The Children’s Book Academy

Image courtesy of Mira Reisberg at the Children's Book Academy

Image courtesy of Mira Reisberg at the Children’s Book Academy

Six weeks ago, I told you about an online class that I was taking to hone my skills as a picture book writer. I thought the class was fantastic!

For those of you who are interested in improving your writing/editing skills or learning more about how to get published, I highly recommend taking a class with Mira Reisberg and her team at the Children’s Book Academy. The information she covered was extensive, and the material was well thought out. I think the biggest draw is Mira herself. She is incredibly kind and generous with her time and her knowledge. She loves teaching, and it truly shows in the interaction with her students.

My first SCBWI conference

SCBWI Spring Spirit Conference

SCBWI Spring Spirit Conference

Back when I was mulling over a career in writing, I had been advised to join the SCBWI, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. I joined because I trusted the person who gave me that tip. Unfortunately at that time, all I did was read the newsletter they sent out. Though the cost to join was not high, I didn’t get anything out of it. After a year, I dropped it. I had not taken the time to seek out what value SCBWI could bring to me.

Now that I have entrenched myself in this endeavor, I have rejoined and am making a concerted effort to make use of the networking advantages as well as workshops and conferences. A few weekends back, I attended my first SCBWI conference. The conference, “2015 Spring Spirit,” was put on by the California North/Central region of SCBWI. It was fantastic!

Being that this was my first SCBWI conference, I had no idea what to expect. I went into it with my “growth mindset” and sought to learn as much as I could and hoped to make some new friends who also wrote children’s books.

An author wears multiple hats

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When I first considered writing children’s picture books, I envisioned myself at a desk with my laptop or a notebook/pen feverishly creating whimsical rhymes that would later become fabulous bestselling books. That dream still exists, but the reality is that an author is so much more.

What I have discovered during the past year is that in addition to being an author, I am also a:

  • marketing person
  • sales person
  • researcher
  • web master
  • networker

If you want to become a successful author, you need to be able to promote yourself, you need a website, and you need to connect with others in your field.

You don’t have to wear all of those hats, but you’ll increase the likelihood of your success (or so I’m told) if you get all those elements in place. You could hire a team to help you; but given that you may not have any income rolling in, the impetus to “do-it-yourself” can be rather strong.

Coloring outside the lines


It seems that most of my life, I’ve always colored inside the lines. What I mean by this is I play by the rules, I follow the instructions, I rarely deviate from the norm. I know that may sound a bit odd to say given the current writing journey I am on, but I think for the most part, I’m a “color inside the lines” type of gal.

The reason I bring this up is because I’ve been following a well-trodden path for publishing my book. I’ve perused many websites, attended writing workshops and read various books on publishing. My take away from all of that was:

  1. You should only contact a publisher if they are a really good fit for your book.
  2. Initial contact for submitting your manuscript should follow strict submission guidelines.

Going down the rabbit hole

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Have you ever heard of the expression “going down the rabbit hole?” It’s when you start off on a quest towards a goal and then get sidetracked by something which causes you to change direction multiple times along the way. Eventually you end up somewhere you didn’t expect, typically without having satisfied the original purpose of the quest. A classic example is when you surf the Internet. You start off with something in mind but pretty soon it’s 2–3 hours later and you still haven’t found what you were originally looking for (nor, I might add, are you even still looking for it!).

Walking 2 paths to discover the right choice

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Moving on from my first book rejection, I have decided to walk 2 separate paths. I am taking steps towards finding a traditional publisher AND I am taking steps towards self publishing my book. I wish I could say that one path or the other definitively felt right to me but neither does. So, I’m hoping if I start walking the paths of both, something will fall into place that will make one of them stand out.

Stepping stones for 2014

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I’m one of those people who like to make lists so I can check things off as I go. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, and it keeps me on point to get things done. Your list doesn’t need to be rigid or unchanging. In fact, being flexible with the order and even the items on the list is necessary when you attempt to juggle lots of things in your life.

After attending the Hay House Writing Workshop, I created a list of things I wanted to accomplish this year.

Intention is the starting point of every dream (Deepak Chopra)

In January of this year, I went on a wonderful vacation to Maui to celebrate my anniversary with my husband. It was the perfect time to reflect and set my intentions on what I want and where I want to go.

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When setting intentions, I kept it simple. I articulated my desire to become a successful writer and I envisioned what that would look like to me. Everyday on the vacation, I consistently threw my intentions out to the universe. Mind you, I had been doing that for a least a year prior to vacation, but I wasn’t as diligent nor as mindful. My intentions must have been heard because only a few days into our vacation, the first door in this writing journey appeared.