Thursday, September 16, 2021

Nonfiction Author Steve Sheinkin is Interviewed Over at Shelf Awareness

Steve Sheinkin's nonfiction for young readers has won numerous awards, and now with the publication of his latest, Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown, he chats with Lana Barnes over at Shelf Awareness about researching and writing nonfiction for teens.



A couple of standout moments:

“it's easy to find exciting true stories to tell. And the research, the nerdy detective work, is actually fun. Kids often accuse me of doing homework for a living, and I admit it. But the thing is, I get to pick the assignment, and that makes all the difference. The hardest part is figuring out how to work the needed background information into a story without killing the momentum.”

and

“I always start with libraries and good old-fashioned books. Just find a nonfiction book on a subject you're interested in (in this case, the Berlin Wall), and take notes on the people and storylines that are most intriguing. Then you can start to narrow the search, to hunt for more details on those figures, using other books, online sources, newspaper archives, interviews--whatever it takes.”

and

“I really believe true stories can be just as much fun to read as novels, and I'm trying to prove it. In terms of takeaways, my number-one goal is always to make readers curious. I hope they'll come away wanting to know more, inspired to dig deeper into whatever part of the story they found most compelling.”

Read the full interview here.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Cover Letter Inspiration - Benedict Cumberbatch Reads "The Best Cover Letter Ever Written"

This is pretty amazing!

Posted by Letters Live, here's the setup:

In 1934, a New York copywriter by the name of Robert Pirosh quit his well-paid job and headed for Hollywood, determined to begin the career of his dreams as a screenwriter. When he arrived, he gathered the names and addresses of as many directors, producers and studio executives as he could find, and sent them what is surely one of the greatest, most effective cover letters ever to be written; a letter which secured him three interviews, one of which led to his job as a junior writer at MGM.

Fifteen years later, screenwriter Robert Pirosh won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for his work on the war film, Battleground. A few months after that, he also won a Golden Globe.

To read Pirosh's amazing cover letter, here's Benedict Cumberbatch (originally performed at Freemason's Hall, London). Click here to watch the under-two-minute video.


Working on your own cover letter? Imagine how it would sound if Benedict read it... 

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, September 9, 2021

What's The Future of Author Events? Online? In-Person? Hybrid? - Shelf Awareness Reports on Last Week's ABA Children's Institute Panel


Reporting over at Shelf Awareness, Alex Mutter writes about the American Booksellers Association's August 31, 2021, Children's Institute panel discussion, Ci9: The Future of Events.

Moderated by Brein Lopez, manager of Children's Book World in Los Angeles, California, the panelists were: Lara Phan, director of account marketing at Penguin Random House; Erica Barmash, senior director of marketing and publicity at Bloomsbury; and Melissa Campion, senior director of author events at Macmillan.

The recap of the discussion touches on hybrid tours as distinct from hybrid events, adjusting sales expectations for online events, and even what times work best for what kinds of events. Lara Phan shared data drawn from 1,700 online events Penguin Random House authors did between March 2020 and March 2021 that led them to conclude:

“For children's events, afternoon sessions at around 2 or 3 p.m., which on weekdays would be around the time that virtual schooling concluded, did well, and Mondays and Saturdays were solid choices for days of the week.”

If you're wondering about the future of your author/translator/illustrator events, the full article is well worth reading.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Movement to Dismantle the Dewey Decimal System



As reported recently in their article Move Over, Melvil! Momentum Grows to Eliminate Bias and Racism in the 145-year-old Dewey Decimal System by Christina Joseph over at School Library Journal

"a growing number of school and youth librarians" are calling out the systemic bias in the, well, system.

The article explains the folks trying to change things claim that,

“Dewey’s approaches to categorizing books were racist and sexist. For instance, Black history is not part of American history; ‘women’s work’ is a separate category from jobs; non-Christian religious holidays are situated with mythology and religion; and LGBTQ+ works were once shelved under ‘perversion’ or ‘neurological disorders’ before landing in the ‘sexual orientation’ category.”

It's a fascinating article that goes into just some of the efforts being made to re-examine, and in some cases, come up with ways to, as one school librarian put it, “do better for my kiddos.”

Click here to read the full piece over at School Library Journal.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Nova Ren Suma Shares a New Technique for Authors Revisioning Our Revision

Nova Ren Suma is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of The Walls Around Us and A Room Away from the Wolves, both finalists for an Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel. 

On her Instagram feed recently, Nova posted this advice, which I share here with her kind permission:



When feeling intimidated or overwhelmed about a novel revision, here’s a re-visioning revision technique I just tried out on myself late last night:

Before starting a deep revision, before re-outlining or anything else…

1) Write/revise a new opening paragraph or two.

2) Then, leap all the way to the end and write a brand-new final paragraph, imagining you made all the changes you and your editor (or readers) want, even the ones that feel like a tangled nest of questions at the moment.

It feels like manifesting the future from dust into something tangible. Magic.

Certainly worth trying! Thanks, Nova!

Learn more at Nova's website here.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,
Lee