Saturday, August 22, 2009

More on the SCBWI-LA conference: A panel of authors and illustrators talked about what creates an extraordinary picture book. Here are some of their comments.

An extraordinary book is one of the very best of its kind. It achieves its goal with distinction and originality. It is a book that will last for a long time. When the book speaks to the reader, there is something in those books that makes them last. It has to have heart. Your emotion has to be in it. It has to have a strong appeal in one way or another to both children and adults. It will make readers want to read it over and over again. An extraordinary picture book has to have a very personal feel to it. A little bit of humor and love. Editors and agents put in a lot of work into a book. The artist/illustrator adds so much to the story. They enhance the story. Once a book is finished, an author should say to his/her illustrator, “Thank you for making OUR book so beautiful.”

Additional comments/advice regarding queries (from a workshop session):

Submit. Do not be afraid. Who are you writing for? Do the query in the VOICE of the story. Pitch the book in voice. Don’t start with questions, i.e., what if? Let your writing speak for itself. SASE. Follow guidelines. Mention that you are currently working on another novel so they’ll know you are writing. You describe a character by describing who loves them and who they love. A query letter is a pitch, not a synopsis. The editor/agent is more interested in voice than plot in query letter.

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