Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Writer & Illustrator Conference

Southwest Texas SCBWI Fall Conference
Saturday, September 17, 2011, from 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM (CT)
San Antonio, TX

Join us in lovely San Antonio on September 17 to strengthen your skills as a children's book creator from our amazing editors from two closed publishing houses. Get tips on polishing your submissions from an experienced agent. Learn how to tackle social media to promote your books and yourself. Want to know the secrets of plotting a novel from an award-winning author? Discover the exciting new field of creating ebooks for kids. Network with other authors and illustrators and submit your work to our editors and agent after the conference. – Click on this link for more details and to Register online now!

San Antonio River Walk
"The most important thing you can bring with you to a writers' conference is an open and alert mind, ready and willing to listen and learn. Take advantage of every opportunity the conference offers." -- Writing Tip from Writer's Digest Weekly Planner

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Educational publishing

Have you ever thought of writing for the non-fiction educational market but think it’s only for those in the education field, i.e., teachers, librarians, professors, etc.? Well, think again. "Educational Publishing," an article by Joanne Mattern addresses this topic and offers advice on how to write for this genre. She also lists resources to go to for more information.

According to Ms. Mattern’s article on the Institute for Children’s Literature blog, “Basically, educational publishing is tied to topics that kids study in school, such as social studies, history, science, math, and language arts, but it can explore any topic. You'll see lots of books about things that aren't specifically studied in school, like biographies of celebrities or books about Navy SEALs or unusual pets, but these are nonfiction topics that kids are interested in. Also, kids always have to write book reports and other research projects, so publishers put out books that they can use for that. They are educational in that they provide facts and figures and information about a topic, but they are fun to read and are about topics kids either want to know about or need to know about for school.”

Santa Fe

After you read what educational publishing entails, you might decide to try that genre. Or not. But it’s worth looking into.

"Query letter tip: If you've never been published before, it's best to ignore the subject of past credits and discuss instead your qualifications to write the book or article at hand." -- Writing Tip from Writer's Digest Weekly Planner

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Publishing Terms

Okay. You have dictionaries and then you have dictionaries. But have you ever heard of a publishing dictionary? I had not until I came across this blog that is really cool. For instance, do you know what the acronym AAR stands for? How about ARCs? How about Galleys? Options? These are just a few of the acronyms and publishing terms that BookEnds, LLC - A Literary Agency (Primary Agents: Jessica Faust, Kim Lionetti, and Jessica Alvarez) define on the agency’s blog, which is a great resource for writers. 

By the way, ARCs’ definition on this blog: : "Advance Review Copies. Not the final book. These are advance and unfinalized copies of the book that are sent out to reviewers."
River Walk
“With a first novel, don’t send a query letter to agents or editors until the work is complete and revised. You need to be able to demonstrate that you are capable of finishing a novel.” – Writing Tip from Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nurture creativity

It was nice to take a break for a while. I was called for jury duty and so took advantage of the day and went downtown. I visited our famous San Fernando Cathedral, which by the way attracts many tourists. It was quiet and soothing in there. The golden retablos behind the altar are dazzling. The brilliant colors of the glass-stained windows are vivid as the outside light shines through. The intricately-carved pulpit from olden days is still there. This cathedral was founded in 1731. So you can  imagine the history behind it. 

 I had lunch at a nearby cafĂ© and afterwards took pictures of the plaza, the flowers, and the river walk. It was a hot day but an enjoyable day, nonetheless. People from all walks of life walked around the plaza. Some were on their lunch hour; others were definitely tourists, lugging cameras around, caps or hats shielding them from the hot sun. 

Court House
Have been reading The Right to Write by Julia Cameron. She writes about taking such breaks from your work once in a while, whether it’s music, a museum, or just a walk in the park. It’s good for the soul. We work in isolation most of the time. That’s why it’s nice to take breaks once in a while. How do you nurture your soul and your creativity?

“Nothing one ever experiences or feels is wasted.” – Lynne Reid Banks 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

School Visits

When I get home from a school visit, I try to remember some of the questions the students ask me during the presentation. Time goes by so fast that most of the time I forget to write things down and then go on to do something else and I forget. But during a recent one, I wrote some of the questions down as soon as I got home. They went like this:

Q.: Do you only write picture books? A: No, I’m working on a middle-grade novel right now.
Q: When did you decide to become a writer? A: I’ve always been a writer at heart.
Q: Where do you get your ideas for a book? A: Sometimes articles in the paper, a life experience, a conversation, visual images, etc.
Q: Are you rich? A: No.
Q: Do you make a lot of money from your books? A: No.
Q: Then why do you write? A: Because of my love for writing.
Q: Do you draw the pictures in the book? A: No. The illustrator selected by the publisher does that.
Q: Do you get to meet famous authors? A: Yes. At conferences and workshops. 
Q: How old are you? A: Old enough.
Q: You used to work with airplanes. Why don’t you write about airplanes? A: Maybe I will.

These are just some of the few questions I get asked. What are some of yours?

"My never-fail secret to getting your book published ... Write it." -- Stephanie Gordon Tessler

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Word Count on Children's Books

Word Count: From one extreme to another, did you know that the book, Sarah Plain and Tall, was only 9,000 words? Or that a YA novel, This Is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn, was 250,000 words?  Where the Wild Things Are was only 336 words while Harry Potter & the Sorceror’s Stone was 77,508. Yikes!

Santa Fe
Literary agent at Andrea Brown Lit., Jennifer Laughran, blogs about this topic. She lists the genres in children’s books. From picture books, early readers, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult, she posts the titles of famous books and their word counts. I think this is great information, which will give you, the writer, an idea on word count for the type of story you’re writing right now. Have fun with this!

“No matter what your writing life brings, believe in yourself and keep moving forward. Most writers cycle between periods of self-doubt and periods of confidence.” – Writer’s Tip from Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner