Tuesday, November 24, 2020

NaNoWriMo Pep Talks (and a Shout Out to Kacen Callender)

Whether you're nearing your NaNoWriMo novel finish line, or if you're only just learning that "NaNoWriMo" stands for "National Novel Writing Month," they've lined up some encouraging "pep" talks for all of us writers.

Kacen Callender's is really poignant, speaking about their struggles with writing a YA fantasy novel. Posted on November 15, 2020, it is vulnerable and honest, a pep talk for both Kacen and all of us reading.


What's so cool is that only days later, Kacen won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature for King and the Dragonflies!

In their virtual acceptance speech (reported by Publishers Weekly), Kacen gave another kind of pep talk, saying,

"I know I'm not the only one who believes that these next generations are the ones that are meant to change everything," Callender said, upon accepting the award. "Young people already have changed the world in so many ways, and it is an honor and a privilege to be given a platform and the opportunity to help in their guidance through the power of story."

The power of story... that's inspirational!

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Will the "Big Five" Become the "Big Four"?

As reported this week by Edmund Lee in The New York Times, among the top bidders for Simon & Schuster are:

"News Corp, which already owns HarperCollins," and 

"a leading bidder is Penguin Random House... the largest book publisher in the United States, [which] is owned by the German media giant Bertelsmann." 

Additionally, "The French firm Vivendi, a minority owner of Hachette through the publisher Lagardère, has also made a bid." 

It should all be settled (or not - if there's no deal) in the next few weeks. "Final bids are due before Thanksgiving, and ViacomCBS could announce a winner some time after that."

Ongoing consolidation affects the overall business - and is important to know about. You can read the full article here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Celebrate World Kindness: The November Theme for the SCBWI Recommended Reading List 2020

Over 250 books from SCBWI PAL members ranging from YA, middle grade, graphic novels and picture books, have been submitted to take part in this member opportunity. Each month SCBWI will focus on a theme and curate the books to help parents, caregivers, librarians, booksellers – everyone who loves children’s books and YA – find the right one for them, their kids, or their customers.

November kicks off with the theme of World Kindness through books that focus on warm-hearted, humane, and sympathetic stories. Also, each month, SCBWI will feature an original illustration created by one of our talented illustrator members. Neha Rawat kicks things off with her wonderful artwork.

Check out the books on the SCBWI Recommended Reading List here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Are You Aware of the Two Lawsuits the Authors Guild is Involved in?

This letter from Authors Guild president Douglas Preston explains the two lawsuits the Authors Guild is involved in, and how “the ‘information wants to be free’ philosophy is nothing more than a form of economic censorship. 

Here's an excerpt:
Both lawsuits, in different ways, fight back against a philosophy that arose alongside the internet, the idea that “information wants to be free.”

On its surface, this philosophy sounds appealing. If information is free and available to everyone, the argument goes, it will provide a huge benefit to society. The elitist gatekeepers who profit from selling information are pushed aside, and everyone — especially the disadvantaged and those from underserved and marginalized communities — will have free access to the same information as the wealthy and privileged.

But in reality, this idea simply offers a new route for the monetization of information, by taking income from authors and diverting it to internet companies in the form of advertising dollars derived from providing free information to users. “Free” content attracts users to the platforms, driving up the value of their advertising space. Piracy is the natural outcome of this philosophy. It is a major reason why authors have seen a collapse in their average income over the past 10 years, along with many other creators, such as musicians, songwriters, composers, photographers, playwrights, graphic designers, and small businesses and nonprofits that own copyrights. Since big tech companies fiercely protect their intellectual property, the “information wants to be free” philosophy in their hands is actually “information wants to be free (except mine).”
The full letter is well-worth reading, as the outcome of these lawsuits may effect our very livelihoods.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Reading Habits Of Generation Z (ages 5-25)

From the BookBaby Blog, theinfographic feature The Reading Habits Of Five Generations, was fascinating - especially in how Gen Z differs in reading from other generations. 


It's well-worth checking out the full information from Best By The Numbers here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

SCBWI Offers More Than 35 Awards and Grants - Have You Looked To See What You Might Apply For?

The Golden Kite Awards may be the most recognizable, but there are so many more accolades and opportunities for SCBWI to recognize your excellent work!

There are awards and grants for pre-published writers, pre-published illustrators, published authors and illustrators, for translators - there are community grants, and grants for students, and a couple of partnered grants and awards as well!

Check out the full list here.

Illustrate and Write On, and Good Luck!

Check out the SCBWI Conference Blog for Live Updates from SCBWI & Smithsonian's Online Nonfiction Workshop!

This Friday Nov 6 and Saturday Nov 7, 2020, this Nonfiction conference promises a panel of editors, a panel of authors, five keynotes from acclaimed authors Kevin Noble Maillard, Elizabeth Partridge, and Carole Boston Weatherford, editor Emily Feinberg, and Eduardo Díaz (Director of the Smithsonian Latino Center), and much more!

To find out more and register, check out: https://www.scbwi.org/events/nonfiction-workshop/

And bookmark the official SCBWI Conference Blog at: https://scbwiconference.blogspot.com/

Illustrate and Write On,

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

DW 3.6: James Ransome


James Ransome — Picture-Making From a New Perspective: Crafting Illustrations that Captivate an Audience

        There are two things you need to know in case you missed last week's Digital Workshop with James Ransome. 

One: If you think award-winning, Children's book illustrators move on to forgot the high school art teachers who made them... think again. James workshop begins by highlighting his teachers, and the importance of art education in schools. We agree, James. We totally agree. 

Two: It's all about the journey. It is so easy to think that someone like James Ransome (3 Coretta Scott King awards and a NAACP Image Award) always knew what his medium was going to be, and how he was going find success. This workshop was special, in the fact that James walked us through the steps he took in order to get to where he is today. 

A common theme of this workshop: mentors. James took many of his best tips from mentor Jerry Pinkney, learning about tracing paper and reference books. Now, they trade and share books all the time. Burt Silverman showed James the importance of shapes. 

James Ransome's work ranges, beginning with oils, then acrylics, sometimes ending in pastels — taking pieces of the lessons he's learned from illustration mentors. If you want to tune into the fine details of James' creative process, please visit our SCBWI Digital Workshop Archive here.

Don't miss tomorrow's workshop with author Eric Gansworth, "Transforming the Personal." Eric will be discussing writing from personal experience, and translating facts into a strong narrative. 

~ your Digital Workshop enthusiast ~ 

Avery Silverberg
SCBWI Admin Assistant 
Let's connect on IG @a.very.fast.reader for YA & MG Book Reviews! 

Registration for #NY21SCBWI (The Online SCBWI Winter Conference, Feb 19-21, 2021) Opens TODAY!

The #NY21SCBWI conference will include incredible keynote conversations between Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli, Christian Robinson and Matt de la Peña, Jerry Craft and Victoria Jamieson, plus a rare appearance from the legendary Patricia MacLachlan. The event will also provide an inside look at the children’s book industry through visits, mock meetings, and an in-depth, state-of-the-industry interview with Jean Feiwel.

The virtual conference will include:

  • Dynamic keynotes and industry panels
  • A fly-on-the-wall look at the book acquisition and design process
  • The Golden Kite Awards Gala
  • Online networking opportunities and socials
  • The career-launching Portfolio Showcase
  • A full-day, optional Illustrators’ Intensive

The conference takes place live on Zoom, but video recordings will be available to attendees through March 31, 2021. Participate live or watch at your convenience.

Check out the full conference schedule, faculty bios, and all the details at the SCBWI website here: https://www.scbwi.org/events/winter-conference-2021/

We hope you'll join us!

Illustrate and Write On!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Listen to the Latest SCBWI Podcast: A Conversation with Susan Dobinick

Senior Editor at Bloomsbury Kids Susan Dobinick speaks with Theo Baker about the lessons she’s learned as an editor, shares advice for nonfiction authors, and tells us what she’s hoping to find.

Listen to the episode trailer here.

Current SCBWI members can listen to the full episode here (log in first).

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, October 22, 2020

BookBub Gathers 20 Great Examples of Author Bios - See If You Can Improve Yours!

Diana Urban shares strong examples of author bios on the BookBub Partners blog in this piece, Writing Your Author Bio? Here Are 20 Great Examples. (Plus a Checklist!)

Review and consider- what makes you unique and credible? Have you made it easy for readers to find you online and in social media? Does it express your personal style? Is there an author mission coming through? Does it match the tone of your work? And with all that, is it concise?

It's well-worth checking out.

Illustrate and Write On,


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

DW 3.5: Elana K. Arnold and Brandy Colbert


Revising for Plot: Elana K. Arnold and Brandy Colbert 

  Let me fill you in on a little secret: both my copies of What Girls Are Made Of (Elana K. Arnold) and Little and Lion (Brandy Colbert) are annotated, worn from turning the pages, and well-loved. So naturally, coming into Elana and Brandy’s workshop, I was well prepared for the level of inspiration I was about to receive from both best-selling authors. What I wasn’t prepared for? The amount of brand new writer’s knowledge I walked away with, ready to be added to an arsenal of fresh tools. 

For a gal like me who despises math, I found myself loving it during Digital Workshop #5! Elana and Brandy introduced the concept, “Revision Math,” including addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of the revision process. “Revision is a lot like analyzing; writing is the craft of playing…” says Elana. Revision is, “why did I do this?” and, “how can I make it better?” 

Brandy on addition versus subtraction: “You want every part of your book to serve the story. Nothing should be filler. Look for specific instances that you think can enrich the scene. Anything that you think can enhance it.”

When it comes to adding, the authors encourage us not to be afraid of “trying too much.” Brandy encourages the audiences to experiment with adding a community of characters, building empathy, and a feeling for strangers. Sometimes we are afraid of adding characters who don’t stay for the entirety of our novel. “Community becomes a character,” says Elana. “They are like the Greek Chorus.” 

Last week with Kendra Levin, we spent time discussing how anxiety impacts our creative lives. It was a fitting note to end on, having Lin ask each author about how anxiety affects their own writing. Elena K. Arnold even admits to having what she calls her "anxiety chair" (helpful tip!) where she talks to her anxiety“Yes you are a part of me. When I want my character to feel anxiety, I will give you the keyboard.” 

*Hey, Alexa: Please search ‘anxiety chair’ on Amazon*

Until next week ~

Your Children's Book loving, SCBWI Admin Assistant

Avery Silverberg

Follow me on Bookstagram for YA/MG Book Reviews @a.very.fast.reader

Twitter @averyfastreader