To learn the industry, I have joined CBI, a children's writing community. The "Children's Book Insider" is a well-known newsletter that offers plenty of news and information for the writing and publishing industry. Another important group to join is a must to really help learn the industry and stay in the know is SCBWI, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. As I fumble my way through developing this blog, I hope to offer a little advice along the way.
Since I write picture books, I read picture books to study the industry. They are my favorite type of book to read and to write. I have a reading journal. I write down the title, the author, the illustrator, a 1-2 sentence summary of the book, the publisher, the year published, and the word count. I often write a 2-3 word description of how I liked the book. Since September 2009, I have read about 200 picture books. I have only NOT liked maybe 3 of them. Only about 20 were published before 1980. One word that always comes up is "CUTE." My favorite pbs (short for picture books) are the ones that I find funny, humorous, or downright hilarious. I also love poetic books, and those are usually not rhyming, though some are. And I love books that are clever, make you think, or are so sweet that they give a warm fuzzy feeling.
In a future post, I will list some of my favorite books. So this is a very good way to learn the industry, AND to strengthen writing skills. By reading books (and copying them down), I have already formed a list of publishers that publish my favorite books. When I see their names, I automatically think, "I love their books!"
Until next time, keep on keepin' on!