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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Publishing Industry, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Publishing worlds collide and create "Iggy Loomis"

In 2010, my book Vocabulary Cartoon of the Day (grades 2-3), illustrated by Mike Moran (whom I have still not met), came out. 

In 2012, my author friend Jennifer Allison (whose son portrayed Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel for a school project) asked for recommendations for good cartoonists.

I suggested Mike.

And he was the one hired to illustrate Jennifer’s 2013 book Iggy Loomis, Superkid in Training.

I love when this happens!

(It’s the first time this has happened.)

(For me, anyway.)

Good luck with Iggy, Jennifer and Mike!

0 Comments on Publishing worlds collide and create "Iggy Loomis" as of 4/13/2014 9:49:00 AM
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2. Interview with co-author of Bob Kane’s autobiography

According to the official Warner Bros. release kicking off the 75th anniversary of Batman, he debuted (via Detective Comics #27) on March 30, 1939. 

Also of note in that release: no use of the word “creator.”

In 1989, coinciding with Tim Burton’s Batman, Bob Kane’s autobiography came out.

But as with most of the output Bob’s name is on, he did not create it alone. His co-author was Thomas Andrae, who through my Bill Finger research became a friend.

Though I’ve known for a while how important Tom is to Bill’s legacy, given what he’d told me about how he’d persuaded Bob to include Bill in the book as much as possible, I only recently realized that this story-behind-the-story should be documented. In my eyes, what Tom did on Bill’s behalf was heroic.

Interview answers © Thomas Andrae 2014.

How did you come to co-author Bob Kane’s autobiography Batman & Me?

I had done an interview with Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1981. It was reprinted in the Overstreet Price Guide in 1988, in celebration of Superman’s fiftieth anniversary. I thought it might be a good idea to follow this up with an interview with Bob Kane for Batman’s fiftieth anniversary in the 1989 Price Guide, so I contacted Bob and he was amenable to the project.

When I went down to interview Bob, he told me that he had written his autobiography. [It was] a very long manuscript (about 800 pages) that wasn’t publishable. It was too self-centered according to those of us who read it. There were far too many uses of “I” in it, for example.

[But] I...thought, in the interest of comics history, the manuscript should be published, [so I] offered to find a publisher.

What was your job/primary work focus at the time?

I was a graduate student and working for Bruce Hamilton at Another Rainbow Publishing as an editor of the Carl Barks Library 30-volume set of his works. 

 Carl Barks and Tom Andrae

Had you met Bob before you began the book?

This was the first time I contacted him.

What was your first impression of Bob?

He was a very charming guy and quite friendly. Bruce Hamilton and I went down to L.A. together to meet him. After the inteview, we went out to dinner with him and his wife Elizabeth.

Did you meet with him in person to discuss/write the book? If so, how often and where? If not, how did you work together?

I didn’t meet with him again in person. We had many phone discussions and some correspondence for about a year or more while working on the book and when we were producing and marketing it. In this period I got to know Bob quite well, and he seemed fairly open about his life, up to a point. I felt that we were friends.

I edited [the book], took out some chapters, and created a number of new chapters based on interviews with him and on my own research. All in all I probably wrote close to half the book in this manner. 

Did your impression of him change during the process?

Yes. He had a tremendous ego, although he was very insecure. I asked for a byline and got one. He pretty much had to do this: I was supposed to get the manuscript into publishable shape—which was quite a task. I was responsible for not only rewriting the book but for advertising it, formatting it, and getting a publisher for it.

But he told the publisher that my byline was too big so they reduced its size. From what I gather from others who had worked with Bob, I think that I was lucky to receive a byline at all. It may have been a first.

How was he to work with?

Pretty easy, but he could be temperamental. When Bob Overstreet decided to go with a Jerry Robinson cover rather than one by Bob, [Bob] threatened to nix the publication of the interview. I convinced him otherwise, because we were taking orders for the book in an ad in the Price Guide and it would have sabotaged the book project to kill printing the interview.

No one wanted to publish his bio until I asked Eclipse to do it. I got the idea to take out a pre-publication ad for the book that appeared in the 1989
Price Guide. We received 1,500 orders; that proved it was a viable project and helped get a publisher for it. I did all the work in this initial stage of order-taking.

Do you remember how the subject of Bill Finger first came up during the process?

Yes. Bob felt guilty about how he had treated Bill, although he was afraid to acknowledge Bill as co-creator of Batman, or to give him a byline, for fear it might open the door to a challenge to Bob’s legal status as the sole creator of Batman. He feared a [Finger] byline would quite negatively impact his Batman royalties.

What was Bob’s reaction when you suggested including Bill?

It was Bob’s idea to give Bill some credit for having invented aspects of the costume and for creating the Joker. But Bob also claimed he co-created many of the villains since he, Bill, and Jerry discussed everything before it was published and Bob drew the art for the stories with the characters.

But Bob was mistaken about who created what, such as the Penquin or Catwoman, which were Bill’s creations, and Jerry did much of the art as well, with Bob and sometimes without him. In general, Bob failed to give Bill credit for creating most of Batman’s villains, claiming that he created them. Bob’s memory was not very good. Also, he was willing to go only so far in giving Bill credit.

I tried to add more about Bill’s contributions in creating the initial concept and image of Batman, but Bob refused to include them, claiming that he, not Bill, was the creator of Batman, which was a gross exaggeration.

Did Bob express—or did you glean—his personal feeling about Bill Finger?

I think he liked Bill and genuinely felt guilty about how he had treated him and how Bill ended up in near poverty when he died. Bob confessed that his ego prevented him from giving Bill the credit he deserved. But his attempt to remedy this was, in my mind, quite, quite inadequate. Also, he never gave others, like Shelly Moldoff, who was his ghost artist for twenty years, any credit, nor Jerry Robinson for his creation of the Joker. Bob expressed a lot of anger towards Jerry, stemming, I think, from being jealous of him, of his artistic ability, and of the recognition that he had received.

When you say “Bob confessed that his ego prevented him from giving Bill the credit he deserved,” what do you mean exactly—that Bob was willing to say in print that Bill’s name deserves to be on Batman (as the book does) but not go so far as to ask DC to officially change the credit line?

I think he meant that he should have put Bill’s name on the Batman strip when it appeared. But the point is moot because I don’t think he would ever put Bill’s name on Batman. He never gave byline credit to any of his ghosts.

What do you remember about the passage that stands out most to me: “Now that my long-time friend and collaborator is gone, I must admit that Bill never received the fame and recognition he deserved. He was an unsung hero ... I often tell my wife, if I could go back fifteen years, before he died, I would like to say ‘I’ll put your name on it now. You deserve it.’” How did Bob feel to include that—nervous? Conflicted? Redeemed? Other?

I believe that Bob sincerely felt some remorse about how he had treated Bill. He describes his spiritual conversion in Batman & Me. But Bob never felt guilty enough, in my estimation, or realized the full extent of Bill’s contribution. Bob was asked to give Bill credit as co-creator by the Finger estate when the first Batman feature film was in production and he declined.

Have you seen my account of this? If so, do you remember any other details that I didn’t cover?

I’m reporting what Bob told me about his decision in a conversation with him. I don’t think you covered this.

How did you feel convincing Bob to include more Bill?

I felt that it was a slight victory in correcting a massive injustice, but too little too late.

Did you talk with Bob’s wife Elizabeth during the process? If so, how was that/she?

She was a very nice, sweet person, but knew little about Bob’s work, so we didn’t talk about the book.

Do you know what her reaction was when Bob would tell her that he felt Bill deserved credit for Batman? Perhaps first I should ask if you believe he actually did tell her that?

Yes, he did, but I don’t know what her reaction was.

Do you remember if you asked Bob if he would consider recasting his contract with DC Comics to reflect his statement about Bill? If so, what was his response?

He was not amenable to this and told me so. 

How honest do you feel Bob was in recounting stories?

I think he was fairly honest but too self-centered to see reality clearly enough and had a bad memory to boot. His ego was always in the way. He primarily remembered what he did on Batman—and that was usually inflated—rather than others’ contributions. I constantly had to fact-check what he told me because he had a predisposition to aggrandize his work on Batman.

What was the media response to the book?

We got some favorable media attention, but not going on The Tonight Show like Bob thought would happen.

What was Bob’s feeling about the final product? Do you think it got the recognition he wanted? Do you think he did not get anything he wanted from it?

He liked the book very much and frequently carried it around with him when he went on public appearances. But he was a little disgruntled that I cut out some of his nostalgic asides. He was a garrulous writer. No one would publish it until I asked Dean Mulanney and Cat Yronwode to do it. I designed four editions including a signed edition with Bob’s original art that sold very well. I think Bob made over $200,000 on the book plus more on the second edition

Professionally, what did the book do for your career?

Nothing in academia but I got some credibility among fans and the popular press.

Is there anything about the book you would now change if you could?

Give full credit to Bill as Batman’s co-creator and give him a byline indicating that, and give full credit to Jerry Robinson and the other artists who did much of the work that Bob got credit for. I would have liked Bob to publicly acknowledge Jerry as the Joker’s creator and Shelly Moldoff as the chief artist on Batman for the decades that he drew the strip.

Were you involved with the “sequel,” Batman & Me: The Saga Continues? If so, how was that process compared to working on the first autobiography?

Yes. I edited most of the new material; Bob took my name off the cover (though it’s still on the title page).

What do you think Bob Kane’s legacy is?

I think that Bob was responsible for creating the original germ of the idea of a Batman superhero, which Bill fleshed out and made viable, and for partially drawing the strip for a number of years. I think that Bob’s art, crude as it was, gave the strip an Expressionistic, nightmarish look which helped establish the gothic ambiance of the early stories. To me, the art he did with Jerry as his ghost was very compelling. Thus he made a great contribution to Batman’s legacy. Unfortunately his treatment of Bill, Jerry, and Shelly is a dishonorable part of that legacy.

Anything you’d like to add?

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about my role in creating the book. This is the first time I’ve done so publicly.

0 Comments on Interview with co-author of Bob Kane’s autobiography as of 3/30/2014 9:01:00 AM
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3. Books Edited By…

Are you using all your SCBWI member benefits? I bet there are a lot of busy writers who are missing a lot of things that the SCBWI provides to help you sell your manuscripts. Did you know if you are a member and login to www.scbwi.org, you can find a list of editors and what books they edited? This is valuable information when trying to find the right home for something you have written. 

A smart writer or illustrator (they list picture books with the illustrators) would save this file and every time they read a book, they would look in the author credits to see if they mentioned who helped them make their book shine. If they are smart, they will mention the editors at the publishing company as a way to thank them for their expertise. We can use that information to hone our submissions and use that information in a query letter or when we run into an editor. This is called, “doing your homework” and makes you appear as someone who knows the industry.

Below is just part of one page to give you an idea of what it looks like.


Hope you take the time to check out all the benefits your SCBWI membership provides.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, Editors, list, need to know, opportunity, organizations, Publishing Industry, reference Tagged: Books by Editor, SCBWI Benefits

8 Comments on Books Edited By…, last added: 4/1/2014
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4. Free Fall Friday – Industry Changes

CALL FOR ILLUSTRATIONS: Still need illustrations for the month of March or Spring. Surely there are illustrators who have something to show off, so please look to see. Same as always: At least 500 pixels wide, sent to kathy (dot) temean (at) gmail (dot) com, and include a blurb about you. Thanks!




Always thought there was a story with this picture illustrated by Mark Meyers. Mark spends his days drawing and painting pictures filled with kids, escaping circus monkeys, and everything in between. He was featured on Illustrator Saturday. Here is the link: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/illustrator-saturday-mark-meyers/


Many of you have asked me if I knew where Danielle Smith had gone after leaving Foreword Literary. Here is the answer: Children’s book blogger and agent Danielle Smith will join boutique agency Red Fox Literary later this month. See original post about Danielle here.

At Disney-Hyperion, Lisa Yoskowitz has been promoted to senior editor, and Laura Schreiber moves up to associate editor.

Also at Disney-Hyperion, Rotem Moscovich has been promoted to senior editor. Disney Press has promoted Nachie Marsham to executive editor, Brooke Dworkin to senior editor, and Clarissa Wong rejoins to assistant editor.

Little, Brown Children’s announced a number of promotions. Connie Hsu has been promoted to senior editor, while Mary-Kate Gaudet moves up to editor. Patti Ann Harris has been promoted to executive art director, while Saho Fuji moves up to associate art director and Liz Casal moves up to senior designer.

Lucas Wittmann has joined Regan Arts as associate publisher and executive editor.

Andrea Walker will join the Random House imprint as senior editor on March 25, reporting to Susan Kamil. Most recently, she had been a senior editor at Penguin Press.

Jack W. Perry will join Highlights for Children as vp, print and ebook sales on March 31.

Susan Dobinick, Assistant Editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux is our March Guest Critiquer.


Susan wants to work on everything. Right now she is especially looking for funny middle grade girl novels. In the young adult realm, I’d like to see books that tackle big social issues but aren’t preachy. With picture books, I like short and funny; I prefer quirky stories over cuddly. Across all formats, I’m a fan of books that have depth but are accessible—so that both kids and critics will love them.

Susan assists two children’s trade imprints. She works with fiction and nonfiction, ranging from picture to young adult books. Her specialties include children’s trade publishing, picture books, chapter books, middle-grade books, young adult books, educational publishing, textbooks, and teacher editions. She holds a B.A. in English from Chicago Goucher College.

Susan is Edith Cohn’s editor for Spirits Key, which is coming out in September. Edith has a nice interview with Susan on her blog. Here is the link:


Here are the submission guidelines for submitting a First Page in March: Please attach your double spaced, 12 point font, 23 line first page to an e-mail and send it to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail.

DEADLINE: March 21st.

RESULTS: March 28th.

Put “March First Page Critique” or “March First Page Picture Prompt Critique” in the subject line. Make sure you have your name on the submission, a title, and indicate the genre.

You can only send in one first page each month. It can be the same first page each month or a different one, but if you sent it to me last month and it didn’t get chosen, you need to send it again using the March directions. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the same submission. It can be a first page from a work in process or you can use the picture prompt above.

Please include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Editor & Agent Info, opportunity, Publishing Industry Tagged: Children's Publishing Changes, Executive Art Director Patti Ann Harris, Farrar Straus and Giroux, Senior Editor Connie Hsu, Senior Editor Lisa Yoskowitz, Senior Editor Rotem Moscovich, Susan Dobinick

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5. “Everyone Is the Only One”

In 2004, I wrote a picture book manuscript called Everyone is the Only One. (I remember precisely where I was when the idea hit: the guest room in a friend’s house.)

It is about a boy named Ansel who feels uncomfortable for being the only dwarf at his new elementary school. Once his classmates learn this, they remind him one by one that each of them is also the only one in some way…only one with braces, only one allergic to peanuts, only only child, and so on.

I submitted to editors. No takers.

A couple of years later, I learned that the idea actually did get published, and in the year I sent it around…just not by me. Jane Naliboff’s The Only One Club follows a similar premise, except the central character’s distinction is that she is Jewish.

I’m glad this concept saw print, and I like Jane’s spin (not only the Judaism angle, which was what I had considered prior to dwarfism, but also that the first Only One starts a club revolving around it).

Parents and educators: I encourage you to encourage your kids to look at their circle of intimates and determine the ways in which each of them is also the only one. It’s a wonderful and worthy challenge that will get kids thinking about how we are different and how that is good.

“Instead of always telling our children that we are all equal and the same, we should tell them that we are all different. Saying were the same naturally makes them look for differences. Conversely, saying were all different (in appearance, cultures, etc.) makes them instinctively look for ways were alike.” 
Erica L. Scott, Binghamton, NY, 2009 letter to Newsweek

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6. Kudo’s – Awards and Promotions

ameawardpicAme Dyckman’s newest book, “Tea Party Rules,” illustrated by K.G. Campbell, was selected as the winner of the 28th annual Ezra Jack Keats Book Award.

The award is presented to a new writer and new illustrator each year, and Dyckman will be on hand at the 2014 awards ceremony set for April 10, during the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

Dyckman will receive a gold medallion as well as an honorarium of $1,000 at the ceremony. Kathi Appelt, award-winning author of numerous books for children and young adults, will be a guest presenter.

Dyckman said it is an honor to be selected for the award, which includes a prestigious seal on the sleeve of her book. She said she is a fan of Keats’ most famous work, “The Snowy Day.”

“We’re over the moon,” she said of her team, which includes Campbell and her publishing team at Viking Children’s Books. “I’m honored, thrilled and astounded.”

“Tea Party Rules,” Dyckman’s second book, follows the adventures of a bear attending a tea party. But before he can participate, the hostess lays down the rules. The two become friends and learn about how to compromise and enjoy playtime together.

That book, along with her first published work, “Boy + Bot,” illustrated by Dan Yaccarino, earned sterling reviews on Amazon and from book critics. “Tea Party Rules” also was selected by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library as a book that will be distributed to children in need.

You can read the full article that was written by Michele Angermiller for The Times by clicking this sentence.

kat yehThe news is finally out:

THE TRUTH ABOUT TWINKIE PIE by Kat Yeh has been selected as a Buzz Book at Book Expo America this year! Kat is quite excited and I am excited for her debut middle grade novel.

T.S. Ferguson, Associate Editor at Harlequin Teen is super excited because one of his books, Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley made the YA Buzz Books List. Because of that he gets to sit on a panel with four other editors , including Alvina Ling and talk about it to a packed crowd of book buyers, librarians, and other industry professionals. He says, “I’m SO excited that this amazing book is getting attention, and so excited that I get to be the one to talk about it.” It is the first time a Harlequin TEEN book has been selected!

Here are the Buzz Books that made the list:


Editors Buzz Thursday, May 29 10:00am – 10:50am Room 1E10/1E11

BEA Editors Buzz YA Books – Author Stage Friday, May 30 10:00am – 10:30am Uptown Stage

Lies We Tell Ourselves
by Robin Talley
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: 9/30/14

The Jewel
by Amy Ewing
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: 9/2/14

The Walled City
by Ryan Graudin
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 11/4/14

I’m Glad I Did
by Cynthia Weil
Publisher: Soho Teen
Publication Date: 1/27/15

King Dork Approximately
by Frank Portman
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: 9/9/14


BEA Middle Grade Editors Buzz
Friday, May 30
11:00am – 11:50am
Room 1E12/1E13

BEA Editors Buzz Middle Grade Books – Author Stage
Friday, May 30
1:00pm – 1:30pm
Uptown Stage

The Truth About Twinkle Pie
by Kat Yeh
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 1/27/15

Zoo at the Edge of the World
by Eric Kahn Gale
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: 8/26/14

Pennyroyal Academy
by M.A. Larson
Publisher: Putnam Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 10/7/14

The Witch’s Boy
by Kelly Barnhill
Publisher: Algonquin Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 9/16/14

Life of Zarf
by Rob Harrell
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 8/28/14


In December Phaidon, a publisher best known for its lavishly produced art books, has hired Judith Regan as the CEO of a new division at the company called Regan Arts. Phaidon said the division will include a book imprint, but will also function as a “multimedia enterprise.” Now Ron Hogan has joined Judith Regan’s new company Regan Arts as an editor, acquiring both fiction and non-fiction.

Grand Central Publishing (part of the Hachette Book Group) promoted Emily Griffin, Michele Bidelspach, and Alex Logan to senior editors. Megha Parekh has been promoted to associate editor, while Libby Burton and Lindsey Rose move up to assistant editor.

Reka Simonsen will join Atheneum as executive editor, effective March 10. Previously she was executive editor at HMH Children’s.

Sarah Shumway will join Bloomsbury Children’s Books as senior editor on March 3. Previously she was senior editor at Harper Children’s Katherine Tegen Books imprint.

Cara Bedick has joined Harlequin as senior editor, Harlequin Nonfiction.

Caitlin Kirkpatrick has been promoted to assistant editor at Chronicle.

Consortium will distribute Blue Apple Books, the Maplewood, NJ-based children’s book publisher, as of June 1, 2014.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Editors, Kudos, Publishing Industry, success Tagged: 2014 BEA BUZZ BOOKS, Ame Dyckman, Erza John Keats Award, Kat Yeh, Sarah Shumway

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7. Much Too Much

Children’s book author Jennifer Rustgi and illustrator Molly Allen need your help. They are self publishing a beautiful picture book entitled Much Too Much. They’ve started a Kickstarter campaign in order to raise the necessary funds to bring Much Too Much to life. To learn more about their worthwhile project, go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/muchtoomuchbook/much-too-much-childrens-picture-book. You can view a video, read the entire children’s story, and make a contribution to their cause. So far, half of their goal has been reached, but they will only receive the funds if the entire goal has been met. So, check out Jennifer and Molly’s page and consider backing their wonderful project or at least spreading the word. Good luck Jennifer and Molly!

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8. Interview Alert: Jessica Young

I am extremely pleased to present this interview with children’s book author Jessica Young, whose debut picture book My Blue is Happy is literally teeming with color. As all of my blog fans know, I love color, so to have a chance to interview an author who shares my passion for our wonderful, colorful world is just so satisfying. In My Blue is Happy, Jessica is able to express her unique feelings for each color as the story moves along. Illustrator Catia Chien’s brilliant artwork enhances the text, and together, the words and pictures immerse the reader into that wonderful, colorful world I mentioned. I have to say, since blue is my favorite color, and has been since forever, I absolutely love how Jessica conveys blue as happy and not sad, the emotion that is usually associated with the color. Think about how many shades of blue there are, from the darkest navy to the lightest baby blue and every shade in between. My favorites are periwinkle, teal, turquoise, and sky blue. So I have to agree with Jessica when she says, “My Blue is Happy”! (P.S. Check out the gorgeous cover image below!) 

Enjoy the interview!


Q. What do you enjoy most about writing for children?

JY. Kids are naturally creative, curious, and silly – and they tend to be open to new ideas and experiences. It’s exciting to think that my story might spark a change in perception, understanding, or emotion. Also, I love accessing the parts of me that are five or nine or seventeen. As Madeleine L’Engle said, “I am still every age that I have been.” And I like spending time at those younger ages within myself.

Q. How do you motivate yourself to sit down and write?

JY. I spend so much time wanting to write and thinking about story ideas as I’m doing other things that most often when I do sit down to write it feels relieving. I sometimes leave a difficult piece for a while and entertain a shiny, new idea, or toggle back and forth between two or more works-in-progress, but when necessary, I just try to plow through. Being accountable to my critique partners also helps. And fun snacks and drinks!

Q. What inspired you to write your beautiful picture book My Blue Is Happy?

JY. I can’t remember the exact moment the title and idea came to me. But I’ve always been interested in individual differences and perspective. Blue is one of my happy colors, and I wondered if having a sad association like “the blues” colors people’s perceptions of it. I’ve also observed adults telling kids that colors mean specific things, and that grass is green and sky is blue, and I’ve wondered how kids reconcile that with their own experiences. There are universal/collective ideas about color, but also variations across cultures and individuals. I wanted to explore the concept of subjectivity through the lens of color.

Q. What was it like to work with illustrator Catia Chien? Were you able to collaborate on what the illustrations would look like?

JY. I’ve actually never met Catia, and we didn’t correspond at all while making the book (as is often the case), although I’d seen her art and loved it. I discussed my vision for the story with my wonderful editor at Candlewick and worked with her to develop the text, and Catia did the same with the art director. It was amazing seeing it come together. The illustrations are so imaginative and ethereal – they really take the text to another level.

Q. What’s the first thing you did when you held the completed hard copy of your picture book in your hands for the first time?

JY. I showed it to my kids. It was really amazing for me to have them read it and see their names in the dedication. A good friend and her kids were over at the time, and we all looked at it and took pictures.

Q. Can you tell us what projects you are working on right now?

JY. Several picture books, a chapter book series, and a young adult novel – but that one may take me a while.

Q. Where can fans go to learn more about you and your work?

JY. www.jessicayoungbooks.com

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share with Frog On A Blog readers?

JY. I wouldn’t have gotten this book published without joining the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and finding the support of my writing friends and crit partners. They push me, humor me, cheer for me, and teach me. If you’re writing and thinking about joining a critique group and/or SCBWI, I highly recommend it!


10 Comments on Interview Alert: Jessica Young, last added: 10/8/2013
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9. Lumina Nonfiction Writing Contest

cherylstrayedluminaLUMINA hosts an annual national literary contest in a single genre, whose winners receive publication in the journal and a $500 prize.

Submit your best nonfiction piece, 5K words or less. All rights revert to author upon publication. Cheryl Strayed, New York Times bestseller author, will judge.

The Volume XIII (2014) Nonfiction Contest will be judged by Cheryl Strayed.

Submit via our online submission manager.

Deadline: October 15, 2013

Entry Fee: $12

First Place Prize: $500

Please Do…

  • send us your best nonfiction piece. 5,000 words or less.
  • double space and number pages.
  • only send previously unpublished work.
  • include a three-sentence biographical statement with your submission in the cover letter box provided.

Please Do Not…

  • include your name or any personal information in the body of your submission.

We do accept simultaneous submissions. Please notify LUMINA immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere via email (lumina@gm.slc.edu.) or submittable.

All rights revert to author upon publication. All subsequent publications should credit us for first appearance.

We look forward to reading your work!

Related Articles:

Nonfiction Editor, Geoff Bendeck, talks about what he’s looking for in submissions.

Good Luck!

Talk Tomorrow,


Filed under: Contest, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishing Industry Tagged: Cheryl Strayed, Lumina National Literary Contest, New York Times Best Selling Author, Non-Fiction Contest

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10. In Honor of the Freedom to Read and Banned Books Week

Guest post by Yvonne Ventresca (@YvonneVentresca)

The summer before my junior year at Island Trees High School, the Supreme Court ruled on the book banning case Island Trees School District v. Pico. That summer vacation, I read a lot of romance novels with the occasional Agatha Christie thrown in. But the banned books piqued my interest. What didn’t the school board want me to learn? I borrowed Down These Mean Streets from the library, and found that Piri Thomas’s memoir about growing up on the streets of Spanish Harlem was as far from ‘80s Levittown and Danielle Steel stories as you could get. But even though aspects of his life were vastly different from mine, at sixteen, I discovered truth and beauty in his words, some of which I copied into my high school journal.


“The worlds of home and school were made up of rules laid down by adults who had forgotten the feeling of what it means to be a kid but expected a kid to remember to be an adult – something he hadn’t gotten to yet.” (Piri Thomas)

The scenes that initially caused Down These Mean Streets to be banned weren’t among the many paragraphs I transcribed at sixteen. It was the honesty and power of Thomas’s language as he struggled to find his place in the world that made an impact on me. His book was the most meaningful thing I read the summer of 1982 and it cemented my belief in every student’s freedom to read.

In response to the number of books being challenged in the United States, 1982 was also the year Banned Books Week began. Unfortunately, challenging and banning books still goes on today. Between 2000-2009, over 5000 challenges were reported. (According the ALA, “a challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials.” http://www.ala.org/bbooks.) Shockingly, over 1200 instances occurred in PUBLIC LIBRARIES. Some of my favorite authors, such as Sherman Alexie, Jay Asher, and John Green, were among the most challenged in 2012.

As the ALA states in a recent press release, “Banned Books Week, Sept. 22 – 28, stresses the importance of preventing censorship and ensuring everyone’s freedom to read any book, no matter how unorthodox or unpopular.” For more information on Banned Books Week and supporting the freedom to read, visit www.bannedbooksweek.org .

Yvonne Ventresca (www.YvonneVentresca.com) is a young adult author whose debut novel, Pandemic, will be available from Sky Pony Press in May 2014.

Thank you Yvonne for sharing this article with us. This is the first time we have talked about banned books on this blog.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: article, children writing, Publishing Industry Tagged: ALA, Banned Books, Freedom to Read, Piri Thomas

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11. Guess the picture book: answers

Yesterday I challenged you to identity some of my childhood favorite fiction (and one nonfiction) picture books by a single page.

From Harry the Dirty Dog to Leo the Late Bloomer, here are the answers:

A Hole Is to Dig

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Are You My Mother?

Harry the Dirty Dog

Leo the Late Bloomer

Little Gorilla

Humbug Witch



Dear Mr. Blueberry

I'll Teach My Dog a Lot of Words

Ten Apples Up on Top!


Harry and the Terrible Whatzit

Duck, Death and the Tulip

Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky

The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving

The Story of Ferdinand

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12. Guess the picture book

Presented for your enjoyment: a favorite page from some of my favorite picture books. 

All are from my childhood, with two exceptions. All are fiction, again with two exceptions. It is not a comprehensive list of all of my favorites, though that does not matter in terms of what I am about to ask you to do...

Can you identify each book from a page?

Answers tomorrow.

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13. Interview Alert: Courtney Pippin-Mathur

Welcome author and illustrator Courtney Pippin-Mathur! Courtney’s first picture book Maya Was Grumpy has been available for several weeks now and it’s just gorgeous! I love her wonderful color palette and lively, playful style. I think all people can relate to Maya, the adorable star of the story, who was feeling grumpy for no apparent reason. My favorite part has to be her wild hair and especially how it gets less and less wild as she becomes less and less grumpy. Maya Was Grumpy is a delightful picture book that you and your kids will absolutely love. And I know you will enjoy Courtney’s delightful interview as well. Read on for more information about Courtney Pippin-Mathur and Maya.

Q. How did you get your start as a children’s picture book author and illustrator?

CPM. I majored in Studio Art in college but I knew the fine art path wasn’t right for me. When a teacher brought in Stephen Gammell’s “Monster Mama” a giant gong went off in my head. I have always loved books and the art of picture books so it made perfect sense.

Q. What’s your favorite part of creating picture books for children?

CPM. Two parts- the spark of the original idea or sketch and the joy of the finished, bound book in your hands.

Q. What authors and illustrators have been inspirations to you?

CPM. Roald Dahl, Polly Dunbar, Lauren Child, Stephen Gammell, Shel Silverstein to name a few

Q. Please tell us about your book Maya Was Grumpy. How did you come up with your idea and what was your creative process like from idea to finished book?

CPM. I was sitting on the couch with my laptop and sketchbook in front of me when my 3-year-old stomped into the room, stomped her foot, and declared “I’m Grumpy!” I wrote down the first line and sketched a grumpy little girl with crazy hair.

Q. What materials do you like to work with when creating your illustrations?

CPM. Mechanical pencil, paper, pen , watercolor paint & paper and Photoshop

Q. Where can fans go to learn more about you and your work?

CPM. http://www.pippinmathur.com

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share with Frog on a Blog fans?

CPM. I’m a long time fan of frogs. I created a frog character in high school that I used as my signature. His name was Moran and I drew him constantly. And for my daughter’s baby shower, I drew a flying frog for the shower announcements. 

1 Comments on Interview Alert: Courtney Pippin-Mathur, last added: 8/24/2013
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14. An old phoenix takes a new roost

At the Knoxville Children’s Festival of Reading on 5/18/13, I received a most special gift.

Liza Martz, a fellow writer with whom I’d communicated online but not met in person, came to the festival. With that aforementioned gift.

I’ll let her describe it:

It was a book I kept with me all my life. I kept it next to my bed and read it when I felt scared, even as an adult. On 9/11/01, I went to a thrift store to hide from the horror if the day and found it in the book section for a dime. Even though I had my own copy I got it and have held onto it until I found the right person to give it to. It had to be someone who treasured the book as much as I did and still do. And you are that person. Phew. It finally has a good home!

The book: David and the Phoenix, written by Edward Ormondroyd, first published in 1957.

And this is the reason Liza so kindly gave this 1958 edition to me.

Thank you again, Liza. It was a moving gesture.

1 Comments on An old phoenix takes a new roost, last added: 8/19/2013
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15. Interview Alert: Emily Kate Moon

I’d like to extend a big Frog on a Blog welcome to up-and-coming picture book author and illustrator Emily Kate Moon. Her first picture book (and certainly not her last) Joone was published this year. Joone stars a precocious and sweet little girl and features bright colors and a whole lot of fun. I think fun may be the perfect word to describe Emily Kate who, as you can tell by her wonderfully detailed interview responses, has a lot of fun doing what she does. You will no doubt enjoy this interview as much as I did.

Q. You are both an author and an illustrator; which do you prefer and how did you get your start in the children’s picture book arena?

EKM. Oooh… I don’t know if I could say that I prefer one over the other.  I really love them both.  And they are so interconnected, I find it that one gets the other going!  When I sit down to start a new idea, I do it with a pad and pencil.  If the words don’t come, the drawings do.  And with each pencil stroke, the story comes to life, whether my pencil is making a picture or a word.  It’s a really fun process.  And when I’m really in the flow, it feels like I am channeling from some other place.  That’s the most glorious moment of all: when I have no struggle to create what comes out — I’m just the one holding the pencil!

I got started in the children’s picture book arena when I was 17.  I illustrated someone else’s book, but it didn’t go anywhere.  It was an important step, though.  It definitely started my career.  (It’s a long story, actually.  If people want to know more, send them to my website blog!)

studio shotQ. What is your workspace like and do you have a favorite medium you like to work with when creating your illustrations?

