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1. Collaboration – an adventure to be savored!

I have found the opportunity to collaborate with illustrators something eminently rewarding, an experience that  enriches both participants and results in a more vibrant and much richer work. My first picture book, “Mending Lucille” was also a result of a collaborationWorking with the amazing Sarah Davis was inspirational! I have gone on to collaborate closely with illustrators all over the world to create numbers of other picture books, some digitally published, some in process with print publishers and some I am still researching the right publishing outlet. Finding the ‘right’ outlet is very important. Not every publisher is ‘right’ for every book.

Digital Publishing

I have had the pleasure of collaborating with first time picture book illustrators, Jade Potts [USA], Jonas Sahlstrom [Sweden], Alexandra Krasuska [Sweden] and fellow Aussie, Jodi Magi [now of Abu-Dhabi] on uTales, and am about to have my latest collaboration, “Little Dragons’ Babysitter” released with Caroline Lee. Utales is non-exclusive which means  creators can take advantage of other  opportunities for their work as they arise. I have just signed a contract with Flying Books, Islreal, for “Rich Man, Poor Man” the book I did with Jodi Magi. My first digital collaboration is on www.istorytime, “At the Beach with Bucket and Spade” with Sarah Bash Gleeson [USA], whom I met on JacketFlap.com, a wonderful children’s literature networking site along with many other amazing and inspiring folk. Sarah is editor of magazine, “Dream Chaser” which focusses on children’s books and their creators.

Joanna Marple’s mini review of my latest digital book, “Xengu and the Turn of Tide”:

“A Tolkienesque tale, I love it!”

See a review of her first picture book in my last blog post with links to her interview with Darshana Shah Khiani on “Flowering Minds“.

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2. Writing a blurb or flap copy? Helpful hints

There's a tongue-in-cheek guide to writing flap copy (the copy on the inside of a book's jacket flap) which you can read here.

Tips include:

- Always use "stunning," except when the book is about the history of the stun gun.
- In addition to "stunning," use at least three of the following adjectives for every flap: "Enthralling," "gritty," "original," "remarkable," "magical," "ground-breaking," "arresting," "dazzling," "heartbreaking," "compelling," "devastating," "captivating."
- Find a way to work in "best-selling," even if it has to take the form of something like "Often compared to the stunning best-selling novelist _________..."


I think a lot of these rules could be helpful to writers blurbing other authors. [Kind of sort of joking.]



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3. Announcements and Sneak Preview

We received many original and fun submissions for our latest giveaway contest in celebration of TeachingAuthor Esther Hershenhorn's S is for Story: A Writer's Alphabet. I have drawn a winner, but have yet to hear back from her. If she doesn't reply soon, I'll choose a new winner. Meanwhile, I'd like to share some other news.

First off, congratulations to our own TeachingAuthor Mary Ann Rodman. Her middle-grade novel Jimmy's Stars was named a 2009 Children's Choice for grades 5-6 by the International Reading Association and the Children's Book Council. See the complete list of winners here.

And if you're thinking of using Jimmy's Stars in conjunction with a study of World War II, be sure to check out the wonderful online resources set up by Usborne Publishing, the book's UK publisher.

Speaking of wonderful online resources for teachers, our friends April Pulley Sayre and Gretchen Woelfle of the group blog INK: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids have announced the launch of a free online database of nonfiction books called the InkThinkTank. The database is designed to help teachers, librarians, and homeschoolers find the books they need to meet curriculum requirements in grades K-12. We've included a link to the database in our sidebar.

Our loyal readers may have noticed some other new features in our sidebar, including:

  • more links to reading lists, websites, graduate writing programs, and author/illustrator blogs 
  • a new "search" function that allows readers to search for posts containing a word or phrase not listed in our subject index
  • a "Bookmark and Share" link that lets you quickly add our blog to social bookmarking sites like Delicious and Digg, and/or share our blog with your friends and colleagues
  • and, in addition to receiving our blog posts by email, as a Google follower, or via an RSS feed, you can now include it in your JacketFlap blog reader.
As always, if you know of other resources that would be helpful for aspiring writers or writing teachers, please let us know.

And now, for our "Sneak Preview:" In case you haven't heard, next Tuesday, October 20, is the National Day on Writing, sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).


According to NCTE:
Today people write as never before—texting, on blogs, with video cameras and cell phones, and, yes, even with traditional pen and paper. People write at home, at work, inside and out of school.
The National Day on Writing is meant to celebrate all forms of writing. In conjunction with the event, NCTE has created a National Gallery of Writing, a digital archive of writing samples showing how and why Americans are writing every day. The Gallery will be unveiled on Tuesday.

This Friday, October 16, we will begin a series of posts to commemorate the National Day on Writing. We will also join other Kidlitosphere bloggers by submitting our posts to the local Gallery called A Lifetime of Reading, curated by Franki Sibberson and Mary Lee Hahn, two teachers who blog at A Year of Reading. We hope you'll make plans to take part in the National Day on Writing, and post those plans here on our TeachingAuthors blog!

Carmela

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4. Summertime = Reading for Pleasure--posted by Carmela Martino

As a child and teen, I always looked forward to summer as a time to read for pleasure (as opposed to assigned reading). Once a week, I rode the CTA bus to my local branch of the Chicago Public library to check out as many books as I could. Yet now, when students at school visits ask me my favorite books as a child, I draw a blank. Rather than specific books, I remember the genres.For example, I

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5. Don’t forget to vote for the 2009 Children’s Choice Book Awards

About a month ago, we shared that voting had begun for the 2009 Children’s Choice Book Awards. Now voting is easier than ever, thanks to the widget (posted at left) provided by the Children’s Book Council and JacketFlap.

Teachers, librarians or booksellers can easily record votes from your students on the Children’s Choice Book Award voting site.

Voting ends May 3rd, so be sure to tell a friend and help the kids in your life make their voices heard!

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6. Social Networking Rocks!

funny pictures of cats with captions
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Well, Monday has arrived! What are you doing? I am gearing up to finish the paperwork for taxes so I can do royalties.

I started my morning with some Web 2.0 updates. Doesn't that sound like I have a clue. I love social networking. Well, thanks to Nikki Leigh, I do know what I am doing. My questions is, do you follow me, are we friends, and so forth? What? No? Oh Pulleeeze, I don't do this for my health. For those of you who DIGG this, here is my list of places you can connect with me. Pick one, pick them all, your choice.

TWITTER: http://twitter.com/echelonpress
DIGG: http://digg.com/users/echelonpress
PLURK: http://plurk.com/EchelonPress/invite
FACEBOOK: http://profile.to/echelonpress/
MYSPACE: http://myspace.com/karensyed
LINKEDIN: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karensyed
READER'S STATION: http://readersstation.ning.com/profile/EchelonPress
BEBO: http://www.bebo.com/EchelonPress
FRIENDFEED: http://friendfeed.com/echelonpress
GOODREADS: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/982587
YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/user/echelonpress
JACKETFLAP: http://www.jacketflap.com/profile.asp?member=QuakeMe


So, there you go. And don't forget to follow this Blog. You never know what you might read!

Happy Reading.



4 Comments on Social Networking Rocks!, last added: 4/7/2009
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7.

Blogger of the Week:
Laurel Snyder...


Laurel Snyder
, you will learn below, is a long-time blogger who's not afraid to be herself in cyberspace--with a few rules. Soak up her advice below and click here to visit her blog.

You blogged on Kid*Lit(erary) from April 2007 until March 2008. You began blogging on your website on December 2007. Will you tell me your motivation behind starting each of these blogs, and why you stopped blogging on Kid*Lit? I'm interested in your evolution as a blogger. (Because why wouldn't a full-time writer with small children have plenty of time to keep up with two blogs?)

Ha! You don't know the half of it. I started blogging around 2000, after going to SXSW with a webby friend. At the time, my blog (lonelysongs.com) was personal, VERY personal. I posted all sorts of sordid things about nasty ex-boyfriends. I don't think I really had a clear sense for what the web was yet. I did all of that in dreamweaver, and had to upload through this funny ftp window, using dialup. I can't believe I bothered!

Then, I took that down and discovered Blogger. I built a new site called Jewishyirishy.com, and again, it was personal, but not THAT personal. Lots of poetry blogging and religion rants and an attempt at community building for kids of Jewish intermarriage.

When I began writing for kids and knew I was going to be publishing, I decided I needed a new focus for my blogging. Honestly, I wanted a site that wasn't riddled with naughty words. Something I wouldn't get in trouble over when parents found it googling my name. I also wanted a chance to think in a more critical/academic way about children's books. Hence, Kid*Lit(erary) was born.

BUT, after 2 kids were born, I started blogging for pay at Jewcy, podcasting at Nextbook, AND I sold a novel on proposal (and was expected to write it), I didn't have time for the reviewing I'd been planning. So I just killed the site and began an author blog, which I update now and then.

Whew! Sorry to go on so long. Looking back, I realize I'm a fickle sort of blogger, huh? But that's nice thing about blogs. Like haircuts, you can always start over if you mess up!

You started blogging well before your first books were published. Would you advise new writers, even those without book contracts, to work on their Web presence?

YES! Absolutely. But I think people do it for the wrong reasons sometimes. I don't understand when people blog because they're concerned with marketing themselves before they publish. Marketing is tiring and time-consuming and it will kill your soul and get in the way of your writing. Blogging isn't marketing. It's a productive, generative, creative way to think online. It's a starting point for community building too.

What do you do to maintain your own presence online (blogging, reading other blogs, Twitter, etc.)? How much time do you devote to that?

All of it. Facebook and Twitter. Blogging and reading blogs (in Jacketflap reader, mostly). Commenting on other people's blogs. I'm on several listservs. I love it all. I think the real trick is just to limit the amount of time you spend online. I use an egg timer when I'm trying to write. When it dings, I go offline. Hard to measure it in hours when I'm not regulating myself. With two toddlers underfoot I'm online a lot, back and forth all day in 30 second intervals. Twitter is perfect for me for that reason.

What kind of posts will readers find on your blog? Are they certain types of posts that get more response than others? (When I blog about Brussels sprouts or my '80s prom dress I get a lot more hits and comments than when I offer industry news, for example.)

Yes, well, I'm (I think) in the Kidlitosphere minority on this issue. My blog is an extension of ME, and I am a loosey-goosey, ranty, accident-prone, haphazard gal. I rarely censor myself much, and my blog is all over the place. Despite my best efforts to keep a "clean" site, I still can't seem to stop from losing my temper online. But I think the more blunt I am, the more people respond.
Popular topics have been my hatred for snooty adult writers who don't appreciate the amazing value of kidlit, fluffy kidlitters who don't understand why "literary" writing is more artful than crappy commercial writing, my confusion over Israel and Palestine, and my WRATH at über-protective mommies who use too much Purell and make their kids sleep in helmets. Ha!

What advice would you offer new bloggers?

Just that a blog is published material. So we should all remember--it is one thing to be a crazed maniac online, and quite another to be a DUMB crazed maniac. If you want to say crazy things, try to sound smart and funny. Smart funny writers can get away with almost anything.

And please, for the love of Mike, do not tell us anything you don't want your boss (or your husband) to know.

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8. Bernhard Oberdieck - Leading German illustrator, creator of children’s classics


Bernhard Oberdieck

Bernhard Oberdieck

The Art of Illustrating for Children and Some Survival Initiatives for Illustrators! - An Interview with Bernhard Oberdieck - storyteller with paint and pen

Jennifer: Bernhard you have already covered in detail the extraordinary processes and techniques you utilise to create your wonderful images. [Readers - I highly recommend a visit to http://www.bernhard-oberdieck.com/en/technik.php to gain an insight into the workings behind Bernhard’s creations.] You have an astounding output – around 200 books by my estimation! What I want to cover in this interview is the background to all this amazing creativity.

You talked about developing ideas in the studio and doing variations of an idea until it is ‘right’ especially in relation to the layout of text. Do you also carry an artist’s notebook with you when you travel in case a solution occurs to you for a particular illustrative problem or an inspiration comes? Could you share one of your more challenging projects with us?

BERNARD: No, I don’t take an artist’s notebook with me if I travel. Previously, as a professional illustrator and as a student, I have drawn and painted a lot from nature and I have visited a lot of museums to study the old masters. Today I draw almost everything freely from my head or I look at photos or old illustrations from old books which I use as stimulus and inspiration. Some I utilise their basic layout in changed form in my illustrations. A good example of this is the circus illustration. Here I took an old photo, I made several years before in the South of France. I deleted some houses in the middle and placed the circus tent in their place. Because I illustrate daily about 8-12 hours, I take no drawing materials in hand in my free time.

Circus illustration - using his photographs-ic art to inform his illustrations


Jennifer: Yes I see the very varied sources of inspiration coming through. This particular picture reminds me of some of the works of Japanese hanga woodcuts.

Maustitel - Mouse & Berries - reminiscent of Hanga woodcuts

Maustitel - Mouse & Berries - reminiscent of Hanga woodcuts

Do you ever develop pictures purely because you want to as an artist and not for an illustrative project? Are there particular themes you enjoy painting more than others and why?

BERNARD: Yes, I also sometimes paint as purely an ‘artist’. But these pictures are abstract, very different from my illustrations and, up to now, only for myself.( http://www.bernhard-oberdieck.com/art.php) As an illustrator, I always try to interpret the text to so that children will get the most from the book. Maintaining the highest quality in my illustrative work is important to me. I illustrate many themes but I prefer illustrations with animals, I don’t know why.

Jennifer: Some of the stunning wildlife and landscape photographs on you website show you to be a skilled photographic artist [see http://www.bernhard-oberdieck.com/en/galerie2.php] .

Are your photographs a source of inspiration or more a reference tool in the studio, especially during winter months? Or are they another form of your art you exhibit&/ or utilise in cards and calendars?

BERNARD: I illustrate a lot from my imagination and my recollection. Only if I must draw something exactly, do I refer to photos and older illustrations.

Jennifer: You have a very strong sense of place. The atmosphere in your landscapes and streetscapes is humming with story.

Storm by Berhard Oberdieck

Storm by Berhard Oberdieck

What I mean by that is you have captured the feel of the moment, the storm is almost audible rolling across the sky.

You can feel the ripple of the waters.

Ripples, Mouse and Owl by Bernhard Oberdieck

Ripples, Mouse and Owl by Bernhard Oberdieck

The reader/viewer is able to step into your pictures and observe the story first hand. Have you always had such a strong connection with nature and your surroundings? What are your fondest memories of the outdoors? How has where you live/have lived shaped your art?

BERNARD: Yes, this is exactly right. I have very strong recollections of my childhood. This was lived on the land and amongst the beauties of nature. I grew up in a very small town and also live now in a small village with only 300 inhabitants. This has very much stamped me and my work. And, of course, I was influenced by the books which I read as a child. This is an image of my native landscape, where I was born. ( http://www.bernhard-oberdieck.com/image/Illustration_32.php )


Jennifer: Sense of place also includes interiors. In Germany, you have so much history in your buildings, so much atmosphere built up over centuries that the buildings have character of their own.

Floating bed and stairs by Bernhard Oberdieck

Floating bed and stairs by Bernhard Oberdieck

Would you share with us your source of inspiration and how and why you chose the particular perspectives for such wonderful creations as the following pictures ?

BERNARD: I don’t believe that here, in my Illustrative work, German history plays any special role. I always try, to make my illustrations a little more interesting for the viewer by using special perspectives. Of course I try to lure the children to explore the pictures more closely by adding in a lot of interesting, curious and imaginative little things. It is certainly more interesting for them to discover a treasure trove of unexpected details.

Jennifer: Your love of nature and keen observation come out strongly in the botanical detail of the plants and trees in your pictures. Do you draw plants and animals from life or memory or from field sketches?

BERNARD: Photos, old books, magazines and also the Internet - these are all things I use.

Jennifer: The ability to give distinctive characterisation to animals/toys is another feature of your work.

Bear & pillow by Bernhard Oberdieck

Bear & pillow by Bernhard Oberdieck

As a guide to up and coming illustrators and art students, can you describe to us how you achieve the strength of feeling, the humour and the drama in animal faces or is it something that comes instinctively?

BERNARD: I think it comes instinctively. In addition, the publishing company and the children expect figures (animals) that they can identify with from fiction and their own memories and experience with their soft animal toys. pets and zoo or farm animals. And, in addition, one must sometimes humanize them.

Jennifer: I love the drama and the humour in some of your eye-catching perspectives. Did pictures such as these come to mind spontaneously or did you work through a number

Fall by Bernhard Oberdieck

Fall by Bernhard Oberdieck

of experimental stages? Do you consciously look for extraordinary angles?

BERNARD: These pictures come to mind spontaneously. If I begin, I generally already have a picture in my head. Not always, but very often.


Jennifer: Many illustrators end up writing some of their own stories, e.g., Ian Beck and Mick Inkpen. Have you ever written any stories of your own, is that something you hope to do at some future stage? What are your plans for 2009?

BERNARD: No, I don’t write books. I simply have no time for this, because, for example, in 2009 I must illustrate 4 new picture books and certainly also other small works.

Jennifer: Time! Yes, I think you speak for all of us. I know I wish I had 24 more hours in each day! We all look forward to seeing your new projects out on the shelves. To have a peak at Bernhard’s stunning latest project go to : http://kibook.blogspot.com/

Jennifer: Finally, do you have a question that I and other interviewers have failed to ask and which you would love answer? Now is your opportunity!


BERNARD: I would only like to say that, unfortunately, the financial conditions of the professional illustrators is becoming worse and worse. Here in Germany, even more than in England or the USA, this is the sad case. Thank you for this interview.


Jennifer: My pleasure Bernhard and, yes, I hear what you are saying. Out in Australia it is a similar situation. We have a small population and competition is tight and money is tight. Most authors and illustrators out here have to hold down day time jobs as well. I have been thinking about ways in which creators might make some more out of their work. Here is what I have come up with so far…..

Become an Associate -

Most of us have websites and blogs and membership of organisations like SCWBI or State/National Writers’ Centres or Illustrator’s Guilds. But there are opportunities to become an associate of a site like Amazon. Place a link on your site to Amazon. [I can give more instructions re this if you would like.] If anyone buys a book via the link to Amazon on your site, you get a percentage of resulting sales; I believe it is 15%. Now there’s a way to advertise and get more from the sale of your own published works!

Join networking sites -

JacketFlap is just AMAZING - free and THE best networking site around for anyone working in any aspect of children’s literature or just interested in children’s books! There is also Published Authors, free to join and growing daily. It has a branch devoted to networking for the smaller publishers which is also free to join via Published Authors [site moderator is Shelagh Watkins].

Marketing blogs -

Carol Denbow’s blog is well worth a visit - she regularly puts up all sorts of useful tips and tricks - even a ‘How to do it yourself free’ virtual book tour.

Cards, Calendars and MySoti

Kuchen - Cake Capers by Bernhard Oberdieck

Kuchen - Cake Capers by Bernhard Oberdieck

There is the ability to ‘ merchandise’ art with spin offs as posters, cards and calendars [ as Bernhard already does] and there is MySoti and other sites like it that allow artists to add their original artwork to T-shirts that MySoti then markets for them, paying them a monthly commission on sales.


Poster Poems/Micro Stories

This is an initiative I have developed in liaison with Pierre Lapointe and Marcus Riedner of Sharing Books (http://www.sharing-books.com/).

Many of you very talented illustrators have pictures or sketches which -

· you have done for your own enjoyment or

· you have the beginnings of picture books that did not get to publication for whatever reason, or

· illustrations that were not used in a particular project.

These works can be sold at online art auctions, sales sites. [I have noted that many of your do this.] But this need not be the end of their money spinning days!

Form a liaison with a writer [there are a wide variety on JacketFlap] and develop these unpublished illustrations/pictures into a Poem Poster or Micro Story Poster. The writer takes your work as the stimulus and creates something that works with it - something that can then be formatted and uploaded to Sharing Books as a downloadable poster. Your copyright is protected - it remains with you. One third of the proceeds from the poster are split between you and the writer. Check the site out. Marcus is readily available to answer any technical queries [he and Pierre are on JacketFlap].

The advantages are -

· Extra international exposure

· Some $$$s potential for a work that was not generating any income previously.

· A chance to show off a wider range of your skills [if you have concentrated on more serious topics, a humorous text will show the potential for your work to be used with this type of material.]

· You are also helping an extremely worthy cause - Room to Read (http://www.roomtoread.org/holidays.html) - an international not-for-profit organisation that provides literacy tuition and books to children in third world countries.

I have done this with numbers of illustrators in my Wacky Wordages on my WordPress blog (http://jrpoulter.wordpress.com/) . In liaison with the illustrators, I am now about to turn some of these into posters.

I’ll keep you ‘postered’ as to how it goes!!!!!!!!!

Sponsors

We all know that governments and commercial organisations sponsor arts festivals and writing communities in various ways, but how about sponsoring a specific arts project e.g., a picture book. Many ‘iconic’ artists like Norman Rockwell did commercial projects to bring in regular income. The Jim Carrey classic “The Truman Show” had sponsor’s products prominently displayed in the ‘live’ sets of a life lived in public. It is only one step further to feature a commercial product in a picture book, e.g., a character riding a particular brand of motorbike, or drinking Coca Cola. I know publishers and artists are often wary of commercial control of their product but let’s explore this potential!

Mentors and Patrons

Mentors are a more modern phenomenon whereby established artists/writers take an emerging talent under their wing. This works well. Let’s expand it!

How about revisiting the much older concept of “Patron“, not for ‘the arts’ broad spectrum, but for individual artists. This was the survival mode for many artists and writers of bygone centuries [see pp 156-157 in "Literature, Culture and Society" by Andre Milner]. Some folk are already doing just this. It would be interesting to know how successfully! Let’s explore a revival!


Comments welcome- let’s explore options!

      

10 Comments on Bernhard Oberdieck - Leading German illustrator, creator of children’s classics, last added: 12/26/2008
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9. Zoom! JacketFlap is MUCH faster now!

We've been hard at work for the last several weeks improving the software that powers JacketFlap. I don't know about you, but for me, the speed increase is incredible! Pages that took 10 - 20 seconds to load last week now load in less than a second. We have a bunch of new features that we'll be releasing shortly, but we want to be sure the overall site is as fast as possible first. Please leave a comment here if you run into a slow-loading pages or other problems, and we'll get them fixed ASAP.

Thanks!
Tracy

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10. Children's Choice Book Awards Widget

Children's Book Week is approaching, and a new feature of this year's Children's Book Week is a national child-selected book awards program called the Children's Choice Book Awards. Kids across the country can vote electronically online or in their school, library, or bookstore via paper ballot for the five favorite books published in 2007 in five categories - three grade categories: K-2, 3-4, 5-6 as well as Favorite Author, and Favorite Illustrator. The winner in each category will be named at a gala during Children's Book Week 2008 in New York City. You can see a list of the 25 finalists as well as information on voting at the following URL:
http://www.bookweekonline.com

To enhance the awareness of the awards, the Children's Book Council worked with JacketFlap to create a Children's Choice Book Awards Widget. The Widget displays a different finalist book every time it loads on a web site or blog, and there are links where people can click to vote for the Children's Choice Book Awards. You can get the Widget for your own blog or web site here:
http://www.jacketflap.com/widgets/widget.asp?widgetname=cbc1

In the past 24 hours, Publishers, authors, illustrators, librarians, and children's literature bloggers have been adding the widget to their blogs and web sites, effectively bringing the voting to the places where people learn about children's books. Below are some examples where you can see the widget live from the 40+ web sites that have installed the Children's Choice Book Awards Widget in the past 24 hours:

Publisher blog examples:
http://charlesbridge.blogspot.com/
http://kanemillerkidlit.blogspot.com/

Author blog examples:
http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com/
http://debloganwrites.blogspot.com/
http://umakrishnaswami.blogspot.com/
http://mpbarker.blogspot.com/

Illustrator blog examples:
http://dulemba.com/blogger.html

Librarian blog examples:
http://shelf-employed.blogspot.com/

Children's Literature blog examples:
http://cwim.blogspot.com/
http://thereadingtub.blogspot.com/
http://writingforchildrencenter.com/
http://scbwi-za-news.blogspot.com/

Robin Adelson and the team at the Children's Book Council have really done a great job with this year's Children's Book Week! Be sure to visit the web site at: http://www.bookweekonline.com

Tracy

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11. Wow! I made it! My post titled On The Left Hand ...

Wow! I made it!

My post titled On The Left Hand Side of Jacketflap is number three on jacketflap.com's, menu titled 'Most Commented Posts' In the past 7 days.

Besides the day my children were born, and the day they printed my name in the phone book, and the day I defeated Apollo Creed, this is the best day of my life!

I would like to thank all the little people, the streetlight people, the village people, and the confused people who don't realize that pizza is only pizza when you don't need a knife and fork to eat it, for helping make my dream come true (wipes tear from eye).

Ian Sands
http://www.ponywombat.com

2 Comments on Wow! I made it! My post titled On The Left Hand ..., last added: 5/9/2007
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12. Our site is on Jacketflap: Blog Reader

Jacketflap logo

Have you heard of Jacketflap.com? It has become the world’s largest and most comprehensive resource for information on the children’s book industry. Writers, illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, and publishers visit JacketFlap every day.

You’ll find the National Writing for Children Center at the JacketFlap Blog Reader

Thanks, Jacketflap!

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13. new JacketFlap Blogs List Page

Hi everyone! We've just released a major change to our Blogs list page that should make it much easier to explore the 475+ blogs in the public JacketFlap blog reader. Previously, the Blogs list page was a single long list of all of our blogs. Given the great response we had to our experimental "New Blogs on JacketFlap" emails, we've updated our Blogs list page to make it easy to sort and filter the list of blogs to find blogs that might interest you.

With this new release, you can check the new Blogs list page a few times a week. There you can now sort and filter the list of blogs on JacketFlap. Each blog listing comes complete with a short descriptions of the blog, a count of the number of JacketFlap members subscribing to that blog in their custom My JacketFlap Blog Reader, a list of the blog's categories, and an Add Link that you can use to Subscribe to the blog. You can choose how many blogs to display on each page of the list using the "# per page" pull-down menu:


Sorting

You can sort the Blogs list using the "Sort by" pull-down menu. The list can be sorted by Blog Name, Date Added, and # of Subscribers. You can use the Date Added sort to find blogs recently added to JacketFlap. Or you can use the # of Subscribers sort to find the blogs most subscribed to by JacketFlap's members.


Filtering

Another nice feature is the ability to filter the Blogs list by Category. For example, you can see just the Illustrator blogs changing the value in the "Category" pull-down menu. You can also combine sorting and filtering. So, for example, you can display the Illustrator blogs sorted by Date Added to find the most recent Illustrator blogs added to JacketFlap. Or, you could sort by # of Subscribers (as in the example to the right) to see the most popular Illustrator blogs.


Newly Added List and Top 10 Blogs Boxes

In the left-hand column of the Blogs list page, you'll see two new boxes that display lists of the Top 10 Blogs based on the # of Subscribers on JacketFlap and a list of Blogs added to JacketFlap in the past 7 Days.

I know, you're wondering, how do I get my blog in the Top 10? Besides having great content, our stats indicate that it doesn't hurt to have a Subscribe to this Blog on JacketFlap button displayed on your blog.


Please try out these new features & let us know any thoughts using the comments feature here on our blog. Following is a link to our Blogs list page:

http://www.jacketflap.com/megablog/myfeeds.asp

Tracy

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14. Children's Picturebook Collecting-blog

I just found Children's Picturebook Collecting blog today through the Jacketflap blog. Lots of great links and info on both.

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15. Who's that blogging about me?


We just added a feature to our JacketFlap profile pages that I like quite a bit. You will notice a new "Recent Blog Posts" box in the right-side of every JacketFlap profile page. It lists the 10 most recent blog posts from the kitlitosphere mentioning the person whose profile you are viewing.

On the right you'll see an example of the Recent Blog Posts box from my JacketFlap profile page. It takes a few seconds to search through the 100,000+ posts archived in our reader, and you'll see a cute little wheel spinning until the box loads. You can then click on the titles of the posts to read any that interest you.

Let me know what you think here in the comments!

Tracy

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16. What are your JacketFlap Friends up to?

Hi everyone!

I had a fantastic time meeting so many of you this weekend at the SCBWI conference. I'll write up a separate post about that shortly. Right now, I want to tell you about a new feature that I absolutely love - My JacketFlap Updates. There's so much going on in the Kitlitosphere, and I always feel like it's impossible to keep on top of everything. With a single click, you can now see everything that your JacketFlap Friends have been up to lately. This includes:

  • Updates to your Friends' JacketFlap Profile pages
  • Your Friends' new blog posts
  • Blogs your Friends have subscribed to in the Blog Reader
  • People your Friends have Friended
  • Comments your Friends have left on other people's Profile pages
  • Pictures your Friends have added to their Picture galleries
  • Books your Friends have added to their Bookshelf
  • Book Discussions your Friends are participating in (more on that in another post)
Below is a screenshot of a few of the recent updates on my own My Updates page:
In each line, there is a description of the update followed by short summaries for things like blog posts and comments, and you can click the links in each summary to view the entire post, comments, and other changes.

You can see how many updates are waiting for you by looking at the new "My JacketFlap Updates" indicator in the toolbar at the top of every page on JacketFlap:


Clicking on My JacketFlap Updates will take you to your own My Updates page. The number in the parenthesis indicates the number of new updates since you last visited JacketFlap, and the number changes in real time, so you can see instantly if there are new updates while you are browsing JacketFlap.

When you are on your My Updates page, you can change the time period of the updates displayed by using the "Since" pull-down menu in the top of your My Updates section. I like looking at updates in the Past week to be sure I haven't missed anything.

In addition to letting you see the updates from all your Friends, there is now a version of the Updates page as part of every member's Profile page. This version lets you see all of the updates for just that member, and you can get there by clicking the Updates tab at the top of any member's Profile:
Finally, we have also added a Blog Reader Updates box in the right column of your My Updates page. You can see a screenshot showing the Blog Reader Updates box on my own My Updates page to the right.

I love this, because it shows me a quick summary of Updates to my own blog, the blogs I have subscribed to in My JacketFlap, as well as all of the blogs in our public Blog Reader list (492 at the moment!).

You can click on any of the links in the box to see just those posts or comments. This is really nice, because you can also use the "Since" pull-down menu at the top of the box to change the time period. This can help ensure you haven't missed any important posts. You can also keep up with posts that have new comments.

If you have a blog in our Blog Reader, you will see the statistics for your blog at the top of the Blog Reader Updates box.

I know this has been a long post, and you probably have lots of questions and ideas. Please don't be shy! Post your thoughts here in our comments section.

I hope this helps you keep up with all of the great things happening in the Kitlitosphere as much as it's helped me!

Best,
Tracy

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17. Jacketflap has a new Bookshelf Feature

Jacketflap.com has a new Bookshelf feature, where you can add a list of your favorite books, or books you've read. They've even made it easier by allowing you to import lists from LibraryThing and Shelfari and other places. I added my Shelfari list on mine. (It's not in the same order as it is on Shelfari for some reason.) I love online bookshelves. I've found some of the best books recently by perusing other people's online shelves, recommendations and lists. I've also met some amazing people through the lists and groups on the groups.

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18. Pirate Day, congratulations to Wendy Mass and Carrie Jones

Pirate Day!

September 19th is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. I searched for Pirate Day in JacketFlap's blog reader, and I saw that the wonderful & talented Elizabeth O. Dulemba has graciously posted a pirate-themed coloring book page for all to download and color in her fabulous style. My kids will now have an after-school activity to do. Thanks Elizabeth!

And speaking of Pirate Day, I was browsing JacketFlap's Newly Published books section, and I noticed that Eloise's Pirate Adventure was published yesterday (Sept. 18th) by Aladdin Paperbacks. Great timing!

Congratulations to our members!

I'd like to send a big congratulations today to two JacketFlap members. Wendy Mass, author of such fabulous books as Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life and A Mango-Shaped Space emailed to say that her new book Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall is now available, written for seventh graders and up.


Also congratulations to Carrie Jones who sold two books to Bloomsbury. The first book is called NEED. Read her Super Great News post for the details. Great job!


Book Stores in the news

Jessica Stockton of The Written Nerd blog did a great job of summing up some recent news articles regarding independent book stores versus the big chains. It is quite interesting to take note that while big chains like Barnes and Nobles are closing shops the independent ma & pa shops might be making a come-back. Read her post here.


New Member Welcome

I always get a kick out of checking JacketFlap's New Members page to see the faces of the people that just joined the site. From time to time, I'm going to introduce some of our new members here in my blog. I'd like everyone to join me today in welcoming Marjorie van Heerden. Since the publication of her first children’s picture book in 1983 Marjorie has written and/or illustrated more than 80 children’s books and has been published in 33 languages in Africa, England, Europe, Canada and the USA. She was born in South Africa, lived in Stellenbosch near Cape Town for 20 years, in Linden, Johannesburg for a decade, travelled for eighteen months on honeymoon in a camper van around Europe, lived for a year on the banks of Lake Michigan in the USA and for four years in a forest on a mountain north of Athens in Greece. Now her studio overlooks False Bay, once again near Cape Town, South Africa. Please leave a comment on Marjorie's profile page to welcome her to JacketFlap!

