Wednesday, December 12th, 2012...2:20 pm
It’s a Party! Happy 12/12/12!
Congratulations to everyone who participated in Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 in 12 this year! It doesn’t matter how many manuscripts you piled up, how good they were, or if they ever get published. And if you’re stuck on that, read my last post!
I’m a picture book author, and yet, these nudges from Julie have helped me come up with more stories than I would have left to my own resistance! Thank you, Julie, and to those of you who keep saying you want to write picture books, get yourself over there!
My own 12×12 participation will be much easier this coming year, because I also got to play over at PiBoIdMo! Doesn’t that sound like fun? And I won! Here’s why…
Picture Book Idea Month gave me permission to stop and consider a multitude of ideas for writing. Instead of working away on an idea that popped into my head, I had a list to choose from. Yes, I did keep lists, but I didn’t always use them.
The difference is this: Because of PiBoIdMo, I was working on quantity of ideas. But, once you get past the obvious ones, you get into the more creative ones. In my normal process, I think of a good idea, then write. During PiBoIdMo, I kept going on the idea stage longer than usual.
And now, I’m a winner not only because I made my quota, but because I have a better writing habit. In fact, as the PiBoIdMo community will tell you, we’re ALL winners. Thanks, Tara Lazar!
My 12/12/12 suggestions for aspiring picture book authors & illustrators:
- Write! Many people prefer the idea of writing to the work of writing. I avoided writing for years by reading about it and by saying I didn’t have time. Practice, practice, practice!
- Learn your craft. Attend classes and conferences. Read books, magazines, and other publications. Sign up for online newsletters.
- Know kids and kids’ books. Go to the library and check out a stack every week – the books, not the kids. Observe kids. Hang out with them. Volunteer at schools, libraries, scouting or 4-H groups, etc.
- Join SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). They’ll teach you everything you need to know through their website, handouts, newsletters, and conferences. Get involved!
- Participate in Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) with Tara Lazar. (Click on the PiBoIdMo banner above for more information.)
- Take those PiBo ideas and head over to Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 and write a manuscript each month of the year. (Click on the 12×12 picture at the top of this post.)
- Join or start an online or in-person critique or writing support group. Find writing buddies. Libraries, colleges, and SCBWI may help.
- Sign up for manuscript critiques at conferences, but have a thick skin about it. You don’t really want to hear it’s perfect, do you?
- Research publishers and editors. Follow all submission guidelines. Get a copy of the most current Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market.
- It’s often harder to get a good children’s writer’s agent than it is to get published. Finding an agent is probably not one of your first steps.
- Don’t send in a manuscript a friend illustrated for you. Editors select the illustrator. If you write and illustrate, consider letting them know the text and artwork may be considered separately.
- Expect Rejection. Most stories are just practice, and everyone gets rejections. Celebrate those rejection letters!
And if you’re ready for a little coaching, I’ll have a few openings in the new year!