Thursday, November 14, 2019

Your Twitter and Facebook Headers - Are Using This Free Real-Estate In The Best Way Possible?

It's a question brought on by this roundup "Authors on Twitter: 55 Stunning Header Image Examples" by Diana Urban at BookBub.

Both Facebook and Twitter allow you to upload your own custom headers... are you making the most of that space?

Check out the examples in the article, and also consider who are your colleague authors - those whose books your readers love, too - and go to their pages on social media to see what they're doing with that space.

Be aspirational - check out what the best-sellers in your category are doing.

Be strategic - Diana's roundup gives some handy design categories these fall into, including:

Promote a single book

Promote a series

Display multiple books

Showcase art from a book or cover

Focus on author branding

Be creative - use a free tool like canva.com, or a more robust designer tool, or consider hiring an actual designer to help make you look like the professional you are.

Some inspiration:








Have fun with it, and know you can change it up over time!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

"How I Hit a Bestseller List with a Traditionally Published Book" - Christina McDonald Shares Her 7-Step Playbook on the BookBub Blog



How I Hit a Bestseller List with a Traditionally Published Book by Christina McDonald is a guest post over at BookBub.

Fascinating? Yes.

Duplicatable? Well, no one else is Christina with that exact book, "The Night Olivia Fell", but there are lots of strategies and techniques Christina shares that we might consider for our books, including testing ads, stacking promos, and orchestrating everything to hit at the same time.

The bottom line:
“Don’t be deceived: Hitting the USA Today bestseller list isn’t easy. You need your publisher on board if you’re traditionally published, and you have to be willing to give it all you’ve got, including investing a lot of money and time into marketing. I spent over a month preparing for the few days I hoped to increase sales.” — Christina McDonald
The full post is well-worth reading. See what might resonate for you!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Publishing a Book, By The Numbers (and Illustrated Charts!)

This comic-style article, Publishing a Book, By the Numbers, in The New Yorker by Michelle Rial is brilliant and hysterical.



 Go check out the full piece online here.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

SCBWI 2019 Reading List Advertised In PW's Children's Bookshelf!



Children's Bookshelf is "a free e-newsletter from Publishers Weekly that reports on children's and YA books" with 32,000 opt-in subscribers!

SCBWI's 2019 Reading List is "a SCBWI digital publication that lists books written and/or illustrated during 2019 by our PAL members. The list is organized into the categories of Board Book, Picture Book, Early Reader, Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Anthologies, and is available to download. There are over 140 searchable keywords to help teachers and librarians locate stories on certain genres, themes, and subjects, or find books from authors and illustrators in their area. The SCBWI Reading List is a great way for anyone to find the perfect book for a child or young adult in their life."

Check out the SCBWI 2019 Reading List, and share it with the people you know to help spread the word!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Jonathan Maberry on Why Some Readers Like To Be Scared


Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times best-selling and five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author, anthology editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator, and writing teacher/lecturer. He was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than two-dozen countries.

His young adult fiction includes ROT & RUIN (2011; was named in Booklist’s Ten Best Horror Novels for Young Adults, an American Library Association Top Pick, a Bram Stoker and Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading winner; winner of several state Teen Book Awards including the Cricket, Nutmeg and MASL; winner of the Cybils Award, the Eva Perry Mock Printz medal, Dead Letter Best Novel Award, and four Melinda Awards); DUST & DECAY (winner of the 2011 Bram Stoker Award; FLESH & BONE (winner of the Bram Stoker Award; 2012; and FIRE & ASH (August 2013). BROKEN LANDS, the first of a new spin-off series, debuted in 2018.

In this interview with Tyler Moss for Writer's Digest, Jonathan says,
"...when people ask me why I write about monsters, I tell them that I don’t. I write about people who confront monsters and find a way to defeat them. That’s a big difference."
Jonathan further breaks down the reasons why some readers like to be scared:
"Partly because we like to think that there’s more to our world than what which can be measured. Partly because we like to put ourselves into the roles of the characters in a scary story and imagine what we would do, what we could do, and how we’d react. Partly, we like to explore the dangers of our own life through the filter of metaphor and allegory, largely because in fiction there is a third act, a resolution, a solution. If we see Van Helsing stake a vampire or plucky teens rise to overthrow a dystopian government or a frightened mother save her children from a poltergeist, then it helps us cultivate and preserve the optimism that allows us to believe we will somehow conquer the threats in our real lives."
The whole interview is well-worth reading. Oh, and Happy Halloween!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Listen to the Latest SCBWI Podcast Now - A Conversation with Alvina Ling

Alvina Ling is Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. In this interview with Theo Baker, Alvina speaks of her career path, what’s constant in being an editor, the relationship between her and her writers and illustrators, and so much more!

Listen to the episode trailer here.

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

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Registration for #NY20SCBWI Opens Today, Thursday October 24, 2019

All the #NY20SCBWI Winter 2020 SCBWI Conference information is up, and registration opens at 10am Pacific!



Join us for keynotes by Kate Messner, Jerry Pinkney, and Derrick Barnes!

Join us for the Agent/Editor panel wish Patrice Caldwell, Susan Dobinick, Connie Hsu, Alvina Ling, and Marietta Zacker!

Join us for your pick of 3 two-and-a-half hour Intensive Breakouts!

Join us for the Golden Kite Awards Presentation Gala with special guest speaker James Patterson!

