Today is Multicultural Children’s Book Day. I feel honoured to participate, and review a book from a talented Greek author, especially since I myself am Greek! And it fosters diversity, which is crucial.
Review of The Wounded Swallow By Vaggelio Kondaki-Karametou
I had the pleasure of reading this short children’s book and I was immediately drawn in. It started off in a very sweet yet mysterious way that left me wanting to know more. I could feel the love between the mother and her daughter in the opening sequence and I was curious about the swallow they kept mentioning.
Then the story traveled to another place and time, morphing into a story narrated by the mother. It was unusual and gripping. The act of war was personified, which I found to be very original. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s no secret, kids have NO filter.
Like it or not, they say what’s on their mind. Throughout my years visiting elementary schools to give workshops, they’ve said many hilarious (and sometimes verging on offensive if you have no sense of humor) things to me.
Here are the 5 funniest questions my students have asked me this year:
- “So, as an author, do you make as much money as you would working at McDonald’s?”
It’s fascinating to see how students perceive authors! They know the J.K. Rowlings of the world make millions, but they also know this is not the norm. I was trying to explain the varying wages authors make but the thing is, we spend many days slaving away at the computer and don’t see a penny. Read the rest of this entry »
You’d think I spend most of my time writing, right?
A writer is chained to her/his computer, madly tapping away at the keys, forgetting about eating and showering, right?
If you’re an aspiring or professional writer, you’ll know that’s not true. First off, daily household chores take over, and some of us writers also have second jobs. This takes up a large chunk of time. But when we finally do get to work on our craft, we find ourselves having to wear so many other hats.
This entry was posted in Children's literature, Inspiration & motivation, Publishing industry, Resources for writers, Writing, Writing tips and tagged author, books, freelance, schedule, time, writing.
Following my last post about what it takes to publish a book, here’s a real life example:
In 2014, I had a great idea for a book. It was about a Rabbit who is afraid of everything and then comes face to face with a gigantic bear. So I started writing it. A month in, I realized I didn’t know how to end the story. SoI decided to put the book away for a while.
I circled back to it a few months later and managed to finish it. Then I spent a few months editing it (though I don’t love the editing process!). I also sent it to a few of my critique partners to get their honest opinions. In total, I spent 11 months writing and editing the book.
When I finally had a polished version, I started to query editors. To my dismay, it was one rejection letter after the next.
After a while, I decided to give up seeking out editors and instead focus on finding an agent.
After spending months crafting the perfect query letter and researching every agent and their areas of specialty, I went to work. I queried agent after agent, with a different book. And then…again…it was a few years of more rejection letters.
But I knew it was part of the process and I never gave up.
In 2016, I finally got an agent! I was ecstatic! She started submitting my books to publishers. But my excitement was a bit deflated by the rejection letters that came in one after the other.
But, I kept believing.
Unfortunately, things were not going that well with that agent. I began to have my doubts. But I was too afraid to make a big move, for fear of once again being agentless and feeling “lost at sea.”
In 2017, I decided to take the plunge. I let the agent go. I was upset for a few weeks and felt lost, but then I picked myself up and went back to the drawing board. Read the rest of this entry »
This entry was posted in Children's literature, Publishing industry, Resources for writers, Writing, Writing tips and tagged agent, author, book, children, kidlit, picture book, publishing, publishing industry, writer.
(This post originally appeared on the WriteForKids Blog)
Like many of you, I’ve been knee deep in the querying trenches, desperately trying to make my submission stand out in the staggering slush pile. And as we all know, this process is time consuming. It goes on and on, peppered with rejection letters, until we finally get a bite.
I signed with my first agent a few weeks after I got my first bite. In my mind, my problems were now over. Yahoo! No more submissions! No more Twitter pitch parties! No more querying! I was already visualizing a book contract with the Big Five.
But that’s not how the cookie crumbled.
Here are 3 truths nobody tells you about landing an agent:
- It can be anti-climactic: Don’t expect a book deal the next day, week or month.
- You will still need patience: The submission process is laborious, no matter who’s doing the submitting.
- You will still get rejected: The difference is that now, the rejections get sent to your agent.
This entry was posted in Children's literature, Inspiration & motivation, Publishing industry, Resources for writers, Writing, Writing tips and tagged agent, author, books, children, kidlit, literary agent, literature, publish, submission, writing.
Mark Loewen is the author of an amazing new picture book, What Does a Princess Really Look Like? In the book, he breaks gender stereotypes and features a family with two fathers. Please enjoy my Q & A with him:
-You hit a lot of powerful topics in this book. One take-away lesson is that princesses don’t simply “look pretty.” Being a princess also involves using your brain, as well as being courageous and strong. Do you think there is too much emphasis on appearance and playing up to feminine stereotypes in society?
Definitely. And it was always obvious to me. I think this was one of the male privilege aspects that I always saw, especially growing up in South America. But I really noticed how powerful this was when I observed how people related to my daughter. Strangers everywhere tell her how pretty she is – all the time. And I agree with them! But it makes me nervous that most people who talk to her when we are out say something about her looks. As she grows up, I want her to know that her looks are not the best or most important thing about her. It’s just one part of her.
I remember one time we went to the grocery store and she was wearing a superhero mask. A lady smiled at her and said, “I can see your beautiful eyes through that mask!” And I thought… even specifically dressing as someone strong and brave, people are commenting on her eyes. And this is all well-intentioned. But I don’t think boys get this message.
-What about in literature?
Children’s literature plays into it because it sells. Even books or movies with strong females sometimes show that girls are “ditzy” or “clumsy.” I’m reminded of how Disney princesses like Anna and Moana both trip right at the end of a really big song. But I can’t think of male heroes portrayed in this way.
I’ve noticed that it’s becoming easier to find children’s books with strong female characters. Girl empowerment is big with publishers now, which is one reason why I found interest in my book so quick. What I do still notice is that books with strong female characters are still considered only for girls. But girls read books with strong male characters all the time. This needs to change. Read the rest of this entry »
This entry was posted in Children's literature, Inspiration & motivation, Publishing industry, Resources for writers, Writing, Writing tips and tagged author, books, children's books, LGBTM, literature, princess, two dads, writing.
Twitter pitch parties have been gaining in popularity in the last few years.
What is a Twitter pitch party, you may ask?
Well, if you’re a writer and are seeking a literary agent or a publisher, they are amazing opportunities. If you have finished and polished manuscripts, just make an engaging (and short) pitch via Twitter. Add the hashtag #PBPitch, and presto, your pitch will be seen by a select group of literary agents and editors! If the agent or editor in question likes your pitch, then you can send it to them and cross your fingers.
The guidelines can be found in the official website, posted below.
This entry was posted in Children's literature, Inspiration & motivation, Publishing industry, Resources for writers, Writing, Writing tips and tagged author, books, kidlit, pitch, publish, Twitter, write, writing.