Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 23, 2018

ASK CAT – Keeping Current

On the third Tuesday Christina or Christy Ewers Tugeau of the Cat Agency will answer questions and talk about things illustrators need to know to further their career. It could be a question about an illustration you are working on, too. Please email your questions to me and put ASK CAT in the subject box.

HERE IS CHRIS:

We  have a very good and I think often asked (or thought) question this month about HOW an artist keeps her/his work ‘current’ and fresh…. and related, do we as agents ‘spot’ any upcoming illustration trends?  

I discussed this with my daughter and new current owner of The CAT Agency Inc., Christy Tugeau Ewers too because she’s the one mostly doing the conferences and NYC client visits now….so SHE hears the latest about what is HOT and what is NOT. As I write this i fact she is presenting at the Oregon Fall Conference, so I put her on alert! However, we both agree on the general best answers for this question. Our ‘take’ might not be as definitive and simple as you want in an answer but it IS the truth and the constant in our industry, and I suspect most creative industries.

By the time one NOTICES a trend, it is probably on it’s way out. That IS simple. It’s not always true, as a trend can expand, alter and become a bigger deal (like the strong girl/woman movement perhaps, and gender concerns, or the freer, spontaneous line and color styles we see more now.) So if you notice an interest in a direction subtly, you can pick it up and take it new places. Keep in mind however that the books out NOW were finished 6 months or a year or more before. With a new book you are likely going to work on, and then sell, and then get painted, it’ll be another year at least.  The tide has long gone out probably. Editors are always looking for the next trend…trying to START it. Our suggestion is the same as I’ve believed throughout my 25+ years in the industry…..do what YOU want to do and feel passionately about.  Be a Trendsetter! DO go to bookstores and study what is being done trendwise. Do see if any trends are an  interest of yours and you can bring something unique to this trend (subject, style, approach etc.). But do NOT RACE AFTER TRENDS! It’s near impossible to catch them.  I personally find ‘chasing’ leads to overkill of the subject, style, approach etc…… we tire of it!  Too many books using it.  Trend setting is much better. Keep in mind a style or idea of yours that wasn’t big earlier might just hit the mark later…. keep YOUR ideas live and growing.

Now, as to what we tell our artists to keep their styles current…. is the same we’d tell any artist. Again, PLAY! and try new things.  Again, go to the bookstore and conferences and study what is there….what is selling.

Look for repeat styles that seem to be ‘hot’…notice the trends…then play with them. This isn’t ‘chasing the trends’ so much as opening yourself to play and discovery, Trying new things to alter your work…staying yourself but freshening the look. We encourage this even when a style has been popular and selling for decades! maybe more then! The long term trend can move away some from ‘saturated’ painting styles, or too ‘static’ a line style, or too flat digital look, and can take an artist OUT of the selling market. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. This doesn’t mean the artist isn’t ‘any good any more.’ It means the market has changed and they are not sellable just now. We see it coming and will encourage a change….a lightening up of color and background; a variance of line weight; a spontaneity and feel of movement and action in compositions perhaps. These are all ‘hot looks’ just now. It’s great because it’s FUN!

We particularly love it when the artists we’ve represented for a long time experiment with new looks on their own. Often they worry that buyers will react badly to this change…. but we don’t give up the older look! We just add on the newer. We’ll show it separately on our site after the more well known style maybe. (you might notice this – look at the wonderful work of our Melissa Iwai!) This shows buyers that it’s a NEW look. It might be for them or not. But it shows the artist is trying to stay current and fresh. You don’t want TOO many looks on your site….and only after you have established yourself with a certain look. I find even quite different looks…like more ‘realistic’ approach after being stylized…. will still ‘look like the artist.’  Artists have a way of seeing, of working, that even with different mediums and styles will shine through.

Not all our artists over time have been able to change with the times…not all have needed to! But if the artist loses the ‘salability’ that an agency relies on and can’t change enough to stay current, we have had to part ways.This is ALWAYS hard as we get quite close to our artists. But they also understand the market and the need for an agency to stay current and finding work for their artists. Often this will encourage changes for them that HELP them in the long run too. We can’t take on NEW artists if we don’t make room.

We need NEW as well to keep the interest of our publishing buyers. It’s a business. an independent artist need to always remember that as well…. it’s a business. If your style isn’t selling then study, look, change, and find one that will! As illustrators you are creating for a buyer, not yourselves alone. But again I recommend you do what YOU want to do and then find a way to make it sellable. I do hope some of this has been helpful. It’s a tough question to pinpoint…always shifting! But LOOK at what is current always, PLAY and be YOURSELF. Have FUN!

Christina Tugeau
The CAT Agency Inc.

http://www.catagencyinc.com
Chris@catugeau.com


Thank you Chris for another great article. I am getting out my sketch pad to do some blind contour drawings. 

Please help keep this column going by sending in your questions.

NOW LIE BACK AND COME UP WITH A QUESTION TO SEND FOR “ASK CAT.” 

Hope this illustration by Anait Semirdzhyan will inspire everyone to send in a question to Chris and Christy. Anait was just featured this past Saturday on Illustrator Saturday. Click her name to take a look if you missed it.

Send your questions to kathy(dot)temean@gmail.com and put ASK CAT in the Subject Area.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 22, 2018

Book Giveaway: H IS FOR HAIKU

Author Sydell Rosenberg’s new book titled, H IS FOR HAIKU is available. Her daughter has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping promote H is For Haiku!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In H Is For Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z, the late poet Sydell Rosenberg, a charter member of the Haiku Society of America and a New York City public school teacher, and illustrator Sawsan Chalabi offer an A-Z compendium of haiku that brings out the fun and poetry in everyday moments.

BOOK JOURNEY:

The journey to publish my mother Sydell Rosenberg’s short poetry for children was a long and arduous one, and anything but linear.

Syd was a teacher in New York City, and a published writer. In 1968, she became a charter member of the Haiku Society of America, which exists today, 50 years later (and I am a member now, too: hsa-haiku.org). Mom wrote in a variety of prose and poetry formats, and her work was anthologized and published in books, magazines, and other media. But I think haiku and related poetic forms, such as senryu, became especially important in her life. Haiku “found” my mother — and I think it transformed her in a way that’s still not easy for me to describe. Haiku became an essential outlet she had been seeking to creatively express her worldview.

Decades ago, she wanted to create a poetry picture book, preferably a haiku alphabet reader – and one illustrated by children. I vaguely remember her talking about this desire in the 1980s, and possibly as far back as the 1970s. She submitted at least one manuscript to publishers (and she kept her rejection letters, a few of which I still have “buried” somewhere among her materials). She studied children’s literature, probably with the same kind of diligence and intensity she applied to her teaching and her haiku craft.

Unfortunately, mom was not successful in publishing her picture book. She died suddenly at home on October 11, 1996, from an aortic aneurysm. At her funeral, her family resolved to somehow, someday, publish the book she had always wanted.

But it took me a long time to mobilize, for many reasons. For one thing, I was paralyzed by a grief that threatened to consume me. My grief lasted for years. And frankly, I was terrified about the amount of effort, care, and skill this project would require. I didn’t have the emotional strength to undertake it, nor the organizational wherewithal to tackle the welter of papers and other “stuff” – decades’ worth – she had saved and squirreled away in my parents’ apartment in Queens. I also had other – valid! – life and work priorities to handle. Plus, I must confess: I’m a master procrastinator.

Finally, slowly, in about 2011, I started to take steps to curate a selection of her work, including her poetry for children, into some sort of practical and usable shape. And I became captivated by the idea of collaborating with a nonprofit arts education, nature, or literacy organization – some creative educational group or institution serving kids – on programs that would, via the use of the simple but striking language that is the hallmark of haiku, open up their senses to the magic of the “small things” in their daily lives.

It took time to bear fruit, but my ideas paid off. I have successfully worked with the Children’s Museum of the Arts and the Poets House, both in Manhattan; the Queens Botanical Garden (Queens, NY); and the Teaneck Creek Conservancy in New Jersey. But my most enduring partnership has been with the 10-year-old Arts For All (arts-for-all.org). Mom’s “word-picture” haiku have been used to teach the basics of drawing, painting, and collage; music; and theater, to students in two schools, one in the Bronx and one in Queens. (The students have been second-graders mostly, but we have done programs with other grades, as well). We have worked together since 2013, and it’s been richly rewarding for everyone – I hope most importantly, the students.

But the picture book has always been my ultimate goal. I vacillated for some time between the route of self-publishing the manuscript I had created, based on mom’s old manuscripts and other writings, and publishing traditionally. I mulled over trying to secure agent representation, but I realized the odds were against us. Eventually, I decided to go for traditional publication.

So I researched publishers, mostly smaller ones, that didn’t require representation. And at last, in April of 2015, I mailed out my firstH Is For Haiku manuscripts.

And of course, I got rejections … or I never heard back at all. (I’m still waiting for word, in a few cases!) I must say that some of the rejections seemed to be personalized – and complimentary. This feedback gave me hope.

In 2016, thanks to the recommendation of haiku poet and editor, Aubrie Cox Warner, I connected with Penny Candy Books, a wonderful independent publisher started by two poets, Chad Reynolds and Alexis Orgera. Its “mission is to publish children’s literature that reflects the diverse realities of the world we live in, both at home and abroad” (pennycandybooks.com)

On October 31, 2016, we officially became partners. H Is For Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku From A to Z, with fantastic illustrations and lettering by Sawsan Chalabi (Schalabi.com), was released in April: National Poetry Month.

I am grateful for the warm welcome this book has received! And the supportive feedback from the talented, gracious KidLit and poetry communities, also sustained me. Over the years, I’ve been tempted to throw in the towel on several occasions. If it wasn’t for many great people in my life, including my husband, Cliff; and family, friends, co-workers, etc., I might have abandoned our dream. I have been blessed.

SYDELL ROSENBERG BIO:

Sydell Rosenberg (1920-1996) lived, wrote, and taught in New York City. Syd was a charter member of the Haiku Society of America in 1968 and served as HSA’s Secretary in 1975. Her short poems – notably haiku and senryu, including some in this book – were published in various magazines and anthologies, such as American Haiku; Haiku Magazine; Frogpond, Wind Chimes, Modern Haiku, Haiku West; Haiku Highlights, The Haiku Anthology, The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku; Haiku World: An International Poetry Almanac; The Teachers & Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms; Poets Anonymous; and more. One of Syd’s “city haiku” was included in the delightful urban public art project, “Haiku on 42nd Street in 1994, in which the marquees of shuttered movie theaters in Times Square – the “Crossroads of the World” – were transformed into showcases for micropoetry.

Syd received her MA in English as a Second Language from Hunter College in 1972. She was married to Sam Rosenberg (d. 2003) for more than 40 years. Their children are Amy Losak, married to Cliff; and Nathan Rosenberg, married to Deborah. Their grandchildren are Zachary and Julia.

DAUGHTER AMY LOSAK’S BIO:

Amy Losak is a member of a group of 11 female Jewish picture book authors and illustrators called “The Book Meshuggenahs.” Mom’s book is included. And a splendid new young people’s poetry and photography anthology, The Poetry of US, just came out last month. National Geographic is the publisher and the editor is former Children’s Poet Laureate, J. Patrick Lewis. It features the work of iconic poets such as Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, and Walt Whitman; and well-regarded, contemporary poets. I’m thrilled that two of mom’s senryu are in this collection (the title is “Fish Tales.”) https://www.amazon.com/Poetry-US-celebrate-people-passions/dp/1426331851

SAWSAN CHALABI (ILLUSTRATOR) BIO:

Sawsan is a DC-based illustrator and designer. I have a passion for translating words into imagery that convey not only their meaning but also their mood and spirit. I love reading, conceptualizing and incorporating subtle wit and humor in my pieces. My work is mostly digital but also involves some traditional line work and textures. When I am not at my Cintiq, I can be found in my studio getting messy with my inks and paint as I continue to explore the power in the silent communication of art.

Amy what a great tribute to your mothers memory. It is a beautiful book you can almost feel your love coming off of it. Thank you for sharing you journey with H IS FOR HAIKU. Wishing you the best of luck getting it in readers hands.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 21, 2018

San Miguel Writer’s Conference Writing Contest

The 2019 San Miguel Writer’s Conference Writing Contest is now Open for submissions.

Submit your poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, and Spanish short story for a chance to attend the 14th annual San Miguel Writers’ Conference free of charge. Four writers will be awarded the entire five day “Full Conference Package” (Feb 13-17th 2019) as well as have their housing provided during the conference, and a chance to pitch to a literary agent.

Submission Deadline: November 1, 2018. 

Eligibility, Contestants: The contest is open to anyone writing in English who has not yet published or self-published a book that has sold over 1,000 copies in the genre of application.  Faculty and administrators of the San Miguel Writers’ Conference are not eligible to submit to the writing contest.  Previous winners of the writing contest cannot submit and win a second time. Note: For the new category of “International Short Story (Spanish)” submissions should be written predominantly in Spanish.

Eligibility Work: Work submitted must be unpublished.  Work may be simultaneously submitted elsewhere, but if it is published or accepted prior to the judging, it will be disqualified from the competition.

Entry Fee: An entry fee of $30 must be paid for each submission. Note: For the new category of “International Short Story (Spanish)” the fee for this year has been set at $20 USD.

Submission Format: The submission and payment process is entirely electronic. No paper manuscripts will be accepted.

Multiple Submissions: Applicants may submit multiple applications in one or more genres.  However, each application must be complete with entry fee. Each submission must be uploaded separately.

Submission Limits and Format: Prose submissions should not exceed 4,000 words and must be double spaced. Prose  submissions may be excerpts from longer works or a  complete story or prose piece, so long as the length limit is adhered to. Poetry submissions should not exceed 5 pages and may include a maximum of 3 poems. The author’s name must not appear anywhere in the work, including in headers or footers. Submissions must be in the form of a .doc .docx .odt or .pdf.

Acknowledgments: Each applicant may follow the progress of his or her entry on the submittable site. Each applicant will be emailed the results of the contest, before the end of December, 2018.

Publication:  The San Miguel Writers’ Conference reserves the right to publish winning entries on their website.  Published entries will remain on the San Miguel Writers’ Conference website for a maximum of one year. Winners will be expected to forward a short bio and head shot to the San Miguel Writers’ Conference.

The Award: “Full Conference Package” fee waivers, including housing, and one agent pitch session will be granted to one writer in each of the following genres: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and international Spanish short story. Transportation to San Miguel de Allende is not provided. The award is valid only for the specific year of the contest and may not be transferred or exchanged.

Entry Withdraw: Submissions can be withdrawn from the contest at any time by signing into submittable and clicking withdraw next to the submission. No refunds will be given for withdrawn submissions.

Email: Please add smawritersconference@gmail.com to your contact list, so that our emails are not sent to Spam and you never miss out on important messages.

Special Note: Writing contest participants are advised to register for the conference during the “Early Bard Registration Special” if they would like to receive this discount. Winners of the “Writing Contest” who have already registered for the 2019 conference will receive a refund of all monies paid.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 20, 2018

Illustrator Saturday – Brett Curzon

Brett Curzon lives in northern NSW Australia with his family, his wife, three kids, two dogs and a one evil cat. He says, “I have always, well as far as I can remember… drawn or painted (in fact I came out of the womb holding a blunt HB pencil), and nothing has changed now that I’m older.” He has a Diploma in Graphic Design and one in Fine Art, so he’s ticked a few boxes in that regard. He enjoys all types of art and design, but in saying that he does gravitate to children’s books. He worked on a project for an interactive children’s history app recently, and had a blast coming up with the ideas to keep kids entertained. He is also a poet.

‘Rough Layout’

In this image was really just to see if I had a concept my client liked. Their brief was very open, they gave me a list of Jigsaw puzzles to do and in this example I was asked to do a forrest scene.

That was all it said a ’forrest Scene’ as an illustrator or designer at times you get very vague briefs and you need to interpret them. So I thought about it and came up with the concept drawing that you see here. The idea behind it is, we go have picnics at the park and spend time with each other in nature, animals are already in nature so it needed to be a special place that’s why I made the tree blue, not green or brown, that gave the impression it was a unique place, a special place.

The rough drawing just gave me a basis, and I wasn’t sure if was going to stay that way or if the client liked my direction. Anyway they liked the direction and because I work with them a lot the could understand where I was going with the image.

‘Photoshop in Layer’

In this image you can see how many layers I would use in an drawing, each character or element has its own layer so I can move it, resize, or get rid of it if I want.

I find that this works for me, and helps to to work faster and more efficiently. So in some images I can have up to 60 layers, and here’s another tip…. make sure you name your layers.

‘Box Shape’

So this is the shape of the puzzle box, obviously it’s not square so I need to come up with a dieline that would become the puzzles finished shape and size.

I had the final measurement so my shape had to fit into that final print size and I had to make sure the shape wasn’t too weird that half the artwork was lost, after all the image is  what we were selling. I think I made four different shapes and we used them on different puzzles.

‘Not there Yet’

So this image was getting there, but it still needed some work.  I had things in layers in Photoshop, so I could add more to the image, or remove them and in this case I removed the fish and went in a different direction. This is a puzzles for little kids, (three and up) so it needed to have very descriptive elements on every piece of the puzzle, so if a kid was to hold up the piece and match it to the art of the box they could see where it would or could go.

‘Final Art’

Forrest Friends 36 large piece puzzle.

CMYK print ready file. Print size 20×27 inches.

‘Box’
Final art and graphic design for the box.

‘Side’
Finished box from different sides.


‘Side Two’

Finished box from different sides.

Some Book Covers:

INTERVIEW WITH BRETT:

How long have you been illustrating?
About 12 years now.

What and when was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

An old lady taught me to paint, we traded art lessons for mowed lawns, I was about 13. One of her friends brought a piece off me. My payment a chocolate cake. I did sell a one not long after that for cash.

I see you have both a diploma ins of Fine Arts and Graphic Design. Which one did you get first and why?

The fine art degree was first, then Graphic Design, and that was because fine art was my first love.

What schools did you attend to get the two diplomas?

In the city of Newcastle TAFE.

Did any of the schools help find illustration work for you?

No, but I did get some contacts that helped.

Do you feel that studying Graphic design has helped you illustrations?

Most definitely! You understand the design concept from beginning to end. I usually work from beginning to the end on products, from the illustration side of things, to the book layout then deal with printers. So that knowledge has been invaluable.

What do you think influenced your illustrating style?

The love of whimsical things, it was more the things in the image than the image style of the illustrator, like Richard Scary, cats driving in cars made from apples, that stuff just appeals to me.

Have you made a book dummy to help sell a book idea?

Yes. It works well. People aren’t mind readers, and sometime when you explain it, it sounds better in your head. So I would definitely recommend a visual aid.

I noticed that you have created some apps for your books. How did you learn to do those?

Trial and error really, it pretty much melted my brain. I worked with a company in the USA they did a lot of the coding side of things. I hated coding and pretty I much stink at it, however had to understand how it worked, so I could set out the files and animate small parts. It was a good experience, although I do prefer good old paper books.

Do you work a full time job or have you decided to be a freelance artist?

I freelance at the moment. I like the freedom, but I’m lousy at chasing invoices and hate that side of things. I may change that in the future, and get a boss.

Was Bill the Fish a self-published book?

It was. I got it printed in hardcover and sold it through out Australia. I just ordered a second shipment of 3000 units but unbelievably the shipment was lost overboard in transit and is now floating around in the ocean somewhere between China and here. The irony is not lost.

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

Well I have always loved children’s books and have a large collection of them…… so maybe I have always wanted too, but decided to focus my efforts in that field around 12 years ago.

Amazon has eight books listed for 2017; all published in August by Rourke Educational Media. How hard was that to finish eight illustrated picture books in one year?

They were twenty page readers, so it wasn’t a big deal really. I did all eight quickly, I think I was doing one a week. They would send a script and a guide to follow, you would send a rough and if acceptable you would add colour to it.

How many picture books have you illustrated?

24 or so.

How did you connect with The CatAgency?

I heard Christy speak on a a webinar and was impressed with not only what she said, but also how she said it, so I sent her an email and then we had a chat on Skype.

Would you illustrate a book for an author who wants to self-publish?

Yes. In fact I have just been hired to work with a new independent self-publishing house here in Australia.

Have you worked with educational publishers? Which ones?

Yes. As you mentioned Rouke Media. I have an educational brand that I do here in Australia, called Jimmy Jack that is published by Kids Stuff. Also I write and illustrate for Hippo Blue educational products here in Australia.

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines? Which ones?

I was asked by some but I didn’t have the time when they did last year.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own children’s book?

I have three of my own that are sold here in Australia.

Have you ever thought about illustrating a wordless picture book?

I haven’t but I have seen them and love the idea. So I would be up for it, if the opportunity comes around.

What is your favorite medium to use?

To be honest I love it all, and move around from traditional mediums to digital. I do have a favourite pencil type though and that never changes.

Has that changed over time?

Yes. Until I did the course in graphic design, it was all paint and paper.

Can you tell us a little bit about your studio in Australia?

Lots of light, two sausage dogs snoozing, lots of knick knacks like my prized glow in the dark zombie and a wood sculpture of a bearer driving in a log car. Books, coffee, paper, paints, pencils, computer, music.

Are you active in your SCBWI Chapter? If so, have they helped open any doors for you?

No I’m not. Although I probably should, I just haven’t done it.

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

On jobs I try to get onto it early in the day, I function better then. I haven’t worked on anything for myself for a while because I have been busy with other work. Lately I have been taking a break from being creative, I have been going outside and enjoying it, you can have too much of a good thing.

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

No. But I love Pinterest and use it all the time!

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Absolutely! I was contacted by a publisher in South Korea last year for work. Huge doors!

What do you think is your biggest success?

Being able to be a big kid everyday.

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

Yes. Photoshop. I did use Painter at one stage but I find Photoshop is a better fit.

I make my own bushes in Photoshop, and it’s works better for me when getting files ready for print.

Do you use a Graphic Drawing Tablet when illustrating?

Yes a Wacom tablet.

Do you ever exhibit your art?

I had about four solo fine art shows through Sydney years ago. I might down that track again in the future if time allows.

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

To keep on working with creative people, on projects that inspire me and kids to dream big.

What are you working on now?

A book about a boy that drags out bedtime, due for release early next year.

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.

Painting in photoshops I always paint every thing on it’s own layer, that way you can move it around, change the size it gives me so much more freedom. So if I was doing an image with 15 rabbits in it I would draw each one on it’s on layer. I could then move them around changing the size of them if I wanted too, the angles. It also helps with the text placement if you don’t get that right the first time or you want to change it, you can just simply move it.

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

Knock loud, knock hard, and keep knocking till someone answers!

Thank you Brett for sharing your talent and expertise with us. Make sure you share your future successes with us. To see more of Brett’s work, you can visit him at: http://www.illustratorsaustralia.com/portfolios/brett-curzon/

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Brett. I am sure he’d love to hear from you and I enjoy reading them, too.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 19, 2018

October Agent of the Month -Liza Fleissig Part Two

Liza Fleissig, with her partner Ginger Harris-Dontzin, opened the Liza Royce Agency (LRA) in early 2011. A cross-platform company providing development, representation, and strategic career management for clients in all media, their goal is to represent clients in all stages of their careers, from the most established to those developing their craft, as well as debuts. Both former partners in NYC based litigation law firms, Liza and Ginger bring a combined 40 years of negotiating experience to the field. This background, along with connections rooted in publishing, movies and television, allowed them to focus and build on a referral based clientele.

From picture books through adult projects, fiction and non-fiction, screenplays to stage works, LRA welcomes strong voices and plot driven works. Their inaugural books became available in stores January 2013.  Their first was an Edgar nominee, another was an Indie Next Pick, and two others were optioned for film. LRA’s success began right out of the gate.

HERE IS PART TWO OF INTERVIEW WITH LIZA:

How far do you normally read before you reject a submission?

Varies. If a ms is difficult out of the gate – offensive, poorly written, overly bizarre, weak voice, slow pacing – we don’t read to the end. Candidly, we just don’t have the time. On the other hand, when one catches our breath, we tend to lose all sense of time and hate to get distracted.

Any pet peeves?

Do NOT say you will “work really hard on social media and/or other platforms once your book is published” PLEASE just don’t…

Do you let people know if you are not interested in what they sent?

I think I mentioned above that if someone doesn’t hear back within two weeks, they can assume we are not interested. However, when someone reaches out after a conference, or is a referral, or even a prior submission, I do tend to get back personally to let them know if they are not a good fit.

How long does it usually take to respond to requested material?

Our general turn around for exclusive submissions is 7-9 weeks. However, it varies and often we get back before. But to be honest, there have been times we are delayed, at which point we lift the exclusivity and let the authors know we are running behind. Sometimes it might just be that we are sending out for more reads. The exception to this are submissions post conferences/contest where exclusivity is waived; however, in these instances, it’s anyone’s guess since they need to be peppered between exclusives. And, we always make this clear when we take one on for consideration.

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

Many rush to get to the “next book” without truly appreciating the intense focus they should be giving to their book launching. Writers overestimate the amount of sales/support/reach they will get from immediate friends, and assume, and take for granted, that publishers will do the heavy lifting (which sadly, is no longer the case). Without strong sales there is little hope for that next book in the first place.

Do you have a place where you keep writers up-to-date on what you would like to see? Blog?

We have a private Facebook page for current clients. As to the rest of the world, we are active on twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?

YES – tons. Some might say too much but we will not go out on submission with of any project until we feel it is as strong as it can be from our perspective.

Have you ever represented a children’s book illustrator?

We don’t take on that many, but April Chu and Chris Ewald are great examples of our illustrators – and we also work with author-illustrator combos, such as Patricia Keeler and Nancy Cote.

How long is your average client relationship?

Our initial term is for one year, but we truly enter into every relationship with the hope that it’s a lifelong fit. And while we have parted ways for various reasons with some clients, the majority of our clients have been with us for several years – some since the beginning! – and remain firmly rooted in our LRA family.

What is your typical response time to email/phone calls with your clients?

HA – that’s a good one! One good occupational hazard from my days as a lawyer is that I am very responsive. If my clients don’t hear from me within 24 hours, they joke that maybe they should call 911! That said, there are times when I am just slammed or on vacation, but even then, it is never more than a couple of days.

PLEASE CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR PART THREE OF LIZA’S INTERVIEW.

HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR SEPTEMBER FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “OCTOBER 2018 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE”  Example: Paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it’s a picture book, middle grade, or young adult, 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).

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.

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: October 23rd.

RESULTS: November 2nd.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Author Aimee Bissonette has new book titled, AIM FOR THE SKIES. Doris Ettlinger illustrated the book for Sleeping Bear Press. It hit bookshelves last week. Aimee has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Aimee!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

When she was seven years old, Geraldine (Jerrie) Mock took her first airplane ride. She decided then and there to be a pilot. Growing up, she was inspired by radio broadcasts detailing the travels of aviatrix Amelia Earhart. Joan Merriam was 15 when she took her first plane ride in 1952. She got her pilot’s license before she could even drive a car. And like Jerrie, Joan too was inspired by Earhart and wanted to circle the globe, following Earhart’s exact route. Years later, when both women begin to plan their dream flights, they are completely unaware of each other, and coincidentally pick the same time to depart. But when the media gets word of their plans, the stage is set for the race of a lifetime. This picture book retells the extraordinary story of the 1964 air race between Americans Geraldine Mock and Joan Merriam Smith, the first two women to fly around the world.

AIMEE’S BOOK JOURNEY: 

As a nonfiction writer, I am always on the hunt for story ideas, which means I do a lot of reading.  I read regional newspapers looking for stories that have not broken nationally. I read specialized publications for people with specific interests (like dog magazines and travel magazines). I read about current and historical events, other countries, music, books, food, culture, and traditions.  Invariably, I come across something that piques my interest and makes me want to learn more.

That’s just what happened with “Aim for the Skies.”  I started working on the story after reading Jerrie Mock’s obituary in an Ohio newspaper.  The obituary identified Jerrie as the first woman to fly solo around the world. I was shocked. How had I not heard of this woman? Everyone knows Amelia Earhart, the first woman who tried to fly around the world, right? But no one, including me, seemed to know who the first woman was to successfully do so – and it happened in my lifetime.  Imagine my surprise when my research then led me to Joan Merriam Smith – a second pilot – and I uncovered news of the unexpected race that ensued when Jerrie and Joan took off within days of each other. What a story!

