Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 16, 2022

Amber Brown Award

Amber Brown Grant

Do you know a school who could benefit from receiving a all-expense paid visit from a well-respected children’s author or illustrator, along with $250 stipend to make it memorable and $250 worth of books by author/illustrator?

Well, now if the time to be a hero and talk to that school principle to see if they would be interested in this grant. You do not have to be an SCBWI member, but the principle will need to write a statement of support to apply. The deadline is April 15th

The Amber Brown Grant commemorates author and beloved school speaker, Paula Danziger.  One school is awarded each year with an author or illustrator visit and new books to continue Paula’s love of connecting children with creative influences.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES 
  • Any school can apply. You do not need to be a member to nominate a school.
  • Applications must be filled out entirely and can only be submitted from November 1 – April 15.
  • A statement of support from the nominated school’s principal.
  • The winning school will be determined by an SCBWI committee and will be published in the SCBWI BUlletin and on the website, blog, and social platforms.
  • One school will receive an all-expense-paid visit by a well-respected children’s author or illustrator. The chosen school will also receive a $250 stipend to create a memorable day and $250 worth of books by the visiting author/illustrator.
  • Email applications to Kim Turrisi at: kimturrisi@scbwi.org.

Download the Amber Brown Grant application form HERE.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 15, 2022

Illustrator Saturday – Tara Anand

Tara Anand is an illustrator and visual artist from Bombay, India.

She is currently pursuing a BFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Her work tends to draw from books, history and her surroundings and she enjoys working with female-driven narratives. She has worked primarily on editorial and children’s book projects.

The New Yorker | Google India | Bitch Media | Bloomsbury Publishing UK | Scholastic | Harpers Bazaar India | Vogue India | The Indian Film Festival LA

HERE IS TARA DISCUSSING HER PROCESS:

I start with a very rough black and white outline of the general idea, I don’t really have a lot figured out at this stage in terms of looks.

Then I flesh out the shapes a little better and pick some colours. At this stage for this illustration, I had no idea what I wanted the center to be and thought it would be the focal point of the illustration.

I eventually make the center blank and focus on painting the forms of the books over the lineart. This is digital but I work almost the same as I would in gouache, no layers just painting each form individually. Ii also start playing with adding some fun details to the spines of the books.

The detail on the spine ends up making the books so lush that I decide the center has to be something that’s simple and doesn’t detract from them.

I eventually decide on this starry background with a planet just to light the scene a little.

BELOW IS MY INTERVIEW WITH TARA:

How long have you been illustrating?

I’ve been drawing and painting since I was very young but I think I only started understanding and working towards “illustration” as an idea around highschool (9th or 10th grade)

What and when was the first piece of art you created for money?

When I was very young my mother was a designer for a medical magazine in India that ran a column about problematic children that they wanted to be illustrated by a child. I remember doing a few “spots” in felt pen and eventually getting a cheque in the mail for 500 Rupees.

What made you move from Bombay, India to the US?

I was always interested in studying art in New York because of the access to a flourishing industry and resources like the museums and galleries. I eventually moved to attend SVA!

What made you decide to pursue your BFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York?

Artists whose work I would admire in bookstores and on the internet were teaching there. I loved the idea of learning from people engaged in successful creative careers of their own. I visited SVA the summer before I applied and it was evident to me how much they knew about the discipline and cared about it.

Were you doing freelance art before starting your degree?

I was doing a little bit of freelancing here and there for magazines in India before I moved. I had to take a year off for health reasons in just my second semester at SVA and that was when I really had the opportunity to freelance while I was recovering at home in India.

Do you have any favorite classes?

I’ve taken many classes with Zohar Lazar at SVA and all of them have provided me with invaluable guidance. I just come away from each session really fired up about my work (and other people’s too!).

What made you decide to want to illustrate children’s books?

I’ve always loved books, and they were my first encounter with illustration so I’ve always wanted to illustrate stories.

Does SVA help you find illustrating work while attending school or after you graduate?

In my experience, SVA teachers make themselves available as resources whenever and are the best people to ask for recommendations. SVA itself has a career department that has a job board and the department shows are meant to put your work in front of the right eyeballs so all the moving parts are there really but one does have to learn to make use of them.

What type of art did you do when you first started your career?

I would say I am at the start of my career so what I’m making now!

Do you plan on moving back to India?

I am curious about spending time and working in America after I graduate but eventually I think being near people and places I love is important to me so yes!

You are a very accomplished artist. How did you develop your skills?

Thank you! School has really helped propel my development but I think its just a matter of making a lot of work and trying to develop good taste and a good eye to look at / critique your work with. Putting my work up online also helped to see how things I was doing were being received and allowed for feedback.

When did you become a freelance artist?

I freelanced a little before college, my visa does not allow me to work while I am studying at SVA in the States but when I took time off SVA I worked with a few Indian companies and then when I had to move back for the pandemic, I was able to do so again!

Do you exhibit your art? If so, has it helped you get work?

I have not had the opportunity to exhibit in a substantial way yet

What type of things do you do or have you done to market yourself and your talent?

Maintaining an online presence is the number one thing that has worked for me. However, this isn’t a passive thing, it involves engaging with other artists, art directors, looking for opportunities and reaching out to people who I wanted to work with!

Was Warrior Women, the first picture book you wrote and illustrated?

Yes!

How did Warrior Women find a home at Tulika Publishers?

In 2016 I did a series of illustrations about Warrior queens in Indian history that made the rounds on the internet and then eventually won an award from the Indian Government. Tulika reached out to me after hearing of the series of illustrations through the press about the award and asked if I would be interested in turning it into a book.

What inspired you to write and Illustrate Warrior Women?

I was at summer school in Chicago and listening to my classmates talk about figures like Joan of Arc and Catherine the Great from their own cultures, largely western and I found I could only contribute a couple of names. When I went home I started doing some research that eventually became the source material for the book.

 

How did you connect with The Cat Agency and how long have you been represented you?

The summer before my senior year at SVA I was doing a lot of portfolio reviews as I saw them being offered online with Art directors/agents etc. I happened to sign up to one with Chad and he was very interested in my work! We went back and forth for a while and I eventually signed with The CAT Agency towards  the end of last year!

What kind of Illustrating work have you done for Bloomsbury Publishing UK?

A picture book! Coming 2023!

In 2021 you were awarded The Society of Illustrators Zankel Scholar Award. How did you get considered for this award?

SVA nominated me along with a few other students.

Do you still work still work on your portfolio?

Yes! I’m in my last semester of my senior year so working on my portfolio is a big focus right now and hopefully forever.

What do you feel helped develop your style?

I don’t really think I have a style, that’s something I struggle with for sure because I’m interested in so many different ways of working.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate another picture book?

Yes definitely!

Have you ever tried to illustrate a wordless picture book? 

No but I would be very interested to explore that.

Have you illustrated anything for children’s magazines? 

Not yet.

Do you sell your artwork online?

I sell some work with Kultureshop in India, they ship internationally!

Is working with a self-published author to illustrate their book something you would consider?

It would depend on the manuscript and budget but if the story is something I’m passionate about definitely!

I know you will have many successes in your future, but what do you think is your biggest success so far?

The picture book I have coming up with Bloomsbury! I’m very proud of the work in it.

What is your favorite medium to use?

Gouache

Has that changed over time?

I used to very much be focused on working with ink and watercolours but my painting style has evolved to be less delicate and more spontaneous and I just love the versatility of gouache.

What type of Graphic Drawing Tablet do you use when illustrating?

Until very recently I used a wacom Intuos tablet but I recently got an ipad and have completely switched over because it mimics the traditional process much better.

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I draw every day but I don’t have a specific amount of time attached to the practice.

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

Research is very important to me because I think making things look specific gives them more meaning! The research process parallels my painting process but I look at a lot of image references and generally try to read a lot about any subject I’m working with.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Yes for sure!

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

I’d like to illustrate for the NYT book review section and have an exhibition one day!

What are you working on now?

I’m currently focused on finishing up my last semester of school.

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

I’ve recommended Turner Acrylic Gouache to so many people because I really think my work benefits from the quality of the paint hugely!

Any words of wisdom for new illustrators?

I would definitely put myself in that category but I think what I’ve benefited from is being consistent with putting my work and myself out there and reaching out to people for questions, resources or even to introduce myself and my work.

Tara, thank you for taking the time to answer the interview questions and showing us your process. Please let me know about your future books and successes so I can share them with everyone.

You can visit Tara using the following links:

WEBSITE:  https://www.taraanandart.com/

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/taraanandart/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/taraanandart

AGENCY:  https://catagencyinc.com/taraanand

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 14, 2022

January Agent of the Month Interview Part One

It is my pleasure to announce that Jackie Williams at the

Knight Agency is JANUARY’S AGENT OF THE MONTH.

See first Page submission guidelines at bottom of Page.

Jackie Williams joined the agency in July of 2020, after working as a Food & Lifestyle Editorial Fellow for Chronicle Books.

She began her career in government, graduating from Johns Hopkins University in Political Science and Latin American Studies and subsequently working in consumer protection policy at the Federal Trade Commission.

Jackie reads a broad range of commercial and genre fiction, especially stories with psychological suspense, dark, gritty voices, speculative elements, multi-generational plots, and intricate world-building; even better if the stories are set in space. Some of her favorite authors include N.K. Jemisin, Haruki Murakami, Cixin Liu, Greek Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, Blake Crouch, and Daniel José Older.

She also looks for narrative and prescriptive projects in food, drink, lifestyle, health/wellness, pop culture, business, productivity, humor, and memoir. When it comes to the nonfiction space, she’s particularly excited about books and novelty items where food, lifestyle, and community intersect and projects that expand the reader’s empathy and self-awareness. Books like AFRO-VEGAN, THE COOKING GENE, BAD GIRLS THROUGHOUT HISTORY, YOU SUCK AT COOKING, GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, EDUCATED, and ATOMIC HABITS come to mind.

She’s interested in collaborating closely with writers throughout all stages of their careers and bringing more multicultural representation to the publishing landscape.

Fiction: Action/Adventure, Commercial, Crime, Fantasy, General, Historical, Horror, LGBTQ, Literary, Middle Grade, Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller, Women’s Fiction, Young Adult

Non-Fiction: Cookbooks, Crafts/DIY, Humor, Illustrated, LGBTQ, Memoir, Pop Culture, Psychology, Sports, Travel, True Crime

I love a broad range of commercial and genre fiction, especially stories with psychological suspense, gritty voices, speculative elements, multi-generational plots, and intricate world-building; even better if the stories are set in space. And I’m interested in collaborating closely with writers throughout all stages of their careers and bringing more multicultural representation to the publishing landscape.

