by Jed Henry

Before we get too serious, I want to show everybody the fully animated book trailer I just finished. Itโ€™s super cute! (Note from Tara: Adorable—and one of the best picture book trailers I’ve ever seen.)

Back to business!

It’s a great honor to be a guest on the PiBoIdMo blog. I hope my comments prove helpful for all you dedicated writers out there. For the sake of clarity, I’ll keep it short and sweet with a list of things I learned from last year’s PiBoIdMo.

1) It’s a numbers game.
The genius behind PiBoIdMo is that it requires you to think up THIRTY different ideas. One big difference between amateurs and pros is the number of works they’re juggling at once. Amateurs jealously guard their one precious book idea for decades, certain that it’ll be the next big hit when they finally submit. It rarely (NEVER) is. Pros know that writing is guerrilla warfare – they have to keep moving or they’ll die. They get a good idea, dump their whole soul into it, submit it for publication, and move onto their next big idea. Here’s the key: you never know what an editor will like, so it pays to have a whole arsenal of books to show off. So far, I’ve completely written and sketched out TWENTY complete picture books, and only two have been published.

2) Quality is just as important as quantity.
Don’t get discouraged by my previous point. Writing is a ton of work. The good news is that by producing a great volume of work, you’ll gradually improve your craft. It’s just like any other talent – the only way to become proficient is to do it on a daily basis.

3) We need a healthy balance of input and output.
All writers write because first and foremost, they love to read. In order to produce, they need to consume inspiring works. My advice is to visit the library regularly, and see what’s popular. Read book reviews by Kirkus, School Library Journal, Hornbook, etc. Find authors who appeal to you. By knowing what’s out there, your work will remain relevant in a fast-paced industry.

WHEW—now that I said all of that, let’s have a GIVEAWAY!

I’m giving away one set of limited edition coasters, commemorating the fall 2012 release of my book, “Cheer Up, Mouse!” Coasters are lame, you say? Well, these are super-deluxe. They’re custom letter pressed on high quality archival lithography paper. They’re the perfect thing to frame for a nursery. Have a look!

All you have to do is comment on this post, and weโ€™ll randomly choose a winner with a little help from Random.org.

Jed Henry is a fairly new name in the world of children’s book illustration. Already, he has worked with Penguin Putnam, Simon and Schuster, Harper Collins, and many others.