Join us for the Saturday night socials (Illustrators, LGBTQ + Allies, First Time Attendees, Nonfiction, and All Voices Inclusivity!) or Peer Critiques!

Join us for the Awards Presentation, the Autograph Signings, and all the craft, business, inspiration, opportunity, and community that the Winter SCBWI Conference offers...

We hope you'll join us in New York City February 7-9, 2020, but don't delay... we expect this conference will once again sell out!

Click here to find out all the details and to register.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Working On Your Author Profile? 35 Strong Examples from BookBub



Diana Urban has rounded up 35 author profile examples, and while they are mainly authors of works for adults, the reasons "Why We Love It" after the screen shots (and live links to each featured author profile) make this worthwhile for all authors looking at the raw clay of your bio and considering how to best shape it for online consumers.

Should you lead with review blurbs?

Where to put accolades like bestseller status or awards?

Inspirations?

Where you live?

What if you only have one book so far? What if you have multiple series?

Partners? Kids? Pets?

How do you get voice in there?






The variety of approaches is well-worth exploring.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Do You Have a Strategy To Beat Writer's Block? Advice from 11 of Australia's Most Celebrated Authors

In this roundup article in the Guardian, 'Give up and go to the pub': Australia's top authors on beating writer's block, nominees for the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary awards share their tips on tackling “the monster that plagues all writers.”


 From YA author Clare Atkins, nominated for Between Us:
Research has been the best antidote to writer’s block for me. If I get stuck I find someone with the same lived experience as my character to talk to about the story. Real life is often even more weird and wonderful than fiction.
to YA author Karen Foxlee, nominated for Lenny’s Book of Everything:
Just keep writing until the water runs clear. Write what you think might happen. Write random snippets of dialogue. Write something else unrelated. Just write. It will feel terrible but eventually the good ideas and story will flow again.
to Nonfiction author Tanya Dalziell, nominated for Half the Perfect World:
I read recently that scientists have confirmed what the Romantic poets knew well: walking helps thinking and writing.
There's lots of good advice and methods to try!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The SCBWI BookStop is Open!



SCBWI's annual BookStop promotion is live!

Open from Oct 8-Dec 3, #SCBWIBookStop has tons of books for kids and teens that you and the public can browse and buy!

Here's the link: https://www.scbwi.org/scbwibookstop/

The SCBWI BookStop lets you slice, dice, and browse books within each of 10 categories, inside or across more than 85 regions, looking at either traditionally published titles, independently published titles, or both, and of course you can search by title and/or author/illustrator name.

There's so many books to discover!

And if you're an SCBWI member and you haven't yet created your published-in-2019 book page, there's still time. You can design your page until Dec 2, 2019! (Log into your SCBWI member account and look for "My SCBWI BookStop" in the left-side navigation column.)


So spread the word - and the SCBWI BookStop link - and let's help these SCBWI member titles be discovered!

Illustrate and Write—and promote—on!
Lee

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Our Children’s Books Put America (and English) First - Avery Fischer Udagawa Explains the Critical Importance of Children's Books In Translation, And How Our Industry Needs To Do Better

My mother used to have this thing against Mothers Day, that 'shouldn't every day be a day mothers are appreciated?' - in a similar vein, just because it's no longer September (#WorldKidLitMonth) doesn't mean we shouldn't still be discussing how important children's books in translation are—and looking at what we can do to help!



This guest post, over at Cynthia Leitich Smith's indispensable Cynsations blog, Our Children’s Books Put America (and English) First, is a must-read!

 Highlights:
If a child’s bookshelf (or classroom, library or bookstore) holds books by authors from many countries, telling stories from around the world, that child stands a chance of growing up to see herself as part of the world, and connected to its inhabitants. She becomes inoculated against campaigns to have her see people of other countries as lesser or invisible. She grows informed about the history, variety, and complexity of humankind. She grows up globally-minded.

She also becomes more likely to read international literature as an adult, and to see a reading diet of mainly American books as limited, as a diet of American food is limited.
And this startling fact:
Translations into English comprise less than five percent of U.S. children’s books published annually.
And this call to action:
If we work in children’s lit, let us acknowledge that language is culture (try describing a culture without using a word of its language)—and that to offer cultural diversity, we must seek out source language diversity. Depending on our role(s), let us acquire, edit, fund, publish, sell, buy, borrow, request, gift, list, boost and review children’s books (picture books through YA) authored in languages other than English. Most importantly, let us share them with young people.
Read the whole article here.

And then, go read a children's or teen book in translation! And, as Avery suggests, give one to a child or teen.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Another Great Roundup of Excellent Author (and Author/Illustrator) Websites



This resource was put together by Matt Ziranek, 67 Author Websites With Delicious Designs and Captivating Content.

67 is a lot, but you can use the search function to skim through, checking out just the ones that highlight "children's" or "young adult", or whatever you're keen to explore.

The commentary is great, and the article opens with a helpful review of the elements of an excellent author or author/illustrator website:

Easy Navigation

Clarity

Branding

Author Funnel

SEO including these 3 simple, important rules for SEO success:
Create epic content 
Optimize it for your keyword 
Get others to link back to it
Fan Resources

Here are just three of the 67 featured websites:






There's lots of strong examples and inspiration to be had—with live links to each. Well-worth checking out!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee