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1. Alvina Ling: Acquisitions Today: Opportunities and Challenges

Alvina Ling is Vice President and editor-in-chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (where she's worked since 1999.) She oversees Little, Brown's core publishing program (including picture books, middle grade, and young adult), and edits children's books for all ages.

Some highlights of Alvina's comments:

"When we acquire a book, we generally want to acquire an author and an author's career."

On whether there are other considerations besides the manuscript in making the decision, "very occasionally" Alvina will see if the author has an online presence--a website, or are on twitter. But as she explains, it's "not a deciding factor, but can contribute."

About asking for revisions before signing a project, Alvina agrees that it's more suggestive than proscriptive, and she recalls working with Peter Brown for a year before signing his first book.

The panel also covers joint versus separate accounting, how auctions work, and important "gets" in the negotiation process and the pros and cons of working with younger versus more senior editors.

Final Alvina wisdom from the panel:
"Since today is Valentines' day, you have to love what you do. We're all up here because we love what we do... love your work, love meeting the people."

It's great advice.

Want more Alvina wisdom? She's on twitter at @planetalvina

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2. Happy Cybils Day!

Congratulations to the 2015 Cybils winners!

As always, the list of winners sounds fantastic and includes books I gotta get my hands on. As a former Cybils judge, I know how much work and care goes into the process, so I also tip my hat to everyone who judged in either round.

I hope you'll check out the list.

Oh, and happy Valentine's Day. Apparently that's today, too....

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3. Ginger Clark: Acquisitions Panel

Ginger Clark has been a literary agent with Curtis Brown since 2005. She represents many genres and categories of books in addition to representing the British rights for Curtis Brown's children's list. She's lots of fun on Twitter, and from there you may have learned she's really into wombats and Peter Capaldi, but aren't we all?

Sarah Davies and Ginger Clark tag team on describing how a rolling auction works. All of the bidding publishers give their bid, and then the lowest bidder is asked if they can match the highest bid, and the other bidders are approached in turn, and this can go around a few times, perhaps up to seven rounds.

Compared to a best bids auction, where Ginger asks for editors to name their ultimate bid and no additional rounds of bid-taking happen.

For most books Ginger has sold she's initially sent out the submission to 12 editors. In special cases she's sent the submission out to upwards of 27 editors (and she notes that 25% of those 27 were at Penguin Random House, which is the strange reality of big houses merging into even bigger houses these days).

The most important 'gets' in a contract to Ginger are:

Translation rights, British rights, audio rights, joint vs. separate accounting on multiple book deal royalties (you want separate accounting!!) Ginger will only take joint accounting deals unless there are no other offers OR the publisher is offering them an insane amount of money. Other than that, deal-killers are up to the client, says Ginger.

Ginger's last bit of advice:

When picking an agent, pick someone you think will be a great advocate for you and will be a great, professional advice-giver—don't pick someone only because you think they could be your best friend, or that reminds you of your mom or Peter Capaldi, or because they own a wombat.

(l-r) Peter Capaldi as Malcolm Tucker; wombat from How To Negotiate Everything

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4. Sarah Davies and Rubin Pfeffer: Acquisitions Panel

Sarah Davies

Rubin Pfeffer
Sarah Davies and Rubin Pfeffer are both literary agents with deep editorial experience honed over many years working as editors at various publishing houses.

Sarah is the founder of The Greenhouse Literary Agency. Rubin Pfeffer founded Rubin Pfeffer Content.

They spoke to us today about opportunities and challenges in publishing, with Rubin asking all of the panelists a variety of questions ranging from terminology to process and working styles.

Sarah's career in children's publishing in London lasted for 25 years. She moved to Washington, D.C. to found her agency, and is now back across the pond, where her agency is an international presence. She loves cultivating new talent and selling books all around the world (including Iran and the republic of Georgia).

What is an auction? 
Sarah explained this happens when more than one editor wants a book. Agents might set a time by which offers need to be received. Sarah likes to hold her auctions on Fridays (there was disagreement on the panel about this). Offers come in with their basic terms in addition to a lot of love from editors. To Sarah, the editor's passion for a project is a significant factor.

What does rejection signify?
To Rubin, rejection doesn't mean your writing wasn't good enough. There are factors beyond your control.

What kind of control do you have over the projects you submit?
Everything is done on behalf of your clients, Sarah said. One of the first questions she asks is about which editors clients already have relationships with. But she's also going to search her frequently updated database and use what she's learned in her frequent meetings with editors. "I'm making notes all the time and updating those."

She also runs submission ideas past her clients to make sure the best decisions are made.

How do you cope with losing a project that you love? 

Sarah Davies doesn't often fall in love with a new author. "I'm quite sparing in my love... when I fall in love, I want to get it." But it sometimes does happen that potential client chooses someone else.

Rubin Pfeffer on respect
It's easy to wear your emotions on your sleeve, but showing professionalism will take you very, very far. "It will cut you off short if it's not there."

How much work do you do on a manuscript before submitting it to an editor? 
In eight years, there have been only about two times Sarah has sent out a manuscript she hasn't given some feedback on. "My goal is to sell it as well as it can be done. My editorial role is working on it until we can get it to where it stands the best chance of being acquired by an editor."

What is joint accounting? 
When an editor makes an offer for more than one book, joint accounting is where both books have to earn out before royalties are paid. Agents don't want this situation to happen, but it's the house policy at certain publishers. At Little, Brown, series are jointly accounted, which is more reasonable to agents.

When should you submit to a junior vs. a senior agent? 
There are merits to both. Often a senior person such as Alving Ling might be well placed to give it to a less senior editor on her team. If Sarah has a large submission list, it's more likely to work that way. Many of the less senior editors have worked a long time as assistants, and have excellent experience.

Final words of wisdom 
A client was devastated by the rejection of her dark, edgy YA novel. She felt as though there was no future for her in publishing. She decided to recapture her joy in writing again, which she was starting to lose. "It's so easy to do in the frenzy of deal-making."

Some months later, she came back with a nonfiction picture book text and a chapter book series. Neither of which she had attempted before. These were her "peach sorbet" projects. She took delight in them, and Sarah told them fast. "This is a story not only of determination, but of flexibility... she's my heroine."

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5. Happy Valentine’s Day: Spread the Light for Lumos

Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all. Whether your Gilderoy Lockhart sharing an extra smile with a portrait of yourself, punch drunk on a strong love potion, having an awkward first date at Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop, or celebrating with your closest friends and family, we hope you are spreading love this Valentine’s Day.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we would like to the word about an opportunity to spread love to Lumos. Spread the Light is hosting a fundraiser for J.K. Rowling’s children’s charity. The fundraiser was founded by J.K. Rowling and Potterish, and is supported by 19 different Harry Potter fan websites. The fundraiser is also a prize draw, and offers Harry Potter fans the chance to win unique Harry Potter prizes with their donation. SpreadtheLight.site writes:


Exciting things happen when you unite the worldwide Harry Potter fansite community! Together we’re giving you the chance to win some incredible prizes such as a signed Harry Potter book set signed by Daniel Radcliffe (which was won by the Spread The Light staff referring the most donors to Lumos’s 2015 Winter campaign), original drawings by Harry Potter illustrators, Thomas Taylor & Olly Moss, 2 Cassandra Clare (Shadow Hunters) signed books, plus much more!

Spread The Light is a fundraiser for the children’s charity J.K. Rowling founded, Lumos. Lumos aims to transform the life of children who reside in orphanages, giving back their fundamental rights like having the comfort and the peace of a home or parents who love them. A shocking 90% of the 8 million children in orphanages aren’t even orphans! A recent study found that children who grow up in institutions are 10 times more likely to be involved in prostitution than their peers, 40 times more likely to have a criminal record and 500 times more likely to take their own lives. With your help, that can all change! (For more on Lumos, visitWeAreLumos.org).


If you would like to spread some love to those benefited by Lumos with Spread the Light, please visit it SpreadtheLight.site, or follow them on their Facebook and Twitter. Thank you all!

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6. Gary Schmidt keynote: The Bombers of the Boston Marathon, and the Planes of 9/11--and How Anthony Wished They Would

Lin Oliver introduced Gary Schmidt as not just a writer's writer—but as a writer's writer's writer. Gary has won two Newbery Honors, and all of his books are perfect, literary gems.

The last time Gary was here, he found out his back was bleeding just before he went on stage. Today, he's wearing a dark shirt—just in case.

He started by noting how wonderful it is to gather like this with other writers and illustrators, who generally work alone. "To be with each other is really quite an amazing gift, isn't it?"

Children's writers have the same mission. "We all do our best work for kids. That's why we get along so well."

The writers that he really admires—the writer that he hopes to be—is not just someone who displays the pyrotechnics of class, but the writer who shows up. "The writer who sits down on the log and tells me a story and so everything is different."

Gary comes from a writerly family. His uncle Bradford Ernest Smith wrote "Captain Kangaroo." "Do you know what cachet that has in first grade? Amazing!"

When a character on that show, Mr. Green Jeans, passed away, Captain Kangaroo didn't replace the man. He showed up instead next to the viewer. "He sat on the log. He told us the world is terribly broken."

"He was saying that despite the brokenness of this world, the world is so beautiful."

"This is what the writer for young kids does," Gary said. "Movies and television can fill the consciousness to overflowing. We know they do. Watch any superhero movie. But the writer for kids inspires and stimulates the consciousness to growth and understanding. What an amazing act. What a responsibility."

Gary, who teaches writing each week at a maximum security prison, told us several stories about people whose stories have touched him. One of the writers he volunteers with, Anthony, was 10 years old on 9/11. Now serving a life sentence, Anthony made two drug deals that morning, returns to his apartment, and saw the first plane hit the tower. He went outside to see if there was a plane about to hit his building. "I wished it would," he wrote. "It would have done me a favor."

Empathy was at the heart of his talk. "What ails thee" is a deep question from one heart to another, a question of human empathy. And that's what writers ask their characters and shows their readers.

We also write "to express the understanding that human beings are creatures of great complexity," he said. "Story insists on human complexity and multidimensionality. With story, we live literally in the tangles of our minds."

As writers, we have to believe that everything matters, everything small and large, he said. The curve on the bow of a boat matters. The snow on a mountain top matters. The way someone moves her arm matters. The way a kid wears his hair matters ... Suppose everything matters, everything is a sacrament.

There's a rabbi who says a prayer: "Lord, let the world be here for one more day. My dear friends, be that rabbi. For God's sake, if you're writing of kids, be that rabbi."

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7. announcing...Cybils Poetry Award Winner 2015!

Now let's load some serious love all over the Cybils Poetry Award Winner for 2015!  Over at her Poetry for Children blog, Sylvia Vardell summarizes the process of nomination and first-round panel selections for this award.   These fine folks read widely and chose seven outstanding books as finalists.

I served as one of the 2nd round judges who studied and discussed the merits of these seven finalists in passionate detail, with guidance from Jone MacCulloch.  Now, after keeping mum for almost two weeks, Diane Mayr, Rosemary Marotta, Linda Baie, the aforementioned Laura Shovan and I can shout our choice from the tops of our blogs!  (Drum roll please....)

The 2015 Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Award 
for Poetry goes to...
by Julie Paschkis
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8. POV

Question: I've created a character which feels real. I know what he wants, why he wants it, I know all his little secrets. I pretty much know everything

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9. Why Writing is Like Going to the Gym

While I've been writing for as long as I can remember, I never joined a gym until a year ago. I probably wouldn't have either except that I have easy access as an Instructional Designer at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Regina--the first workplace I've had with this perk. And this year, I also got a gym [...]

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10. Jacquelyn Mitchard: Say Goodbye to All of That: The Quest for the Perfect Ending

Jacquelyn Mitchard delivering her keynote

Jacquelyn Mitchard is the number one New York Times best-selling author of ten novels for adults, seven novels for teenagers, and five children's books, as well as editor-in-chief of Merit Press, a realistic young adult imprint., and a professor of writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Jacquelyn talks about endings, how it's "more difficult to end a story than to start one," and how "most books really just stop."

She shares some resonant endings, ones that meet the challenge of "ushering the reader back into the world that you convinced the reader to leave."

We're asked to consider, for our own work, "how does the reader feel let in?"

Breaking down the different kinds of endings (with examples), Jacquelyn discusses cliffhanger endings, reflective endings, the incident ending, the simple happy ending (in which people get what they want), the happy/sad ending (like in The Fault in our Stars,) and more!

An ending has to tie up the loose ends, provide a conclusion, and also usher the reader back into the world... and do it quickly.

The ending should also include an element that takes the reader by surprise, something to "make the reader gasp one last time" before they leave the world of your story.

Which all makes it challenging to write the ending to this blog post, striving for a "wrap up with a shot of emotion."

But Jacquelyn saves the day (and this post), because the ending of her keynote comes in the form of a writing exercise: we're all asked to craft one sentence, an alternate ending for To Kill A Mockingbird, from Scout's point of view. A few people from the crowd share their alternate endings.

The original final line: 

"[Atticus] would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning."

Now, you get the chance to put in your own final words: play along in comments.

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11. A week in Aberdeen

I had a bit of an adventure recently...

It began with me getting a plane to Scotland on a Sunday afternoon. Things got off to a dodgy start though - I nearly missed my flight. I had bags of time, right up to the point where, approaching the departure gate, I realised I'd left my watch in the tray at the security bit, so had to try and get back through. It's not so easy in the other direction. 'Last call for Lynne Chapman...' Luckily someone had handed my watch in. Thank goodness I noticed before I got on the plane.

I had been invited to spend 4 days at the International School of Aberdeen: the longest school visit I think I've ever done. I was put up in a rather nice hotel and had a big, if VERY taupe room: not a whisper of colour anywhere!

Bizarrely, on that Sunday night, I was the only person staying in the entire hotel. I could have run naked through the corridors at midnight. Instead I was very boring and went to bed. Well, I needed to be up bright and early for my first day at school. 

The excitement was at a pretty high level before I even got there but, as the days went by, it got better and better. I moved around the school to a constant soundtrack of 'There she is!' and 'Look, it's Lynne Chapman!' with children waving and calling hello. I was nipping to the loo one lunchtime when I overheard an excited whisper: 'Look, she's going to the toilet!', as if it was a shock that I actually needed to.

I kicked off that first Monday morning with a lecture about how picture books are created. They had a totally gorgeous theatre. It was packed tight with all the kids and quite a few parents. I immediately felt very welcome. Everyone was obviously really keen and the talk went down extremely well. Good start!

I read stories and larked about with the younger ones as usual. I read Rocky and the Lamb for the first time in ages and we designed monsters. These are some of the children's monster drawings. Very inventive - I love how they often come up with elaborate stories about their invented creature:

At the end of the session, I got them all to hold them up and make a monster noise:

With the slightly older ones, I had time for 2 different workshops for each group, which is very unusual - normally it's a squeeze to see everyone once. This meant I could try a couple of new things. After passing on all my hot tips for creating characters (basically the 'best of' my Craftsy class), I tried demo sessions, showing them how to colour artwork. Some classes experimented with the Inktense watercolour pencils I love so much and others used pastels.

I did a big demo-drawing of Giddy Goat in pastels to show them specific techniques. I added to it over the days until it was finished and left it with the school as a present. These are a few of the pastel drawings the children created:

It was a bit scary doing something I've not tried before, but the children were great and absolutely loved the Inktense watercolour pencils. Both children and teachers were all so enthusiastic about everything I shared, I walked around in a warm glow all week.

I was looked after really well too. I was taken out a couple of times for meals in the evenings with the school librarian who had booked me (Thai and Lebanese - yum). I even got to try my hand at an after-school yoga class (oh dear: lots of creaky bits). Come Thursday afternoon, I was almost sad to be going home. 

Luckily, the flight back home went without incident or recourse to stupidity.

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12. Achieving Softness in Gouache

In honor of Valentine's Day, here's a romantic magazine illustration from 1950 by Harry Anderson. It's in gouache, 10 x 13.5 inches. It's a fine example of soft edges, which are challenging to achieve in gouache because of the rapid drying time.

Note the soft edges in the man's collar above, the woman's hair against her neck and temple, and the plane changes around her jaw and neck.

Anderson used plenty of paint, big brushes, and fast decision-making. One of his secrets was to carefully preload the brush with a gradation that he prepped on the palette. Easier said than done—wish there were videos of him painting!
More Harry Anderson at Jim Pinkoski's website
Preview my gouache tutorial at Gumroad

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13. Alessandra Balzer: Acquisitions Today: Opportunities and Challenges

Alessandra Balzer is the Vice President and Co-Publisher of Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, publishing picture books to novels from teens.

On the process of acquisitions:
Auctions are rare. Many of B+B's favorite books come traditionally. If Alessandra loves a book, she shares it with her team and they look at it closely. If the team is on the same page, she brings it to the acquisitions board. Many details are looked at in the meeting and it's approached as a business decision.

On coping with losing something you love:
It is what it is. You do your best. If you don't get it, you move on.

Do you ever offer notes on a manuscript before making a decision?
It depends. When it's done, there's no guarantee, and a lot of time is put into it. Alessandra has done it when it's worked out, and she's done it and then had to reject the project.

On deal-breakers in a offer:
As an editor it's difficult because there is a passion part and a business part. It can be helpful when the house has a policy when it comes to contracts which can take some challenges away because certain pieces don't need to be negotiated.

On junior-level editors taking on projects:
When a more junior level editor brings a proposal to an acquisitions meeting, the rest are behind them and advocating for the project as well.

Final thoughts:
Do your best work, and don't write to what's selling or to trends. Write your passion.

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14. Maira Kalman's LOOKING AT LINCOLN

With President's Day upon us, people are pulling out picture books about Lincoln, like Maira Kalman's Looking at Lincoln. The child in the book reveres Lincoln. Most Americans do, I think, but what we know about him is... incomplete.

What do you know about Lincoln and Native peoples?

Most people do not know that he issued an order for the mass execution of 38 Dakota men. It was the largest mass execution in the United States. That is not included in Kalman's book.

Is mass execution not age appropriate? Violence is ok, as these pages demonstrate.

One page shows a uniform with a bullet hole in it:

And there's a page showing a numbered grave:

And Kalman includes a page about Lincoln's assassination:

So.... what to make of decisions of what to include, and what not to include. Of course, her book--or any book--can't include everything. True enough, but I wonder what we'd find if we started looking carefully. Would we find it in any books?

Earlier in the book, the little girl goes to a library and finds out there's over 16,000 books about him. I wonder how many of those are for children and young adults, and of them, I wonder if any of them include that mass execution?

What do you think about what is included, and what is not included?

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15. Recent Movie Roundup 21, Part 1

Every year I promise myself that this is the year I'll start watching more grown-up movies, instead of just flocking to the same action and superhero movies.  And every year I remember why that's a difficult promise to keep--because unlike TV, the Israeli movie market is still stuck in the 80s, with screens devoted almost exclusively to either blockbusters or middle-of-the-road pablum aimed at

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16. Gifts of the Dark Wood

I recently had a book proposal rejected by the publisher with whom I've worked closely and lovingly for some twenty years. The proposal was for a new chapter book series, with four books outlined, which means that technically, it's four rejections in one.

I've had rejections before, of course. Every author has. But this one scared me more than usual. This time I don't have that steady paycheck from the University of Colorado Philosophy Department; instead I have a small monthly stipend from the early retirement package I accepted. At this moment, I have my DePauw University salary, but my past gigs here were as a distinguished visiting professor; given that it was well past time for someone else to have a turn at that opportunity, I'm here this semester as a paid-per-course adjunct. And after this, I ain't got nothing.

Worse, right now I don't have any wonderful next idea to submit. Indeed, the reason why the recent proposal was (rightly, in my view) turned down is that even it wasn't all that terrific.

So I'm a teensy-weensy bit terrified about: 1) money; 2) my career; and 3) the rest of my life.

Then I went to church this morning, to Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church here on the DePauw campus in Greencastle. It's the first Sunday in Lent, the forty-day period of penitence and introspection leading up to Jesus's death and resurrection. I took one look at the church bulletin, and I knew that in some strange way everything was going to be all right.

The service was titled "Gifts of the Dark Wood."

The opening music offered these sung lines:

There's a path, though it winds its way through darkness.
We would choose to avoid it if we could.
We awake to an unexpected calling.
God says, 'Come, there are gifts in the Dark Wood.'"

I love having a name, and such a beautiful one, for this groping, lost time in my career/life. I'm in the Dark Wood. But there are gifts in that wood, gifts for all of us, gifts for me.

Later in the service we heard the story from the Gospel of Mark when the hemorrhaging woman, failed by all other healers, touches the hem of Jesus' garment, and the bleeding halts. We were asked to write down what it is that we need to be healed from, in this Lenten season, then to tear up the paper and place the scraps in a basket by the altar, taking with us one strip of fabric to remind us that we, too, can reach out and touch the robe of Jesus.

I won't say exactly what I wrote on my piece of paper: that's between me and God. But I felt more at ease in the Dark Wood after I surrendered it.

Even the Dark Wood can be a beautiful place to wander.

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17. THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU: The Goodreads Giveaway, and signings

Friends, This Is the Story of You, my Jersey shore storm mystery, is (I have heard it said) printed and on its way to me. Story has received two stars in these early days (Kirkus and School Library Journal) and kind words from BookPage and Publishers Weekly. It is a Junior Library Guild selection and will be featured in an upcoming story on environmentally aware novels for younger readers in The Writer Magazine.

The launch date (early April) grows near.

In celebration of it all, Chronicle Books is sponsoring a Goodreads Giveaway, starting tomorrow.

Information is right there (I turn to glance toward the left side of my blog, where I hope you now glance as well), should you wish to enter. Twenty-five will win.

In the meantime, a big box of One Thing Stolen paperbacks has arrived. One Thing Stolen, which won a Parents' Choice Gold Medal and is a TAYSHAs selection, among other things, will launch alongside of Story.

