Archive for August, 2010

SCBWI in L.A. conference

From Friday July 30 to Monday August 3 I attended the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators summer conference for the first time. My middle grade history mystery “Ghost Over Boulder Creek” is releasing this October with Filter Press and I attended their “ProTrack” wine and cheese the first evening, displaying my ARC along with other attendees who had a forthcoming book. I enjoyed talking about “Ghost Over Boulder Creek” while meeting other authors and illustrators, some of them teachers, principals or parents looking for a fun read for their kids that weaves wild west history with an 1860’s ghost story, all through the eyes of a mixed blood Cheyenne boy.
With ebooks and non-traditional publishing refusing to be ignored, one of the most refreshing, thinking outside the box keynotes was Agent Rubin Pfeffer’s. He cited a recent poll that found 70% of people haven’t visited a bookstore in 5 years. That, coupled with ebooks recent surpassing harcovers in sales for the first time, forces us to look at digital publishing and non-traditional with careful consideration since it’s not going away. Most ebooks net more than the per-hard cover book royalty, which finally gives writers more financial support.
Workshops that dealt with “How to make a book trailer” and how to promote yourself with social networking were valuable, as was the presentation on school visits by Alexis O’Neil who got down to the nuts and bolts of making an actual living while visiting schools and knowing what to charge, working around school budgets, and many more nuggets.
Other great suggestions: especially for picture books try to edit your words possible down to 400 words for the tightest language possible. Humor is always in, especially in middle grade which is coming back– and series. Also new is the “Just younger than mid grade” and after chapter books genre. Though picture books are still tough with a 40% drop, character driven and franchisable is a strong market.
Distopian and mid grade fiction targeted to boys is desirable and there is a move to add black and white illustrations within paperbacks. Overall, the industry isn’t and won’t be what we’ve seen in the past and we’re on the verge of an exciting digital frontier that won’t replace but will enhance book options and make reading fun again for kids. Plus, less trees will be harmed in this revolution!


August 6, 2010 at 8:16 pm Leave a comment

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