Friday, February 26, 2010

Learn the Industry

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!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

About Me

I am 33 and have 2 children (3 and 5 1/2), a husband, and a three-legged treeing walker coonhound dog named Cocoa. I love living in the country and being able to spend 15 minutes to drive into town. I love being a creative person. I LOVE words and wordplay and the clever juxtapositions that words offer. I also love images. I love photography and the senses and the imagination. I love being a children's book writer because I can be myself. I love to learn, especially about things I find interesting, which varies widely. My interests are health and fitness, nature and animals, games, languages and cultures, food, crafts, weather, astronomy, different careers, and much more. I like books that provide thoughtful musings of life, and also laugh-out-loud funny stories. On an average day, you'll find me in my small office typing on my computer, doing research through the internet, or curled up on a couch writing in a notebook or reading a novel, or sprawled out on the floor poring through library books, picture books specifically.

I have basically been a writer my whole life. In school, I wrote poetry, stories, and plays. In college, I majored in Creative Writing. When I got a job, it was in an office as a receptionist. While there, I decided to also become a teacher. I spent the next 6 1/2 years going back to school to earn my K-6 elementary teaching license. Two years later, I still had no teaching job. That summer, my sister read a story to me that she was working on. I was so inspired that I pulled out all my old writing stuff. I say old, because I hadn't written anything in nearly 10 years, except for the occasional journal entry. All I had to show for a lifetime of writing and a college degree was half a novel, a hundred plus poems, and nine short stories, only 3 of which were half decent. I also rummaged through all my idea books, where I found at least 2 good ideas. I worked on the one idea that was the most fleshed out and I hope to have it published soon. I now have 45 ideas, all for children, something I never really pursued before. My goal, as of today, is to have my first book published by my 40th birthday. So, I have 6 1/2 years and I better get busy. Not only WRITING, but also getting a paid job. Until then, and in the words of a local and little-known author, the late Seth Gilkerson, "Just keep on keepin' on!"


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