Tag Archives: A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE

“I’ve Always Wanted to Write a Picture Book”-Getting Started

I have a lot of people ask me how I got a book published. Because . . .

They’ve always wanted to write. Or they have an idea for a picture book. Or their daughter has an idea. Or their mother always wanted them to write about the goose that lived in the shed across the street. Or they wrote a story years ago and they have a second cousin who could illustrate it.

I know other writers get asked the same thing. Many times I’ve found that the person asking is just making conversation. Because the minute I say “writing journey” they don’t seem quite so interested. I think they thought the “journey” was really just a “jaunt”. And then when I mention SCBWI (of course I say the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), their eyes glaze over. TMI! I know it’s time to stop.

There have been a few, though, that want more information. I email them links and information I think they would find helpful. Usually I don’t hear back. But, recently, I shared information with someone who has written professionally for years. Now she wants to write picture books. And she’s a member of SCBWI! She’s attended conferences. She’s serious, folks! And I had a ton of fun sharing resources and talking picture books. It reminded me that of all those who say they want to write, a few REALLY do!

It seems that most of the people who read our blog are already on their writing journey. But I imagine we have a few that visited this site who are just getting started. I know I visited this site regularly when I was new on my journey. So I thought I might address the “How did you get a book published?” question for those who are truly interested and would just like a starting point and places to gather information.

Note: There is no way to list every resource and website. These are only a few of the ones that were particularly helpful on my journey as they include challenges, etc. that inspired me to write. On top of these, I read many blogs. When you check out KidLit411 below, I will provide their link to a list of wonderful blogs.

SCBWI: Click HERE to browse their website. It is chock full of all things KidLit. I strongly advise becoming a member. My membership is invaluable. There is a forum available. To read all of the boards in forum, you have to be a member of SCBWI. You can get a taste of the valuable information on the forum without being a member.

Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo: PiBoIdMo stands for Picture Book Idea Month.This takes place in November. Each day you will be inspired by amazing posts by authors, illustrators, and other KidLit lovers. This challenge is free and if you participate you’re likely to end the month with a list of new ideas for picture books. You’ll also get a glimpse into the wonderful, sharing KidLit community. You don’t have to wait until November if you want to be inspired. Follow her blog and check out the archives for wonderful posts. You can find out more information HERE.

Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog: Susanna always has something going on over at her blog. I met her early in my writing journey and her blog has been a huge plus for me. Her Perfect Picture Book Friday series will clue you in to excellent picture books. The series features reviews by a variety of picture book lovers. Her Would You Read It Wednesday series focuses on picture book pitches which are extremely important for writers when they have manuscripts ready to pitch to agents and editors. Susanna also hosts amazing contests with amazing prizes. Click HERE to browse Susanna’s blog.

Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12: This is a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months. If you’re wanting accountability, community, and resources it is well worth the fee. Registration for next year will be in January. In the meantime, follow Julie’s blog and you will benefit. Find more information HERE.

Then there is the site of all sites-KidLit411: Elaine Kiely Kearns and Sylvia Liu have gathered KidLit resources from all around the Internet on their website. It is AMAZING. It includes all the sites I’ve mentioned and many, many more. Many more! HERE is the link to their list of Blogs to Follow. Click HERE for their home page and prepare to spend hours immersed in all things KidLit!

And, of course, follow us here at Emus Debuts where we were all once beginners. Join us as we talk about how, with hard work, our dreams became reality.

I’m far from the first person to blog about these resources. But I hope they’ll help someone on their writing journey.


penny edited

Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHTis coming from Random House Books For Young Readers August 4, 2015. Also, coming from Random House Books For Young Readers is A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE, Spring, 2017. You can follow Penny on on her blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Pinterest. She is represented by Tricia Lawrence.

 

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Filed under Advice - Helpful or Otherwise, Picture books

Writing in Reverse

In one of my earlier posts, I talked about the fact that my car was totaled in a June hailstorm. That unfortunate event necessitated a new car. My old car had a backup camera, but this car has a BACKUP CAMERA! It’s amazing. It has this beeping-warning system that lets me know if someone is passing behind me or if I’m getting close to backing into something. The other day I was backing out of my garage, looking at the view in the backup camera, when the phrase Writing in Reverse just popped into my head. You may have noticed from my posts here that I love analogies. So when I thought about Writing in Reverse, I knew I had to use this for a post.

Before Writing in Reverse, I have to get my my story down. So I just drive/write a first draft. Yes, I do need to have a destination in mind­—a character, the semblance of a plot or structure, events to drive my story forward, etc. I need to keep the Rules of the Road/Genre in mind as I write. I need to be aware of traffic/the audience I’m writing for, and I need to watch my speed limit/word count. OK, sometimes I do go a few MPH/WPM (word per manuscript) over knowing I can probably get by with it, but I don’t want my speed/word count to get completely out of control. So, pretty much, I just drive/write on. The first draft is a hugely important part of writing. If I never do this part, I’ll never get anywhere. My ideas will be stuck at home and never see the light of day. Never get out into the world. And once the first draft is finished, I do feel like I’ve been somewhere. But I know this same journey will become very familiar . . .

. . . because now comes Writing in Reverse/revision.

Screenshot 2014-12-20 19.58.47

It’s time to take the same drive using my backup camera. It will be much slower. I will cut my speed limit to a crawl. Each twist and turn will require my complete attention. I will be more cautious and more aware of any obstacles that will hinder my story. I will listen to my internal beeps. I will listen to my critique group who will make me aware of my blind spots. This journey will take much longer than my first draft, but it has to be taken to get to that “sweet spot” for submission. I know this. It’s tough. But it must be done. And it’s worth it.

Recently my second deal was announced. A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE sold to Maria Modugno at Random House Children’s who also bought THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT. It will be illustrated by Ben Mantle who also illustrated my dragon story. Talk about Writing in Reverse! I had 102 “Saved As” files of A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE. Not all were complete rewrites, but all had tweaks. Some major, some minor. That’s a lotta Writing in Reverse. But it served me well. When I emailed Tricia (love my agent) that 102nd file, she deemed it “ready to go”. In two days, we heard back from Maria. She wanted my story 🙂

So make sure you use a BACKUP CAMERA! A really good one. Take that slow, Writing-in-Reverse journey where you pay attention to every detail and find that “sweet spot” before submitting. It will be worth it!

writing in reverse final

 


penny editedPenny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHTis coming from Random House Children’s Publishing August 4, 2015. Also, coming from Random House Children’s is A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE, Spring, 2016. You can follow Penny on on her blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Pinterest. She is represented by Tricia Lawrence.

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