Welcome to DAY TWO of NAPIBOWRIWEE! Did you survive Day One? I hope so. We’ve got a long way to go – six more days – so remember to pace yourself! Most importantly, remember to have FUN. This is NOT supposed to be a stressful event.
Thanks again to everyone for your fun and awesome comments on yesterday’s DAY ONE blog. So excited that everyone did such a good job! Let’s keep up the energy for Day 2!
Today’s guest blogger is picture book author/illustrator KATIE DAVIS. She is generously donating an autographed copy of her picture book, LITTLE CHICKEN’S BIG DAY for our contest drawing as well (contest results to be posted May 8, 2013). Keep reading below for more details…
In the meantime, for fun, I’m going to post an interview I did last year with writer and SCBWI rep LEE WIND on NAPIBOWRIWEE. Please check it out if you’re interested. Link below:
And as a reminder, here’s the 2013 NAPIBOWRIWEE FAQs in case you have any questions or concerns:
Before we get to KATIE DAVIS’ guest author Q&A blog, I wanted to share my Day One experience with everyone. FYI, this blog is VERY honest. There have been years where I did NOT finish all 7 books. I do not know if I will be able to finish 7 books this year because I’m so busy, but I will try! 🙂
MY DAY ONE EXPERIENCE: As many of you know, by day I am a TV writer/producer. Spring is the time in Hollywood known as “TV Staffing Season” as writers go out on many last minute meetings for potential jobs on TV shows being considered for the fall season. It’s a lot of last minute work and preparation where you have to read the pilot scripts and be able to pitch ideas and discuss the show thoughtfully with network execs and the show creators in order to be considered as a potential writer for that show. And every year, the job market shrinks – there are fewer jobs available for a huge pool of writers. I’ve been lucky so far, but I’m not taking any chances! 🙂
So for Day One, I was busy rushing around to meetings and preparing for other meetings. I was also stuck in a lot of L.A. traffic! I finally got home at the end of the day and was too burned out to write. Let’s just say I watched a lot of FOOD NETWORK TV. 🙂
Then I finally gathered up my energy after my daily afternoon ritual of drinking awesome Argentinean yerba mate tea (better than coffee because it makes you alert but NOT jittery). I pulled out my notes on the picture book idea I had in March. I started writing. I didn’t care that it was rough and very simplistic. But soon, a voice emerged. And that voice would not stop. And I realized… THIS IS NOT A PICTURE BOOK. THIS IS DEFINITELY GOING TO BE A CHAPTER BOOK!
I still finished it. I had to SIMPLIFY it so it could work as a picture book. And you know what? Yeah. It does NOT work as a picture book. It definitely has to be a chapter book. My idea was actually for a chapter book – it was much too complex for a picture book.
But I still consider today a success. I NEVER would have known my picture book idea was really more appropriate for a chapter book had I not tried to write a draft from start to finish. THIS IS WHY NAPIBOWRIWEE WORKS. You will not be able to know if your story works for the genre you chose for it unless you FINISH a rough first draft. So I realize I need to simplify for tomorrow. Everyone – please find a favorite picture book in your library and re-read it and you will see how simple the story is. That should take the pressure off for Day 2. LOL!
So it was still a successful Day One! Maybe one day I should start a fun challenge for Chapter Books? What do you think? Any suggestions on the format? I still want to do a future NAPIBOWRIWEE REVISION CHALLENGE one day, too. Please post in the comments any thoughts or suggestions you have on this.
Anyway… for DAY TWO… my mantra is: KEEP IT SIMPLE. LESS IS MORE. I’m going to try and figure out a book from scratch with a VERY simple idea. Today’s book may just end up being a good “writing exercise,” but it’s important even to do writing exercises because I’ve been working on novels and scripts all year that I’m out of practice with the shorter paced and pared down nature of picture book writing.
NOW… onto DAY TWO! Today’s guest blog features picture book author/illustrator KATIE DAVIS (http://www.katiedavis.com). My questions for her and all our guest bloggers are centered around the theme of the FUTURE of picture books. It’s been an interesting five years since NAPIBOWRIWEE first started in 2009. So I wanted to ask our guest bloggers about their thoughts about the future of picture book writing and the industry.
I hope you enjoy this Q&A with KATIE DAVIS. She is generously donating an autographed copy of her picture book, LITTLE CHICKEN’S BIG DAY for our contest drawing as well (contest results to be posted May 8, 2013).
Remember to post a comment about today’s blog and about your progress on DAY TWO.
(Keep reading after the jump for our KATIE DAVIS guest blog!)
