Sunday, March 28, 2010

March Picture Book Madness & Round Up

Okay, so... it's not that I don't have ideas for what to blog about. I have tons. I started six different blog posts yesterday alone. It's just that I don't like the way any of them are coming out! (Yes, one of those weeks again where all posts have been canceled)

So, I am just going to bring you a Picture Book Round Up. Now, I am going to have to cheat a little. I could only find one great post actually written in March. And that was from.... drum roll... Brianna Caplan Sayres at The Paper Wait. And before I include the link, a huge congrats to Brianna on selling her first picture book! WHERE DO DIGGERS SLEEP AT NIGHT is going to be published by Random House. This rhyming story was sold by Brianna's fabulous agent Teresa Kietlinski of Prospect House, the very same Mystery "T" who sold two of my friend Tiffany's manuscripts in one week! (More on that to come!)

Okay, now on to the links.

Rebel Without an Eraser? Brianna discusses some of the rules for writing picture books and which ones she dared to break in her road to publication.

And now for the cheating part... the next two were not written in March. But I found them in March. So, I say... good enough.

The Hard Thing About Writing Picture Books
StoryQueen explains how hard is it to sell text without accompanying illustrations and poetically sums up, "Selling the text of a picture book is like trying to sell a dream."

The Least You Need to Know: How to Write a Picture Book Jacqui's nuts and bolts rules/suggestions/thoughts are a must read for those just starting out in this challenging genre.

If I've missed any great March picture book links, please let me know!

NOTE: I have another GREAT one to add. Thanks to Julie for this excellent post on the perils of writing a picture book in rhyme: Toil and Trouble.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

When Did I Become So Ditzy?

I have been extremely ditzy lately. I'll pre-heat the oven and then 20 minutes later, my kids will say, "I'm hungry. Where's dinner?" and I'll realize that I completely forgot to put the chicken nuggets in! Is it because I am past 40? Because I am obsessed with my WIP? Because I play musical beds all night? Probably all of the above.

But, if I am going to be totally honest, the ditziness really isn't new. I have been this way for at least a decade. How do I know?

Here's how...

When David and I got married in 2002, our friend, Steve, (the guy who introduced us) asked if he could read some emails from David aloud to our guests. "Sure!" we said.

These are the first few emails:

MAY, 2000

DAVID: Hi, can I get Corrie's number?

OCT 2000

DAVID: Hi, can I get Cori's number again? Never called her.

JAN 2001

STEVE: How's it going with Corey?

DAVID: Pretty good, I think. There seems to be someone very bright under that ditzy exterior.

Ha! So, there you have it. I've been ditzy for at least as long as my husband has known me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

My Content Generators

Quote of the Day, JOSH- "Mommy, today we learned about non-fiction and on-fiction. Non-fiction is true. And On-fiction is made up."

What am I going to do when my kids grow up and they no longer give me good material?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Missing the Boat

I have this recurring nightmare. There are no bullets or bad guys. I simply go on a vacation and I "forget" to go scuba diving. Doesn't sound so awful, right? It's not like I get eaten by a shark. But I am devastated.

Diving is my favorite thing in the world and out of sheer stupidity or laziness I have blown it. I either forget to set my alarm and "miss the boat" (How's that for obvious symbolism?) Or I get on the boat, but forget my mask back in the hotel room.

It's clearly a "missed opportunity" dream.

But why exactly do I have this dream? Have I missed opportunities to get published? Missed opportunities to promote my first book? I can't quite figure out where all the anxiety is coming from.

In five minutes, I have my "marketing" call with Shelli. (I won her contest and the prize was a 2 hour consultation on marketing)

I hope I don't blow it!

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Fear Tank is Full.

Everyone is blogging about fear these days and I am jumping on the bandwagon.

I recently had this conversation with my husband...

ME: Honey, terrible news! I told Kendra my idea for Goldi Rocks and she LOVED it.

POOR BEFUDDLED HUBBY: Uh, sounds like great news to me!

ME: No, I feel sick. I think I am going to throw up.

HIM: Sweetie, this is what you want! You have a terrific idea and your agent is excited about it! Everything is going great. You should be ecstatic!

ME: It's horrible. I never should have shown her the outline. Now she is going to be so disappointed when the execution doesn't live up to her expectations. Why didn't I just wait till I had a draft to show her?

I am totally terrified. I need to remind myself to follow Jordan and vote with my hope!

Friday, March 12, 2010


Getting your first contract is a big deal!

So, I was ecstatic for my friend "F" when she contacted me last Friday to say she had sold a picture book!

I jumped and screamed and did all those cliche things that one does when feeling super excited. I composed congratulatory posts in my head and planned surprise celebratory gifts.

But then F contacted me again on Tuesday.

Are you sitting down for this?

She sold ANOTHER picture book!!!

TWO sales in one week.

Is that INSANE????????????

I can't reveal names, titles, or houses yet, but she got two deals in four days!

Holy cow.

I am speechless.

She is a Sudipta in the making.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pros and Cons of Using Google Docs

Google Docs is awesome. It allows you to share and collaborate in real time. It automatically saves every change you have ever made, so work is NEVER lost. It allows you to access your docs no matter where you are!

There's really no downside. Unless you are an idiot like me.

In that case, you might accidentally name your final draft the same name that you gave your very first draft. Then you might "Share" a draft with that name with your agent, only to realize and go into a panic because you think she is reading your first very rough, choppy, sloppy, disastrous mess.

And then you might have a complete freak out and make it worse by writing to her to try to explain it, when it fact, you actually sent her the correct final draft all along.

So, if you don't want your agent to think you are a lunatic, it might be better to avoid Google Docs altogether.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ten in '10

Okay, so Sudipta got me inspired. I am going to write ten picture books in 2010!

Anyone else in?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Losing at the Numbers Game

I went to a fabulous picture book workshop a couple of weeks ago led by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen. Let me tell you, Sudipta is one impressive cookie. She puts me to shame.

We both starting writing PBs around the same time. We both got our first contract around the same time. (Mine was in 03 and I believe she said hers was in 04.) Our debut books came out the exact same month- April 2006. (Mine was Hop! Plop! Hers was Tightrope Poppy)

Okay, are you read for this? I just got my second contract. Sudipta just got her 15th!

How does she do it, you ask? Well, to answer that would probably take up several posts, but let me start by saying, she WRITES. I talk about writing. I think about writing. But Sudipta actually writes.

I average about one solid picture book manuscript per year. Sudipta averages ten.

So, I've written around 10 manuscripts and sold two.

She's written around 75 and sold 15.

Guess what? Same exact hit percentage. We are both selling approximately 1 in 5!!!

It's a numbers game, people. And she is winning!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

“Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you. And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t Stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.” —Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Cheers to Theodor Seuss Geisel, my idol and inspiration. And cheers to all the exciting things that are going to happen this year!

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's Official

For anyone who missed the big news last fall...

Move over big bad wolf!

The Three Ninja Pigs are coming to town!

G.P. Putnam's Sons will be releasing it in 2012 or 2013.

And the new announcement is that it will be illustrated by the fabulous

Dan Santat