Thursday, August 22, 2019

SCBWI's New Grant For Authors of MG Fantasy and Science Fiction: The A. Orr Fantasy Grant



The A. Orr Fantasy Grant is a new award for middle grade fantasy and science fiction authors. Sponsor Michele Orr, through her foundation Voice Garden, has been a member of SCBWI for several years and when her sister Alice Orr Sprague passed last year from a short struggle with cancer, Michele wanted to honor her memory. Alice, under the name A. Orr, wrote two fantasy novels, The World In Amber and In the Ice King’s Palace, published by Bluejay Books in 1986 and 1987. It is Michele’s honor and joy to create this award in remembrance of her sister.

Award: The winner of the A. Orr Grant will receive tuition to the Los Angeles Summer Conference (beginning in 2020), a manuscript consultation at the conference, and $300 cash.

Deadline: Submissions will be accepted February 17, 2020 through March 20, 2020. The winner will be announced in May.

You can find out all the details here.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

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

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A Conversation with Laurent Linn - Listen to the Latest SCBWI Podcast Now!



Emmy Award-winning Laurent Linn is the art director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, and the author illustrator of the YA Novel, “Draw the Line.” Laurent speaks to Theo Baker about the appeal of puppetry, his eleven years working with the Muppets, and the shift in his career path that led him to children’s books. Their conversation also explores cover design, working with new illustrators, how “every book is an experiment,” and 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, July 25, 2019

Watch this Interview with Author/Illustrator Peter Brown



Morgan Reeves sat down with author and illustrator Peter Brown to pick his brain on artistic techniques, writing inspirations, and the world of children's literature.

In this recorded interview from 2017, there's lots of great stuff, including a rundown of what Peter's school visits include, his career path, the vocabulary of comic books, and so much more.

Listen to and watch the full interview here.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

How Some Authors Are Using Instagram Stories To Reach Readers

Check out this piece from the BookBub Partners blog, How Authors Use Instagram Stories to Connect with Readers.



In it, Julia Hansen lists 16 different ways authors are using Instagram stories, along with examples of each.

The one I'm most excited about (and the example was inspiring!) was:
16. Create a highlight

One of the most useful features on Instagram is the ability to save stories to your profile. While most stories disappear after 24 hours, you can choose to have them stay on your profile in a highlight.

Here, author R.S. Grey has a highlight sharing the reading order for her books. This is a useful resource for anyone visiting her profile.

Which ways of using Instagram Stories have you tried, and which are inspirational for you?

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Send YOUR Books to Donate via SCBWI's "Books For Readers" Program by July 31, 2019

There is still time to donate so please help make the lives better for the kids in the Madison Reading Project (their 2019 goal is "to provide 40,000 high-quality diverse books and 125 public events with literacy programming and outreach to underserved children in South Central Wisconsin.") and REACH, Inc. (an organization that "promotes literacy for children who are at-risk and homeless throughout Coastal Virginia") with new books written and illustrated by SCBWI PAL members.

You may send 2-6 copies per book written and/or illustrated by PAL members you'd like to donate to this address:

SCBWI
6363 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 425
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Attn: SCBWI Books for Readers

For more information about the program and donating, click here.

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Early Registration for #LA19SCBWI, The 2019 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles, Ends July 17, 2019



The Keynotes! (including Pura Belpre and Caldecott Honor winner Yuyi Morales, National Book Award winner M.T. Anderson, Newbery Medal winner Meg Medina, and a rare U.S. appearance from picture book legend Mem Fox.)

The Panels! (including "Creating Memorable Main Characters for a Book Series," "Agent Panel: Trends and Evergreens: Selling Your Book in Today's Market," "Publishing Options in 2019," "Birth of a Picture Book," "Creating Books That Matter," and "Editor Panel: What Speaks To Me In The Books I Acquire.")

The 72 Breakout Sessions!

The Agents! The Editors!

The Portfolio Showcase! The Manuscript Critiques!

The Life Drawing Lunch! The Woodstock West: 50 Years Later Party!

There's so much more, and I'm practically running out of exclamation points...

Gift yourself all the Information, Inspiration, Opportunity, and Community of the 2019 SCBWI Summer Conference. Get all the details here. Early Registration ends tomorrow (Wednesday July 17, 2019.)

We hope to see you there!

Illustrate and Write On,
Lee