The nomination window is October 1 to October 15. You'll find the nominations rules here. Thanks for sending the BEST books our way!
The CYBILS Awards category announcements have been posted. Check out the detailed description of the picture book category here and other genres here. Get your nominations ready... We are gearing up to read like mad!
The nomination window is October 1 to October 15. You'll find the nominations rules here. Thanks for sending the BEST books our way!
You’ve taken the first day of school pictures, posted them on Facebook, and sent the kids back to school, backpacks and all. YAY! Some of you are rushing off to work yourselves. Then there are others, like me, who are working from home. We all have our own sets of challenges.
Personally, I struggle with the early morning wake-up call. When I #dragmybuttouttabed at 5:00 a.m., I’m not quite ready to tackle any goals. I put on my parent hat and slurp my cup of coffee while barking out reminders to my three drowsy children. After delivering them to three different schools, it takes every part of my being to resist the urge to go back to sleep. Enter the schedule. I know, I know…a schedule alone could send you back to your dreamy soft pillow. We’re taking baby steps here people. It all starts with knowing what you need and want to do, so we might as well go through some scheduling motions.
Read the rest HERE on Writer's Rumpus. (I promise you three easy to use ideas!)
It's no secret that I love picture books. In fact, I've gone as far as saying I'm addicted to picture books. Someone over at the CYBILS panel must believe that about me because I've been selected to be on the Round 1 picture book judging panel! After celebrating quietly for several days, it feels great to SHOUT IT OUT LOUD! I'M A CYBILS JUDGE!
Have you read some great picture books this year? Super! Get ready to nominate! Or maybe you love early readers, chapter books, middle grade or young adult novels? Nominations open on October 1, and you'll want to keep me busy reading, right? You've got until October 15th to nominate, so it's time to reevaluate the past year. Hmmm... what were my favorites again? You'll find nomination guidelines here.
Keep the CYBILS mission in mind:
"We aim to recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal."
Our picture book panel is headed by the amazing Pam Coughlin of Mother Reader and KidLitoSphere.
Round One Panelists
Travis Jonker of 100 Scope Notes
Teri Lesesne of Goddess of YA
Carol Munro of Just Write Words
Kristen Remenar of Kristen Remenar
Jen Robinson of Jen's Robinson's Book Page
Jennifer Wharton of Jean Little Library
Carrie Brown of Carrie On...Together!
Round Two Panelists
Myra Bacsal of Gathering Books
Julie Larios of Books Around the Table
Dawn Mooney of 5 Minutes for Books
Jennifer Reed of Reederama
Julie Rowan-Zoch of Julie Rowan-Zoch
I am honored to be part of this group and look forward to reading to my heart's content. And maybe even more. HA!
To see all of the panelist announcements for every category of the CYBILS, go here.
Our very first guest on THINK QUICK did a whole lot more than quick thinking with her newest picture book,
My Love for You is the Sun. It took one vast world and a lifetime of loving to fill these pages with nurturing. As unconditional love has been part of Julie's life from the first moment of being, she deemed it important for others to have the same.
Congrats on the release of My Love For You is The Sun, Julie, and welcome to THINK QUICK. All of the themes below appear in your book. Let’s see which way you lean. Remember: THINK QUICK!
Soft pillow or fluffy blankie?
Rain or shine?
Shine - that's why I live in Colorado.
Day or night?
Night - because of its mystical qualities
Cold or hot climate?
Both - I MUST have seasons!
Mommy Hugs or kisses?
Hugs - because they last longer
Koala or Kitty?
Koala - because I've never seen one
Ocean or Forest?
This is like asking a mother to choose her favorite child, but if forced to choose, it would have to be forest because forest is my childhood.
My Love For You is the Sun or My Love For You is the Sun? Why?
My Love For You is the Sun - because the sun is the life-giving force to the earth, same as parents are to their children.
Thanks for giving us a quick look into your thoughts, Julie!
Unconditional Love Streams Through this Book and Into Your Heart
By Carrie Brown on September 9, 2014
Young children need reassurance that we will still be "with" them wherever they venture. The beautiful language in this book offers sweet affirmations that focus on positive relationships between adults and children. The illustrations encourage free expression with gorgeous sculpted clay nature scenes. Every child loves animals and will relate to the snuggles between koalas, horses, racoons, and more. My Love For You is the Sun is the perfect book for an expectant mother to read to her little peanut, a far-away grandparent to send to their grandchild, or a daddy to read to his toddler every night before bed...at least 5 times or more. Unconditional love streams through this book and into your heart.
Julie Hedlund is an award-winning children's book author, founder of the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge, blogger, and a regular speaker at industry events.
Her picture book, A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS, Little Bahalia Publishing, 2013, first published as an interactive storybook app, was the recipient of the 2014 Independent Book Publisher's Association Benjamin Franklin Digital Gold Award. Her storybook app, A SHIVER OF SHARKS, Little Bahalia Publishing, 2013, was a 2014 Digital Book Award winner. Her latest book, MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN, released in September 2014 from Little Bahalia, celebrates parental love and features the stunning hand-sculpted clay illustrations of artist Susan Eaddy.
I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with today’s Mystery Author as a fellow North Texas SCBWI Chapter Member during the last two years. As a two-time self-published author, she encompasses first-hand knowledge of this topic we have yet to explore. After publishing a picture book, she recently celebrated the birth of her first young adult novel, Moon Tears.
Welcome, Muffet! Before we get into your self-publishing journey, please tell us a little about your new historical fiction young adult novel.
First, thank you so much, Carrie, for featuring me as your September Mystery Author! I’m thrilled to be here!
Moon Tears was truly written from the heart. My fascination with World War II stories began in childhood when I listened for hours to my great-uncle’s tales of parachuting into Normandy. Many years later, I met my cousin, Lou, and discovered an entirely new set of stories about the war. She transported me to a different time—a different world—filled with people that did what had to be done in order to survive. Her fortitude, strength, and moxie inspired me, and I wanted to share this amazing woman’s story with the world. In Moon Tears, I wove a fictional plot line around true events that actually happened to her.
When did you begin your journey as a writer?
Life has taken me on many paths, from MBA to financial analyst to professional photographer to writer. At gallery shows, I noticed kids pulling their parents toward images that captured the subtle humor in nature. They asked questions, and I told them stories. That’s when it hit me—I loved seeing kids find joy through my work. Three or four years ago I began telling stories through picture books, and then I met Lou and found myself writing a novel.
Why did you choose the self-publication path over traditional publication?
I started out the traditional way—submitting to agents and editors. It’s a long process, so while I waited, I looked into the expanding world of self-publishing. I wasn’t upset when rejections started rolling in—that's just part of our journey as writers. (Even Dr. Suess and J.K. Rowling can relate!) However, my mom passed away in December after battling a terminal illness, and it hit me that life can be way too short. I decided I didn’t want to wait years to work through the traditional route, and self-pub provided me the perfect alternative.
I have heard many publishing professionals (agents, editors) speak of the self-publishing path as a career long commitment. Do you agree?
This question begs the answer, “It depends.” At the New York SCBWI conference this year, I was motivated by a speaker who began with self-publishing. When she reached a certain sales level, she signed with an interested publisher. Her goal was to find more time to write, and she felt that signing with a large house would afford her that time. So it doesn’t have to be a career long commitment. But there are other authors who do so well selling on their own that they forego contracts with big houses. I have learned “never to say never.” In fact, I have several manuscripts I continue submitting to agents and editors. For now, I publish my books through the publishing company I created, Ten Story Books, LLC. Currently I am helping one of my critique partners publish his novel, Lucky Rocks. I’m not accepting submissions yet, but as I said, never say never!
Do you feel self-publishing offers you a freedom of sorts?
Yes and no. Yes, because you have full control over every single detail. And no, because you have full control over every single detail! You have the freedom to publish your work exactly how you want, but you also become acting editor, art director, marketing department, and publisher.
Did you utilize a professional editor or critique service before making final revisions? How about any other professional services that were helpful?
Definitely! I know my limits! I hired a professional editor who tightened up my content and grammar. I also hired designer Nathan Reinhardt who did a bang-up job creating the cover I had envisioned for Moon Tears. His design gives the book the professional look I was hoping for. I couldn’t be happier with his work!
How did you decide which companies to work with?
My top priority was providing my readers with the highest quality books possible. I looked at numerous samples for print quality, how quickly books are made available, and related costs. I chose CreateSpace for paperbacks and Kindle Direct Publishing for eBooks . My books look and feel great, the turnaround time was workable, and best of all, there was no monetary outlay—only my time and effort.
Has the young adult publication process been any different than that of your picture books?
You bet. As you know, novels are text-heavy, and Word usually suffices. But my picture book, Miss Muffet & Bitsy, is heavy on artwork. Up until recently, it was difficult to upload picture books to an eBook platform, but Kindle Comic Creator arrived on the scene a few months ago and made art-intensive books do-able for non-techies like me!
What steps do you recommend most to writers who would like to head down this path?
Be sure to file your copyright—you need to protect your baby! And outline your marketing plan before you have your book available online. Determine what sales outlets you want to pursue and research their requirements.
What steps should a writer avoid for a successful self-pub journey?
Don’t skip ordering a proof copy just to get your book out sooner. It’s up to you to make sure no errors occurred in the file conversions. And although I know it’s tempting, don’t just throw a cover on your masterpiece—make your cover fabulous and make sure when you shrink it down, it looks good in thumbnail size for those smartphones and tablets. Nathan did a wonderful job with this.
The cover of Moon Tears is gorgeous. Now for a fun question: What is your writing environment like?
Thank you! As for my writing environment, think “sand, surf and stories!” Beach artwork and the latest picture book storyboards cover my office walls. My favorite toys and books line the shelves, and in the middle of it all is a huge hammock—my favorite “thinking place.” I knew I had it made when my nephew came in one day and said, “This is what I want my office to look like!”
I love the idea of a hammock! Although, if it were in mine, I think I would be tempted to procrastinate. Thanks for letting us peek into your process, Muffet. You’ve provided a great springboard for others!
Muffet is giving away a copy of Moon Tears! Leaving a comment below enters you in our drawing. Don't forget to use the Rafflecopter link after commenting, and gain a few bonus entries by sharing elsewhere.
Our own Erik Weibel, resident contributor to our Summer Book Clubs, has also been down the self-publishing road. At the age of eleven, he published his first book: The Adventures of Tomato and Pea, Book One: A Bad Idea. Weigh in with Erik in the comments below, and we'll give away his book, too!
Muffet Frische is a writer, publisher, award-winning photographer, and travel buff, having been to all fifty states and around the world. She loves escaping to the ocean, sneaking as much chocolate as she can, curling up with a good book, and getting lost in the Smithsonian.
Visit Muffet at her blog, Facebook, Twitter: Muffet and Ten Story Books, and Pinterest.
Carrie Charley Brown
As a children’s writer, and a teacher, my goal is to help you carry on. Sometimes learning is challenging, so why go it alone? Your journey will be more meaningful and comfortable with friends to share it with. Together, we'll get up close and personal with authors, illustrators, and the best of picture books. If we work together, great things will follow!