GUEST BLOG – DAY TWO – KATIE DAVIS
Children’s author/illustrator KATIE DAVIS has published ten books, nine of them for children and one for adults, an eBook, How to Promote Your Children’s Book: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets to Create a Bestseller. She appears monthly on the ABC affiliate show, Good Morning CT, recommending great books for kids.
Ever since Katie’s book trailers won awards, people have been asking her to teach them to create videos, so she create a course, Video Idiot Boot Camp to teach writers how to create videos that will get their books into the hands of readers. It can be found at video-idiot.com.
Katie produces a podcast, Brain Burps About Books heard in 78% of the world; she writes a blog and weekly newsletter; and hosts webinars, and creates products for writers and illustrators, all in an effort to “spread the gospel of kidlit.”
Katie is a two-time Cybils judge and has also judged the Golden Kite, smartwriters.com. Katie has taught in a maximum security prison teaching Writing for Children, is a member of the National Speakers Association and over the last dozen years has presented and keynoted at schools, writing conferences, and fundraising galas.
Katie’s latest event, VIDEO IDIOT BOOT CAMP, started on May 1, 2013. Please go here to find out more about it:
Q&A ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE PICTURE BOOK WITH KATIE DAVIS
QUESTION: Do you think the rise in popularity for the eBook will help or hurt the future of the picture book? As a writer, when you work on a new book, do you think about how it will “read” on an eBook reader as well? Does that affect how you write your book? As an illustrator, what challenges do you face if you know a picture book you are illustrating may also be distributed as an eBook?
ANSWER: I only think about it if I’m working on an ebook because it’s a different beast. I create for the medium. As far as the future of books in general, in the beginning, there were cave paintings, when paper was invented the caveman cried, “Oh no! There will be no more cave paintings! Paper will be the end of cave paintings!” Skip a couple of years and radio comes along and people cried, “Oh no! There will be no more books! Radio will be the end of books!” Then substitute movies for radio, TV for movies, VCR for movies, etc, etc.
We still have radio, TV, movies, and books. It’s just a new format. (Except that caveman did have a point).
QUESTION: There have been many “Boy Who Cried Wolf” articles in the media recently about how picture book sales have declined as anxious parents try to push their students into reading chapter books instead. Why is it important for children to read picture books? What makes a picture book special as well as important for a child’s educational growth?
ANSWER: I’m a big believer in the cuddle factor. There is something about cuddling up with a picture book, making the connections between the visual elements and the text that draws out delights and deliciousness. There’ve also been studies that the process of looking at a picture book does something to a child’s brain that sets it up for better learning. I might’ve just made that up.
QUESTION: Many aspiring picture book writers are discouraged by the doom-n-gloom reports of the declining book industry (Big Six mergers, lower sales of picture books, more emphasis on the writer-illustrator as opposed to the solo writer). What words of encouragement would you give to these aspiring newbies to NOT give up?
ANSWER: If you’re compelled to write, do it. That passion doesn’t change, no matter what the business is doing. You have to have that core of love to tell a story! If you base it on the machinations of the business you’ll never be satisfied anyway.
QUESTION: What challenges do you face as a published author/illustrator of picture books in these volatile times of the publishing industry? Have you noticed a change in your career in terms of what agents/editors/readers want?
ANSWER: Yes! Of course the marketing aspect has changed. We have to do so much more now. It used to be that we could throw up a page online with Joe Schmo, author and leave it for four years and it would be fine. We have to choose where to spend our time: Twitter? Facebook? Pinterest? Video? Actually, I truly believe video is the best way to get the word out on our work, and reach a broader audience. It’s so powerful to connect to our audience, to create a platform, and to leave a mark on the internet. Who knew we’d have to become jugglers?!
QUESTION: Any final words of advice or any epiphanies you would like to share with us about your own writing/art journey?
Journey is the right word! When I started in the late 90’s it was a different business. It’s been interesting watching it change and morph. Sometimes it’s been scary, sad, bewildering, frustrating, angering, exciting, wonderous, fabulous, satisfying and joyful… it’s everything to me. I love this business, and I feel blessed to be in it. Truly. I love being in it and I hope you find your journey!
Thanks again to KATIE DAVIS for taking time out to answer our questions about The Future of the Picture Book for our 2013 NAPIBOWRIWEE event!
In the meantime, good luck writing today. Please post any comments below for today’s blog with your thoughts, questions, and writing updates. You can follow me on Twitter @paulayoo. Please feel free to use this HASHTAG – #NaPiBoWriWee
I’m off to write! Until tomorrow’s blog, remember… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! 🙂