Tuesday, December 14, 2010

WOOP! A Grant Just for SCBWI Regional Advisors

If you've been involved in SCBWI for any length of time, you certainly know the value of Regional Advisors. RA is a voluntary position and involves but is not limited to: coordination of local volunteers; planning regional conference and events; fielding questions and concerns from regional members; assisting with the Annual Conferences (registration, speaker introductions); keeping up with and disseminating news and policies from SCBWI HQ; and much, much more.

And let me tell you, it's not an easy job. (I had a unspectacular run as an RA for Southern Ohio in the early '90s, so I speak from experience. Putting together CWIM was so much easier.) Regional Advisors are dedicated volunteers who help other creative people realize their dreams while they pursue their own.

So I'm truly happy to announce that SCBWI has just created a new award exclusively for Regional Advisors, Assistant Regional Advisors, and Illustrator Coordinators! Starting in 2011, SCBWI will present two Works Of Outstanding Promise (WOOP) awards of $1500 each.

"We realize there is so much talent in this amazing pool of people, and we want to give RAs both a reward for service and a leg up on getting their work published," said Lin Oliver and Stephen Mooser. "The WOOP will be given to a work in progress, and the application and judging will be very similar to our current WIP form. The difference is that these are reserved exclusively for RAs. Winning one of the WIP grants has given many people both the resources to finish their work and a real path to publication. We hope the WOOP awards will do the same for RAs."

WOOP application forms will be available online on around January 1st, judging will take place in May, and the winners will be announced at the SCBWI Annual Summer Conference in August.

Hooray for RAs! If you haven't done so lately, thank yours for all she or he does for SCBWI and your regions. (Here's a link to SCBWI regions and their Advisors.)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

In the News This Week

Weekly on the SCBWI blog, I share snippets of and links to some of the publishing/media-related news I've read during the last week that I found interesting, helpful, and/or fun. I've been doing this on Fridays since the blog debuted, but look for Saturday news round-ups occasionally in the next couple of months (due to a hefty freelance writing gig).

As you peruse the articles beginnings below, click titles to get to read the rest of the stories.

This week's stories include Google eBooks launch, trends courtesy of Scholastic, research tips from the recent NBA winner, a best YA list from GalleyCat, bookscan stats on Amazon, hard times for Borders, why teens don't tweet, eBook predictions, trouble for GLBT teens, and more.

Google Launches Google eBooks, Formerly Google Editions (PW)
After months of anticipation, Google today launched its long-awaited cloud-based e-book program, Google eBooks. Rebranded from its original moniker, Google Editions, Google eBooks overnight becomes the largest e-book provider in the world, at least in terms of its offerings, launching with nearly three million books available for purchase or download, including “hundreds of thousands of e-books” available for purchase and over two million public domain titles available for free.

Research Advice from National Book Award Winner Kathryn Erskine (GalleyCat)
Kathryn Erskine tackles tough subjects through children’s books. Her debut novel, Quaking, responded to the Virginia Tech tragedy. Her second novel, Ibhubesi: The Lion, dealt with apartheid. Her third book, Mockingbird, featured a character with asperger’s syndrome–winning this year’s National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. We caught with her to learn about her writing process. Here are some highlights from the interview.

Best YA Books of 2010: A Literary Mixtape (GalleyCat)
What’s the best young adult book you’ve read this year? Share it in the comments and we’ll add it to our new literary mixtape of the Best YA Books of 2010. This GalleyCat editor makes an annual mixtape (CD actually, but the idea is the same) collecting his favorite songs from the year–allowing his friends and family to sample some of the year’s best music. We love reading “Best Books of …” lists, but we want to build a list focused exclusively on sample chapters. Using your suggestions, we will create a giant directory linking to sample pages from your favorite YA books from 2010–allowing readers to sample the books like a literary mixtape. 

What Children's Publishers Are Doing in the Apps Space (PW)
Last week we looked at how some adult trade houses view the potential market for apps, finding that most publishers are cautiously moving into this area. While adult and children’s divisions face many of the same questions about apps—costs, sales potential, and whether they should drive profits or market books—children’s content is generally more suited to this space. Still, like their adult counterparts, children’s publishers are developing apps slowly. PW contacted a number of children’s divisions and houses and found that many publishers are experimenting with different formats—some are creating heavily educational material (which occasionally doesn’t even link to a specific title), others are investing in games, and still others are looking for more direct ways of adapting existing fiction into an app.

Scholastic Experts Issue List of ‘Ten Trends in Children’s Books from 2010’ (Scholastic.com)
Scholastic, the largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, today released a list of 10 Trends in Children's Books from 2010. The list was compiled by editors from Scholastic, including children’s literature experts from Scholastic Book Clubs and Scholastic Book Fairs, divisions of Scholastic that distribute books from all publishers through schools nationwide. "We've seen some exciting innovation in children’s publishing in 2010, including new formats and platforms for storytelling that are helping more and more kids become book lovers," said Judy Newman, President of Scholastic Book Clubs. "At the same time, we’re seeing a rejuvenation of some classic genres, which I think is evidence of the timeless power that stories and characters have on the lives of children."

5 Useful Tools to Monitor Twitter Hashtags (AllTwitter)
Want to know what’s being talked about on Twitter right now? Or how about what people are saying about your or your brand? Monitoring hashtags is a great way to get in on a conversation on Twitter, whether it’s a trending topic or a few tweets per day. We’ve compiled 5 useful tools that will help you monitor hashtags on Twitter, so you can keep up with the conversation.

'Get the Xanax ready': Authors respond to BookScan on Amazon
(LA Times)
Authors responded to Thursday's news of Amazon making Neilsen BookScan's sales numbers available with both enthusiasm and trepidation. "Get the Xanax ready," tweeted David MacInnis Gill, author of "Black Hole Sun," a sci-fi thriller for young adults. In an e-mail, he explained: "Authors worry. We worry about writing. Worry about our editors, our agents, our reviews, and our readers. We worry about everything, including all forms of social media including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and personal websites. The one thing we haven't been able to obsess about is real-time sales numbers."

Borders Sales Disappoint, Loss Soars; Liquidity Issues Arise (PW)
Borders third quarter results, released just after the market closed Thursday afternoon, provided little sign that the company is turning around as total revenue fell 17.6%, to $470.9 million and comparable store sales dropped 12.6%. The loss from continuing operations was $74.4 million compared to a loss of $37.7 million a year ago. CEO Michael Edwards called the results disappointing, adding they reflect “the business challenges facing Borders and the industry at large.”

Gay and lesbian teens are punished more at school, by police, study says (WashPost)
Gay and lesbian teens in the United States are about 40 percent more likely than their straight peers to be punished by schools, police and the courts, according to a study published Monday, which finds that girls are especially at risk for unequal treatment. The research, described as the first national look at sexual orientation and teen punishment, comes as a spate of high-profile bullying and suicide cases across the country have focused attention on the sometimes hidden cruelties of teen life.   

Why Teens Don't And Won't Tweet (ReadWriteWeb)
I'm 16 and, unusually, I use Twitter quite a bit. I say unusually because perhaps you've heard that teens don't tweet. This first came to light last year when a 15-year-old Morgan Stanley intern wrote a report [PDF] where he explained that teens "realize they are not going to update it," and that "no one is viewing their profile, so their 'tweets' are pointless. Teens' lives are entirely built around their actual friends. Quite simply, why would teenagers bother using Twitter when Facebook exists, and offers so much more? Teens want a platform that allows easy, fully-functional communication to an exclusive social circle. That is, solely to their friends and peers. Twitter is a platform built for inclusive broadcast (to everyone), and to teenagers it offers no obvious value.

Figment Looks to Attract Young Writers (PW)
Founded by New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear and former New Yorker managing editor Jacob Lewis, Figment.com is an online writing community aimed at attracting a membership of young people, ranging from kids to teens and older, to post, share and comment on each other’s original writing. Launched this week, the site is also teaming with YA author Blake Nelson, author of the well-received 1994 adult novel Girl, who is serializing Dream School, a long unpublished YA sequel to Girl, on the Figment site. 

eBook Readership Will Grow To 30 Million Readers Globally By 2013 (eBookNewser)
eBook readership is predicted to grow to 30 million readers globally by 2013, almost double the predicted 2012 total, according to ABI Research. According to ABI analyst Jeff Orr, a number of these people will come from Western Europe followed by China. Orr had this statement: ““In two or three years we will enter a period in which much more digital printed matter will become available in other countries and regions. Western Europe will be first, followed by Eastern Europe and Asia, especially China.”

eBook Predictions Are Futile (HuffPo)
It's the end of the year, which means prophets will soon be flooding every possible venue with predictions for the future. Most of them will end up being laughably wrong. And because it's the end of the decade, they'll be wrong about what happens for the next ten years. The publishing industry is especially difficult to speculate about because it's undergoing so much upheaval.

Friday, December 10, 2010

SCBWI TEAM BLOG Pre-Conference Interview: Agent Jim McCarthy

Author and blogger Suzanne Young bring us the latest in our series of SCBWI TEAM BLOG interviews with Annual Winter Conference Faculty. Suzanne talked with agent Jim McCarthy. (We hope our interviews get you excited for the event!)

Here's a bit from Suzanne's interview with Jim.

In a Team Blog pre-conference exclusive, I'm chatting with fabulous agent (who also happens to be my agent) Jim McCarthy. Jim is vice president at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management and he will be speaking at the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference in NYC being held January 28th-30th. Check out the lineup HERE.

Jim, thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions. To start, I was wondering if you could tell us what your talk at the conference will focus on? 

This one’s easy! I’m doing the same break-out session three times, and it’s What Makes Your Work Publishable: Today’s Market in Children’s Books. I was asked to present on what our agency accepts, what my taste is, what makes something stand out as something I want to represent, how I perceive the marketplace now, and where I see it going.

Click here to read the full interview with Jim McCarthy.

And click here for Annual Winter Conference registration where you can attend insightful What Makes Your Work Publishable sessions with Jim, other agents, editors, and art directors!

And be sure to visit my blog tomorrow for my IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK feature one day late.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

SCBWI TEAM BLOG Pre-conference interview: Linda Sue Park

The latest in our series of SCBWI TEAM BLOG interviews with Annual Winter Conference faculty is courtesy of Jolie Stekly who blogs at Cuppa Jolie. She interviewed Newbery Award-winning author Linda Sue Park.

Here's a bit from the interview with Linda Sue, which Jolie likened to a short writer's therapy session:

I've had the immense pleasure of hearing Linda Sue Park speak at a couple of SCBWI conferences. Not only that, but I've also had the opportunity to sit and talk with her, and let me tell you, the words that come out of her mouth are so great, so helpful, so smart that you won't want to dare miss them when she's gives her keynote presentation at the upcoming SCBWI Winter Conference.

Linda Sue Park is the award-winning author of many books for children, including A SINGLE SHARD which won the Newbery Medal in 2002. The list of awards Linda Sue has won is as long as my arm, and sure to keep growing. Linda Sue also serves on the SCBWI Board of Advisors.

Click here to read the full interview with Linda Sue Park.

Click here to register for the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference where you can take in the wisdom of Linda Sue, and the rest of the awesome faculty, in person. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

In the News This Week

Fridays on the SCBWI blog, I share snippets of and links to some of the publishing/media-related news I've read during the last week that I found interesting, helpful, and/or fun. Click titles to get to the full articles.

I took the day off that day after Thanksgiving (devoting the day to eating was pie), but I'm back this week with links to piece a piece on Black Friday book sales, a great PW roundup of YA publishers, the continuing Kindle vs. iPad popularity contest, the best agents on Twitter, some tips for self-editing, ABC plus ABA, an addictive blog on subway reading, and more.

Jeff Kinney and Rick Riordan Put the "Black" into Black Friday
Many independent booksellers contacted by PW earlier this week reported solid holiday sales over the Thanksgiving weekend. While those figures include adult titles, especially memoirs—former president George W. Bush’s Decision Points, Keith Richards’s Life, and The Autobiography of Mark Twain—children’s books contributed to sales boosts. Two standouts, even at stores that don't typically boost a high percentage of children’s sales, were the fifth Wimpy Kid title and the first book in the new Heroes of Olympus series. At 40-year-old Breakwater Books in Guilford, Ct., where children’s comprise 30% of sales, the bestseller for the entire weekend came from the kids’ aisle: Peter Yarrow’s The Night Before Christmas, which features a musical recording by Peter, Paul, and Mary, and paintings by Eric Puybaret. And at BarnesandNoble.com, the perennial holiday favorite, The Elf on a Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold, held top positions in books for the gift set, with a light-skinned elf at #1 and a dark-skinned elf #10. 

Today's YA Scene: New Players, Innovative Directions, Fresh Voices (PW)
There is no shortage of media coverage about boom times in the young adult market. Looking beyond the houses responsible for many of the bold-faced headliners at the top of bestseller lists, one finds an enthusiastic group of publishers, some newcomers to YA, whose authors are making impressive contributions and helping to satiate the reading appetites of Twilight- and Hunger Games-frenzied fans.
From these publishers comes word of thriving YA programs, fueled by a bumper crop of talented new writers—many of whom are startlingly young—and a sizzling double-edged crossover market involving more adult authors penning YA novels and more adult readers buying YA fare. Editors claim they are not filling their lists with derivative stories (though vampires and dystopian landscapes are surely in evidence), but are signing up books in an increasingly diverse range of genres. Here's a look at some of these publishers' offerings and observations.

Small Press Spotlight: Purple House Press (Shelf Talker)
For some time now, I’ve meant to start a recurring feature highlighting some of our favorite small presses. We independent booksellers are always working to get the message out about the wonderful benefits we offer to readers; just as important is our support of smaller indie publishers, who likewise depend on us to recognize and value (and buy) the unique books they have to offer. In this economy especially, we need to put our money where our mouths are. Let’s hear it for small presses!

Kindles And iPads Are Most Popular eReaders: ChangeWave Research
Kindles and iPads are closely competing this holiday season. While more people currently own Kindles, iPads are growing in popularity, says a new consumer research study by ChangeWave Research.
In August, ChangeWave interview more than 2,800 consumers to inform the new report called “The Consumer Electronics Spending For the Holidays. The report found that 47 percent of eReader owners own a Kindle and 32% own an iPad. Interestingly, readers find the iPad more satisfying as an e-reader, with 75% of iPad owners saying that they are “very satisfied” with the tablet as an eReader, compared to 54% of Kindle owners reporting the same thing.

ABC Booksellers Overwhelmingly Approve Merger With ABA (PW)
By a vote of 105 to 23, members of the Association of Booksellers for Children have approved a merger with the American Booksellers Association. This marks the culmination of a process set in motion nearly two years ago when the ABC board, concerned about the organization’s long-term survival given that nearly two thirds of its budget is funded by publishers, initiated possible merger discussions with ABA.

Best Literary Agents on Twitter (GalleyCat)
Looking for an agent? To help aspiring writers, literary agents, and publishing professionals connect online, we are building a new directory of best literary agents on Twitter. At the eBook Summit on December 15th, we will have a special panel discussion about finding an agent in this new digital publishing landscape. Reading these agents every day will help you prepare as well. Add your favorite agent (or yourself) to the growing list below. Our feeble list IS NOT COMPREHENSIVE–yet. We will regularly update the directory, just like our other directories of publishing professionals on Twitter. This will a BIG directory, so please be patient as we update.

Flipping through e-readers, a skeptic becomes a believer (LA Times)
The last time I was stuck somewhere without a book to read was 1988. The place was Homa Bay, a village on the Kenyan shore of Lake Victoria that I wouldn't be leaving for five days at the minimum, with lots of downtime in store. After three days I'd finished both John Le Carre novels I'd brought with me. I was only saved from spending the endless hours watching scorpions skitter across the sand by the Gideons, whose geographic reach really is remarkable. After that experience, I never left home without a Dickens in my knapsack, on the principle that you can't get stuck anywhere on Earth long enough to get all the way to the end of "Little Dorrit."But that wouldn't be an issue for me today, because now I have my Kindle.

5 Tips for Productively Editing Your Writing (HuffPo)
I've got writing on the brain these days. I've recently joined a writing group and I'm about to turn back to my own manuscript in a few days. (Drumroll, please...) So I'm thinking again about the craft of writing. Not the initial creative burst that yields a blog post, an article or a novel, but that potentially stomach-churning, roll-up-your-sleeves and stare-the-beast-in-the-face process commonly known as editing. (I think Ernest Hemingway summed up the distinction between these two phases best when he said: "Write drunk. Edit sober.")

Book Spy Sees What You Read on the Subway (GalleyCat)
Ever feel like you’re being watched on public transportation? Maybe you’ve been spotted by The Book Spy. This anonymous New York City blogger explained in a post: “Every day, I spend nearly two hours in a dank, dark box hurtling through tunnels under the ground. It is my curse, but also my blessing. In the subway I’m exposed to a culture of readers unequaled elsewhere. They flip through magazines, shuffle through print-outs, and contort their newspapers into elaborate origami folds to keep the pages from encroaching upon their neighbors. Above all they read books. Books of every shape, size, genre, and format.”

Thursday, December 2, 2010

SCBWI TEAM BLOG Pre-conference Interview: Author Sara Zarr

When I found out Sara Zarr was on the faculty for the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference, I called dibs on doing her pre-conference interview right away. (There was a quiet throwdown, but I'm captain of TEAM BLOG so I won.)

There were several reasons I wanted an excuse to talk to Sara. I first met her several years ago at a Kidlitcon and heard her speak from the heart about her first foray into blogging. I immediately liked her and immediately devoured STORY OF A GIRL, her debut novel and a National Book Award Finalist.

