Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Seasonal News and Current Market Trends from the Sunshine State

A content explosion - is how Rubin Pfeffer, partner at East West Literary Agency, former president and publisher of Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich, and a leading speaker at the recent Florida SCBWI conference in Miami, described the current world of children's publishing - digital books, hard print and self publishing. E books are at about to surpass print books and are at about 50% of new publications. By the end of 2013, it is estimated that
65% of American children will have access to or own a digital reader.

Wow! ipads, nooks, droids, and kobos...and cell phones.

Mr. Pfeffer suggests that new technology creates new content... and this is good for writers.

Another lead speaker, famed children's writer Bruce Coville, (MY TEACHER IS AN ALIEN), pumped up the crowd with his topic,
"Ripples in the Pond and Why What We Do Matters." Don't be afraid to write, branch out and extend yourself. Expose yourself in your writing. Let it flow.

Writers from Florida and around the country heard from agents, editors, and great authors including Ellen Hopkins, (CRANK), and Toni Buzzeo (STAY CLOSE TO YOUR MAMA). Toni related how she arrived home from a meeting and announced that a writer friend had her own writing cottage - and her husband built her one! Well, her writing cottage in Maine is fabulous but we don't need a cottage - we need to focus on craft, learning craft, skill and persistence.

I drove home across Alligator Alley plotting my year's writing schedule, hopefully with renewed focus, craft and persistence. 

Read more!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Drive Past the Predictable

Here's some good advice:  keep your plot unpredictable.  While that's easy to say, it's not so easy to do. 

I picked up a great tip on this challenge recently:  use your critique partners, not just for review, but for breaking through those tough plot bottlenecks.  

Try this exercise:  set the stage (your MC had a huge fight with her best friend), and ask your critique partners what might happen. 

Wait for the first answer (she storms off and refuses to talk?) and avoid this at all costs: the predictable plot. 

Read more!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Triumph Times Two!!

The Paper Waiters ended 2012 with a joyful bang - book contracts for Robin and Brianna! Their celebratory posts were delightful reading. Full of !!!!!.

Such stunning good news deserves a back story. Now that the confetti has been swept away, the band has packed up, and the fireworks are ash,  I'd like to ask Robin and Brianna a few questions.

Read more!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

“Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning. ” ― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Peter Pan Illustration by Kathleen Atkins

How do you enter the magical world of your young readers?

To get into the right mindset, I think back to how I felt as a child. I also get lots of ideas from my students (I teach elementary art).

But how do you tap into that world if you don’t interact with children on a daily basis?

Read more!

Friday, January 4, 2013


Writers, hang on to your scribbles! Your shopping list may one day be worth a small fortune...to someone, if not you. Yesterday (January 3, 2013) the Wall Street Journal reported that there are people who deal in writers' memorabilia, and it doesn't even have to be memorable. In addition to marked up manuscripts, legal pads, notebooks and tax returns all qualilfy. Sadly, most writers operate digitally these days, reducing the number of scratched out story lines stored in attic boxes. So it might be well to keep some handwritten notes on your work and mark them "Do not discard." Your great grandchildren might actually benefit from what your children may once have tossed in the dumpster.

Read more!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year! New Book!!

Happy New Year, Paper Waiters! I am so excited to be starting off the new year with some good news... some VERY good news! My picture book, Mystery at the Miss Dinosaur Pageant has been... acquired by Caroline Abbey of Bloomsbury Children's Books!! Yay!!!!

I am so excited I finally get to share my good news. This fun and wacky picture book is near and dear to my heart and I would like to extend a huge thank my awesome Paper Wait critique group for guiding me through revisions (and for believing in it when they first saw an early draft!). And a huge thank you to my awesome agent, Teresa Kietlinski, for believing in this story and helping it to find the right editor!

So please help me celebrate! Take a piece of cake, a scoop of ice cream and join the party!

Can't wait to celebrate lots more good news for all the wonderful Paper Waiters in 2013!

Read more!