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It’s NOVEMBER ALREADY?
Well, almost. October will whip by in a sugar-induced haze. Especially because a) I’ll buy candy way too early and eat it all; and b) my kids will change their minds about their Halloween costumes umpteen times. “I wanna be Frankie Stein! No, Draculaura! No, a zombie mermaid! Ooh, I know, a picture book author! I can trick-or-treat in my jammies with a story stuck to my forehead! You’re sorta like a zombie, right, Mommy?”
October is NOT the month of jack-o-lanterns, candy corn (BLECH!) and costumes. It’s the month of PiBoIdMo-eve!
Our 5th anniversary logo, banners and badges have been designed by the kawaii-cutie, author-illustrator Joyce Wan.
Joyce knows my penchant for hot-air balloons. (My husband almost proposed on one. But I think he was afraid I’d drop the ring.)
So this year’s theme is IDEAS TAKING FLIGHT!
WAIT A MINUTE! DID THE BANNER UP TOP SAY 5TH ANNIVERSARY?!
Yep, it sure did. Which means I’ll have to come up with something super-snazzy for this year. So how ’bout JANE YOLEN?
Besides the legendary Ms. Yolen, here are some of the authors and illustrators who’ll be blogging all November long, helping you to fill your idea notebook with 30 picture book concepts:
- Drew Daywalt
- Michael Garland
- Melissa Guion
- Leeza Hernandez
- Lenore & Daniel Jennewein
- Renee Kurilla
- Mike Allegra
- Elizabeth Rose Stanton
- Bitsy Kemper
- Julie Falatko
- Adam Lehrhaupt
- Wendy Martin
- The McQueen Brothers
- Pat Miller
- Pat Zietlow Miller
- Anne Marie Pace
- Betsy Devany
- Paul Schmid
- Annette Simon
- Tammi Sauer
- Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
- Kami Kinard
- Dianne de las Casas
- Dorina Lazo Gilmore
- James Proimos
- Marcie Colleen
- Karen Henry Clark
- Maria Gianferrari
- Laurie Keller
- Katie Davis
- Ryan Sias
- Zachariah Ohora
- Kelly Light
- Steve Barr
- Greg Pizzoli
And even more to be announced…
Official registration will begin on this blog on OCTOBER 24th and run through NOVEMBER 4th. Watch for it! (It’s easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy if you just follow this blog. See left column.) Only officially registered participants will be eligible for PRIZES, like a consultation with a picture book agent!
But you can grab the “Official Participant” Badge NOW and proudly slap it on your blog or social network site. Kindly link it back to taralazar.com/piboidmo so folks know where to join the challenge. You can also grab the “Ideas Taking Flight!” slogan above.
And here’s some adorbs lightbulb balloons! Use them when you’re blogging about PiBoIdMo to express yourself!
The only thing that’s missing is the PiBoIdMo 2013 merchandise to benefit RIF—like your official idea notebook—so I’ll be announcing that soon.
In the meantime, let us know how YOU’RE gearing up for PiBoIdMo. Blog about it or leave a comment below. What are you looking forward to this November?
Me? Tonight I’m hosting one of NJ-SCBWI’s PiBoIdMo kick-off parties at the Manville Public Library. Maybe I’ll see some of you there? I promise I won’t be a zombie.
Joyce Wan, talented author/illustrator of “Greetings from Kiwi and Pear,” stops by the blog today to recap the recent NJ-SCBWI annual conference. I couldn’t attend this year so Joyce offered to share the juicy details. (Get it? Kiwi and pear…juicy? Ugh, stick to humor in picture books, Tara.)
Take it away, Joyce!
It was my first time attending the New Jersey SCBWI Annual Conference and it was such a blast! There were intensives, workshops, lunches with editors/agents/art directors, a book fair, a juried art show, a raffle, auctions, one-on-one critiques, agent pitch sessions and portfolio reviews galore. A whopping 22 publishing houses/agents were represented. A round of applause to Kathy Temean (NJ-SCBWI RA), Laurie Wallmark (Assistant RA) and all the volunteers for coordinating such an amazing and well-organized event. The conference was informational yet inspiring and I left Princeton feeling excited and energized!
Highlights from two of the workshops I attended which stood out in my mind:
Sure it’s Cute, But Will it Sell?
Associate Publisher/Executive Managing Editor
Dial, Dutton, & Celebra
He provided us with information on the business side of the industry and a snapshot of the current picture book market. The market is made up of four types of buyers:
- Independent Retailers
- Mass Market Retailers
- Institutional (Libraries and Schools)
- Book Clubs/Fairs
You want to write a book that hits ALL markets. Examples of current books that are hitting all markets:
- Skippyjon Jones
- Fancy Nancy
- Ladybug Girl
- Llama Llama Red Pajama
As mentioned in the recent #pblitchat on Twitter, Meltzer is looking for character-driven stories: stories with quirky characters that are unusual and original but realistic. Character stories invite sequels, branding, and licensing opportunities.
Finally, he suggested that writers should be able to pitch their story in one sentence. Compare it to something successful but then tell him how it’s different (ex. Like Skippyjon Jones but with whales).
Picture Books – What Works
Author of 13 picture books and seven non-fiction books
Picture books should be 650 words or less. Story should consist of a character that has a conflict and makes three failed attempts to solve the problem and then has a successful attempt on the fourth try. The end of the book must surprise the reader (a twist), extending the story beyond the story, which makes the book re-readable. Although she did mention that there are no hard and fast rules to picture book writing–and that these are just what, in her experience, has worked for her–I do think it’s a handy little formula to follow for those of us beginning our journey in the world of picture books! Another little trick that can help add tension to any story is to add a ticking clock of some sort: the character has to reach the goal by a certain time (ex. by bedtime, by sundown, etc.).
In addition to the workshops, there were two really inspiring keynote presentations at the lunches given on the first day by David L. Harrison, author of 80 children’s books, and on the second day by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, author of Dairy Queen and other books. David Harrison reminded us all why we do what we do, which is to create literature for young people. Catherine Gilbert Murdock charmed us all with her self-deprecating humor and shared with us how her journey to becoming a successful author started in a not-so-successful career in screenwriting.
There was also a juried art show organized by Leeza Hernandez, which was a first for the NJ SCBWI conference. You can read about the winners of the art show and view some of their beautiful artwork on Kathy Temean’s blog.
I submitted this piece for the art show which is a scene from my picture book that came out last year called Greetings from Kiwi and Pear.
I had fun being part of such a visual part of the conference and even had a fellow attendee email me after the show saying how much she loved my work and what a bummer it was that we didn’t get to chat during the conference.
One of the best parts of the conference was the one-on-one critique with the editor/agent. I thought the one-on-ones alone were worth the price of the conference. The editor I had my critique with gave me very insightful feedback and ideas. I showed her the picture book dummy that went with the manuscript I submitted for the critique along with my picture book that came out last year and even my Wanart catalog so that she could get a better sense of my illustration style. She liked my picture book dummy so much she actually asked to keep it along with my catalog–how exciting!
One fun side note is that there was a High School prom at the hotel the first night of the conference. I got quite nostalgic at dinner watching all the kids in their tuxedos and glittering gowns make their grand appearances in the hotel lobby–it was quite a spectacle and felt like dinner theater!
Overall, the conference was fantastic in every way from the top notch venue (there were koi ponds in the atrium!) to the high calibur faculty. I’m already looking forward to next year!