Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Craft, Business, Inspiration and Community

Continuing sharing the best of SCBWI:  Craft, Business, Inspiration, and Community:


For writers:

Darcy Pattison has a great exercise called "The Shrunken Manuscript" that is very cool.  Basically, you do exactly that, shrink your work-in-progress down so you can see the whole thing on 30 or so pages, lay them out of the floor, and with a highlighter you can mark your strongest scenes.  Stand back and look - are your strongest scenes spread out, or do you have "the dreaded Sagging Middle?"  Step-by-step instructions for the exercise and how it can tell you so much more are here on Darcy's website!  Darcy Pattison will be on faculty at the upcoming #NY12SCBWI conference talking about "Creating Book Trailers and Other Random Acts of Promotion."  You can check out her pre-conference interview with Martha Brockenbrough of SCBWI Team Blog here.

For illustrators:

Are you in the know about Illustrators Friday?  It's a weekly challenge to illustrate to a theme, where you enter your own piece (linking back to your blog) and it's all compiled in a giant list.  According to Marsha Riti (in the third video on a post on Mark Mitchell's blog), it's a great way to drive traffic to your illustrator blog.  In fact, Marsha suggests that the earlier in the week you get your piece in there, the more visitors you'll get.  A way to flex your craft muscles and build your following?  Sounds great.  Going through the weekly archives, you can browse by medium or style (including 'children's art'.)  And it's pretty fascinating to see how over 650 artists all approach illustrating "silent" or "stripes." 


Do you mind ads while you read?  Publisher's Lunch reports that
Within the next two to three weeks, Kobo will match Amazon's ad-bearing ereaders with their own "Kobo Touch with Offers" with "valuable offers and sponsored screens in discreet places outside of the reading experience." The ad-driven model will sell for just under $100, a $40 discount over the ad-free model."

As Newspapers continue to figure out how they can fit into the new world of technology, The Los Angeles Times has become an e-book publisher.  They're planning to release 8-10 titles a year.

The Authors Guild has weighed in on Amazon's new e-book lending program for it's premium members, and they're not too pleased about it.  They also give some advice of what to do if YOUR book is in the program.

E-book-reading adults, when it comes to books for their youngest children, are choosing print books - according to this article in the New York Times. Among the reasons?

“When we go to bed and he knows it’s reading time, he says, ‘Let’s play Angry Birds a little bit,’ ” Mr. Thomson [one of the parents interviewed] said. “If he’s going to pick up the iPad, he’s not going to read, he’s going to want to play a game. So reading concentration goes out the window.”


You've got a story to tell, right?  Well so did debut author Thanhha Lai, who just won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature for her novel, Inside Out & Back Again (HarperCollins.)  A debut author winning the National Book Award?  Now that's inspiring!

Jimmy Fallon, as Jim Morrison, sings "The Reading Rainbow" theme song.  It's brilliant.

Thanks to the awesome Alice Pope, who posted this on facebook.


This story, also from the New York Times, might have been filed under "business," but it spoke to something very powerful about the community of people who love books.  Ann Patchett, the best-selling novelist, is opening up a new independent bookstore, Parnassus Books, in Nashville, Tennessee.

“I have no interest in retail; I have no interest in opening a bookstore,” Ms. Patchett said, serenely sipping tea during a recent interview at her spacious pink brick house here. “But I also have no interest in living in a city without a bookstore.” 

While the news for independent bookstores may seem dire (in the USA we're down to 1,900 who are members of The American Booksellers Association) there's a counter-trend of "a small band of bookstore owners who have found patches of old-fashioned success in recent years, competing where Amazon cannot: by being small and sleek, with personal service, intimate author events and a carefully chosen rotation of books."

Bookstores are more than just a way to acquire a book.  They can be a vital hub of the community.  Do you have a bookstore in your town?   In Ann's words, “If you like this thing, it’s your responsibility to keep this thing alive.”

Illustrate and Write On,

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