Sunday, October 30, 2011

Do I Really Need More Ideas?

Picture book ideas. I have a lot of them. In notebooks, on napkins, on teeny weeny scraps of paper. Do I really need more of them?!

For the first time ever since I had my kids, I've been working a regular old nine to five job. It's been four months and I have to say, I now have mad respect for writers who have families and full time jobs. I mean, knowing it must be hard and actually doing it and feeling how hard it is are two different things. I've had book ideas, sure, but I have been terrible about writing them down! And I certainly haven't had as many ideas as usual with my focus being pulled in an entirely different direction. Numbers! I work in an accounting department. My chat status since I started? wORkiNg WiTh nuMbERs. PleASe SeND hElp!

I'm looking to this year's Picture Book Idea Month to give me a kick in the butt and get me back in the right direction--carrying that notebook and writing things down, and allowing myself to revel in work that is wholly important to me despite having to focus on other things as well. You never know what little nugget of an idea may turn into a great picture book. So, do I really need more ideas? Yes. Yes I do.

Don't know what Picture Book Idea Month is? Wanna join in? Check out Tara Lazar's blog.

Oh, and you see that super cuter banner for Picture Book Idea Month up there? That was created by Bonnie Adamson, illustrator of Bedtime Monster. How cool is that!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monster List of Picture Book Agents--Paul Rodeen of Rodeen Literary Management

Take a look at the Rodeen Literary Management website and you might start drooling. What a great bio! What a fabulous list of clients!(Although from my research I suspect it may not have been updated lately. He just may be too busy selling books! I don't subscribe to Publisher's Marketplace but from my search results it looks like he's still making sales.)

Like many agents that will take on picture book authors, information on Paul Rodeen is a little tough to find. But there definitely seems to be enough to help decide whether or not he may be the right agent for what you write.

Mr. Rodeen has a shelf of books by his clients on Shelfari.

There are five things Paul Rodeen looks for when reading submissions in a short post at the Chinook Update.

You can find a couple of interesting tidbits from Dori Butler's conference notes on her livejournal page. Yes, it's an old post but the way he judges a picture book is pretty tried and true.

In an agent profile on page 4 of The Acorn, Mr. Rodeen states that rhyming verse is nearly impossible for him to sell. So if you're a rhymer, he's probably not your guy.

You can find submission guidelines on the Rodeen Literary Management contact page.

Paul Rodeen represents: Stephen Shaskan and Aaron Reynolds.

This post is part of the Monster List of Picture Book Agents. If you have any changes that you think should be made to this listing, please contact me or leave them in the comments. Thanks!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Only One Published Book? Aaack!

What do you do when you are asked to do a library visit but only have one published picture book that takes mere minutes to read? First, you panic. Ha ha. Kidding.


After you stop kicking yourself for immediately saying yes and wondering what you were thinking, a good idea would be to go and talk to a librarian. Maybe even a librarian at the library you are going to visit. Why? Librarians know their audience when it comes to storytimes and they just might have some ideas for you.

I went and talked to one of North Central Regional Library's great librarians and regional supervisor, Sharon. She was so enthusiastic about me visiting that she didn't even see me having only one published books as a problem. Her brilliant solution? "Read some picture books from childhood that inspired you." Viola! Easy solution! Now why didn't I think of that?

I took Sharon's idea and ran with it. To go along with my reading of Bedtime Monster I chose two of my favorite monster books from childhood, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and There's a Nightmare in my Closet by Mercer Mayer. Those two books along with a little talk about being an author then a craft, and my program lasted over an hour. Happy kids, parents, and librarians. I definitely call that a success.

Now, I could have been a sport and read two more recently released picture books. Maybe even books written by friends. I actually had a couple in mind and suggested it. The thinking here? It was my time to shine as the author of a new book. Reading classics helped me have a little something special juxtaposed to these great books.

Well, it seemed to work out. Nobody asked my why I didn't write those other books instead of mine. Not even close. They applauded me. People told me they loved my book. Huh. A girl could actually get used to this.