A couple years later she stopped here in the Nati on a book tour and I attended both her events, one at a Barnes & Noble and one at Joseph-Beth. The B&N event, for some reason, was not well attended. (It was pretty much just me, the store events person, and a teen and her father who stopped by.) Still Sara spoke to us as if it was a packed house, and I was moved by the story behind her writing SWEETHEARTS, her second YA novel (a Cybil Award Finalist). I bought a copy, read it on a plane a few weeks later, and wept.

And in 2009 I got to edit Sara Zarr (!) when she wrote a piece for me for CWIM. Her topic was revising books. "Not the craft of that, the technique," she explained, "but the emotional complications of engaging deeply with your work and accepting, even embracing, failure and humility as part of the process." (See the 2010 CWIM, page 52.)

Sara is a deep thinker, a terrific and interesting human being, and an amazing writer. Her third book, ONCE WAS LOST was a Kirkus Best Book of 2009. She's a three-time finalist for the Utah Book Award. She's had short fiction and essays published in print and online and is working on a fourth novel. And she's a keynote speaker at the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference!

Click here to register for the event and hear Sara Zarr--and the rest of the terrific faculty--offer insights and advice in person.

And in the meantime, enjoy my interview with Sara, in which we talk about writing, public speaking and attending conferences.

You recently served as a judge for the National Book Awards (for which you were once a finalist). What was it like being on the other side? How did it feel attending the event as a judge?

The judging process was challenging and sort of took over my life for six months of 2010, but ultimately I found the experience extremely rewarding. It gave me the chance to read widely and deeply, and consider what a book really is and what we are trying to do as writers.

I also enjoyed working with the other four judges on the Young People's Literature panel, finding common ground as well as passionate disagreements, and coming away with a ton of respect for each other. Attending as a judge was way more fun than attending as a finalist! I could actually relax and enjoy the whole night without it feeling surreal or panic-inducing.

You're delivering a keynote at the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference. What's the theme? Can you give us a teaser?

I'm going to talk about crafting a satisfying writing life. I think it's easy--especially when you're starting out--to get caught up in and stressed out by the business end of things. It is important to understand that part of the job, and of course it's something you must navigate to become a traditionally published author.

But I see so many people forgetting the joy that first led them to write, neglecting the care and feeding of their creative selves, getting anxious and burned out before they even get out of the gate. (And I'm talking about myself here, too.)

I want to talk about habits of thought and action that help sustain a writing life at all phases of one's career--how to persevere in looking for that balance between smart career management and care of the creative self.

Your bio on your sarazarr.com says you majored in Speech in college. (For me, that would be right up there with swimming in shark-infested waters or contracting Ebola.) Lots of newer authors suddenly find themselves having to give speeches and presentations. Could you offer a few pieces of advice to the nervous ones?

Well, my emphasis in the Speech & Communications major was Organizational Communication, so it wasn't so much about public speaking. That said, I've always been comfortable talking in front of people. And when I say "comfortable," I don't mean I don't get nervous or scared. But I usually come out of it feeling energized and glad I did it, especially if I feel like I made a real connection with the audience. That doesn't always happen, and it's definitely a sinking feeling when you realize you've failed to get the audience on board with you.

As for advice: When I first started talking in front of audiences as an author, I would get very stressed out and spend weeks taking notes and organizing thoughts and writing stuff on index cards. Then I realized: I'm an expert on me and my books. That freed me up to take a more extemporaneous approach with my talks. So if at all possible, only agree to speak about things that fall in your area of expertise, then remind yourself that you are an expert. You talk about this stuff with friends and family and colleagues all the time in casual conversation, and there's no reason to think talking in front of an audience needs to be that different or super formal.
An off-the-cuff approach also tends to lead to better connection with the audience. I try to see every talk as a conversation, even if the audience may not be talking back. (But I am nervous about my SCBWI talk. It will be by far my largest audience ever. So I will have notes!)

Can you tell us anything about your next novel?

I'm excited about it! There are two narrators with very different lives, whose worlds collide around an open adoption by one of the narrator's mothers. The title hasn't been finalized yet, but it should be out sometime in fall 2011.

Had you attended any SCBWI events before you found your agent and got published? Why would you recommend writers working toward publication attend conferences?

I came to SCBWI NY twice before I was published. I believe the years were 2001 and 2005. For me, conferences during that time were all about inspiration and feeling like a writer. It can be hard for non-writer friends and family to understand what it is we're doing, and why, and being around other people pursuing the same goal and talking about that goal is a relief from the isolation (and, possibly, frustration) of working toward publication. "Finally, people talking my language!"

I was never great at the networking part of conferences--small talk and cocktail parties scare me--but I listened and observed well, and all of that information helped me out in some way down the line. Also, investing the time and the money in coming to a conference demonstrates to yourself and to others that you take writing seriously, and there is a lot of value in that.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Novel Gift: First Book Is Giving Away More Than 125,000 Books to Low-income Teens

The lovely ladies of readergirlz need assistance spreading the word about a great opportunity to help get books to teens who can't afford them.

First Book--a nonprofit organization that annually provides millions of books to schools and programs serving children from low-income families--is giving away more than 125,000 brand-new books (donated by generous publishers) to low-income teen readers.

Organizations serving such teens must register with First Book so they can be matched with available inventory during the holiday season.

Here’s are a few ways you can help spread the news about the First Book campaign:
  • Post about the giveaway on Facebook
  • Tweet about it using the hashtag #novelgift
  • Link to First Book's registration page 
  • Link to my post or this post on the readergilz blog 
  • Get in touch groups that work with young adults--schools, after-school programs, church youth groups, community centers, etc.--and let them know that these books are available now
  • Groups can register in about 5 minutes via this link.

First Book will answer any questions by email (help@firstbook.org) or phone (866-READ-NOW or 866-732-3669).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Two Hours as Bookseller: Working at the Scholastic Book Fair

Book carts at the book fair.
The boy started afternoon Kindergarten this year and since I didn't have full-time job when school began, I volunteered for everything I could that had anything to do with books or words. I have 18 plus years working in publishing under my belt. I figured the elementary school could use a mother like me. I signed up to help in the writing lab, to type and proofread stories, and to work in the library.

When the school year began, I got a thanks-anyway-but-we've-got-too-many-volunteers email. "What?" thought I. "Don't they know who I AM?" Apparently I'm not very famous in elementary school circles.

A table of reference books. Yay nonfiction!
The one thing they did need help with was manning the Scholastic Book Fair, which took place last week. Lucky for them, I was free. I got a two-hour shift during which I was to greet and assist customers. (But not touch the cash register. Which, really, was for the best.)

Business was slow when the fair first opened so I worked hard to memorize our stock. And when customers did arrive I was on them like paste on construction paper. We combed the shelves searching for book on kids' and teachers' wish lists. I made suggestions for similar titles. And mostly I pointed across the room to the latest DIARY OF A WIMPY KID book because that's what most of them wanted.

When it was slow, I regaled uninterested fellow volunteers (mommies, math teachers) with my knowledge of children's books and their creators:

Me: "Mo Willems? I interviewed him. So funny."
Me: "Marla Frazee? We go waaaay back."
Me: "Laura Numeroff? We were totally at a party together once."
Me: "Tomie dePaola? Richard Peck? I've ridden elevators with both of them."  
Me: "Lisa Yee? Why I've been photographed with Peepy."

Them: "Um. Neat."

I also managed to get in a little book shopping for the boy and myself. It had been way too long since I'd added new picture books to my/our collection. If I can't transition from book fair volunteer to a career bookseller, I've always got shopping to fall back on. Here's what I came home with:

  • ALL THE WORLD by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Because, you know, we go way back. And it's beautiful.)
  • TURKEY TROUBLE by Wendi Silvano, illustrated by Lee Harper (So seasonal!)
  • I NEED MY MONSTER by Amanda Knoll, illustrated by Howard McWilliam (The librarian says it's favorite with boys.)
  • BONES by Steve Jenkins (So cool--it features a four-page-long gate-folded snake skeleton!)
  • THE ADVENTURES OF OOK AND GLUK: KUNG-FU CAVEMEN FROM THE FUTURE, The second graphic novel from George Beard and Harold Hutching, the creators of Captain Underpants (Because--funny.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

In the News This Week

Fridays on the SCBWI blog, I share snippets of and links to some of the publishing/media-related news I've read during the last week that I found interesting, helpful, and/or fun. Click titles to get to the full articles.

This week's news includes PW's coverage of NBA winner Kathryn Erskine's acceptance speech, goodbye to Tricycle Press, a pair of some studies on the teens' dating habits and buying habits (including books), MySpace/Facebook partnership, help with e-reader holiday shopping, and more.

Erskine Wins NBA in Young People's Literature (PW)
Kathryn Erskine was filled with gratitude as she stepped up to the podium on Wednesday night to claim the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, for her novel Mockingbird (Philomel), about a 10-year-old girl with Asperger’s syndrome. She thanked the National Book Awards "for supporting reading and our culture," as well as the judges, her publishing house Penguin, and "readers and friends and supporters and family." She also thanked educators, for teaching children "to think critically and deeply, and think for themselves." And she saved special thanks for her mother, for teaching her not only the "what" of the world, "but also the 'why.'"

Random House to Shutter Tricycle Press
As of January 31st Random House Children’s Books is discontinuing the frontlist publishing program of Berkeley-based Tricycle Press, the 18-year-old children’s book imprint. As part of the change, v-p and publisher Nicole Geiger and her four-person editorial team will leave the company on the 31st as well. Tricycle marketing and publicity manager Laura Mancuso will stay on in the same capacity at RHCB.

A study confirms every suspicion you ever had about high-school dating (Slate)
In the Darwinian world of high-school dating, freshman girls and senior boys have the highest chances of successfully partnering up. Senior girls (too picky!) and freshman boys (pond scum!) have the least. These are truisms known to anyone who has watched 10 minutes of a teen movie or spent 10 minutes in a high school cafeteria. Now, however, social scientists have examined them exhaustively and empirically. And they have found that for the most part, they're accurate. So are some other old prom-era chestnuts: Teen boys are primarily—obsessively?—interested in sex, whereas girls, no matter how boy-crazy, tend to focus on relationships. Young men frequently fib about their sexual experience, whereas young women tend to be more truthful. Once a student has sex, it becomes less of an issue in future relationships.

Teen Girls as Avid Shoppers (AdWeek)

Don't blame teenage girls for the sluggishness of consumer spending. In a survey just released by Varsity Brands (which sells cheerleading apparel) and Ketchum Global Research Network, girls age 13-18 identified shopping as their favorite pastime. And the list of purchases they've recently made confirms this isn't just talk. But other parts of the survey may leave you wondering how the girls' immersion in new media leaves them with time to buy things.

You Can Now Log in to MySpace with Facebook (Mashable)
In a move that has been rumored for nearly a year, MySpace users can now log in to the once dominant social network using Facebook. At a press event this afternoon, the two companies announced an expansion of their existing partnership that puts a connect with Facebook button on the MySpace homepage and enables a wide range of personalization and sharing features on MySpace.

Closing the book on Harry Potter (NYT)
A LOT has happened since the screenwriter Steve Kloves began working on his adaptation of the very first Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” in the late 1990s.
The three central characters — Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) — have grown up on screen, enduring the twin horrors of Voldemort and adolescence before our very eyes. The stories have become progressively darker and more complicated. And Mr. Kloves has immersed himself so deeply in the world of Harry Potter that by the time J. K. Rowling’s seventh and final volume, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” came out in 2007, he said, he knew the characters almost as thoroughly as she did herself.

Holiday Gift Guide To eReaders (eBook Newser)
The holiday shopping season is here and eReaders and tablets are poised to be the hot items of the season. To help you navigate through all of the devices out there, we have compiled a Holiday Gift Guide To eReaders featuring the latest eReaders on the market. The below list includes eReaders that have come out over the last year and will be hot this season:

Great Holiday Expectations for E-Readers (NYT)
E-readers will be widely available at stores like Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer, and offered at prices that make sense for Christmas gifts—less than $150. Publishers and booksellers are expecting that instead of giving your mother a new Nicholas Sparks novel or your father a David Baldacci thriller in the hardcovers that traditionally fly off the shelves and into wrapping paper at this time of year, you might elect to convert them to e-reading.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

And the 2010 National Book Award for Young People's Literature Goes to...

...Kathryn Erskine for her book MOCKINGBIRD!

Here's the complete lists of Finalists in the Young People's Literature category:

This year's judges YLP Judges were Laban Carrick Hill, Kelly Link, Tor Seidler, Hope Anita Smith and Sara Zarr. (Here's a link to their bios.)

Here are links to some reviews of all the NBA finalists:
Congratulations to all the wonderful nominees and to winner Kathryn Erskine!

Wednesday Tweet Roundup

It's humpday which means it's time for me to share some of my favorite tweets of the last week from the many writers, illustrators, editors, agents, and publishers who are out there sharing information and joining in the conversation on Twitter.

Click on the Twitter handles (@name) to find each tweeter's page should you wish to follow them or read more of what they're saying. Follow the included links to read the articles or blog posts these tweeters recommend.

Remember--whether you're signed up with Twitter or not, you can read tweets and click links to find helpful blog posts, useful articles, and timely news bits (like the ones below).

This week's tweet buffet offers links to tasty crafty blog posts, a delicious collection of lists of top titles, advice from agents and editors to savor and more, starting off with a reminder that the NBA awards banquet will start, oh...any minute now.  

@TatteredCover: 2010 National Book Awards will be announced TONGHT! 60 Years of Honoring Great American Books: http://fb.me/KSGqVZh3

@GuardianBooks: Louise Rennison has last laugh by winning Roald Dahl funny prize http://gu.com/p/2y7ve/tf  

@literaticat: :-( crying. RT @PWKidsBookshelf RH shutters Tricycle Press; publisher Nicole Geiger & staff will leave as of 1/31/11

: from @PublishersLunch: Movable Type Literary Group hires Brianne Mulligan as assoc agent; YA and MG and some adult
@TracyClark_TLC: Strengths and Weaknesses. Do you know yours? My latest blog post: http://bit.ly/bHzRHT

@AimeeLSalter: Self-edit tips to help you 'show' rather than 'tell': http://bit.ly/b500ge

@tabithaolson: Roaring Brook Press editor Katherine Jacob's brilliance regarding pacing. http://bit.ly/czF5M3
@WritersDigest: Have you been to any of the world's best bookstores?

@sljournal: "Nonfiction wasn't as strong in the categories of nature and science this year..." Insight from review staff http://bit.ly/ddyz3K 

@teachingbooks: Bank Street COE announced their outstanding books of 2010! Very focused list. So many books. http://tinyurl.com/34dm5yd
: 2010 Best Books for Teens: Contemporary Novels

@stacylwhitman: #pubtip: I am not an agent. Don't query me asking me to represent you to publishers bc I'm a "select agent."

@ColleenLindsay:"Bad grammar & syntax can end your publishing career before it ever gets started." Great post by @DGLM --> http://tinyurl.com/23hll2r

@RachelleGardner: My best advice: Find where your passion meets the market. http://bit.ly/aT5Tit

: Guide to Literary Agents - Agent Katharine Sands On: 4 Agent Pet Peeves via @AddThis

@pwkidsbookshelf: Let kids be the judge: force-feeding the 'right’ sort of literature can put them off for life: http://bit.ly/c4hz7x
@editorgurl: Letting teens (gasp) pick their own books: An awesome speech from the author of The Marbury Lens. http://bit.ly/930GkI

@GalleyCat: To 'reward' Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, J.K. Rowling won't write more HP books: http://mbist.ro/av8mkg

@PWKidsBookshelf: From io9: Why J.K. Rowling shouldn't write any more Harry Potter books http://on.io9.com/arjVUO

@LAGilman: Pending royalty statements make me twitchy. It's like being 10 & waiting to hear if you'll have a snow day or not... 

@johnmcusick: Lots of bunny themed queries today. But what does it MEAN?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

E.B. Lewis Joins the SCBWI Board of Advisors

A few weeks ago acclaimed illustrator E.B. Lewis was appointed to the SCBWI Board of Advisors. Among other awards, he's won a Caldecott Honor for COMING ON HOME SOON, written by Jacqueline Woodson and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for TALKIN' ABOUT BESSIE, written by Nikki Grimes. (See the cover images below.)

“The Board is looking forward to the unique contribution he can bring to the organization,” says President Stephen Mooser. "E.B. Lewis just appeared as our Amber Brown speaker at a school in Boston, where his inspirational message and talent continues to bring pride to SCBWI principles," says Executive Director Lin Oliver. "His enthusiasm for encouraging young artists and promoting literacy perfectly matches the goals of SCBWI. "

E.B. was on the faculty of SCBWI's 2010 Annual Summer Conference. I'm sorry if you missed him speak--it was terrific and inspiring  and seeing his warm, wonderful paintings on the giant ballroom screen was awesome. Here are links to two posts covering his presenations:
In a recent email to SCBWI board, E.B. said: "I am honored by the appointment and thank you all for your support. I will do my best to advance the mission of SCBWI and look forward to working with you all." Speaking on behalf of the board, I can say we all look forward to having him among our ranks. Welcome E.B. Lewis!

Friday, November 12, 2010

In the News This Week

Fridays on the SCBWI blog, I share snippets of and links to some of the publishing/media-related news I've read during the last week that I found interesting, helpful, and/or fun. Click titles to get to the full articles.

This week's news includes two in-case-you-live-under-a-rock stories---one on Amazon's removal of a pedophile guide (they listened to the Twitter uproar), and another on a career shift for agent Nathan Bransford. Also a few best books lists, ebook in New York Times, NYT on interactive books (minus the E), a new publisher at Scholastic, two ebook devices aimed at kids, and more. Also a count/counterpoint pieces on NaNoWriMo--which are slightly over a week old, but I gave you no news last week during my vacation, so enjoy them now, and keep at it, NaNo-ers!

'Pedophile's Guide' Removed from Amazon (GalleyCat)
The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure, a controversial title that generated boycott threats on Amazon yesterday, has been removed. The old link now opens the image embedded above. The Today Show covered the story this morning. The author, Phillip R Greaves 2nd, spoke to reporters during the segment, adding: "Everytime you see them on television, they're either rapists or kidnappers. It's not accurate of that particular sexuality." BNet and TechCrunch have both written about the removal.

PW's Best Children's Books 2010 (PW)
Shark vs. Train
Chris Barton, illus. by Tom Lichtenheld (Little, Brown)
This is one of those elementally brilliant ideas that evokes a "Why didn't I think of that?" response. By pitting a cartoon train and shark against each other in a series of increasingly ludicrous challenges (the train's heft is a liability in a hot air balloon race, but very effective on a seesaw), Barton and Lichtenheld tap into kids' innate ability to turn anything, anything into a competition.

Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2010
Annually since 1952, the Book Review has asked a panel of judges to select 10 winners from among the several thousand children’s books published during the year. The judges this time around were Robert Sabuda, a co-creator of the best-selling “Encyclopedia Prehistorica” series and twice the recipient of a Times Best Illustrated award; Elizabeth Bird, a children’s librarian with the New York Public Library, whose first picture book, “Giant Dance Party,” is due out next year; and David Barringer, a novelist and designer who is the author of “There’s Nothing Funny About Design.” —The Editors

Interactive Books (‘E’ Not Included) (NYT)
Years ago, I was a supporter of a new literary movement, one that uprooted the traditional tenets of narrative in modern fiction: Choose Your Own Adventure. The books in that series, which first appeared in 1979, did so much more than simply tell a tale: by offering the reader choices at critical junctures, each one gave a rapt fourth grader like me the opportunity to shape the story. (If you decide to use turbo boost, turn to Page 48. If you decide to use shields, turn to Page 50.)

Benton Named Scholastic Trade Publisher (PW)
Lori Benton, whose career in children’s publishing includes a long run at Harcourt’s children’s division where she rose to v-p and publisher, has been named v-p and publisher for the Scholastic Trade Publishing division. In her new role, which begins January 3, Benton will oversee direction of the publishing program for all imprints. She succeeds Suzanne Murphy, who moved to Disney Publishing in June, and will report to Ellie Berger, president of Scholastic Trade Publishing.

Public Libraries by Design: Creating teen-friendly spaces with a gaming area (SLJ)
Library design and services frequently include welcoming spaces for teens. Why should a designated place for teens be considered? According to Kimberly Bolan, author of Teen Spaces: The Step-by-Step Library Makeover (American Library Association, 2009), it builds positive, safe environments for studying, socializing, and leisure activities; encourages community involvement and library appreciation; expands the library’s customer base; and is an effective way to market the library and draw teens to other services the library offers.

Social Books Hopes to Make E-Reading Communal (NYT)
Outside of a book club, reading a book is a pretty solitary affair. Two entrepreneurs, Jason Johnson and Jason Illian, are trying to change that with a new mobile application called Social Books. "Short-form content on the Web is very interactive, very dynamic," Mr. Johnson said. “You can see which of your friends read the same article and what they thought of it. It made us ask, 'Can this be applied to long-form content? Can we take the advent of social media and apply it to the way we read books on tablets?'"

E-Books to Join The New York Times Best-Seller List – NYTimes.com (WIRED)
he New York Times will begin reporting the best selling e-books in new fiction and non-fiction lists early next year, the newspaper reports. The Times has published best-seller lists since 1935 and they have been a significant driver of book sales for decades. Bricks-and-mortar stores post the list and, space permitting, section off these titles outside the fiction and non-fictions aisles as close to the cash registers as is humanly possible. The same has become true with advent of e-book stores, where lists and search are key entry points, and browsing is somewhat more problematic. So expect these lists to be a boon to e-book merchants on day one.
eBook Sales To Grow To $2.8 Billion In 2015
(eBook Newser)
eBook sales in the U.S. will grow from just less than $1 billion in 2010 to more than $2.8 billion in 2015, according to a new report from Forrester Research. The study found that the digital publishing category has more than doubled from 3.7 million users in the US at year-end 2009 to more than 10.3 million a year later.

Barnes & Noble Pushing Nook Color To Kids In Test Stores (eBook Newswer)
Looking to reach families, Barnes & Noble is expanding the Toys & Games departments in its stores nationwide and is testing new children’s play spaces in five test stores. The playrooms will be a great gateway drug to get kids hooked on the upcoming Nook Color, as the playrooms will be stocked with the devices.

Fable maker to target youth e-book market (Boston Globe)
Amazon.com is making a fortune selling electronic books, presumably to adults. Now, Concord start-up company Isabella Products Inc. and Boston publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are planning to cash in on an untapped market: e-books for children. Next summer, Isabella will introduce the Fable, a combination tablet computer and e-book reader aimed at children. Unlike the black-and-white screen found on Amazon.com's popular Kindle e-reader, the Fable will feature a full-color, 7-inch touchscreen that can display the colorful illustrations found in most children’s titles.

Nathan Bransford Leaves Curtis Brown & Joins CNET (GalleyCat)
Curtis Brown agent Nathan Bransford told his online community today that he will no longer be a literary agent. He explained in a post: “I am leaving the world of publishing to work at the tech news/review site CNET, where I will be helping to coordinate social media strategy.”

Better yet, DON'T write that novel (Salon)
For me, the end of October is always slightly tinged with dread -- provoked not by Halloween spooks, not even by election season, but by the advent of something called NaNoWriMo. If those syllables are nothing but babble to you, then I salute you. They stand for National Novel Writing Month.

12 reasons to ignore the naysayers: Do NaNoWriMo (LAT)
If you want to write a novel in 30 days, don't let anyone stop you. Not even Salon's Laura Miller. Miller, who I usually find thoughtful and sweet, has written an anti-NaNoWriMo column -- "Better yet, DON'T write that novel" -- that is at best wrongheaded, and at worst, smallhearted. Miller would lay the blame for too many writers -- and not enough readers -- at the foot of NaNoWriMo, the project that challenges would-be authors to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lin Oliver & Henry Winkler Among Those to Be Honored by PEN USA

PEN USA, the West Coast center for International PEN, will salute the winners of its 2010 Literary Awards at its 20th Annual Literary Awards Festival next Wednesday, November 17th, at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Among this year's honorees are SCBWI's own Lin Oliver and her writing partner Henry Winkler! Lin and Henry will receive an Award of Merit. PEN will also offer awards for outstanding work by writers in 11 separate genres.

“Henry Winkler and I feel honored that our HANK ZIPZER  books have received the Award of Merit from PEN," says Lin. "The books are essentially about a boy who is different because he has learning challenges, and how he develops the humor, acceptance and resourcefulness to realize his dreams in the world. In this time, when so many kids who are different are being bullied, we’re happy that our books have made a contribution to the literature of acceptance and inclusion--virtues we all need to practice.”

Paul Fleischman will take home the Children's/Young Adult Literature award for his book THE DUNDERHEADS (Candlewick). And none other than Hugh Hefner will receive an Award of Honor & First Amendment Award. (I'm sure he'll bring a date.)

Congratulations to Lin & Henry for this award for their wonderful contribution to children's literature. I wish we could all attend the ceremony!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Tweet Roundup

It's humpday which means it's time for me to share some of my favorite tweets of the last week from the many writers, illustrators, editors, agents, and publishers who are out there sharing information and joining in the conversation on Twitter.

Click on the Twitter handles (@name) to find each tweeter's page should you wish to follow them or read more of what they're saying. Follow the included links to read the articles or blog posts these tweeters recommend.

Remember--whether you're signed up with Twitter or not, you can read tweets and click links to find helpful blog posts, useful articles, and timely news bits (like the ones below).

I didn't have a ton a time to skulk around the twitterverse this past as I was busy being on vacation. But a cool thing about Twitter is you can pop in for a few minutes here in there on your mobile device (like while you're in the airport; or en route to see some monuments via train; or, dare I say, when you have nothing else to read in the bathroom). Here's what I caught on the fly this past week, including links to some interesting and insightful blog posts, a few award winners, a dash of craft, a soup├žon of social media, and a little inspiration here and there.

@MyraMcEntire: YOU GUUUUYYYYS! Your comments on my post for @4kidlit are so SWEET. Let's take on the world, SHALL WE? http://bit.ly/ckLuxC

@SarahGreenhouse: New blog post from me on 'writing by the people and for the people'! http://bit.ly/LCZjs

@mstewartscience Today on the INK blog: How sensory details enrich #NFforKids writing: http://bit.ly/bvDtRO

@HUnderdown: If you write picture books, here's a writing/revising guide you should know about: http://ow.ly/36lcB

@Kid_Lit From the archives: when to cut something out of your manuscript http://ow.ly/36MJF

@RileyCarney Great Post: Deepening Your Novel with Imagery, Symbolism and Figurative Language http://ow.ly/36LIk

: "reading is like breathing...part of our existence" says @readingtub in @ChldrnsBksNRvws

@danielehrenhaft: M.T. Anderson on the importance of breaking boundaries: http://tinyurl.com/22oa3nl 

: The 10 Best Parents in Children's Literature | Strollerderby
How Picture Books Play a Role in a Child’s Development: http://ht.ly/36eao
@GalleyCat: When you run out of ideas, use the amazing Brainstormer app to keep writing: http://mbist.ro/9bJcT4 #NaNoWriMo Tip #9
@GalleyCat: Need more time to write? Try using an iPhone app to dictate your novel: http://mbist.ro/bgRlNX #NaNoWriMo Tip #10

  Guide to Literary Agents - Agent Tina Wexler On: 6 and 1/2 Ways to Impress an Agent http://t.co/EHYUqyu

@leewind Editor To Agent, and Now Agent To... Social Media Expert?http://bit.ly/doFVTs

@debng: What Does My Facebook Status Say About Me? http://bit.ly/bkcYLq

@debng: The Patrick Swayze Rules of Community Management http://bit.ly/cLWkxv

@sanderssays: If you use Twitter + FB + LinkedIn + Blog, read: http://bit.ly/9DNtx0 (excellent advice!)
@MichaelBourret: Remember how I promised something new and exciting for our blog? Here's the news: we're doing a live chat! http://bit.ly/99jatW
@BlytheWoolston: If you missed yesterday's #familyofreaders conversation between @HornBook + @mitaliperkins go read it http://bit.ly/a44fc0

@DeadRules2011: Lost your virginity? YA writers want to know who got it. Everyone's first time at The Elevensies today: http://bit.ly/92VWhu

@sarazarr: @Kid_Lit on contemporary realistic YA in the current market: http://bit.ly/cOWzJQ 

@CynLeitichSmith: YA Books on Bullying, Including Trailers from Naomi Bates: http://bit.ly/ban9D6

@yalibraryuk: Post-YALSA session summaries, history of YA, & book giveaway are all part of new links roundup: http://tiny.cc/postyalsaroundup

@lydia_sharp: YA Highway: What are your constellations?: http://bit.ly/aVqhM9 via @YAHighway 

@ypulse: Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books list for 2010: http://tinyurl.com/3yjzuw6
 NYTimes Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2010 http://ow.ly/35PZZ

@curiousmartha: Don't try to submit your manuscript to an editor via online dating site message. #pubtip 

 You can't make this stuff up: @tweenbooks

Happy Birthday Holly Black and Neil Gaiman!
  Just signed up for the #SCBWI Winter Conference in NYC! Sessions look amazing! Can't wait!