Jerri Mock

Researching for me is a guilty pleasure.  It takes time. I always end up with much more information than can ever fit in a children’s book. In this case, I wanted to know all I could about Jerrie and Joan, their families, their planes, their routes.  Jerrie and my mom were contemporaries, which struck a personal chord (something that always appeals to me).  I also had an Amelia Earhart connection. I was an exchange student in high school on the island of Saipan.  Locals there believe Amelia Earhart was captured and brought to Saipan by the Japanese eighty years ago. No one knows for sure, of course, but Amelia’s story had always intrigued me as a result.

Researching this book was a blast: personal accounts, newspaper clippings, photos, telegrams – all those things were available and more. Jerrie and Joan’s air race was covered pretty extensively by the media during the weeks they were flying. Unfortunately, their accomplishments were quickly buried by other news of the day: the Space Race, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War, which explains why so few people know about them.

Joan Merriam

I felt from the start that Jerrie and Joan were unsung heroes whose story needed to be told. Lucky for me, my editor agreed. She and I share a passion for stories about strong women in history. We had worked together previously on another book, “Miss Colfax’s Light,” and this one seemed like her cup of tea, too.  Not only did she say “yes,” but she brought Doris on to illustrate the book, which made the story ten times better. The art is incredible.

I hope the story inspires young readers as much as researching it inspired me.  Follow your dreams – the sky is the limit!

AIMEE BISSONETTE’S BIO:

Author Aimée Bissonette was born in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, the sixth of seven children. Aimée earned her Bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University and her Law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School. She has worked as an occupational therapist, teacher, lawyer, and small business owner. She is the author of Miss Colfax’s Light. Learn more at her website: aimeebissonette.com

In addition to her books for children, Aimée has published a book for K-12 teachers and administrators on the legal issues associated with technology in the schools. She lives with her husband, family, and dogs in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

DORIS ETTLINGER’S JOURNEY:

I never know what sort of project Sleeping Bear Press will offer me. My previous book, The Legend of Sea Glass by Trinka Hakes Noble involved mermaids. Now I’d be working on a biography that involved flying airplanes, something I knew nothing about except to buckle my seat belt. Joan Merriam and Jerrie Mock were gutsy and intrepid women.

I put together a photo file on my iPad from image searches. I took screen shots from videos found on YouTube. I also dipped into my decades old scrap files for pictures of airplane cockpits and pilots, clouds and storms, and some of the countries Joan and Jerrie landed in. These I tacked to the bulletin board in my studio. For this project I also drew character sketches to become familiar with the women. I also enjoyed drawing and painting Amelia Earhart who had such a striking appearance.

My husband Mike helped by finding vintage model plane kits for a Cessna and Piper Apache on Ebay. He had fun putting the models together. Having three dimensional reference allowed me to capture any view I wanted.

Next I tackled the hardest part of any book project. The blank page. To get me over the hump, I drew rectangles to scale and gave myself just 10 minutes per spread to draw my first notion of the scenes. With each frame I thought about what point of view would work best. I varied close-ups with long shots, and I kept changing the point of view from spread to spread.

Thinking ahead to color, I visited colourlovers.com and entered the keyword “1960s” to look at trending colors for that era. Having lived through the 60’s I already pictured gold and turquoise. I planned to differentiate Jerrie and Joan with the colors they would wear in the illustrations. In the book Jerrie wears cool colors and Joan, warm colors.

Next I drew tighter thumbnails. I then drew careful 6 x 10” drawings and submitted them for approval. After revisions, I enlarged the drawings and traced them on to 140 lb. hot press watercolor paper using my light table. Then I wet and stretch the paper so the final art will be perfectly flat.

Before painting I made small prints of the drawings on 90 lb. hot press watercolor paper for color sketches.

I use Winsor & Newton, Holbein and Sennelier watercolors. When the painting is complete I use Verithin and Derwent Studio colored pencils to reclaim the line and enliven some of the dark areas.

(Joan brought a few stuffed animals for company on the trip.) I layer transparent colors first, then add pigments with more substance.

For scenes with clouds and drama I used a different technique. Watercolor on gessoed illustration board. With this technique I use mostly semi-opaque colors that sit on the surface and lift easily. I can spritz, spatter and make puddles for dramatic effects. This stormy scene was FUN! I applied Pebeo masking fluid to the planes before painting.

I used the same approach with Joan’s Long Walk when she had to come to terms with losing the “race”. She reminds herself of her original motivation for the flight, to honor Amelia Earhart. In earlier books I would have painted a carefully researched background of the airfield in Guam in 1964. But I realized this spread was not about geography but about Joan’s state of mind. So I left out anything that would distract from the mood of the scene.

Thanks to my art director at Sleeping Bear Press, Felicia Macheske. Using interior art, she managed to produce a cover with three portraits and the world’s largest subtitle. And thank you, Aimee for a story that deserved telling.

DORIS ETTLINGER BIO:

Doris Ettlinger has been an illustrator since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1973. She later received an MFA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Doris began illustrating picture books when she worked on the Little House program for HarperCollins. Over the course of her career she has illustrated 40 children’s books, including the award-winning titles A Book for Black-Eyed Susan and The Orange Shoes. Doris collaborated on the Little House program for HarperCollins, producing picturebooks and chapterbooks based on the writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Other clients include Sleeping Bear Press, American Girl, Albert Whitman & Co., McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin and Simon & Schuster. She is represented by Cornell & Company

A native of Staten Island Doris lives and works in a 150-year-old gristmill on the banks of the Musconetcong River near Hampton NJ in Warren County, with her husband, Michael McFadden – artist, teacher and fine craftsman and where they raised their children, Ivy and Benjamin. On the top floor of the mill Doris coaches the Musconetcong Watercolor Group and teaches monthly workshops. She also demonstrates her illustration technique for art groups and elementary schools.