EKM. My workspace consists of two desks: a drafting table that tilts, and a flat desk on which rests my computer and art supplies.  I also have lots of cubbies and drawers and a big bookshelf full of children’s books!  Looking around right now, my studio is kind of a mess.  I guess I like it that way.  It feels like something is always in progress!

My default medium is pencil on paper.  It’s the easiest for me.  I also love fat felt tip markers.  But I really enjoyed learning how to use gouache when making the illustrations for Joone.  Gouache is a magical medium!  It’s somewhere between watercolor and acrylic.  And I also love doing large paintings: abstracts of acrylic on canvas.  I’ve just moved to Florida and right now I’m inspired by the ocean so I’m working on a series of wave paintings.  I love standing outside at an easel, with the music on, lots of colors to choose from, a cup of brushes and a bucket of water — just going with the flow to see what happens!

Q. What inspired you to create your picture book Joone

EKM. Joone wandered into my head one day, fully formed, and bugged me until I knew I had to write about her.  I had always wanted to write and illustrate children’s books, so it didn’t really surprise me that this little girl popped in one day and wouldn’t go away!  She came with all the details: orange dress, purple hat, brown shoes and turtle atop her head!  She even came with a grandfather.  (The yurt came soon thereafter.)  I grew up in California, so the setting is inspired by the country hills and vineyards that surrounded me there.

Q. Who are your favorite authors and illustrators? Any favorite picture books?

EKM. I have all sorts of favorites!  And I love so many of the new authors these days that my list just keeps growing!  I think storytelling, in general, is getting better.  Which makes sense, I guess, as we learn from each other and expand on our collective work.  But some of my classic favorites are Eloise by Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight, Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne and Ernest Shepard, and the many tales by Beatrix Potter.  As a little kid, I memorized Eloise from beginning to end (which is quite a feat, considering the length of that story!) and I later filled drawing pads with watercolor reproductions of Ernest Shepard’s and Beatrix Potter’s beautiful illustrations.  I also love Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes, and Joone’s proportions were greatly influenced by Calvin!  And, of course, who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss… I’m pretty sure he has influenced us all!  But my all-time favorite children’s book is Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann.  That one just really hits me!  It makes me emotional all the way through because it is so well done.  By page 4, my children are like, “Mom why are you crying?” and I say, “Oh! Because it’s just so good!”

Q. Can you tell us about any picture book projects you are working on right now?

EKM. Joone 2!  Joone’s sequel is in the works!  And then I have several other characters, one in particular, Benny the Singing Dog, who definitely needs a book of his own.  Maybe that’ll be next.

Q. Where can fans go to learn more about you and your work?

EKM. My website: emilykatemoon.com or Joone’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/joonebook

Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share with picture book fans?

EKM. When I tell people what I do, they often say, “I’ve got an idea for a children’s book!” or “My cousin wants to do that!”  It seems everyone has an unmade picture book in their lives somewhere.  But it’s something that remains faraway… mostly because they don’t know how to move it forward.  My answer to them is, “Just start it.”  (Or tell your cousin to start!)  Start by writing it down.  Make it as good as you can.  Read it to people, including children, and see what responses you get.  Be willing to change it.  If it’s great, submit it to an agent!  (Agents are everywhere, but it will require some work to find the right one.) And some of the best advice I ever got is this: do not team up with an illustrator.  It reduces your chances of being published.  Either do it all yourself or submit the manuscript alone.  These agents and editors who will read your manuscript are pros; they can envision illustrations and will match your story with the right illustrator.  Most of the people who say they have a children’s book idea but haven’t moved forward with it is because, as they put it, they can’t draw.  Don’t let that stop you!  There is a whole world of illustrators out there who can draw and would love to illustrate your book!  And the world might just love your story….

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16. The “Dark Knight” Edits

To my recollection, I’ve made only a small handful of edits to Wikipedia—a couple at least five years ago, and two this past summer. Not surprisingly, most (if not all) were related to Bill Finger.

The two more recent edits were to the entries for The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, the second and final films in Christopher Nolan’s groundbreaking Batman trilogy.

I added that the first Batman story to include the phrase “the Dark Knight” was one written by Bill Finger (in Batman #1, 1940). The fact that neither film needed the word “Batman” in the title shows how iconic not only the character but this nickname are.

Note that I did not write “Bill Finger was the first to call Batman ‘the Dark Knight’” nor did I claim that Finger coined the phrase.” I think both were the case, but we may never know for sure. Therefore, to defend my objectivity, I inserted the info in a way that is indisputable.

I feel it is a travesty that Bill’s name is not in the credits of those (or any) Batman movies, but am somehow comforted by the fact that at least Wikipedia has the truth. More people have access to Wikipedia than to the movie…

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17. “Boys of Steel” 75th-anniversary-of-Superman paperback edition is out

Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman came out in hardcover in 2008, and is still reprinted in that format. When, several years ago, I first suggested putting out a special 75th-anniversary-of-Superman edition in 2013, I was envisioning it in hardcover as well.

Random House agreed to the anniversary edition but in paperback; it sports not only the celebratory banner but also a few corrections.

My author copies arrived 5/24/13, AKA a week before June, which marks the cover date of Action Comics #1 (1938) and the release of the latest screen iteration of Superman, Man of Steel, not to mention my friend Brad Ricca’s exhaustively researched book Super Boys.

The summer of Superman is in full force...again.

0 Comments on “Boys of Steel” 75th-anniversary-of-Superman paperback edition is out as of 6/20/2013 7:49:00 AM
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18. Like a Kid In a Monstore

Monstore is available now. Check out Tara Lazar’s site for more information:

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19. Memorial Day Wishes & Publishing Industry Changes

Thank you to everyone who has sacrificed to protect this country.
Happy Memorial Day!

In case you never thought about doing this, you should get out your Children’s Writing and Illustrating Market guide and note the changes that you find here and other places in correct spots in the book. That way you will always have the most up-to-date info at your finger tips.

At Inkwell Management, Charlie Olsen has been promoted to agent. He joined Inkwell in 2007 and is interested in commercial fiction; young adult and middle-grade fiction and non-fiction; graphic novels and illustrated works for children and adults; pop culture, and compelling nonfiction.

Margaret Bail

has joined Inklings Literary Agency, where she will continue to represent romance, thrillers, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, westerns, and historical fiction. Previously she was at the Andrea Hurst Agency.

At the Random House Publishing Group, Andy Ward has been promoted to vp, editorial director, nonfiction, while David Ebershoff moves up to vp, executive editor.

At Crown Archetype, Suzanne O’Neill has been promoted to executive editor, while Talia Krohn moves up to senior editor and Stephanie Knapp has been promoted to associate editor.

Ryan Doherty has been promoted to senior editor and is moving from Random House Trade Paperbacks to Ballantine Bantam Dell. He will continue to oversee movie tie-in projects for RH publishing group as well.

At Simon Pulse, Michael Strother has been promoted to assistant editor.

Hope you had a Happy Memorial Day! Sorry, I messed up not getting it to post on the right date.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Editor & Agent Info, need to know, News, Publishing Industry Tagged: Inkwell Management, Onklings Literary Agency, Random House, Simon Pulse

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20. Cartoons for "Publishers Weekly"

BookExpo America opens today. 

At BEA eleven years ago, my cartoons appeared in the Publishers Weekly Show Daily.

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21. Bloomsbury New Digital Imprint – Accepting Submissions

bbsparklogo235Bloomsbury Spark is a one-of-a-kind, global, digital imprint from Bloomsbury Publishing dedicated to publishing a wide array of exciting fiction eBooks to teen, YA, and new adult readers. 

Our outstanding list will feature multiple genres: romance, contemporary, dystopian, paranormal, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, and more. 

Bloomsbury Spark is a one-of-a-kind, global, digital imprint from Bloomsbury Publishing dedicated to publishing a wide array of exciting fiction eBooks to teen, YA and new adult readers. 

Launching in Autumn 2013 our outstanding list will feature multiple genres: romance, contemporary, dystopian, paranormal, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, and more. 

If you’re an author, Bloomsbury Spark is the premiere place to publish your work. 

Why? Because we are a hands-on, full-service publishing house. We will publish you globally  but market you locally. We are not just interested in publishing your book; we want to help craft your career.

If you have a manuscript between 25 and 60k words long, then send it to us at one of the following emails: 

For submissions in the United States and Canada: BloomsburySparkUS@bloomsbury.com
For submissions in the United Kingdom, Europe and ROW: BloomsburySparkUK@bloomsbury.com
For submissions in Australia: BloomsburySparkAUS@bloomsbury.com
For submissions in India: BloomsburySparkINDIA@bloomsbury.com

Good luck!

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, need to know, New Imprint, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishing Industry, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Spark, Digital Imprint, YA and New Adult Novels

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22. YA & MG Novel Agent


emilyagencypicEmily Gref is an Agent at Lowenstein Associates, as well as our contracts and royalties manager. She also handles foreign and subrights. Her interests are wide and varied. In Young Adult and Middle Grade she is looking for all genres, but has a weak spot for fairy tale, folklore, and mythology retellings. Emily is also interested in fantasy and science fiction, as well as literary and commercial women’s fiction.

In non-fiction she is looking for strong narratives and books by recognized experts with a wide-reaching platform, especially books that lend themselves well to digital mediums. Subjects of interest include popular science, linguistics, anthropology, and history. She is not looking for memoirs or biographies at this time.

To Submit

By e-mail:

For fiction, please send us a one-page query letter, along with the first ten pages pasted in the body of the message by email to assistant@bookhaven.com. If nonfiction, please send a one-page query letter, a table of contents, and, if available, a proposal pasted into the body of the email to assistant@bookhaven.com.

Please put the word QUERY and the title of your project in the subject field of your email and address it to the agent of your choice. Please do not send an attachment as the message will be deleted without being read and no reply will be sent. We reply to all queries and generally send a response within 4-6 weeks.

By mail:

For Fiction: Mail a query letter, short synopsis, first chapter and a S.A.S.E (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope).

For Nonfiction: Mail a query letter, table of contents and, if available, a proposal (if not, please send a project overview) and a S.A.S.E (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope).
Lowenstein Associates
121 West 27th Street Suite 501
New York, NY 10001

Please note, if you do not include a S.A.S.E., we will not be able to respond to your submission. Please allow 4-6 weeks for our response.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishing Industry, submissions, Young Adult Novel Tagged: All Genres, Emily Gref, Lowenstein Associates

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23. Kudos & Publishing Industry News


Two Weeks ago I featured John Mander on Illustrator Saturday. John was busy getting ready to attend the Reuben Awards dinner in Pittsburgh, PA. and didn’t have time to finish the answers for his featured post. John won the Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award that Saturday night for illustrating Jack and the Giant Barbecue. .Here is the link to read john’s interview answers that were added duribg the week: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/illustrator-saturday-john-manders/  Congratulations John!

Bloomsbury Children’s Books has promoted Caroline Abbey and Mary Kate Castellani to senior editor, while Brett Wright and Laura Whitaker move up to associate editor. Both Castellani and Whitaker move over from Walker Children’s, which will shift its focus to that of a boutique imprint under publishing director Emily Easton, publishing 18 titles per year with an emphasis on nonfiction and select fiction for preschool through young adult.

Phoebe Yeh will join Random House Children’s Books as vp, Publisher, Crown Books for Young Readers on June 21, reporting to Barbara Marcus. Yeh was most recently editorial director at HarperCollins Children’s. ““I have known Phoebe for many years and admire her as a highly creative and versatile editor with an excellent track record for discovering and nurturing new voices,” said Marcus in a statement. “I am so pleased to welcome her to Random House, where her expertise in nonfiction and commercial middle-grade books will perfectly complement and further strengthen our list.”

Sarah Harrison Smith has been named children’s editor at the New York Times Book Review. She was most recently on the paper’s metropolitan desk.

Tara Gelsomino has joined F+W Media’s Crimson Romance digital/POD imprint as executive editor. She was most recently executive marketing manager at AudioGO.

At BEA, HarperCollins announced their new in-house program to provide and manage digital galleys as well as promotional copies of their ebooks (including providing authors with multiple ebook “copies” of their books). Called the e-Insider Program, it works from a new website — e.hc.com — and uses Adobe Digital Editions (and thus requires a free Adobe ID to read the ebooks).

Authors will be given a set of one-time use of codes, each good for a single ebook download. For trade shows, like this one, “rather than distributing physical copies of books, HarperCollins can now provide a code that will bring promotional finished e-books or galleys directly to key constituents.” They used the platform to provide titles from Avon, Avon Impulse, Harper Teen and Harper Teen Impulse at the convention.

On Friday at BEA, the Publishing Hackathon awarded first prize to Evoke — which maps how characters in fiction are emotionally similar to each other as a way of discovering new books (and characters) to enjoy. The founders described it at the event as a “social recommendation algorithm that associates characters with each other based on reader preferences.”

Talk tomorrow,



Filed under: awards, Editor & Agent Info, Kudos, Publishing Industry Tagged: Bloomsbury Children's Books, Caroline Abbey, Joh Manders, Mary Kate Castellani, Phebe Yeh, Random house Children's Books

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24. NJSCBWI June Conference Review

The theme for this years artist exhibit and contest at the NJSCBWI Conference was “Down the Rabbit Hole” There were four different awards. Below is Deborah Cuneo’s winning illustration. She was the winner of the Members Choice Award. Anyone who didn’t attend missed a wonderful display of talented illustration pieces.


The 259 people who attended the NJSCBWI conference this past weekend included 30 auth/illus speakers, and 32 industry professionals. They came from 18 states, various Canadian provinces and one from South Africa.

karen, connie and leezaI just have to sing the praises of RA Leeza Hernandez, ARA Sheri Oshins, former ARA Laurie Wallmark, ICC Karen Romanga and their wonderful committee and volunteers. I had forgotten how much fun attending a conference could be. Having the opportunity to see things from the attendee side gave me the time to talk to the many friends who would not be in my life had I not volunteered to run the chapter for ten years. What a treat it was to be able to enjoy their company!

sheri, halle, Connie150It was a privilege to read and critique a few writer’s manuscripts and share my thoughts about improving their stories. I conducted a workshop on marketing and gave everyone who attended a plan on what to do at every stage in their career, which I hope motivated them to start thinking about what they could do right now and start laying out a plan to be prepared for the successes that will come on the road to publication. Plus, I laid out what to do once they have signed a contract with a time frame on how to prepare for that book launch and after.

To be able to go to a workshop without having to run out to put out fires was fabulous. This gave me time to learn from the great editors, agents, and authors who shared their expertise. I even got to do my first pitch ever with agent Louise Fury from L Perkins Literary Agency – love Louise’s voice and her energy.

Louise was just one of the “New To NJSCBWI Conference” faculty. The conference was a good mix of conference veteran editors and agents and first time faculty members like: 

Elizabeth (Betsy) Bird, Librarian, NYPL/SLJ
Melissa Faulner, Editorial Assistant, Abrams
Louise Fury, Agent, L. Perkins Agency
Julie Ham, Editor, Charlesbridge
Erin Harris, Agent, Folio
Janine Hauber, Agent, Sheldon Fogelman
Lexa Hillyer, Editor/Co-Founder, Paper Lantern Literary
Janet Kusmierski, Art Director, Scholastic
Tricia Lawrence, Agent, Erin Murphy Literary
Rotem Moscovich, Editor, Disney/Hyperion

Jessica Regel, Agent, Jean V. Naggar Agency
Martha Sikkema, Senior Designer, Charlesbridge
Jenne Abramowitz, Senior Editor, Scholastic


Vin Vogel was the winner in the Published Illustrator category for the above illustration. He was featured on Illustrator Saturday in December. Here’s the link: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/illustrator-saturday-vin-vogel/

Connie and Amy150Ame Dyckman picked up her Crystal Kite Award for BOY+ BOT before funny and nice-guy Author/Illustrator, Peter Brown kicked off the conference. Shared his artwork as a child and his colorful illustration of his “Mommy.” Peter has promised to be featured later this year on Illustrator Saturday. I was disappointed that I didn’t grab his Creepy Carrots book on Saturday, because they were gone on Sunday. I’ll just have to buy it at Amazon.

Tara Lazar (The Monstore) followed by sharing her publishing journey and the pitfalls of battling Multiple Sclerosis. Tara is proof that you can overcome anything if you have to in order to get published – very inspiring.

sudipta, tara and connieI signed up for Stephen Barbara and Lauren Oliver (Delirium, Pandemonium, Requiem, Before I Fall, Spindlers ) workshop, but Lauren was sick with the flu, so she stayed in bed and pumped up the antibiotics, so she would be able to show up for the ending keynote on Sunday. Luckily Lexa Hillyer (Ex- Razorbill editor and Lauren’s partner at Paper Lantern was at the conference and could step-in without a hitch. Lexa was the hidden jewel at the conference.

Stopped in to learn from ultra successful author (25 books) and New Jersey member Wendy Mass talk about how she builds a book chapter by chapter.

laurie,annie,kim,connie,christine150Wanted to attend Laurie (Boys of Wartime) Calkhoven’s workshop on writing scenes and her mediation workshop, who everyone raves about, but I was doing my workshop during the mediation workshop and I only caught the end of the scene writing workshop. I am sure that Laurie will repeat both of these next year or another time during the year. Laurie always give a good workshop on every topic she does.

I attend Julie Hedlund’s workshop on App’s, but that is a big subject to tackle in a 45 minute window. I know I would be interested in an intensive on this subject. Julie took some of her unpublished picture books and developed apps of them which can be bought on Amazon.

charlotte150Charlotte Bennardo (co-author Sirenz) did a fantastic workshop about what type of swag you could use to promote your book and individualized it for everyone who attended. I am sure she will repeat it again next year, so if you attend in 2014 – DON’T MISS IT!

It was nice to hear Charlotte remind everyone (what I always emphasize) that we are all in this together and should try to support each other by buying each others books and attending each others book signings when possible. What goes around comes around, so do unto other as you would have them do unto you. When your house starts getting run over by books, give them away to schools or friends.

Idea: Laurie Wallmark has a book swapping party at her house once a year where she gives away books and takes what isn’t picked up to the schools in the area.

More Tomorrow.  I will share the long list of people who came up to me at the conference to let me know about their successes. If something good has happened with you, please email me. You do not have to have been at the conference. I love to hear them and I think we can all draw inspiration from sharing in their successes.


Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Conferences and Workshops, Kudos, Publishing Industry, Speaking Tagged: 2013 NJSCBWI Conference, Deborah Cuneo, Laurie Wallmark, Leeza Hernandez, Vin Vogel

10 Comments on NJSCBWI June Conference Review, last added: 6/11/2013
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25. Page two, rule of threes

Just as personalities can be encoded with patterns even the person possessing the personality doesn’t realize, writing styles can, too.

Both of my superhero picture books, Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman and Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, take a similar approach on the second page: they use the rule of threes. (This is often associated with humor, but can be used in other ways as well.)

(The previous page teases that Jerry Siegel, Superman writer,  
was with his friends when at home rather than school; 
this page is the surprise reveal.)

The rule of threes in and of itself is not the pattern I’m pointing out—lots of writers use it, of course. The pattern is using the rule of threes on the second page. (Normally I would reserve the word “pattern” for three or more instances, but…okay, head starting to spin.)

I didn’t notice I’d repeated this tactic until after the second book was out. Because I didn’t do it consciously, I probably can’t explain it satisfactorily. It may be as simple as this: it’s a handy device to quicken the pace, which works especially well toward the beginning of a story because it tugs readers in via a rhythm.

Later in both books, I refer back to the threesome. In Boys of Steel, it reiterates the list
—twice, actually:

In Bill the Boy Wonder, I refer back less specifically:

Let’s see if I end up using the rule of threes on the second page a third time.

Head spinning faster now.

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