Sunday, June 9, 2013

Getting Ready for The 21st Century Children's Non-Fiction Conference

Next weekend I'm heading up to New Paltz, NY for the 21st Century Children's Non-Fiction Conference. Check it out at

As a newbie in the world of writing for children, I thought this would be a super introduction to the craft, as well as a way to begin to network with  folks involved in publishing the kind of books I visualize myself creating. I found out about it from a website I connected to several years ago, John Bard's site on writing for children Thanks for the great tip John.

It's been my dream, for more years than some of my readers have been alive, to write and illustrate books for children. I don't mean just any book, but a "forever green" book: one that children and parents will still be reading two or three or four generations from now. This will be my 5th career, if I count correctly. It's time to make the BIG dream come true!

I retired from teaching about five years ago, and determined to take my writing goal seriously. I wrote a novel for 8 to 10 year-olds my first year. Sent it in to an editor in New York and received a polite, if fairly nondescript rejection. I've piddled around with that manuscript a number of times since, but the passion seemed to have cooled.  My book was about a nice little girl, and it seems that these days mean girls are what sells. Then I saw an ad for a course on Writing and Illustrating Children's books, at the Montclair Art Museum. At the end of the eight week class, taught by Kristine Lombardi, I now have a dummy ready to try to sell. So the conference seemed like the next step. I'll blog later about how I got that far that fast.

Both Kristine and my classmates have been extremely helpful in revising my dummy. I signed up for a one-on-one session at the conference and was assigned to Roxie Munro. Roxie has been awesome in providing guidance in preparing for the meeting. Between these two knowledgeable young women, I feel confident that I am on the right track as I prepare for this new journey.

Things I will take:
1. A well designed "dummy" (a rough model of my book)
2. Two or three pieces of near-final art work
3. Samples of my illustration work in several styles
4. A pile of business cards with contact information included
5. "Give Away" postcards with a sample of my art work, a concise description of my new book, On the Laundry Lawn, contact information and a rebus showing how my last name is pronounced.
6. A few copies of a concise resume and my publication list in case some publisher wants more info.
7. A proposal for Roxie to review with me
8. At least one piece of art work to enter in the contest. I can leave my cards by the display for more publicity.
9. A bag with my art work on it and the name of my book, in which to carry all my materials, neatly and visibly.
10. My laptop, so I can blog with you and keep you up to date on how the conference is going.

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