BOOK LAUNCH
at the Open Studio for
AIM FOR THE SKIES

My 40th children’s book has just been released by Sleeping Bear Press. Written by Aimee Bissonette, the book tells the story of two female aviators from 1964 who completed Amelia Earhart’s quest to fly around the world. This and many of my other titles are available for sale and I will be happy to sign them for you.

…at the home and studios of Doris Ettlinger and Michael McFadden
10 Imlaydale Road, Hampton NJ 08827
908 537-6322
Saturday Oct 20, 1 – 6 pm
Sunday Oct 21, 1 – 6 pm
Thank you Aimee for sharing your book and its’ journey. And thank you Doris for sharing your journey and all those wonderful illustrations from the book. It looks like a fantastic book. I hope you get a lot of people stop by for the book’s launch. What a treat for anyone who can make the book signing to have it in your studio.
Talk tomorrow,
Kathy
Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 17, 2018

SCBWI EMERGING VOICES AWARD

The SCBWI established the On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award in 2012 with funding from Martin and Sue Schmitt of the 455 Foundation. The grant was created to foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books. SCBWI reserves the right not to confer this award in any given year.


Congratulations to Lakita Wilson and Anuradha D. Rajurkar, the 2017 winners!

Read the press release

Deadline: 

Applications accepted between September 15 and November 15, 2018 only.

Award:

Two writers or writer/illustrators will each receive:

– A paid trip to the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles (transportation, and hotel shared with other winner as appropriate)

– Tuition to the SCBWI Summer Conference (Excluding Portfolio Showcase. Intensives depending on availability)

– Manuscript Consultation at the Summer Conference

– A press release

– Publicity through SCBWI social media

– Manuscript included on our secure website for a selected list of publishing professionals to view

– Guidance available from SCBWI staff on professional career development during the winning year.

Eligibility:

Any writer or writer/illustrator from an ethnic and/or cultural background that is traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America. (Including but not limited to: American Indian, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander)

The manuscript must be an original work written in English for young readers and may not be under contract.  The applicant must be over 18, be unpublished (self-published is not considered published for this award), and should not yet have representation.

Guidelines: 

All applications will be accepted via email only between September 15 and November 15 to sarahdiamond@scbwi.org and must include the following:

In the body of the email:

1. An autobiographical statement and career summary in less than 250 words.

2. Why your work will bring forward an underrepresented voice in less than 250 words.

3. A synopsis of your manuscript in less than 250 words.

4. Please label the subject of the email First Name_Last Name Emerging Voices

Attached to the e-mail:

5. A PDF of your entire manuscript.  If the manuscript is not complete, it is not eligible.

The award will be presented at the 2019 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles.

When your work is published the author/illustrator should include in the acknowledgement “This book was made possible in part by a grant from SCBWI”

VIEW PAST WINNERS

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 16, 2018

Book Giveaway: Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush by Melissa Stoller

Author Melissa Stoller has new book titled, SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH! It hit bookshelves today. She has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Melissa!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

What would it be like to have a magic paintbrush?

Scarlet knows.
She paints perfect pictures . . . until her brush disappears.
Will she ever be
able to create another
masterpiece without it?

BOOK’S JOURNEY:

I got the idea for SCARLET while standing in front of a Monet painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I marveled at my favorite Impressionist artist, and wondered what it would be like to have a magic paintbrush to paint perfect pictures like Monet. “What if” questions filled my mind and the story started to take shape.

I wrote a first draft, and then made many revisions to make sure I had a well-plotted story with humor and heart. I relied on my trusted critique partners (you know who you are – thank you!) to help me with the story arc, layers, and themes. Eventually, I did a critique with Mira Reisberg, founder of The Children’s Book Academy and my editor and art director at Clear Fork Publishing/Spork. Mira loved my draft and made excellent suggestions that helped polish the manuscript. 

My publisher, Callie Metler-Smith at Clear Fork Publishing/Spork, was already working on my chapter book series (The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection). I realized that Callie loves art history and the Impressionists as much as I do. I pitched SCARLET to her and I was thrilled that she loved the story. Soon after, we signed a contract for my debut picture book. And a few months ago, when Callie was in New York, we visited some Monet paintings at the Met and talked about SCARLET’S journey!

Callie Metler-Smith and Melissa Stoller

Mira paired me with the incredible illustrator, Sandie Sonke. I couldn’t ask for a better collaboration. Sandie had a beautiful vision for SCARLET and included so many stunning details in her artwork. I loved the cover immediately and adore all the inside illustrations. She really brought the magic to this story!

Thank you for featuring SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH, Kathy! I’m so happy that my dream of being a picture book author is finally a reality! I already have some school visits set up and I can’t wait to see this book in the hands of the youngest readers. My heart is filled with gratitude for everyone who helped me along this journey.

MELISSA STOLLER’S BIO:

Melissa Stoller is the author of the chapter book series The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection – Book One: Return to Coney Island and Book Two: The Liberty Bell Train Ride (Clear Fork Publishing, 2017 and Summer 2018); and the picture books Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush and Ready, Set, GOrilla! (Clear Fork, Fall 2018). She is also the co-author of The Parent-Child Book Club: Connecting With Your Kids Through Reading (HorizonLine Publishing, 2009).

Melissa is an Assistant for the Children’s Book Academy, a Regional Ambassador for The Chapter Book Challenge, an Admin for The Debut Picture Book Study Group, and a volunteer with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators/MetroNY. Melissa has worked as a lawyer, legal writing instructor, freelance writer and editor, and early childhood educator. Melissa lives in New York City with her husband, three daughters, and one puppy. When not writing or reading, she can be found exploring NYC with family and friends, traveling, and adding treasures to her collections.

SANDIE SONKE’S BIO:


Sandie was born and raised in sunny Rancho Cucamonga, California. She graduated with a BA in Studio Art from Cal State University Fullerton in 2010. Wearer of many hats, Sandie is a freelance illustrator, wife, and mom to two inspirational souls. Sandie is happy to be a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) since 2015. When she is not drawing you can find her playing legos with her kids or sipping coffee with her husband. Sandie was featured on Illustrator Saturday. You should check it out.

CONNECT: 

www.MelissaStoller.com
http://www.facebook.com/MelissaStoller
http://www.twitter.com/melissastoller
http://www.instagram.com/Melissa_Stoller
http://www.pinterest.com/melissastoller

Thank you Melissa for sharing your Book and its’ journey with us. It is a great match with you and Sandie. It looks like a winner.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 15, 2018

Six Mistakes Writers and Illustrators Make

This illustration was sent in and created by Natalya Okinawa. She is a self-taught illustrator based in Spain. She says, “Alternative reality has always been buzzing in my mind. Until I learned how to get it out. I’m sure we have all envied children’s relationships with the world around because they prove that everything is possible. And that’s what my work is about.” She more of her work at: https://www.instagram.com/natalya_okinawa/

SIX MISTAKES I’VE OBSERVED:

1. Illustrators: Wanting to be recognized as an illustrator, but not showing off your illustrations. If you want to be recognized and get business, you need to get your work up on the Internet. If you have an agent and they have you work up on their site, you still need a website to show off your work. If you put your work up in other places and you list your agent and their phone number, you should list you email or website that has a way for people contact you. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Someone could have an interest in you doing something for them and can’t get a hold of your agent. This could start the person looking for someone else. Don’t let that happen. Just because you have an agent, doesn’t mean you can walk away from promoting yourself.

2. Bloggers: I can’t believe how many people have blogs and don’t say who they are. My question is why do you have a blog? Isn’t the reason that you have it, is to build an audience? You should want to build your name recognition and not letting anyone know anything about you is not smart.

3. Everyone: Since I put opportunities on Writing and Illustrating and put up Submission Guidelines, I have gotten a hint of what publishers are getting. I would say 25% of the submissions I receive have missed following at least one of the guidelines. Practice on me, but understand if you haven’t followed the editor, agent, or publishers guidelines, then you probably will not get published.

4. Social Media: It sounds so easy and some people do it with ease, but it is filled with potholes. Take a minute to think about what you want and why you are doing it. I see so many writers and illustrators adding things to facebook and Twitters, maybe 20 times a day. Really is that necessary? If that is not keeping you away from creating beautiful words and art, then I congratulate you, but give it some thought. This could be a way to put off facing a project that you can’t figure out. Maybe going to a walk would let you clear your mind. Use your time wisely. On the other end of the spectrum, some of you are afraid to go near social media and that is not good in this digital age. Force yourself to get your feet wet. Everyone who writers and illustrates needs a social media present.

5. Authors: Please remember how important the first few pages and first chapter are to having your book published. I just read a published book with a lot of hype, that introduced 11 character in the first paragraph. Did not set up the setting or what was going on. The book is still sitting here and I can’t decide whether it is worth my time to read more. There are so many things that you need to consider while writing a book, and since for some reason a writer can not see where their work falls sort. That is why you need to have other writers read your work. You don’t want to publish a book that people put down after a few pages. So don’t submit your manuscript to and editor or agent too soon.

6. Email: Using an email that no one can remember Example: Littletoad417@gmail.com. I remember something that might help this person or they sent me an email asking a question and when I have time to answer, I can remember the name, but not the email. I try searching for the name and come up with nothing. Now you may only get emails from a few people, so you can remember your friends addresses, but I get hundreds of emails, just like editors and agents and it is not easy remembering everyone email. Get an email using your name. If you think you will ever sell a book, get a domain name using your name. You don’t even have to have your website up to set up and email. Example: Sandy@sandywellington.com. You can use that and have it forward to the email your little toad that you are using. An additional advantage is, you are getting your name out there this way. Also, set up an automatic signature at the end of your emails with the email listed to re-enforce name recognition. Do you have a book? Make sure that is in the signature at the bottom of every email, too.

Hope this gives you food for thought.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 14, 2018

Opportunity: SCBWI BOOKSTOP PAGE

Get Your SCBWI BookStop Page Today

The SCBWI BookStop is a fantastic way for SCBWI members to boost your newly published book’s outreach. It’s your opportunity to get your book in front of book lovers and book buyers!

Purchase a BookStop page today for your book that was published or will be published in 2018. BookStop is open to all SCBWI members both, independently and traditionally published. Design a one-of-a-kind, online page that gives visitors an inside look at you and your book.

For $25, you can choose from one of our 7 beautiful pre-designed templates, which will be hosted here at scbwi.org for the general public to browse, purchase and enjoy!

BookStop will be available to the public starting Tuesday, October 23 through Friday, December 7. This time period covers the holiday shopping period including Black Friday (November 23) and Cyber Monday (November 26). Don’t miss out on a great member opportunity to promote your book. Remember, all members can participate in BookStop.

Go to https://www.scbwi.org/scbwibookstop-faq/ to find out how to create your page today. You can use photos, video, and more to get readers to your BookStop page. SCBWI members who created BookStop pages in the past have been the recipients of over 150,000 pageviews.

To take full advantage of the promotion, have your page ready by October 23. Go here to find out more about SCBWI BookStop and get involved today!

To see an example of all 7 templates, CLICK HERE!

Talk tomorrow,

Kthy

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