Etc.

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Because my very favorite recording artist in middle school was Weird Al (yes, I was that hip in middle school), I give you a video on his take on Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” It’s all about the crimes perpetrated by, oh, texting and the Internet and general numbskullery, on the English language. Of course, I’ve never encountered any linguistic butchery from any of my esteemed agenting or editorial clients, but this one is certainly good for a laugh. ;)

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Moving!

No, I’m not off to another state this time. Todd and I are happy in Minnesota. We are, however, gluttons for punishment, so less than a year after moving here, we bought a house and are moving again! This time, I hope, the time between moves will be more like ten years instead of ten months. So pardon the interruption in our regularly scheduled programming, I’ll be schlepping my boxes around and giving our we-hardly-knew-ye apartment a good cleaning. Talk to you again next Monday, when hopefully we will have our Internet all set up, and will have won some sort of Crate and Barrel mystery contest where they just decide to give us one of everything.

A girl can dream…

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This is a guest post from author/illustrator Jed Henry, who is a total dear. I very rarely do guest posts, so I’m happy to bring this one your way today and help him promote his new book, CHEER UP, MOUSE! Plus, there’s a lovely video!

Just Be Yourself — Your Most Entertaining Self

First off, I want to thank Mary Kole for posting this. I’ve been following her blog for a couple years, and I’m always floored with the amount of thought she puts into each post. I recommend this blog to both newbies and veterans alike. Thank you, Mary!

We writers and illustrators can be a strange group (in a good way!) We come from all walks of life, and possess an impressive range of talents. Understandably, our main focus is to hone our bookmaking craft, but we should never discount our random skills! They can help us in surprising ways, to win the hearts of our eager readers.

The key is finding your particular voice on that Great Equalizer, the Internet. There is a social network tailored for almost any talent imaginable, where we can make our books shine. And the best part? If you create entertaining content, other people will re-post-tweet-blog it, for you!

If you’re a clever writer, Twitter is the perfect stage for you and your book. Words are not my fortĂ©, but Instagram has empowered illustrators like me in our daily tweeting. Other illustrator-friendly sites are Tumblr and Deviant Art. If you have acting or video experience, Vimeo and YouTube are powerful stages for your marketing efforts. And don’t forget Facebook! A Facebook page is the ideal place for a community of fans to gather and feed on each others’ passion. There are no limits or rules, except for maybe this: you gotta entertain us! We log on mostly because we’re bored. If you can catch our attention, we just might want to read your book.

My own path to publishing came by way of a BFA in Animation. Just before graduation, I switched to illustrating picture books instead. I’m grateful that I took the long way to making books, because I still have occasion to use my animation skills.

So how will you entertain us?

Book trailer credits:
Music by Jordan Henry
Voice by the T. Kids

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Happy Halloween, everyone! I’m not wearing a costume this year. Even though my boyfriend and I bought amazing Life Aquatic Steve Zissou Adidas shoes off of Etsy a while ago, we have yet to flesh out the full costume with the pale blue jumpsuits and red beanies. Maybe next year we’ll join Team Zissou. Or maybe we’ll just wear our matching kicks around the neighborhood. Because why not. The other reason I’m not dressing up is to teach myself a lesson. Every year, I vow to buy an awesome Halloween costume for the following year in early November, when they’re on sale. Every year I forget until about…early October, when everything’s expensive and everywhere is a zoo. Let’s see if a little guilt/shame will help me start planning next year’s costume early!

Anyhow. I’m writing with more important news than the contents of my shoe closet. If you’re working on a manuscript, have completed a manuscript, or are curious to learn more about children’s books, it’s time to sign up for December’s Big Sur Children’s Writing Workshop. This amazing weekend is the brainchild of my mentor and former boss, Andrea Brown of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

I taught at my first Big Sur in December 2009 and, after that, you couldn’t pull me away. The workshop consists of small groups of writers–two groups of five to six writers each that meet twice over the course of the weekend–led by a faculty member, either and agent, editor, or writer. Attendees get their work critiqued by both other attendees and faculty, and the low student-faculty ratio means you have a chance to meet and mingle with the agents and editors throughout the weekend.

Big conferences are great: you hear presentations, you practice your pitch, you network. But there is nothing like personalized and specific attention on your manuscript in a small group workshop setting. Even though my days of teaching at Big Sur are over–only Andrea Brown Literary Agency agents are invited, for obvious reasons–I still recommend this retreat in beautiful Big Sur, CA more than any other conference for transforming your personal writing craft and getting one step closer to your publication dreams.

This year’s faculty includes: Jordan Brown from HarperCollins, Kate Sullivan from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, and Melissa Manlove from Chronicle Books. Authors on faculty include Ellen Hopkins and Lewis Buzbee. Please click here to learn more and register!

In book news, check out a blog review of the book as well as an interview with me for Teaching Authors!

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CWIM Contest Winners

The winners of the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market Contest are:

Peter Dudley & Julie Falatko

Please email me: mary at kidlit dot com with your mailing addresses and I’ll forward them to Writer’s Digest, who will ship the books. Congratulations. Everyone should go out and buy the book anyway, it’s a great resource!

