February's Inspirational Quote

"One Hour at a Time"
~ Laurie Wallmark.

Dear Laurie,
You might not recall saying this and perhaps I won't remember the specifics but you are our inspiration for the rest of February and maybe even March.

You and I were on the phone and talking about how hard it is to write a novel and as usual I was whining and feeling sorry for my long-a$$ journey. And you told me about how you were working and how busy you were so you wrote your novel one hour at a time. Astounded I said, "You wrote your novel one hour at a time?" And you said, "Yup." And I thought, "Wow... ... ..."

Often times we think we need - or I think I need - huge chunks of time set aside so I can write. Do you do that too? What if we gave ourselves one hour of each day? If it turns into two, well then fine, but if not, at least you still had your One Hour at a Time. So that is the motto of the month, thanks to ours truly, Laurie Wallmark.

We love you, Laurie!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Always be Prepared

As a picture book enthusiast, hearing rumors that PBs are still dead and the market is abysmal, is hard to hear. Arthur A. Levine — who thinks that's a load of codswollop — gives me hope.

I've blogged about a discussion held on the future of picture books at the SCBWI conference a couple of weeks ago. And while I hear it's a tough, tough, tough sell, I refuse to give up my dream of becoming a successful PB illustrator/author.

The other rumor, not so widely spread, is the surge in boardbook sales at the moment — well, hulloooo? You know what that means, right? A couple of years from now, those BB readers will become PB readers. (Imagine this moment where the clouds part and trumpets flare!!!!) Ta-dahh!

I see this as positively wonderful, good news!

Seeing as it takes about 18 months to two years to take a book from acquisition to release, NOW is the time to be polishing my manuscripts, and finishing up my dummies. And I'm not talking just one — if I have it in me, my aim (by the end of 2008) is to finish up the six book projects I have sitting on my shelf. It's the year of the submission!

When I was a wee young thing, I was in the Brownies. A successful Brownie's motto was: "Always be Prepared."

I want to be right in there with the editors armed and ready. Should they reject one of my books, well, hey "I have five others … wanna take a look?"

My view is that I need to stay on top of the market. Knowing that there are picture books still being created, and that the lists are not as extensive, means publishers are being much more picky, that's all. Which brings me to the reason for this post. I cannot stress the importance of research. I hear it all the time: "Know your market, be aware of what's out there and what's already been done." As well as: "Find your fit, know how to write well, be original, be creative ... be the best you can be."

It's an overwhelming task to stay on top of it all. But I like to think I try and I pay attention. Every now and again I stumble across a blog or a Web site that I bookmark, because I feel the information or inspiration that it has to offer, can help bring me one step closer to my personal goals.

Here's two links that I recently bookmarked. One is through the School Library Journal (which we should ALL be aware of ALL of the time), New York Public Library's very own Betsy Bird blogs about all aspects of children's literarture including news, reviews, events and more and the other is Sara O'Leary's blog: 123Olearyshe offers a big emphasis on Picture Books, including reviews as well as tips on writing.

So go, be prepared, get those books in order ready for submission. The time is now my friends, the time is now!


Sheri said...

Hello there. I am taking a brief break from all the reading/critiquing I am doing for Sunday's NJ SCBWI workshop, so I thought I'd check in...

Hearing about 6 PB's being done in a year makes me jealous of PB writers. As a novel writer, I am lucky to have one finished, awesome draft in a year! It is such a slower process. Argh!

Great posting Leeza and I can't wait to check out your two links as soon as I am out from under this pile of manuscripts...

Patricia said...

Hi Leeza,

Love your encouraging blog. I'm with you ... I prefer to think positively about getting published and do not (most of the time) listen to anything that could make me feel negative. I have five stories which I want to refine. I'm hoping to send my best to the June conference and the Rutger's One-on-One.