I'll be signing early copies of Story at Books of Wonder, during the New York City Teen Authors Festival, on Sunday, March 20.

I will be signing Story and Stolen (and possibly even Love: A Philadelphia Affair) at Main Point Books, in honor of Independent Bookstore Day, at 2 PM.

I'd love to see you.

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18. TV Studio Bento Box Launches Mobile- and VR-Focused Digital Division

As millennials abandon TV viewing and gravitate to mobile and online consumption, traditional TV studios are scrambling to adapt to the viewing habits of young viewers.

The post TV Studio Bento Box Launches Mobile- and VR-Focused Digital Division appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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19. Keynote: Rita Williams-Garcia

Author Rita Williams-Garcia opened today's conference with a dynamic and funny keynote that kept attendees in stitches: "Dos and Don'ts in Children's Publishing From a Definite Don't." She began her talk with a little dance that set the mood, and then peppered her speech with phrases like "funky-fresh," "de-blackified" and "Black girls with big butts and low self esteem." It was a hoot, folks, she kept it real.

Williams-Garcia started writing as soon as she could hold a pencil in her hands. As a child,  she loved making up stories, although her mother had another word for her storytelling—lying. If a roach walked up the wall, she'd make up a story about it.

As an adult writer, she honed her storytelling ways and learned to "live the plan." That meant setting a goal to write 500 words each and every night. "Even if the writing wasn't great, the words need to come out," she said.

Williams-Garcia also spoke about veering off her plan occasionally, choosing her major in college by "following the boy with the most perfect afro." Time to get back to the plan!

Williams-Garcia's advice for Staying on the Plan:

Don’t isolate yourself. Find your community,
join an MFA program, SCBWI, workshop group.

Don’t fear doubt. A healthy dose of doubt will make you write better writer.

Don’t not fear criticism.

Don’t stop writing. Writers write.

Do live with gratitude. 

Be about the Do.

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20. Swoonworthy Reads

  Happy Valentine's Day! In order to celebrate this day of love, the staff here at YABC put together a list of the most swoonworthy reads of the season! We hope you will find the next book you love on this list!   The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows Love stories that...

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21. Once Upon a December




This movie is my childhood.

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22. ALL WRITE NOW! Conference

Join us for The Third Annual

All Write Now! Writers' Conference

Saturday, July 16, 2016

in Cape Girardeau, Missouri

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23. The Acquisitions Panel Begins!

From left to right, Rubin Pfeffer (Agent, Content, standing at podium), Alvina Ling (VP and Editor-in-Chief, Little Brown Books for Young Readers), Sarah Davies (Agent, Greenhouse Literary), Ginger Clark (Agent, Curtis Brown), Liz Bicknell (EVP, Executive Editorial Director & Associate Publisher, Candlewick Press), Alessandra Balzer (VP and Co-Publisher, Balzer + Bray/Harper Collins.)

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24. Publishing a Picture Book

You need passion, persistence, and professionalism to get a picture book published.


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25. Leap Year Time Capsule

2016 Is a Leap Year!leap year time capsule

After February 29, 2016, the next leap day will not happen again until 2020! Imagine how much you will have changed and grown by then! A fun way to track your changes through the next four years is to create a leap year time capsule.

A time capsule is a collection of items that are stored away as a method of communication to the people of the future. In this case, the people of the future will be YOU in four years. To create the perfect time capsule, you will need a few things—a small sturdy box or metal tin, a piece of paper and pen, and few of your favorite items that can fit inside the box.

On the piece of paper, write your name, date, and answers to the following questions:

1. What is your favorite food?
2. Who is your best friend?
3. What are you most thankful for?
4. Where do you see yourself in four years, or what will your goals be?
5. What is one piece of advice you want to give to your future self?
6. (Optional) Get your friends involved and ask them to write down one good quality they love most about you and why.

When you are done, fold up your paper into a tiny square, seal it with a kiss, and toss it inside your small box. Feel free to add anything else that is significant to you. For example, in my box, I am adding the front page of a local newspaper, my most recent movie ticket stub, a photo of me and my best friends, a piece of jewelry, and my favorite flower.

After you’ve finished stuffing your box, seal it, and make a note on the surface saying, “Do NOT open until 2/29/2020.” In four years, dig out your box and read what you wrote. It will be interesting to see how much you’ve changed since then.

What will you add to your time capsule? Drop a Comment to give your ideas. I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!


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