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Last year, I was happy to give away some copies of the 2012 Writer’s Digest Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market (think that’s enough apostrophes?), which had several of my articles and even my blurb on the back cover. This year, I’m pleased to offer two copies to randomly selected entries in the comments. The 2013 edition is thoroughly updated and includes new articles and interviews with children’s book professionals, including two more articles by yours truly. It is once again edited by Chuck Sambuchino and remains the best resource for children’s writers and illustrators out there.

To win one of the two copies I have available:

1) Reach out about this contest to your social networks, whether with a blog post, Tweet, or FB post.
2) Comment on this entry with a link to your share. You don’t have to include your email address in the post as long as you include it in the email field (private and for my eyes only).
3) Winners will be emailed for their mailing address. Only US residents (Alaska and Hawaii ok) at this time, unfortunately, as Writer’s Digest will be sending copies to you, not me.

Deadline for entries is October 14th, and winner will be posted October 15th!

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A few housekeeping mentions and a huge congratulations to m client Karsten Knight on the blog. Let’s lead with the congratulations. Karsten Knight’s second book in the WILDEFIRE trilogy, EMBERS AND ECHOES hits shelves tomorrow! Here is the gorgeous cover:

Go out and get your copy today, er, tomorrow. If you haven’t read the series yet, you’re in luck! The paperback of WILDEFIRE, the first book, is also out.

This is a multicultural romp that features a group of powerful teen gods and goddesses. If you’ve been looking for a good definition of voice, you should definitely be reading Karsten’s work. Good thing you can start tomorrow.

Other than that, I am teaching my very popular Picture Book Craft Intensive webinar on Thursday, September 6th at 1 p.m. Eastern. As with all of my other webinars, you don’t have to be available on the time and date. You will get a recording of the lecture after the fact. The webinar comes with a critique for every student, and this is a great opportunity if you’ve been craving some professional eyes on your picture book manuscript. Register here.

I’ve got a few conferences coming up. The weekend of September 15th I’m in San Antonio for the SCBWI conference, and the weekend of the 28th, I’m visiting with the Idaho Writer’s League. If I’m meeting you at either of those, I’m looking forward to it! If not and you’re nearby, please register.

ETA: Just realized the link to the webinar was broken. I’ve found it for you. Sorry about that! (Even as I posted, I had this nagging feeling that I was missing…something…)

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Vacation!

Traveling without wifi this week. See y’all on the 13th.

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Here’s a great opportunity from two of my best friends in the real and publishing worlds. Martha and Melissa are Bay Area children’s writing honchos and they stage events in the San Francisco region. If you don’t happen to live in that wonderful part of the country, though, you may have another chance to interact with them and come to their (first) annual writing retreat. It has a mind-blowing line-up of editors and children’s authors already in place. I’ll let Martha and Melissa tell you more…

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What is Speakeasy Literary?

We’re a club of kidlit fiends.
We have a website: http://www.speakeasyliterary.com/

Membership is via application: http://www.speakeasyliterary.com/become-a-member/
Email us with a funny story and some information about yourself.
We invite our members to local events – like the Hunger Games showing [Mary's note: They rented out an entire movie theatre--I only missed it because I was in Europe...so I guess I can't complain!], editor dinners, kidlit drinks and our annual retreat.

The upcoming retreat is April 19-21 2013 in Lake Tahoe, CA. [Mary's note: If you haven't been to Lake Tahoe, you should go immediately. Actually, wait for April 19-21st, 2013. But seriously. Go. Make a vacation of it. YOU'VE BEEN WORKING SO HARD AND YOU DESERVE IT!]
http://www.speakeasyliterary.com/the-retreat/
Registration starts at $700 for two nights in a beautiful setting with all meals included and three one-on-one appointments with editors.
The faculty is ridonc [Mary's note: I'd ordinarily want them to clean up their copy and make it a bit more professional but, in this case, the only word really is "ridonc"] http://www.speakeasyliterary.com/the-retreat/the-faculty/

We also offer one scholarship:

Each year, the Society offers one member who would not otherwise have been able to attend the retreat the opportunity to attend at no cost. That member will have a private room in a shared cabin.

Applications for the 2013 Retreat scholarship will be accepted through December 31st, 2012. Members are invited to apply for the scholarship by sending the Society an email titled Scholarship Application with your full name and the following two attachments:

(a) A 200-word statement on what you hope to accomplish at the retreat

(b) the first 250 words of your manuscript and its genre

The recipient of the scholarship will be announced by January 15, 2013. Travel expenses are still the responsibility of the recipient. In the event the recipient finds they are unable to accept, an alternate winner will be selected. Please note that if you apply for and do not receive the scholarship, registration may be filled by the time you are informed. Therefore, if you would like to attend the Retreat and do not need the scholarship, we recommend registering.

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Tell yourself, tell your friends, tell random people on the street. While no agents will be in attendance here (I’d put on a cheap disguise and try to sneak in but Martha and Melissa know all my tricks), this is a can’t-miss creative opportunity!

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Happy 4th!

I’m going to go watch some fireworks tonight, have a birthday on Friday, and I’ll be back with you on Monday, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It’s a gorgeous day in Brooklyn and I hope you are celebrating your 4th of July with sunshine, family, friends, and good books! A special thank you to anybody with loved ones in the service today.

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