra, 2010 Golden Kite winner for picture book illustration.

"We asked John to illustrate the poster for two reasons—one, because we knew his style would be absolutely perfect for the poster art. Second, because we hoped to start a tradition that the winner of the Picture Book Illustration category of the Golden Kite Award would illustrate the poster to commemorate the following year's winners," says Sarah Baker, SCBWI's Manager of Illustration and Design.

"John needed very little in the way of suggestions or notes. We just told him the poster was to celebrate the next year of Golden Kite winners, the dimensions of the poster of course, and that it should feature the kite somewhere. He took it upon himself to add an image representing each winning book, a really great touch!"

"Working on the Golden Kite Poster was a wonderful and great thrill for me," says John Parra. "The concept comes from when I received my Golden Kite Award from SCBWI in 2010 for the book, GRACIAS/THANKS, and how I felt a soaring emotion like the bird in the poster. The child characters in the image represent us all taking that wonderful journey into literature and art that we collectively celebrate and cherish. Many of the other icons and imagery that surround these main characters are sample images representing each of this year's 2011 Golden Kite winners. I always enjoy seeing the final print when type is added and I was honored to have it presented at this year's SCBWI 40th Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles."

"I absolutely fell in love with John's art from the moment I saw the first sketch, and finding typefaces and designing the poster around his art was so much fun. It was thrilling when his painting arrived in the mail, and thrilling once again to see the finished printed poster," says Sarah. "Presenting it in front of the 1,300 attendees at the Golden Kite Award Luncheon was more terrifying than anything, but so much fun to see how much everyone else loved the poster as much as we did. This was a great start to an annual tradition of Golden Kite Award celebration posters, and I can't wait to work on next year's!"

SCBWI Executive Director Lin Oliver adds: “We hope this beautiful poster will not only honor the outstanding books that have won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, but will go a long way to expanding the public visibility and sales of these deserving books. We want to see their names highly visible to the reading public.”

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Winter Conference Regisation Opens Monday!

Registration for the SCBWI 2012 Winter Conference begins Monday, October 17th, 2011 at 10AM PDT. 

The Annual Winter Conference features a huge line-up of stars and decision-makers from the world of children's book publishing. Whether you're an illustrator or a writer, whether your genre is picture books, middle grade, or young adult, you can't afford to miss this spectacular chance to meet and network with the major players in publishing for young readers!

Plus we've added a third pre-conference intensive on January 27th-Marketing for Professional Writers--and that, along with our Writers' Roundtable Intensive and Marketing for Illustrators Intensive are sure to fill up fast. We have also added a Gala Cocktail party on January 28th so people can mingle with publishing professionals, regional advisors and other attendees, as well as enjoying a free drink and food.

The conference will take place from January 27th-29th at the Hyatt Regency Grand Central in New York City.

And be sure to watch the official conference blog (and this blog) for exciting interviews with faculty members and other 2012 Winter Conference news from SCBWI's terrific TEAM BLOG.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Deadline Is Approaching: It's Time to Submit Books for SCBWI's 2012 Golden Kite Awards!

The deadline to submit book for this year's Golden Kite Awards is December 16th--that's less than two month away. If you had a book published in 2011, here are a few great reasons to act now and get your book in the running...

Started in 1973, SCBWI offers the Golden Kites annually to recognize excellence in children’s book in for categories (Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Book Text and Picture Book Illustration).

Each winner receives $2,500 as well as an expense-paid trip to Los Angeles to attend the award ceremony at the Golden Kite Luncheon at SCBWI’s Summer Conference in August. (Word has it, the luncheon chicken is terrific.)

And (this is new!) Golden Kite winners also become lifetime members of SCBWI.

There are also four honor book recipients will also be named by the panel of judges which consists of children’s book writers and illustrators. Books can be nominated by individual or by publishers.

Pretty awesome, huh?

But there's more. This year for the first time, a commemorative poster with the winners was created and is being distributed to schools, libraries, bookstores and publishers. The poster for the 2011 Golden Kite Awards, below, features original art by last year’s winner, John Parra, and features cover images of the four 2011 Golden Kite winning books. Isn't it a beauty?

Click here for submission guidelines as well as lists of past winners.