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!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sweet Surrender

Bits 'n' Bobs for Beginners:

Recently, I was asked to offer some advice for illustrators and/or authors, for a column soon to appear in an online magazine called Once Upon a Time. The column: "Releasing the Artist Within" is written by illustrator Linda T. Snider Ward, a member of SCBWI, whom I met at the conference in LA back in 2006. We've had a few new members join HCCWG lately, so I thought it would be nice to share my 7 Tidbits here, too. I hope you find them useful.

1. Become a member of SCBWI. THEE organization that opens many doors of opportunities on a variety of levels. Having access to local, national and international events brings you one step closer to an otherwise unheard of editor or art director. Join local organizations, too, like HCCWG — if you can't find one in your neighborhood, start your own, right Sheri?

2. Research! You need to have some understanding of the basics, not just how to create a children's portfolio, or write a story that is polished and ready for submission, but to also know what's happening within the industry. Forget trends, as such, I'm talking about learning which publishers create what type of books. Know that the larger publishing houses comprise of many imprints— each specializing in its own genre(s); know that the smaller houses can sometimes be more accessible to newbies; know that you can't send a picture book dummy to any Tom, Dick and Harry, just to get it 'out there' — be selective, know your publisher. Which brings me to number …

3. How do I know which publisher to submit to? That's easy and a fun process. Head off to your local library and visit bookstores. Take an hour at a time by yourself and thumb through the shelves. Start to notice which books you are attracted to and why — does the work contained in the book resonate with the way you work (probably). Create a pile of about 20 books, then go back through them and really 'look' at them. Consider layout, composition, color, style, texture and content matter. Pick out your ten favorites based on these things and with those ten books, turn to each copyright page. Who published those books? (Aim to make research like this a regular activity, like, once a month)

4. Make a list of the publishers, and note any particular names, either of editors, art directors or designers. Keep that list and start working on some promotional pieces, with your Web site and body of work to show off to the world, you can start to reach out to the people on your list. And don't forget, flattery goes along way — if there is a book your particularly loved, mention it and tell them WHY you loved it!

5. Make sure you are professional and present your work in the same way. Show that you can draw, show that you have done your research, show that you know how to write, revise and polish your work to the best it can be before submission.

6. Always remain open, courteous, willing and enthusiastic.

7. Despite all the competitiveness, research and hard work, that may take years to build, always, always keep it fun. Learn to love what you do, do it with passion, love your style and believe. How can you expect others to believe in you if you don't believe in yourself first?


Sheri said...

Leeza, Well done. I couldn't agree with you more.

Sheri said...

OH and I love your froggy and your mouse. Thanks for bringing some art to our blog as well!