Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Inspiration: Jane Yolen on the nearly 17 years it took her to write "a Jewish Book"



Jane's essay at the Jewish Book Council website, "If the Muse Comes Calling: Jane Yolen on Writing," is about the evolution of her Jewish dragon short story and novella, written with her son Adam, The Last Tsar’s Drag­ons.




It also includes a very telling and thought-provokingly honest account of how the first 17 years of Jane's writing "did not fea­ture any­one or any­thing Jewish."

Here's how Jane describes what happened next:
"And then in the 1980s, one of my edi­tors, who hap­pened to be a rabbi’s wife, asked me why I had nev­er writ­ten a Jew­ish book. And I had to think long and hard about that. And she noodged. Boy! Was she an expert noodge. The result was The Devil’s Arith­metic. And then the Jew­ish sto­ries began to tum­ble out — between more books about women pirates and kings and princess­es and uni­corns and dinosaurs— in prose, in rhyme, for pic­ture book read­ers and for teens."
What I think is so fascinating is that it took someone on the outside to point it out to Jane - and to ask for it.

Which can be inspiring for each of us.

What do you wish someone pointed out to you that you haven't done yet in your creative work?

What do you wish someone asked you for?

And ask yourself: What's my equivalent of Jane's Jewish dragon story?

And then write and/or illustrate that. After all, it worked for Jane!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, August 15, 2019

"Time is the Best Editor" - Excellent Advice from Author/Illustrator Eugene Yelchin



Eugene Yelchin, an equally adept author and illustrator, is a National Book Award finalist for The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge, co-authored with M. T. Anderson,



and the recipient of the Newbery Honor for Breaking Stalin’s Nose.


He received the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for The Haunting of Falcon House,



the National Jewish Book Award for illustrating The Rooster Prince of Breslov,



and SCBWI’s Tomie DePaola Award!

In a breakout session at this past weekend's #LA19SCBWI, Eugene gave a talk about time in picture books that I attended. He's brilliant, and one of the most resonant pieces of advice he shared was this:
Take your story as far as you can bring it, and then stop.
Let it sit for several months.
Five or six months later, look at it.
You'll see what it needs.

"Time is the best editor."
Great advice, and I can vouch from personal experience that it works.

Thanks, Eugene!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Instagram! Twitter! The SCBWI Conference Blog! Follow #LA19SCBWI To Gather Your Own Favorite Moments

Can you feel the buzz?

On Instagram, wisdom like:


On Twitter, insights like:


And on the Official SCBWI Conference Blog, craft knowledge like:




It's all there for you to check out - with live stories, photos from the portfolio show and the Woodstock at 50 gala, and so many more moments of inspiration and community.

#LA19SCBWI

is your key.

Go unlock the SCBWI 2019 Summer Conference as it resonates online, and for you!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Si hablas español, la página de Facebook Facebook en Español seguirá los principales acontecimientos del congreso #LA19SCBWI.

#LA19SCBWI starts tomorrow, and I'm so excited to share that our Spanish-speaking friends (lead by Malena F. Alzu, SCBWI's Spanish Language Coordinator) will be sharing about the conference on SCBWI Facebook en Español here: https://www.facebook.com/scbwispanish/!


We hope you'll follow along, and share the word - en español, of course!

Oh, and check out the July 2019 issue of La Cometa here!

Make sure to follow the hashtag #LA19SCBWI on social media, and the Official SCBWI Conference Blog at http://scbwiconference.blogspot.com/

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Ten Top Book Advertising (and Marketing) Tips from RWA's Annual Conference, complied by Diana Urban at BookBub Partners

This highlights article is loaded with ideas, including some excellent step-by-step advice, gleaned from the recent Romance Writers of America annual conference.


There was so much good stuff shared, here's just the first one of ten:

1. Create reader sales funnels

A sales funnel is the journey a reader takes in order to eventually do business with an author or publisher. Dana Kaye, founder of Kaye Publicity, explained how to implement sales funnels to increase book sales. The funnel breaks down into four main stages:

Awareness: the reader first hears your name or book title and starts to become familiar with your work.

Interaction: the reader engages with you through social media, your website, or at an in-person event.

Interest: the reader signs up for your newsletter or downloads a free ebook.

Sale: the reader purchases one or more of your books.

You can drive readers down your sales funnel across various marketing channels. Take email marketing, for example; when someone signs up for your mailing list, you can set up an automated email series driving potential readers who just became aware of you (by finding your website) and interacted with you (by subscribing) to become more interested in a specific title and ultimately land a sale. Dana recommended setting up an email sequence like this:

Welcome email: a brief introduction to you and your work, with a free piece of content.

Backstory email: a deeper dive into your writing and your backstory.

Social proof email: reviews of your book, awards and notoriety, read-alike suggestions.

Tripwire offer: a discounted ebook or other low-cost content (hook readers with this first sale).

Free gift offer: another free piece of content, access to a Facebook group, or other free offer.

You can also apply this sales funnel methodology across other channels, like Facebook ads (to target readers who’ve visited your website) or quizzes (to email content to readers who selected specific quiz or survey responses). 

Click here to read the full piece on the BookBub Partners website.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, August 1, 2019

It's Just 8 Days Away! Don't Miss #LA19SCBWI, The SCBWI 2019 Summer Conference in Los Angeles, August 9-12, 2019



Time's running out for you to be part of all the craft, business, inspiration, opportunity, and community of the SCBWI Summer Conference!

See the full schedule and get all the conference information here.

And if you can't join in person, follow along on social media with the hashtag #LA19SCBWI, and make sure to bookmark the Official SCBWI Conference Blog here, at scbwiconference.blogspot.com.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee