#KTChat with Author/Illustrator Bethany Barton: In Defense Of Your Day Job

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By Bethany Barton

Editor’s Note: Award-winning author/illustrator Bethany Barton spends her days working in film and TV, currently in the prop department at ABC’s Black-ish. Her newest book, I’m Trying to Love Math, hits stores this July. And Bethany is not only making herself available to chat with you this Friday (3/22) for an hour beginning at 12PM, but she is ALSO SCBWI-LA’s mentor! So if you’re an illustrator or author/illustrator, you can apply to be her mentee! And no matter what you’re writing, today’s chat topic about day jobs will encourage you, make you laugh, and start a lively conversation! And now, take it away, Bethany…

I hear it all the time from authors and illustrators: “I wish I could make books full time… but for now I’m JUST (insert self-deprecating tone) a bartender/teacher/accountant/etc.” 

We’re all wonderfully complex human beings and that “day job” is a part of our story….so why do we feel the need to apologize for it? Maurice Sendak did toy-store window displays. JK Rowling worked as a secretary and translator. As long as there have been authors and artists, they have had day jobs and side hustles.

And I’m here to suggest we stop apologizing for them.

Consider this a call-to-arms to embrace our day jobs and, dare I say, even celebrate them?! Here are some quick reasons why:

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Author Michelle Markel on the Changing Nonfiction Picture Book Industry and Your Place In It

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MICHELLE MARKEL is a successful writer and a local SCBWI member! She’s the author of Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909, which won the Bank Street Flora Stieglitz Straus Award and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award for Younger Children, and was also chosen as an NCTE Orbis Picture Honor Book. Her recent titles are Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books and Out of This World: The Surreal Art of Leonora Carrington.

CHRISTINE VAN ZANDT: Welcome to Kite Tales! Your career has included a number of popular narrative nonfiction books as well as some fiction. How is the industry changing?

MICHELLE MARKEL: The field of narrative nonfiction has busted open. There are now books about little known historical events, unsung heroes, and underrepresented groups (women and people of color). Editors are interested in expressive language, innovative artwork, and uncommon formats. They’re looking for creative “hooks” to grab young readers. If you love telling stories, and love nonfiction, this is your moment.

CVZ: What’s your writing process for your biographies? Continue reading

Los Angeles SCBWI Writers Day 2019 Manuscript Contest: And The Winners Are…

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By Karol Ruth Silverstein, Contest Coordinator

It was another year of very strong entries in the SCBWI L.A. Writers Day Contest. As usual, manuscripts were submitted in four categories: Young Adult, Middle Grade, Picture Book, and Other (which includes poetry and non-fiction). First place winners in each category receive free tuition to next year’s Writer’s Day, as well as a manuscript critique from one of this year’s faculty members. If you’d like to contact any of the winners to request their manuscript or discuss publication, please let us know!

Our much-appreciated anonymous judges selected the following 10 honorees: Continue reading

Toot Your Horn!

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SCBWI members’ publishing news is something to celebrate here at Kite Tales! Check out whose book is coming to a platform near you or around the world. Horn-tooting and digital hi-fives welcome in the comments!

 

 

Butterflies in Room 6, by Caroline Arnold, photographs by Caroline Arnold, Charlesbridge Publishing, ages 5-9, nonfiction, ISBN: 978-1-58089-894-2, released 05/12/2019. 

 

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Interview with Frances Gilbert, Editor-in-Chief of Doubleday Books for Young Readers

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FRANCES GILBERT started her career with books in high school when she worked in the children’s department of her town library. After graduating from university with an M.A. in English, her first job in publishing was as a Book Club Editor at Scholastic Canada in Toronto. She moved to New York in 2000 to set up a children’s editorial division at Sterling Publishing. In 2012, Gilbert moved to Random House Children’s Books where she is Editor-in-Chief of Doubleday Books for Young Readers. She is also a successful author of several children’s books.

CHRISTINE VAN ZANDT: Welcome to Kite Tales! We’re excited to have you as a Keynote Speaker at SCBWI LA’s 2019 Writers Day event. You’ve been in the industry since a teen and, as an author yourself, understand publishing from both sides. As an editor, please share with us some reasons that picture book manuscripts are rejected. Continue reading

Heads Up Illustrators and Author/Illustrators – the SCBWI-L.A. 2019 Mentorship is for You!

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By Karol Ruth Silverstein, SCBWI-L.A. Contest Coordinator

SCBWI-L.A. PAL member Bethany Barton is the 2019 Mentor! This year’s mentorship contest is for illustrators and author/illustrators and we’ll be accepting applications from February 15 through March 22.

To encourage applicants, we thought we’d check in with last year’s mentees, Monica Mancillas and Jennifer Fitzgerald, to see how their mentorship experience went.

KAROL RUTH SILVERSTEIN: What did you hope to get out of the mentorship when you first applied?

JENNIFER FITZGERALD: I am just starting out writing for children, so initially I was looking for guidance in getting started. My biggest issue is time management. I’m a business owner and a parent, which means time to sit and think can be at a minimum. I needed someone to be accountable to, someone who I could trust to send me an email out of nowhere saying, “How’s it going? What are you working on right now? Send me something.” It made making time to write more real to me and I really needed that. Continue reading

Author Tamora Pierce on Writers Day, Connecting with Fans, and Diversity in Fiction

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Tamora Pierce is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of more than 28 fantasy novels for teenagers. She’s the winner of the 2013 Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement in Young Adult Literature, the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award, and the 2005 Skylark Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction.

Her latest work includes Tortall: A Spy’s Guide (2017) and 2018’s Tempests and Slaughter, the first in a three-book Tortall series.

She answered some questions about her work and the upcoming Writers Day, where she will be a keynote speaker and faculty.

ERLINA VASCONCELLOS:  You’re on several social media sites and have a robust website with the most thorough author bio I’ve ever seen. What motivates you to be so visible and open with the public? Do you have personal guidelines or a philosophy for social media?

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#KT250 Winning Entries, 1st Quarter 2019

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#KT250 is a Kite Tales quarterly community contest! We’re proud to announce this quarter’s winners and share the first 250 words of their unpublished manuscripts. We encourage agents, publishers, and mentors to reach out to any they find intriguing!

To find out how YOU can enter for next quarter, check out contest info here. Entries are now being accepted for next quarter!

 

GRAND PRIZE WINNER: Continue reading

SCBWI Webinars: Query Letter Help, Professional Manuscript Critiques, and More!

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By Kim Wildman, SCBWI-L.A. Assistant Regional Advisor

One of the things I love about being a writer is that I’m constantly learning. Yes, I’m writing, but I’m also reading books, studying other writers’ sentences, and listening to authors talk about their craft or their challenges. Learning together is one way SCBWI is a community to me.

Recently, I’ve taken advantage of SCBWI webinars, a resource that helps me learn in a relaxed and easy way. How easy? Bathrobe-at-my-kitchen-table easy. Continue reading

Authors Lee Wind and Alexis O’Neill on Meeting Your Readers and Writing the Hard Stuff

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Alexis at a school visit.

This year’s SCBWI-L.A. WritersDay boasts some fantastic faculty members, all dedicated to helping attendees get to know the kids, editors, and others who make up their target audience. Two of those faculty members are former SCBWI Regional Advisors and current authors, Alexis O’Neill and Lee Wind. Alexis is a veteran teacher, author, and popular school visit presenter. Her books include The Recess Queen, Loud Emily, The Kite That Bridged Two Nations, and more. Lee is the author of the young adult novel, Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill, named a BookLife Prize Semi-Finalist, one of Publishers Weekly’s Top Five Independently Published Middle Grade and Young Adult Books of 2018, and is the founding blogger and publisher of I’m Here. I’m Queer. What The Hell Do I Read?, an award-winning website about books, culture, and empowerment for Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Questioning and Queer youth, and their Allies. And it’s our lucky day because both of them agreed let us pick their beautiful brains leading up to Writers Day!

SARAH PARKER-LEE: We’re so excited to have you both as faculty this year! Alexis, whose column for the SCBWI Bulletin, “The Truth About School Visits,” has been helping members since 2006,is doing a breakout session about new research on school visits. Interacting with readers is a universal experience for kid lit authors. Can you both tell us about one of your most meaningful ones? Or one of your early blunders, so we can learn from your mistakes?  Continue reading