Tracy

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19. Tracy Grand interview in WOW! magazine

The amazing Angela Mackintosh has posted an interview with me about JacketFlap in her WOW! e-zine . I am very flattered! Click here to read the interview.

WOW! is a global magazine, designed to support women's creativity, energy, blood, sweat and tears, throughout all stages of the writing process. WOW!'s concept is unique, as it fills in the missing gap between writing websites and women's magazines. Thanks Angela!

Tracy

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20. 150. To JacketFlap Readers

I received an e-mail today that my blog is now featured on JacketFlap. I signed up for that months ago when I was doing a lot more with the "writing" part of Saipan Writer and less with the Saipan part. With election season and interesting local issues in the forefront here, I've all but forgotten the writer part of my blog duties!

But I just finished reading a mid-grade novel, RICKSHAW GIRL by Mitali Perkins and will be reviewing it in my monthly book review column.

And NEXT MONTH is NANOWRIMO! That's national novel writing month--a crazy time when you crank out a 50,000+ word novel in just 30 days.

This will be my third year participating in NaNoWriMo. Joe Race is planning on joining again this year. We both finished last year, as others fell by the wayside, left eating our dust! If anyone else in Saipan is interested, let me know. Last year, we held weekly write-ins and it worked well.

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21. Jacket Flap, Cybils, Widget

Wow!

JacketFlap (a one stop place for resources about children's lit) has been a great supporter of the Cybils, and look what they did: see that cool widget on the sidebar?

Yes. Tracy at Jacket Flap not only did it, but here is the page with the code that makes it easy to not only make, but, if you're on Blogspot (like me), super easy to put into your template.

Cybils have closed, and at some point I'll do some posts of the books that have been nominated.

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22. JacketFlap.com Signs CatDog Creator Peter Hannan for Weekly Cartoon about Children's Book Publishing

Hi everyone!

I wanted to share some exciting news with you. We've signed CatDog creator Peter Hannan to create a weekly cartoon on JacketFlap about Children's Book Publishing. The cartoon, "Joe Hemingmouse", will follow the trials and tribulations of a mouse aspiring to be a children's book writer and illustrator. The first cartoon is live on JacketFlap's home page now:

http://www.jacketflap.com

As you may already know, Peter created and executive produced the popular Nickelodeon animated television series CatDog and is the author and illustrator of Super Goofballs, a series of illustrated chapter books from HarperCollins. He has long wanted to write a regular cartoon about the life of a writer/illustrator. Here's what Peter said about why he's working with us on this cartoon - "After working in television with a big crew and bigger hysterics, writing and illustrating children's books is a refreshing change of pace. However, the independence can sometimes feel curiously like solitary confinement. Any creative endeavor is a series of setbacks and successes, and it's crucial to keep one's sense of humor. Luckily, I've always found my foibles, and those of friends and colleagues, funny."

Please take a look at Joe Hemingmouse, and use the discussion link below the cartoon to let us know what you think!

Tracy

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23. Joe Hemingmouse


Joe Hemingmouse, created for JacketFlap by Peter Hannan.

Joe Hemingmouse

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24. Award winning JacketFlap members and new Joe Hemingmouse

What a great way to start the week!

New Joe Hemingmouse

As many of you know, our new Joe Hemingmouse cartoon by Peter Hannan is updated every Monday, and this week's cartoon is to the right.

As always, you can click the link below this week's cartoon on our home page to leave a comment and read comments from other members.

If you missed last week's debut cartoon, you can still see and comment about it.

Awards

I've been busily reading posts in our blog reader about the ALA (American Library Association) award winners, which were announced yesterday. Please join me in congratulating two JacketFlap members for their award winning books:

Tracie Vaughn Zimmer is the winner of a Schneider Family Book Award for Reaching for Sun!


You can leave a comment on Tracie's JacketFlap profile to congratulate her.






And, Yuyi Morales received the Pura Belpre Illustrator Award for Los Gatos Black on Halloween.

You can leave a comment on Yuyi's JacketFlap profile to congratulate her.






Congratulations to Tracie, Yuyi, and all the other winners!

Tracy

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25. Steal this widget!!!



I'll have more thievery for you all later, but in the meantime I wanted to make sure that everyone took note of our awesome WIDGET (off to the right, down a little, in the sidebar-- that box with a book cover insode it)!

Made for us by the good folks at Jacketflap (thanks, Tracy!), the 2k8 widget can be easily customized to match the color scheme of your blog, and it only takes a few seconds to add to your Livejournal or Blogger or Wordpress page (or whatever you use).

The books will rotate and show off all our awesome covers, and hopefully lead people to our website when they click on the link!

So go on, don't think twice about it, steal a widget yourself. Show that you love and support the Class of 2k8 and our crazy hairbrained marketing eforts.

Get one today!

Pretty please?

(and to think that a few weeks ago we didn't even know what a widget was!)

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