Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 9, 2012

New Jersey Success & Submissions Request

Some of you may remember the feature I posted of Hazel Mitchell about a year ago on Illustrator Saturday – . Hazel is a wonderful illustrator and SCBWI member who lives in Maine, so when she sent me a copy of HIDDEN NEW JERSEY , it caught my attention. When I realized that Linda Barth, a New Jersey member, was the author of the book, I dropped everything and read through the illustrated pages.

I have to say anyone who lives in New Jersey or is just planning a visit, should buy this book. It is filled with fun facts; even some that Jersey Boys and Girls may not know. On each page, a part of the state is featured and Hazel and Linda have really captured the flavor of each one.  So I sent Linda and Hazel some questions I thought would interest you. First Linda questions, then the book trailer that Hazel put together (her first), and followed that with questions for Hazel.  She included a link about the making of the book trailer, which might be helpful.

I don’t know if Linda plans to attend the June conference, but I hope she will because I think the book would be a big hit at the book fair.  I also hope Mackinac Island Press, an imprint of Charlesbridge, ends up doing a book for each state.  That would be fun to collect.

Linda: How did this book come about?

I was (and still am) tired of people making fun of my state. For all of the years that I taught fourth-grade, I tried to focus students’ attention on the positive aspects of our state: its diverse geography, agriculture, industry, and famous firsts and inventions. A life-long resident of the Garden State, I joined the board of Celebrate NJ!, a grassroots movement that builds pride in and fosters a brighter future for New Jersey through educational programs and promotional initiatives.

Linda: Was it something you worked on for a long while?

In early 2005 or 2006 Anne Lewis, editor of Mackinac Island Press (now an imprint of Charlesbridge), emailed me out of the blue, asking if I wanted to do a book of fun facts about New Jersey. She had already published Hidden Michigan and wanted NJ to be the second in the series. I researched and wrote my fun facts. After submitting them, I waited. And waited. Apparently, there had been two other illustrators who hadn’t worked out, for some reason. Finally in the summer of 2011, Hazel Mitchell’s beautiful illustrations were emailed to me. Then I knew that the book would finally happen!

Linda: How did it find a home?

See above. I have never had to seek a publisher. My first two books were by Arcadia, which always wants authors. The first children’s book was published by the National Canal Museum. We’ll see what happens when I finish writing about Garden State inventors and inventions.

Linda: Who was your editor at Charlesbridge on this book?

Anne Lewis is my editor; Lili DeSisto is my contact.

Linda: Did your editor require you to do a lot of edits?

No, she didn’t ask for a lot of edits; she did ask me to be more whimsical.

Linda: How long did you have to wait for the final book to hit to book shelves?

Once I knew last summer that the illustrations were set, it only took until January (official release date, Feb. 1) to see the book. I ordered 50 paperbacks and 50 hard covers to sell when I present my “Celebrate New Jersey” PowerPoint program.

Hazel: How did you get chosen to do the illustrations?

Strangely enough the editor at the imprint, Anne Lewis, (Mackinac Island) saw my work on my Facebook Fan Page ( ) and sent me an email asking if I was interested in the book while I as at SCBWI -LA 2010.

Hazel: What medium did you use to create the illustrations?

All line work is pencil and then coloured digitally in Photoshop.

Hazel: Did you have any interaction with Linda?

No, I worked solely with the publisher. But we have liaised on marketing since publication.

Hazel: Did you have to do a lot of research for the illustrations, since you do not live in the state?

I did! I looked at hundreds of images online, and made sketches, using different images and creating my own. My husband also helped as he is from New Jersey originally!

Hazel: Where you the one to chose the hidden picture objects?

I was given some ideas for the hidden objects, but I ended up being the one to make the decision finally as to what to illustrate in the pictures and what to hide.

Hazel: How did you send in the final artwork? Was it sent in digitally?

Yes I submitted everything digitally. When I scan it is always about 150% bigger than the finished image and initially at double the dpi .. the final images were 400dpi, so I scanned in at 800dpi in 24bit. Then resized in photoshop. I don’t have a huge scanner, so I stitch the images back together in photoshop. However I am thinking of buying a large format scanner!

Hazel: Do you have a markting plan for the book? Does the publisher have one?

I think that Charlesbridge marketing has done all the usual marketing and submitting for awards etc. I decided to do what I can from Northern Maine, including a blog tour and mailing newspapers and media in NJ itself. I have also applied to a couple of book festivals in NJ. I am hoping to do some school visits that will use the book as an aid to learning about NJ in their curriculum. I also created a Facebook Fan Page for the book and posted news to other New Jersey related pages. I retweet news and also put on Google+. I have also made myself available for book signings and library visits. It’s almost more exhausting that doing the illustrations!

Hazel: Were you the one who created the book trailer?

I was! It was my first attempt. I used a software programme for the PC which is much like imovies, called ‘Slideshow Builder’. I had a lot of fun with it and you can read more on how I did it on my blog

Here is Hazel’s webite:  I can’t find one for Linda.

Next week I am going in the hospital to get my knee replaced and could use some help. This would be a great time to send something in about writing or illustrating, be a guest blogger, and help others by shareing something you did that was successful.

How did you land that agent? How did you reel in that editor? How did you keep from quitting? Is there a craft book that has helped you improve your skills? Did you land a contract through different channels, like the editor finding Hazel’s artwork through facebook? Maybe you had an exceptional book launch party, that really kicked off the sales.

You can send in a picture, provide your website link and mention your book, as long as you share something of value to everyone in the audience. Hopefully some of you will send something in by Tuesday or Wednesday and I will schedule them so I don’t have to worry about posting in the hospital. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Thanks for having us on your blog Kathy! Feel better soon. Hazel


  2. Good luck with your knee replacement Kathy!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: