Spring time is the perfect time for us to feature the next #Notable19s member, Lisa Anchin! Full of fresh and feisty flora, THE LITTLE GREEN GIRL, Lisa's debut author-illustrator book, is the story of a topiary child and Mr. Aster, her gardener. The title girl is a curious little plant with big dreams and hopes to see the world beyond the garden walls. Mr. Aster, however, doesn’t like having his routine disrupted, and the Little Green Girl changes his life forever. It’s ultimately a story about growing up, branching out, and exploring with someone you love.
Notable19: Lisa, the garden in your book is simply beautiful; most people--probably you as well--would want to hang out there all the time. But since it's fictional and we can't go there, where is your favorite place to write (or draw)?
Lisa: I don’t have just one. I love working in my studio, but there are days when a change of scenery is necessary. I live in Brooklyn, NY, and I enjoy finding a good cafe to work in, but I’m also particularly fond of writing/drawing outside when the weather permits. Favorite places include New York City’s Highline (an old elevated train track that has since been turned into a park), down by the water in Bay Ridge, the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Prospect Park, Central Park, and Madison Square Park. It’s no wonder that my first book is about a garden.
Notable19: Great studio and NYC has such wonderful outdoor spaces! But what about when the weather is bad? What is your favorite rainy day activity?
Lisa: Rainy days are the best days. They’re perfect for imagining new stories. I love spending them near a window with a cup of tea, a cookie, and my sketchbook.
Notable19: Mmmm, tea and cookies! Speaking of eating, what is a food you couldn’t live without?
Lisa: It’s not technically a food, but I don’t think I could live without tea.
Notable19: LOL! Of course; we should have guessed.
Lisa: I always have a warm cuppa on my desk when I’m working. In the morning, it’s earl gray or a rose black tea. Later on rooibos chai or ginger or lemon or something floral or minty. Loose tea, bagged tea, herbal, black, green, red… I love it all.
Notable19: Tea complements just about any food and meal. Now, if you could choose 3 fictional characters to have a meal with, who would they be?
Lisa: I would love to have dinner with Anne Shirley (of Green Gables), Matilda Wormwood, and Luna Lovegood. Some of my best book memories are of middle grade fiction. Matilda and Anne of Green Gables were formative books for me, and Matilda and Anne felt like friends. The Harry Potter books came out when I was an older teen, but like so many others, I fell in love with JK Rowling’s characters and a certain quirky Ravenclaw in particular. Luna is the perfect combination of weird and honest and smart and wholly herself. I would love to spend time with the tween/teen versions of all of these characters, but it would be even more fun to have a dinner party for the mid-30s versions of them.
Notable19: It would be so neat to meet up with our favorite kid characters as adults, wouldn't it? You could find out how their childhood experiences that you read about had shaped their adult lives and down what life paths, like whether they ended up with weird jobs. LOL! What about you? What’s the weirdest job you've ever had?
Lisa: I worked at an open-air historical museum called Old Bethpage Village Restoration (OBVR). OBVR is a recreated mid-19th-century, rural American farm village on 200+ acres on Long Island. I worked in costume as a historical interpreter, teaching visitors about the history of the homes and the people who lived and worked there. Later, I also helped run OBVR’s children’s summer program for 9-12 year olds. The kids spent a week in costume learning about the daily life of a 19th century child through hands-on activities.
It was a really fun job. Each day brought with it something new and different. There were “normal” days teaching in the one-room schoolhouse or carding wool or arriving early in the morning to warm up the brick oven for baking (it might take 2-3 hours of feeding a fire to bring it to temperature). But then I might spend an afternoon chasing chickens out of the general store or staging a historical wedding or finding half a dozen escaped piglets on the doorstep of the house I happened to be working in.
Notable19: Oh, what a blast that sounds like! Living fictional lives is as cool as writing about, or illustrating, them. But we had better let you get back to living your very busy real life. Thank you for sharing these fun facts about yourself, Lisa!
It may sound fishy (hah!) but we are so tickled to share our interview of multi-talented #Notable19s member Jessica Lanan today! THE FISHERMAN & THE WHALE is Jessica's debut picture book as the sole creator. As if that wasn't exciting enough, Jessica will also illustrate fellow #Notable19s member Rich Ho's next book, LOST!
As Maria Von Trapp so aptly sang, let's start at the very beginning: How did you get the specific story idea?
Jessica: I had read a news story about a fisherman off the coast of California who helped rescue a whale, but wasn't until I went to a music concert that I had the idea to make a book about it. I was listening to one particular piece and the idea just connected suddenly in my mind. It was called "Soledad," which means "solitude," and it's melancholy and hauntingly beautiful. It got me thinking about how lonely we humans have become, whether we know it or not, by cutting ourselves off from nature and killing other living things indiscriminately. I wanted to bring that feeling to life through the story of the whale. If you're curious, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to listen to "Soledad" here: https://austinpiazzollaquintet.bandcamp.com/track/soledad
Notable19: Isn't it wild how our minds can piece together things from two different senses and create a coherent, beautiful story? Of course, sometimes our minds are slightly less helpful, like when it's racing at bedtime. What do you think about when you have trouble falling asleep?
Jessica: Often I'm tired enough that I have no trouble falling asleep, but if I wake in the night ruminating I sometimes "paint" a watercolor in my mind, imagining the strategy I'd use for each wash and brush stroke. It might sound strange but I find it meditative.
Notable19: Whatever works, though, right? Speaking of strange, what's the weirdest job you ever had?
Jessica: I've had a lot of weird jobs, but none can top the summer spent working alone in a storage facility taking inventory for an eccentric collector who had purchased thousands and thousands of teapots.
Notable19: Spending a summer alone in a storage facility sounds a bit like a dream job for an extreme introvert, actually. LOL! But I imagine most people would want to travel in the summer instead. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Jessica: Another habitable planet, definitely! It would be fascinating to see ecosystems that evolved on a different world somewhere else in the galaxy.
Notable19: How interesting! You should chat with #Notable19s member Teresa Robeson. She had wanted to be an astronaut for years. Since hanging out on another planet is not quite within reach, where is your favorite place to write?
Jessica: I like to go to my local library, which has a bridge over the creek with a cafe where you can sit for hours and watch the ducks. I get the most done when I don't bring digital devices along. The walkway is right next to the children's section of the library so it's easy to wander over there for inspiration.
Notable19: What a gorgeous location. It must be hard to concentrate on writing at times there...but what is the hardest thing about writing in your opinion? Easiest?
Jessica: Each story seems to present unique challenges. The challenge with this book was finding a way to make it engaging, since there is just one boat, one whale, and a big empty ocean for pretty much the whole story. I had to think like a filmmaker and use all sorts of points of view. The easiest part were the words--that is, I chose to not have any. I wanted the characters to speak through their actions. Imposing a human voice would have detracted from the idea that both the human and the whale are equals: whales speak too, and I since I can't write in both English and whalespeak I chose to not write in words at all.
Notable19: Love that insight into the story. It is sure to enrich readers' enjoyment of your book. Thank you for sharing these fun tidbits about you and your work, Jessica!
Today's wonderful writerly advice is brought to you by Shauna LaVoy Reynolds. Take it away, Shauna!
My name and the illustrator’s name are on the cover. My agent’s and editor’s names were in the deal announcement. My husband and kids are named on the dedication page, and even my dog is mentioned in my jacket flap bio.
Anna, Andrea, and Amelia deserve a mention too, so I’m going to do it here. I don’t think I’d be published without my critique group.
We found each other 4 years ago, on the 12x12 message boards. Our goals were similar. We wanted to find agents, we wanted to be published, and we each wanted to write 12 drafts over the course of a year. We needed each other to make it work. Sometimes I don’t know if my writing is any good. It’s hard to separate myself from my stories. I ask my family, but their responses are — I almost hate to say it — too positive! My critique group is built on encouragement, but we’re also comfortable giving constructive criticism. We understand the necessity of criticism to strengthen our work, write the best stories we can, and achieve our writing goals. We’ve also helped each other with queries, bios, moral support, and the occasional bit of parenting advice. We live in 4 different states and haven’t met in person — not yet, at least. But I can’t wait to see their books on my shelf someday soon.
Here are 5 ways working with a critique group has improved my writing:
Sure, I can tell myself that I need to finish this draft by the last weekend of the month. But I’m a lot more likely to do it if there are three sets of eager eyes waiting for it. A critique group helps me stay motivated.
2. Power in numbers
One great thing about having a critique group of 3 or more, rather than a single partner, is that we can comment on each other’s comments! It’s easy to write off a single comment I disagree with as a matter of opinion, but when others agree or make similar notes, I know I should take a closer look.
I frequently see new writers expressing concern about sharing material for critique. (It’s a common message board topic.) They’re afraid they might find an unscrupulous critique partner who might steal their idea or even their story! It’s hard to trust a practical stranger with something so close to your heart. There’s an element of blind faith involved in sharing your work with someone new. But the more time I’ve spent with my critique group, the more trust we’ve built. While we started out sharing complete and semi-polished manuscripts with each other, I’m now comfortable sharing unfinished drafts or even throwing out “does this concept make any sense?” questions in the very early stages of drafting.
4. Someone to impress
We hope that our stories will eventually reach their intended audience. But until then, it’s fun to know we can make each other laugh, cry, or say “hmm!” with the stories we write. It’s nice to have an audience in the meantime. (Bonus: we all have children, so we can also get that crucial “other people’s kids” feedback!)
5. The support of people who “get it.”
I’m sure you’ve seen it — that look on your non-writer friends faces when you’re gushing about a much-anticipated new release from your favorite author or making Caldecott predictions. And I’m sure there’s certain questions and assumptions about how the industry works that you’ve heard over and over again. It turns out that not everyone is obsessed with kidlit. Who knew? It’s such a comfort to know who to email about writing triumphs and roadblocks, but also about picture books in general.
I'm so thankful for Anna, Andrea, and Amelia. I recently looked at their notes on early drafts of POETREE and it wouldn't be the same book without their insight and encouragement. So if you’re ready to take your writing to the next level, try to find a critique group. They’re the coworkers/friends who will be your loudest, proudest cheerleaders. (And tell you when you might want to try a stronger adjective.)
Shauna LaVoy Reynolds' debut book, POETREE, published by Dial/Penguin will be released on March 19th! You can find the preorder links on our Books page.
Hannah Stark is the next featured author in our #Notable19s members interview series. We are in awe of how much Hannah accomplishes with having to take care of her children, teaching full time, writing, and helping run events for our debut group. So, let’s not dilly-dally since Hannah is one busy person!
Notable19: First of all, Hannah, tell us about your debut book.
Hannah: My book TRUCKER AND TRAIN is about a big rig named Trucker who loves to rule the road with his size, strength, and mighty horn. One day he meets the larger, stronger, and even louder Train. Trucker quickly realizes that Train is bigger, stronger, and louder but isn’t using his might for power. Instead, Train is well-admired by the vehicles around him. Trucker and Train is a story about using our strengths for good. I hope young readers will see that with great power comes great opportunity.
Notable19: What a terrific message, especially in the light of today’s issues where it seems like people with power and wealth abuse both to suppress those who don’t have either. So, how did you get the specific story idea?
Hannah: When my son was three he was in a pre-school class made up predominantly of boys. Some of the kids had much more rough and tumble personalities than my son does. I was fascinated by how each kid used their budding personality, as well as, their body size, volume, and speed to sometimes take power over one another during play.
At about the same time, my son was into trucks and trains. We spent countless hours lying on the apartment floor drawing roads on butcher paper and creating worlds using wooden interlocking train tracks. One day my son got really aggravated that the trucks couldn’t fit on and drive smoothly along the tracks. There was a meltdown and afterward we spent time talking about the differences between trucks and trains. This was when I first thought about a character named Trucker.
Notable19: Spending quality time with one’s children often sparks the best ideas. We love picturing you and your son lying down on the floor together playing. We assume you don’t lie on the floor to write though, LOL!, so where do you like to write?
Hannah: I like to write in the Rose Main Reading Room of the New York Public Library. It is an incredibly inspiring space and I like being around other New Yorkers reading and writing. For me, it feels studious and quite official. I take my writing seriously when I am there.
There is also something about the motion of a vehicle on a track that soothes my soul into a place of imagination. I love to take long trips by train but as a New Yorker I spend a lot of regular time on the subway. I typed (or maybe I should say pecked) my first drafts of Trucker and Train into the notes app on my phone while commuting by subway in Brooklyn.
Notable19: Wow! That is dedication. Some of us can’t even write if we can hear someone else breathing in the same room. Hah! Maybe you grew up having to tune out sibling so you can concentrate in all sorts of places. Are you a first born/middle/family baby? Do you think that has affected your creative life at all?
Hannah: I am the oldest of three kids and have two younger brothers. I grew up in a house that was fairly isolated from neighbors and surrounded by woods. My mom is an artist and she let us explore and express ourselves pretty freely. I think a lot of my creativity came out through play. I remember making restaurants in the house (and creating elaborate menus), talent shows with extended family when they visited, and playing school. My brothers usually had subservient roles in each of these until they grew bored or fed up with me. Then I’d usually resort to using my dolls. I’d say these were my earliest experiences as a storyteller.
Notable19: Love that your mom is a creative type who allowed you to grow up free-spirited! Sounds like an idyllic childhood. What is a moment from that childhood that is crystal clear in your mind?
Hannah: I remember being shy at school but bold and brave at home. When I was around seven or eight my parents decided to put a pool in our yard. A couple of mini diggers showed up with a crew of workers and I remember thinking the yard started to resemble a big sandbox. One day, I started playing in the dirt as the machines were digging. The men stopped their work, walked up the hill to the house, and had to call my mom outside to tell her it wasn’t safe to have a little kid playing where they worked. Needless to say, my mom wasn’t very happy with me. I think I’ve always liked watching vehicles at work.
Notable19: How marvelous that you’ve come full-circle from watching, and playing around, big vehicles to writing a book about them! Thank you for taking time out of your packed schedule to share some interesting facts about you and your book, Hannah.
Check out our Books page to see where you can preorder TRUCKER AND TRAIN! Don’t forget to follow Hannah on Twitter, too.
2/19/19: The contest is now over. Thank you to everyone who entered. Please come back on Friday, 2/22/19, to find out who the winners are!
Thank you for participating in our Twitter Chat with Matthew Winner! Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter for a chance to win. We will pick two lucky recipients who will get to choose the prize they want!
The prize options are:
a) a manuscript critique with one of our authors or author-illustrators
b) a dummy critique with one of our author-illustrators
c) a "Mentor Texts for Writers" ebook offered by Marcie Atkins
d) a signed copy of "This Little Piggy" or a signed F&G of either "The Little Green Girl," "When a Tree Grows," "Poetree," or "Brave Molly"
To enter, simply click on the "Enter the Giveaway" box below (if on your smart phone) or the "Follow @Notable19s" pull-down tab to begin the process. Following @Notable19s is mandatory, but for each member you follow, you get another entry in the contest.
The contest ends 2/19 a 12:00a.m.ET. and we will announce the winners on Friday, 2/22. Good luck!
By Richard Ho
I’m proud to be a diverse author.
I just worry that I’m not being a very good one.
To clarify: I’m not talking about the fear of being a bad writer. (Though what writer doesn’t fear that?) My worry is that I’m falling short of the expectations that come with being a POC author.
In this era of #OwnVoices and #WeNeedDiverseBooks, I feel a responsibility to write stories that authentically reflect the experiences of the under-represented groups I identify with. I say groups, because the pressure I feel is twofold: not only am I Asian, but I’m also an Orthodox Jew.
The fact that I’m Chinese is obvious to anyone who looks at my headshot. The fact that I converted to Judaism over a decade ago, and have been keeping kosher and observing the Sabbath ever since, is probably more of a surprise. (It’s hard to see, but I am wearing a yarmulke in that picture!)
Being Chinese and being Jewish are both foundational pieces of my identity. And while some aspects of my religious observance occasionally present minor challenges in my life as an author (for one, conferences on Saturdays aren’t really an option for me), I can’t think of too many communities that would be more tolerant and understanding of my circumstances. As an example, the organizers of KidLitCon in Providence (where I’ll be appearing on a panel next month) were extremely accommodating, making every effort to schedule the panel on Friday so that I could participate!
So given the warm welcome I’ve already experienced in my brief time as a member of this community, the challenge for me is not finding acceptance. The challenge is finding my voice.
Do I identify as an Asian-American author? A Jewish author? The even rarer designation of Chinese-Jewish author? Do I have an obligation to write stories that speak exclusively to any or all of those perspectives? Through which prism should I focus my creative efforts?
Should I make those distinctions at all?
That’s the thing about prisms: they have many sides.
My first two sold books are about the Curiosity rover and a lost package, respectively. From a diversity standpoint, they admittedly don’t move the needle. (No one is clamoring for greater representation of robotic cars or cardboard boxes in publishing, as far as I know.) I do have stories in the works that speak to a Chinese or Jewish perspective—and some to both simultaneously. But they are all part of a wider tapestry of stories that cannot be grouped under a single umbrella.
And ultimately, I hope that’s okay. I hope it’s possible to be a diverse author, while maintaining diversity in interests, tastes, and creative output.
Yes, we absolutely need more books that are diverse in race, religion, physical ability, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, and every other marginalized group in modern society. And as diverse authors, we should embrace our unique platform to put more of those authentic stories into the world. But we should also allow ourselves the recognition that a given reader might find a wide range of stories appealing—and not necessarily just the ones that reflect them. I know I do.
As a POC author, I’m extremely fortunate to be in this position, to have the opportunity to make books. It’s a privilege I don’t take lightly. I hope to use that opportunity to create stories that reflect every aspect of my multi-faceted identity—as well as stories that transcend identity. I want to write for Chinese audiences, Jewish audiences, and all audiences in general. And I plan to champion diversity in all of its forms, both in the stories I consume and the ones I create.
I’m an Asian author. I’m a Jewish author.
I’m an author.
And boy, do I have stories to tell.
Welcome to our next member interview! Today, we’re delighted to feature Cathy Ballou Mealey whose debut book, WHEN A TREE GROWS, will be released on April 2nd from Sterling Publishing. Cathy is not only a brilliant person but she also has a super fun side. . .read on!
Notable19: So, Cathy, did you have a pet growing up and has it made its way into any of your stories?
Cathy: My family had plenty of dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils and even a turtle. The first pet that was mine – all mine – was Brownie, a handsome smooth-coated guinea pig. I’ve worked a veritable menagerie of real and imaginary creatures into my stories, most well-anthropomorphized. I’m sure Brownie would get along well with Squirrel, the rodent protagonist in WHEN A TREE GROWS.
Notable19: Sounds like you have an affinity for the order rodentia. :D He’s a cutie, as were you! When not observing Brownie, you must have watched some television. What was your favorite TV show as a kid?
Cathy: Tuesday nights at 7:30 you could always find me watching Jim Henson’s THE MUPPET SHOW. I was hooked on Sesame Street as a kid, and idolized the Muppets with their distinctive personalities and sly humor. When Frank Oz gave a lecture at my graduate school and brought Grover along, I was so spellbound that I just about forgot to breathe!
Notable19: You got to see Frank Oz?! We are very jealous! There should be a National Frank Oz Day, in our opinion. If you could invent a holiday, what would it be?
Cathy: Is there a holiday that hasn’t been invented yet? I am especially looking forward to celebrating the holidays that can help promote WHEN A TREE GROWS such as:
January 15 – National Moose Day
January 21 – Squirrel Appreciation Day
April 26 – Arbor Day
October 22 – National Nut Day
December 7 – National Letter Writing Day
I hope you have marked these important dates on your calendars. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?
Notable19: We are definitely marking down those special days! Arbor Day and National Letter Writing Day can really touch people’s lives, too. Speaking of touching, what is the first book that made you cry?
Cathy: Probably Charlotte’s Web. I also remember weeping through James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small and its sequels, tales of his careful, compassionate veterinary work in the Yorkshire Dales. What an amazing storyteller he was!
More recently, I wept while reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo to my children. I think you can still see the tear stains on the pages.
Notable19: A good cry that well-written books elicit can be very therapeutic. But to end on a happier note, do you have a playful way to get past the blank page, such as writing exercises or prompts?
Cathy: As a writing warm-up, I like to scroll through Instagram for an image that inspires me to jot down a setting, a character description, or a simple “what next?” plot outline. These quick scribbles help me to jump back into a WIP with fresh, surprising ideas. I also post some of my favorite picture book images on Instagram – check it out @catballoumealey!
Notable19: That does sound like a great way to get inspired! Some people do something similar on Pinterest, too. Thanks so much for letting us take a peek into your childhood, Cathy!
Follow Cathy on Twitter and Instagram to catch news about her book and to see cute animal links!
The second Notable19 member to be showcased in our interview series is a talent author-illustrator with a unique sense of humor. Here he is in his own words:
Hello, My name is James Serafino and my debut picture book, THIS LITTLE PIGGY, is out now with Philomel and is available everywhere. I have had the time of my life making this book and it is a literal dream come true, I hope you enjoy it.
If you’d like to know more about me and how this book was made, here is a small window into my silly colorful world.
Notable19: Are you a first born/middle/family baby/only child? Do you think that has affected your creative life at all?
James: I am the middle child with two very loud and highly opinionated brothers and this has most definitely affected my creativity. With that much chaos going on around me there was little use getting involved and I generally just played and watched and did whatever they decided, until I got to my sketch book. There, on blank pages I could do whatever I chose and go wherever I wanted. I taught myself to draw copying comic strips and comic books and it wasn’t long before I started writing my own and fell in love with creating and controlling my very own worlds.
Notable19: Hmm, sounds you have your brothers to thank for your talents and vocation. LOL! What do you think about when you have trouble falling asleep?
James: Infinite universes. There are a million little parts, all working together, that make up every story and if one thing changes the rest follow suite. I can’t help but wonder if this is true for my story too. Maybe there are a million other mes out there all just a little bit different but mostly the same.
Notable19: The multiverse theory is certainly a fascinating one that can keep one up at night! Where is your favorite place to write?
James: In my studio I have a big desk where I can lay out all the different ideas I have for a story and see them all together. All of my pens and pencils and paints and papers are in reach. I hate writing there. It is far too serious. I will spend the first several hours of the day banging my head on that table, overwhelmed by possibilities and lack of progress. Eventually I will escape, whether it’s a park, a bar or a crowded café doesn’t really matter. Just somewhere where life is happening. Then I can clear my head and write with out getting distracted and return to my desk prepared to do battle.
Notable19: Creating is such a solitary task most of the time, it's nice that you can get out and still get work done. What is your favorite rainy day activity?
James: Rainy days are the best days. Rainy days are my favorite days. Hot chocolate is sweeter, blankets are cozier and books are better. Everything is calm and quiet and slow. They smell better and sound better and the new ideas are better.
Notable19: The Pacific Northwest might be your dream living location then! If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
James: I’d like to go to the British Isles, Wales and Ireland particularly. They sound wonderfully magical and fun in that fairytale kind of way, which is my favorite kind of way. I dream of going there and getting lost in another universe where I can do magic. Also, see above regarding my love of rainy days.
Notable19: Well, it definitely is rainy over in that part of the world. Finally, what is a food you couldn’t live without?
James: Cheeseburgers. Wonderful, magical cheeseburgers. I definitely couldn’t live without them, in fact I think its time for one right now…
Notable19: We'll let you go to satisfy your cheeseburger cravings, James. :) Thanks so much for sharing tidbits about yourself with our readers!
Don't forget to follow James at Instagram, his favorite social media hangout, and go to our Books page to see where you can order THIS LITTLE PIGGY!
When I sat down to begin this post, I had every intention of writing about making book dummies. (Spoiler, I’m not going to write about dummy making.) However, as I began looking back through old dummies and the material that led to my debut author/illustrated picture book (The Little Green Girl, Dial 2019), I couldn’t help marveling at the dates on my early drafts. I ended up on a wild hunt through boxes of dummies and sketchbooks, an ancient laptop, and finally our current computer.
I found the first drawing of my main character in a sketchbook from 2014. At the time, I knew right away that this little character had a story to tell, and I remember quickly filling the page around her with additional character sketches as well as scratchy story notes, and a tiny drawing of a garden gnome. (Poor gnome didn’t make it into even the first dummy.)
The gnome isn’t the only thing that I cut from those early drafts. Very little remains from the first draft of the story other than the Little Green Girl and her gardener, Mr. Aster. The plot, the emotional narrative of both characters, the resolution—all of it is different in the book that will be published next year.
This book is not a story that wrote itself. I found five InDesign drafts on my old laptop and eight additional drafts on the new computer. The Little Green Girl took three years and thirteen drafts to sell, and it’ll be almost exactly five years from that very first sketch to the book’s publishing date. I’m telling you all of this not to discourage anyone, but rather to say that if you’ve ever had an idea for a character or a story, stick with it. You never know; it just may end up on a bookshelf one day.
And to be practical, here are a few pointers on revisions from someone who is terrible at killing her darlings:
We are a group of writers and illustrators who have debut books (actual debuts , debuts as author-illustrators, or debuts with medium/large publishers) forthcoming in 2019. Thank you for joining us on our exciting journey!