If what you’re writing isn’t explicitly listed below, that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in it! If you think I’ll love it, pitch it to me!

Fiction

I’m interested in all types of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror in MG, YA, and Adult.

Novels that span generations like REMEMBRANCE OF EARTH’S PAST trilogy, Dark, and THE PASSAGE. The weird, strange, and speculative—books like N.K. Jemisin’s THE FIFTH SEASON and Samantha Shannon’s THE BONE SEASON.

I’m a huge fan of magical realism and surrealism. I would love to see projects like THE MEXICAN GOTHIC, THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER, and Haruki Murakami’s work.  Novels with light-hearted magic like THE EMPEROR’s SOUL, THE SHADOWSHAPER CYPHER series, and the WAYWARD CHILDREN series. Geeky books that inspire nostalgia like Stranger Things or READY PLAYER ONE. And, science-fiction and fantasy with thick threads of romance like DARK MATTER and THE NIGHT CIRCUS.

Books with a unique take on sports, dance, and hip-hop like Love & BasketballPose, or The Get Down.

Mysteries, thrillers, and suspense with smart female protagonists and/or unreliable narrators, like the LOU NORTON series, THE WIFE BETWEEN US, THE OTHER SISTER, SHARP OBJECTS, and YOU.

I tend to prefer literary fiction with a commercial appeal like Celeste Ng or literary fiction that includes elements of other genres a la Tana French.

Nonfiction

When it comes to food and drink, I’m particularly interested in projects involving southern food and culture, single-subject books, and project where food and community intertwine (AFRO-VEGAN, LET’S MAKE RAMEN!, THE COOKING GENE, SON OF A SOUTHERN CHEF, and WE ARE LA COCINA are great examples).

In the lifestyle and wellness space, I would love to work with authors that explain big ideas and large concepts like happiness, productivity, business, or creativity in ways that are accessible, fun, and humorous (think THE LAZY GENIUS WAY, ATOMIC HABITS, AM I OVERTHINKING THIS?, and GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER). And whether it’s meditation, breathwork, astrology, or Wicca, I would love books or novelty items that explore physical and mental resilience through a BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+ lens.

As far as memoirs, I look for culture-related stories that expand the readers’ empathy and self-awareness like EDUCATED, MAYBE YOU SHOULD TALK TO SOMEONE, and WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR.

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BELOW IS PART ONE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH JACKIE:

When did you decide you wanted to become an agent?

I’ve always loved writing and reading, but it wasn’t until after my first publishing internship with Chronicle Books that I knew I wanted to become an agent.

 How did you get the job with The Knight Agency?

 Networking! I reached out to literary agents for informational interviews, and thankfully, my now colleague, Kristy Hunter, responded to my email. We had a lovely exchange on publishing and what it was like to be an agent, and she let me know about an opening with the agency. After I submitted my resume, I met with TKA founder, Deidre Knight. I immediately loved how she described their team dynamic and the authors they represented and accepted an offer a couple of weeks after.

Do you work from home, or do you go into the Georgia office?

I work from home – The Knight Agency was a remote literary agency, even before the pandemic.

Do you have a limit on number of clients you will represent?

I don’t have a limit per se, but I think one of the advantages of being a newbie agent is that you can dedicate more attention and time to your clients. So, it’s a balance you must strike between finding new talent and still having your time as an asset/advantage when you’re pitching authors to sign with your agency.

Any story or themes you wish someone would submit?

Not particularly, I’m always looking for fresh worldbuilding and magic systems, but would love to see more non-fiction in my inbox.

Which do you lean more towards: Literary or Commercial?

Commercial.

What would you do if one of your MG/YA clients writes a picture book? Would the author have to find another agent for those books?

Unfortunately, the author would have to find another agent for PBs. I’m expecting a baby girl in six weeks (!!), so I hope to get more into PBs, but right now, I don’t know enough about them, and the author would be better served with another agent for this genre.

How important is the query letter?

A query letter is super important. It lets me know how well you know your story, how you’re thinking about positioning the story, so we’re aligned when we take it out on submission, and it’s the first piece of writing I read from you. On some level, it should give me a glimpse into the tone and feeling I’ll get when reading your book.

Do you have any tips on how to find comps to use in a submission query letter?

Bookstores and Google are your best friends here, researching and reading books in a similar category as yours and identifying books that don’t just have similar plot structures but also tone and theme.

Any tips on how an author can get you to ask to see more?

Have your excitement about your manuscript come through in the query letter, and a really solid first five pages.

Will you let people know if you are not interested in their submission?

Yes.

After you request more, how long do you think it will take to respond?

 I try to send responses within 12 weeks on a full manuscript request.

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FPR PART TWO.

HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR JANUARY 2022 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “JANUARY 2022 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE” Example: Paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you put your name, the title of the piece, and genre: a picture book, chapter book, middle grade, or young adult, Non-fiction, contemporary, historical, Sci-fi, fantasy, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page).

PLEASE name the Word document file by putting 2022 January  – Your Name – Title of first page. Thank you.

REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED! Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page.

Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Sending it to my hotmail account will probably keep me from seeing it and including you in the running.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: JANUARY 21ST. – noon EST

RESULTS: JANUARY 28TH.

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR PART TWO OF MY INTERVIEW WITH JACKIE.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 13, 2022

Sterling Publishing Relaunch

Sterling Publishing Launches New Subsidiary: Union Square & Co.


Union Square & Co. is a talent-driven publisher whose mission is to promote excellence in contemporary publishing and to honor the vision of our creators by providing best-in-class production, editorial and design choices. Headquartered in New York City, Union Square & Co., LLC is a subsidiary of Sterling Publishing Co, Inc., and includes imprints Puzzlewright Press, home to pencil-and-paper puzzles, and Sterling Ethos, home to magic and mystic-driven books and products.

Jan. 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Sterling Publishing announced today the launch of Union Square & Co., a subsidiary focused on talent-driven publishing for adults and children. The new publisher’s robust program will include books, calendars, stationery and games. Union Square & Co. will begin publishing select titles in Spring 2022 with a comprehensive list publishing in Fall 2022.

“Behind each Union Square & Co. title is a focus on quality, curation, entertainment, distinction and change, as well as the collaborative spirit to help authors realize their visions,” says Union Square & Co. Chief Creative Officer and Publisher Emily Meehan. “Our goal is to create beautiful books with a point of view.” Helping Meehan build this distinctive publishing brand are Amanda Englander, editorial director overseeing adult publishing, and Tracey Keevan, editorial director overseeing children’s publishing.

“Our goal is to create beautiful books with a point of view.”

The adult program will expand the company’s footprint into fiction, narrative and prescriptive nonfiction, food and drink, decorating, health and wellness, classics, humor and pop culture. Kicking off this expansion will be the #1 London Times bestsellerWolf Den, the first book in Elodie Harper’s historical fiction trilogy of the same name, which publishes in North America on March 29, 2022. Peloton head instructor Robin Arzon’s prompted empowerment journal will publish in Fall 2022. A debut cookbook from Dan Pelosi, the personality behind the Instagram handle @GrossyPelosi, and a debut decorating book from Carmeon Hamilton, the 2021 winner of HGTV’s Design Star: Next Gen, will publish in Fall 2023.

Union Square Kids, the children’s imprint, will grow its offerings across picture books, early readers, chapter books, graphic novels, middle-grade and young-adult novels, as well as classics, reference, novelty and activity books. Key acquisitions publishing in Fall 2022 include Graveyard Girls, a five-book middle-grade series by New York Times bestselling authors Lisi Harrison (Monster High) and Daniel Kraus (The Shape of Water); Wait for Me, a dark, romantic mystery by New York Times bestselling author Sara Shepard (Pretty Little Liars)Nothing Interesting Ever Happens to Ethan Fairmont, a contemporary middle-grade science-fiction adventure from award-winning screenwriter and director Nick Brooks; and the debut picture book, How to Eat a Book, by creators Mrs. & Mr. MacLeod. The Spring 2023 list includes the coming-of-age graphic novel Alterations, by story artist and animator Raymond Xu.

“I’m thrilled to be publishing the diverse talent that Amanda and Tracey have brought to our list and look forward to sharing additional acquisitions in the near future,” says Meehan.

Brody Associates, a London-based design studio specializing in identity, typography and creative direction across all platforms, created the new logo and fonts for both Union Square & Co. and Union Square Kids.

ABOUT UNION SQUARE & CO.
Union Square & Co. is a talent-driven publisher whose mission is to promote excellence in contemporary publishing and to honor the vision of our creators by providing best-in-class production, editorial and design choices. Headquartered in New York City, Union Square & Co., LLC is a subsidiary of Sterling Publishing Co, Inc., and includes imprints Puzzlewright Press, home to pencil-and-paper puzzles, and Sterling Ethos, home to magic and mystic-driven books and products. For more information, visit unionsquareandco.com.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 12, 2022

Book Winners – Kudos/Cover Reveal – Industry Changes

DO YOU HAVE A BOOK RECENTLY PUBLISHED OR GOING TO BE PUBLISHED BOOK AND WOULD LIKE TO BE FEATURED ON WRITING AND ILLUSTRATING?

Jan. 25th, and 27th are open. Please email me if you would like one.

BOOK WINNERS:

Rebecca Gardyn Levington won THE DIRT BOOK BY David L. Harrison

Carol Baldwin won THE WHOLE WORLD INSIDE NAN’S SOUP by Hunter Liguore

*******

 COVER REVEAL:

Below is the cover of Lee Miao’s debut middle grade books coming out in April from Clearfork. 

Congratulations Lee! Looking forward to sharing your journey with everyone on March 22nd.

*******

INDUSTRY CHANGES:

WORKMAN PUBLISHING:

Megan Logan joined Workman children’s as editor. She was previously assistant editor at Disney/Marvel Press.

LITTLE BEE BOOKS:

Charlie Ilgunas has been promoted to editor.

Jaime Gelman has been promoted to associate editor.

ANDREA BROWN LITERARY AGENCY:

Kathleen Rushall has been promoted to senior agent.

Jennifer March Soloway has been promoted to agent.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 11, 2022

Magazine Merit Award

SHORT DEADLINE

Deadline is January 15, 2022.

MAGAZINE MERIT AWARD

The SCBWI Magazine Merit Awards are presented by the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators annually for original magazine work for young people. Each year, the SCBWI presents four plaques, one in each category of fiction, nonfiction, illustration, and poetry, each year to honor members’ outstanding original magazine work published during that year. The works chosen are those that exhibit excellence in writing and illustration, and genuinely appeal to the interests and concerns of young people.

SCBWI reserves the right not to confer this award in any given year.

Congratulations to the 2020 winners.

Fiction: “The Fog Test” by Pamela Love

Poetry: “Moving Day Villanelle” by Carol L. MacKay

Nonfiction: “Powder Art” by Viji K. Chary

Illustration: “Saving the village bicycle” by Hatem Aly

SUBMISSIONS OPEN.

Apply HERE.


 
SUBMISSION GUIDELINES 

Eligibility:

  • Applicants must be current SCBWI members.
  • Every magazine work for young people – writer, artist, or photographer – is eligible during the year of original publication. In the case of co-authored work, both authors must be SCBWI members.

Guidelines: 

Apply HERE.

Members must submit their own work. Required is a single PDF containing the following:

  • (a) The work in published form
  • (b) Proof of publication showing the name of the magazine and date of issue (contents page or verification from editor).
  • (c) Cover sheet containing: the member’s name as listed by the SCBWI, mailing address and phone number, title of entry, category (fiction, nonfiction, illustration, or poetry), name of publication, and date of issue.
  • (d) When submitting multiple entries, combine in a single PDF

Questions? Please email Sarah Diamond at sarahdiamond@scbwi.org.

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Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 10, 2022

Agent Bonnie Swanson – The Purcell Agency

Bonnie Swanson

The Purcell Agency

LIKES: 

I have very eclectic tastes and sometimes don’t know what I’m looking for until I read it. However, there are a few consistencies in what I like/don’t like.

Fiction: Children’s, LGBTQ, New Adult, Picture Books, Romance, Science Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Young Adult

Favorite sub-genres: Contemporary Romance, Contemporary YA, Diversity, Humor, Magical Realism, Multicultural, Social Issues, Soft Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Urban Fantasy

YA/Adult Likes: LGBTQ, HEAs-I’m a sucker for a good romance. Magic/scifi/fantasy all kinds. Issue-driven stories that address timeless social issues and the people who fight to change them, stories where the underdog wins, non-traditional characters who feel real (even if they are in outer space or an anthropomorphic animal), stories exploring different types of families, humor,  and basically anything quirky and weird that may not fit into one specific genre.

DISLIKES: stories with violence against women/children, erotica, misogyny, alpha males

Currently I am on the hunt for women’s fiction/romance.  Contemporary isn’t my favorite, but if it has a good hook, I’ll give it a looksie.

Picture Book Likes: Just about everything! Humor, family life, coming of age, parent-child relationships, realistic non-fiction, animal characters, I’m open to it all.

DISLIKES: same as above and I’m definitely not a fit for straightforward non-fiction. But if you make it voicey and fun, send it to me!

Fun facts about me: I’m originally from Chicago but moved to southern Illinois after marriage. I love the mountains and the beach and am torn on where to retire! I have three grown children, three “bonus” children, and one goofy granddog named Onix.

Favorite color: Purple

Pets: Winter, Milo, and Mira the ever-demanding kitty eating machines

Something quirky about me: I have purple hair, tattoos, and STILL teach first grade.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to https://QueryManager.com/QueryBonnieS

https://QueryManager.com/QueryBonnieS

Please click the query manager link and complete all forms.

*******

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 9, 2022

THE OMA AWARD Out from the Margins

IF YOU ARE AN UNDERREPRESENTED CHILDREN BOOK CREATOR, DON’T MISS THE DEADLINE ON THIS OPPORTUNITY.

A Marketing Award for Underrepresented Creators of Children’s Literature

SCBWI takes great pride in the creation of the OMA Award (which stands for Out from the Margins), a new and substantial award for early-career underrepresented creators of children’s books. There will be 8 winners selected to be part of a cohort that will provide a pathway to visibility for creators who might otherwise not be seen or heard. The OMA Award’s purpose is to help launch a new book and enhance a creator’s career with marketing skills and resources that will be useful throughout their career.

Deadline January 15, 2022.

Winners will be announced in March 2022.

SUBMISSIONS OPEN. CLICK HERE to submit.

PRIZE PACKAGE

The intent of this award is to provide an opportunity to launch their book with full support and visibility, as well as, to coach underrepresented authors and illustrators on how to create scaffolding for future book launches during their career in children’s literature. We hope to give them a set of skills, resources, and connections, along with the funds to accomplish their goals in successfully marketing their new book. Mentors and subject matter experts will focus on the US market. All winners will comprise a cohort that will meet monthly as a group with experts to learn about various areas and techniques to best market their books.

The package includes:

A $5,000 cash award
Group sessions focused on social media book launches, book trailers, school visits and curriculum materials, media training, independent booksellers, school and library markets, as well as promotions and publicity.
Free registration to SCBWI national/international digital conferences and workshops during 2022
Free SCBWI one-year membership upon your next renewal date
Featured stories in SCBWI publications
Spotlight in SCBWI marketing (BookStop, Insight ads, social media platforms)
Participation on a featured panel at an SCBWI national/international conference
Featured paid advertising in trade publications
Virtual lunch with key SCBWI staff and board members

ELIGIBILITY

Open to all Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC/BAME), disabled, LGBTQIA+ authors, illustrators, and author-illustrators of children’s literature.

You must be a current SCBWI member.
SCBWI member profile on new member profile page must be completed.
Must have a completed book coming out in Fall 2022 – Summer 2023.
Must show that they are under contract for a release from Fall 2022 through Summer 2023.
If self-published, must show that they are releasing a book within that same time frame.
Independently- or traditionally published eligible applicants may not have more than 4 published books prior to submission.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

For traditionally-published work:

Personal artist’s statement
Synopsis of work
Completed manuscript along with:
expected publishing date,
name of editor, agent, and publisher

For independently-published work:

Personal artist’s statement
Completed manuscript and expected publishing date
Details about your method of publication

For illustrators:

Personal artist’s statement
5-10 illustrations from the work, of which 3 must be final pieces
Synopsis of the book (or full text)

All applicants should be prepared to provide more content and information as needed. Eight winners will be selected.

REQUIREMENTS

Winners will be required to show how they spent their money, participate in their cohort group, provide a summary report of their experience, and participate in at least one cohort session for future winners of the OMA Award.

CRITERIA

Submissions will be judged on a combination of personal story and quality of the work. Children’s books representing all genres and formats are eligible. Consideration will be given to selecting authors and illustrators who reflect a range of underrepresented groups.

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Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 8, 2022

Illustrator Saturday – Wendy Leach

Wendy Leach Graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Art from the University of Missouri. She was honored in 2017 to be one of the Society of Children’s book writers and illustrators featured artist.

She graduated with a BFA in painting from the University of Missouri. While earning her degree she worked in the children’s department of the local Barnes and Noble where her love for picture book illustration began. Wendy lives with her extremely silly family in Overland Park Kansas. You can see more of her work by visiting her website artofwendyleach.com

Here is Wendy discussing her process for A GOLF BALL IN MY SHOE:

I like to start with character design

Then I work on page design (if I’m not working with an art director who might let me know what they want). My sketch style varies depending on what I’m focusing on or what I really want to figure out. So you can see the character design, the golf swing and the larger background elements are what I’m trying to figure out.

If it’s not a full spread I’ll finish the individual elements.  I normally keep the elements on separate layers so that I can make little tweaks with out having to redraw everything. I left the sketch so you can see that I normally work right on top of the layer like a traditional light box. You can see that in the final, I was able to shift the main characters placement from my original design.

I finish the individual elements and transfer everything to photoshop where I complete the spread.

INTERVIEW WITH WENDY:

How long have you been illustrating?

I started illustrating in the second grade, when I created a magazine for my classmates with stories and pictures. I have always preferred art that told a story. I started offering my illustration services to others about 11 years ago.

What and when was the first piece of art you created for money?

I sold small clay miniatures, at local craft fairs when I was in 6th and 7th grades. It was fun and I remember buying a pair of jeans with the proceeds and feeling very grown up indeed. Several years later I worked for a house cleaning company and I remember coming across several of my creations on one of our client’s kitchen shelves. It’s an interesting thing to think something you created is visible to someone you don’t know and possible brings them a small amount of joy every day.

Why did you choose to get a bachelor’s degree in painting from the University of Missouri?

I knew that I wanted to be an illustrator but didn’t want to be far from my family so I got as close as I could to illustration in my home town.

Did you do any freelance art while working for your degree?

Not that I remember.

What classes were your favorite?

I loved my art history classes, printmaking, painting figure, drawing and color theory. To be honesty I really enjoyed all of my classes. If it wasn’t so expensive, I’d probably still be taking classes.

Were you able to take any illustrating classes while in college.

My last semester they offered an illustration class so I took it.

Did University of Missouri help you find work before you graduated?

No, I was in a fine arts program so it was more about getting work into galleries.

How did you market yourself after graduation?

I had an Etsy shop; a personal website and I joined the scbwi.

What type of work did you do right after you graduated?

I worked at a bank! I also took illustration classes online, wrote, illustrated and self-published my Francis book.

Have you ever illustrated any greeting cards, textile design, etc.?

I created a series of Stamps and have licensed Christmas card designs. It’s fun to try different things but I really do love creating art for picture books best.

When did you decide that you wanted to illustrate books for children?

I have always enjoyed creating stories and acting them out or creating pictures for them. I think it was my job as a children’s lead bookseller at Barnes and Noble that made me see it was possible to illustrate for a living. Having my daughter really kicked me into high gear. I wanted to make sure she knew she could be anything she wanted and I realized I was only sticking my toes in the water and not really jumping in because I was afraid of failing.

What inspired you to write and illustrate, FRANCIS your first book?

Francis came about as a way for me to deal with something hard that happened in my life. It’s about accepting what is and finding the humor in it. I also knew, if I wanted to illustrate picture books I would at some point have to create an entire picture book. It was a way of learning more about the writing, illustrating and publishing process without making mistakes in front of clients (I still make mistakes, but I do it more confidently).

Do you have any plans to write and illustrate another book?

I’m always on the lookout for inspiration and sketching characters and locations. Eventually something will pull together into a full story and I will create another book.

How many books have you illustrated?

More than 10 less than 20.

Violet the Snowgirl: A Story of Loss and Healing by Lisa L. Walsh and published by free spirit October 2, 2020. How long did the publisher give you to illustrate this book?

I got the Script on December 20 2019 the first round of sketches was due March 9 2020 and The finals where due May 26 2020. I was given about a month and a half to do the sketches and around 3 months for the finals.  This Publisher also had me do the cover and an interior spread to final before I finished the book, I believe so they could get the marketing started.

With “Violet the snow girl” I felt like the time was perfect for my working speed.  The shortest amount of time I was given for a book was about a month it was mostly full spreads so around 12 illustrations.  I’m always willing to try something I have never done but I don’t think I would do that again.  I was stressed out and the worked looked a bit more slap dash than I like.

You illustrated two How the Crayons Saved… books, How the Crayons Saved Christmas Nov 10, 2020 and How the Crayons Saved the School published by SkyPony August 2021. Were these books the first ones you illustrated with crayons?

Yes, before this I worked mostly with children and animals.

I just featured Someday We Will by Pam Webb and published by Beaming Books on Writing and Illustrating. How did you get the contract to illustrate that book?

This all happened through my wonderful Agent Aurora with Astound.

How did Beaming Books find you to illustrate this book?

Through my Agent.

You just had two illustrated picture books: A The Stray Cat Hides A Secret by Stanis Beck on December 17, 2021and Golf Ball in Her Shoe by Patricia Pedraza-Nafziger on Dec 27, 2021 published by Bookbaby. Are these a self-published books?

Yes. I will take on Self-Publishing Authors if I have the time and their story resonates with me or if I think it would be fun to learn about the subject matter and draw it. I draw things I never would have come up with on my own. Both of the Authors where lovely to work with and had great passion for their stories. The Stray Cat is very much written as a memory with a beloved grandchild and I really wanted to draw the garden during the different seasons. A Golf Ball in Her Shoe has a lot of heart and feeling behind the story that struck me. I also learned way more about golf than I ever thought I’d know!

It looks like you illustrated 16 books in the last three years. Was this hard to do?

Illustrating I enjoy so that part was easy. Organizing my life to make sure I meet deadlines and still had quality time with my family and a somewhat tidy home not as easy. When my daughter was younger, I would work early in the morning before she woke up around naptime and after she went to sleep.

Do you think you will write and illustrate more books?

Definitely yes, it’s one of my favorite things to do.

Have you taken any digital graphic design classes to help you learn Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.?

No but I know I should and that it would be helpful. I’m sure things would be a lot quicker and less frustrating.

I see you are represented by Astound. How did you connect with them and how long have you been with them?

I follow a lot of illustrators on Instagram and I noticed one I really liked was represented by Astound so I looked them up and submitted. I have been with Astound around 4 years.


Do you do any school visits?

I would love to. I was ask once, but then Covid lockdowns happened and I haven’t pursued or been ask recently.

Do you take pictures and do research before you started illustrating a book?

I do a lot of images searches on google.

Has your style changed over the years?

It’s always changing and it varies depending on the projects I’m working on. Sometimes its lose and sketchy and sometimes tidier. I suppose my different works have qualities that are similar, I think if someone looks at my work, they can see they are done by the same hand.

What is your favorite medium to use?
Currently I work on an ipad because it’s easy to manipulate (undo button) but I use techniques I learned from pencil drawing and watercolor. A digital media in a more traditional style.

Is working with a self-published author to illustrate their book something you would consider?

It’s one of my favorite things to do! It definitely has the possibility of being nightmare but most of the time it’s very rewarding. I like working with clients who are passionate about their subjects and trying in some way to make the world a kinder better place to be. A lot of subjects don’t have a large enough market for a publisher, but the stories are still important. If your book can help even one person, I think it’s worth it.

What do you think is your biggest success?

I think the fact that I keep going until eventually someone says yes. I suppose some of my favorite career milestones where, self-publishing Francis, my first paying customer, my first published piece in the scbwi magazine, my first signed contract from a publisher and my first book with a larger publisher “A Small Kindness” written by Stacy McAnulty.

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet when illustrating?

I work on an ipad pro.

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

I try to work around 4 hours a day with two days off a week. but I normally sketch an hour or two on my days off as well.

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

I have a lot I want to do, but the one at the top of the list is to write, illustrate and have a publisher pick up one of my picture book!

What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on another book in the crayon series. Several smaller projects for the educational market. I’m putting the finishing touches on a picture book proposal and trying to work on new pieces for my portfolio. I’m trying to find projects in the beginning chapter book and middle grade markets.

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

Use whatever you have to just make a lot of art. Some of my best artistic growth comes from things I don’t feel precious about like my 6 yr. old’s art supplies. But if you can swing it, the ipad pro and Procreate are on my must haves. The ability to try things and not worry about the outcome because I can always hit the undo button has allowed me to grow artistically and the digital application have made changing things for clients quick and easy. I like being able to go from thumbnails to sketch to finish drawing all in the same file.

Any words of wisdom for new illustrators?

Keep drawing what you love, it’s your passion people tend to relate and respond to, but stretch your legs try drawing the hard things. You will improve your craft quicker. If you want to work in the children’s market Learn to draw children that can move and show emotion it will help, get you work. Standing, smiling cute children will not fill 32 pages, they must move. Find a critique group. Get out there you don’t need to wait.

Wendy, thank you for taking the time to answer the interview questions and showing us your process. Please let me know about your future books and successes so I can share them with everyone.

You can visit Wendy using the following links:

WEBSITE:  http://www.artofwendyleach.com/

INSTAGRAM:  https://www.instagram.com/wendy_leach_illustration/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/wendyleach12345

AGENCY:  https://astound.us/publishing/wendy-leach

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 7, 2022

January Agent of the Month – Jackie Williams

It is my pleasure to announce that Jackie Williams at the

Knight Agency is JANUARY’S AGENT OF THE MONTH.

See first Page submission guidelines at bottom of Page.

Jackie Williams joined the agency in July of 2020, after working as a Food & Lifestyle Editorial Fellow for Chronicle Books.

She began her career in government, graduating from Johns Hopkins University in Political Science and Latin American Studies and subsequently working in consumer protection policy at the Federal Trade Commission.

Jackie reads a broad range of commercial and genre fiction, especially stories with psychological suspense, dark, gritty voices, speculative elements, multi-generational plots, and intricate world-building; even better if the stories are set in space. Some of her favorite authors include N.K. Jemisin, Haruki Murakami, Cixin Liu, Greek Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, Blake Crouch, and Daniel José Older.

She also looks for narrative and prescriptive projects in food, drink, lifestyle, health/wellness, pop culture, business, productivity, humor, and memoir. When it comes to the nonfiction space, she’s particularly excited about books and novelty items where food, lifestyle, and community intersect and projects that expand the reader’s empathy and self-awareness. Books like AFRO-VEGAN, THE COOKING GENE, BAD GIRLS THROUGHOUT HISTORY, YOU SUCK AT COOKING, GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, EDUCATED, and ATOMIC HABITS come to mind.

She’s interested in collaborating closely with writers throughout all stages of their careers and bringing more multicultural representation to the publishing landscape.

Fiction: Action/Adventure, Commercial, Crime, Fantasy, General, Historical, Horror, LGBTQ, Literary, Middle Grade, Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller, Women’s Fiction, Young Adult

Non-Fiction: Cookbooks, Crafts/DIY, Humor, Illustrated, LGBTQ, Memoir, Pop Culture, Psychology, Sports, Travel, True Crime

I love a broad range of commercial and genre fiction, especially stories with psychological suspense, gritty voices, speculative elements, multi-generational plots, and intricate world-building; even better if the stories are set in space. And I’m interested in collaborating closely with writers throughout all stages of their careers and bringing more multicultural representation to the publishing landscape.

If what you’re writing isn’t explicitly listed below, that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in it! If you think I’ll love it, pitch it to me!

Fiction

I’m interested in all types of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror in MG, YA, and Adult.

Novels that span generations like REMEMBRANCE OF EARTH’S PAST trilogy, Dark, and THE PASSAGE. The weird, strange, and speculative—books like N.K. Jemisin’s THE FIFTH SEASON and Samantha Shannon’s THE BONE SEASON.

I’m a huge fan of magical realism and surrealism. I would love to see projects like THE MEXICAN GOTHIC, THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER, and Haruki Murakami’s work.  Novels with light-hearted magic like THE EMPEROR’s SOUL, THE SHADOWSHAPER CYPHER series, and the WAYWARD CHILDREN series. Geeky books that inspire nostalgia like Stranger Things or READY PLAYER ONE. And, science-fiction and fantasy with thick threads of romance like DARK MATTER and THE NIGHT CIRCUS.

Books with a unique take on sports, dance, and hip-hop like Love & BasketballPose, or The Get Down.

Mysteries, thrillers, and suspense with smart female protagonists and/or unreliable narrators, like the LOU NORTON series, THE WIFE BETWEEN US, THE OTHER SISTER, SHARP OBJECTS, and YOU.

I tend to prefer literary fiction with a commercial appeal like Celeste Ng or literary fiction that includes elements of other genres a la Tana French.

Nonfiction

When it comes to food and drink, I’m particularly interested in projects involving southern food and culture, single-subject books, and project where food and community intertwine (AFRO-VEGAN, LET’S MAKE RAMEN!, THE COOKING GENE, SON OF A SOUTHERN CHEF, and WE ARE LA COCINA are great examples).

In the lifestyle and wellness space, I would love to work with authors that explain big ideas and large concepts like happiness, productivity, business, or creativity in ways that are accessible, fun, and humorous (think THE LAZY GENIUS WAY, ATOMIC HABITS, AM I OVERTHINKING THIS?, and GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER). And whether it’s meditation, breathwork, astrology, or Wicca, I would love books or novelty items that explore physical and mental resilience through a BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+ lens.

As far as memoirs, I look for culture-related stories that expand the readers’ empathy and self-awareness like EDUCATED, MAYBE YOU SHOULD TALK TO SOMEONE, and WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR.

HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR JANUARY 2022 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “JANUARY 2022 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE” Example: Paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you put your name, the title of the piece, and genre: a picture book, chapter book, middle grade, or young adult, Non-fiction, contemporary, historical, Sci-fi, fantasy, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page).

PLEASE name the Word document file by putting 2022 January  – Your Name – Title of first page. Thank you.

REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED! Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page.

Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Sending it to my hotmail account will probably keep me from seeing it and including you in the running.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: JANUARY 21ST. – noon EST

RESULTS: JANUARY 28TH.

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR PART ONE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH JACKIE.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

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