Jot Downs - SCBWI Carolinas Conference - Part 2

  Step forward into the unknown and assume it will be brilliant.

~ Grey's Anatomy

Camille Andros, author of picture book Charlotte the Scientist is Squished, hosted a workshop on How to Write a Picture Book Agents & Editors Can't Say No [to].  I was only able to attend the last part, but I wrote a few notes I will find helpful in the months to come - including the opening quote.

Successful picture books have three things in common:
  1. Rhythm (Read it out loud.  What does it sound like?)
  2. Repetition (Allows the child to participate in the story)
  3. Rule of Threes (Three attempts to solve a problem and the last one works)
And while I didn't get to write this part down exactly as Camille said it, the gist of it is very plain.  No one is going to send me an invitation to write a book, to put the ideas in my head on paper, etc.  I need to show up and do the work.  A quote from Stephen Kings book, On Writing, says it best - 

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.

That book, by the way, was recommended more than once this weekend.  I'm expecting my copy to arrive tomorrow.


You are the BOSS...

The following jot downs pertain to your business...yes, YOUR business.  You are the BOSS OF YOU!  The truth is, MOST illustrators and writers - even the famous ones, hold outside jobs in addition to doing that creative thing they love.  We become adept at juggling.  We find a rhythm that works...until life happens.  It's okay.  Get up. Dust yourself off and keep on going.  You'll find that rhythm again. I promise.


No one will send you an invitation...

So, no one is going to send you an invitation to live your dream.  You have a part in making your dream happen.  For illustrators, one piece of the pie is called a POSTCARD.  I can hear you through the Google bots...don't groan.  DO.  

Laurent Linn suggested sending out 3 - 4 postcards a year with these tips:
  1. Vary the postcard content each time
  2. Make sure your website is on your postcard
Your website IS your portfolio.  Laurent said that, when he looks at a site, it's not necessary to label your art (i.e. education, mass market, etc.).  However, it is helpful to have your art grouped by "styles".  If you have several styles that you do well, such as watercolor, cartoon, etc., arrange your website according to the style.

Postcards can and will get your work noticed.  This past weekend I learned of a postcard success story.  One of our illustrators was contracted to do a picture book based on a postcard she had sent a year earlier.  Sometimes it takes a while so be patient.

If you are in the SCBWI Carolinas region, we have a "Four Out The Door" postcard initiative.  Send me a jpeg of your postcard and I'll put it on our Carolinas region postcard gallery website.

Get your postcard designs ready!  Next blog post will be tips on building a mailing list, research and submissions.  Until then, do what you do best....YOU DO YOU!

1 comment: