Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Writing Life: SCBWI, Lessons Learned

First, a Tip of the Day: Do not wash your cell phone with your laundry!
Second: Is 12/12/12 a cool date, or what??
Third: I'll post the photos that go with this at FB, Edith Hope Fine, because they do not feel like downloading here today.

Had fun wearing three hats at the SD SCBWI meeting last Saturday. Joy Chu, the amazing graphic designer was under the weather and, not wanting to share (!), she chose the Wisdom hat from our crazy hall hat rack when she dropped off fliers about her online illustration class. A curling stone hat, yes, that’s what that is—the 40-pound granite stone with handle—for Karen Mueller Coombs whose curling team had a final game at the exact same time as the meeting. For zany me, a propeller hat, of course.

This hat-wearing business was for the annual December “Lessons Learned” meeting with members sharing experiences and info gleaned over the past year. Always a success, giving the eager audience lots of things to think about and plenty of encouragement. Our San Diego chapter’s leadership and members are especially good about support.

When I wore Joy’s Wisdom hat, I gave info was about her upcoming online UCSD Extension class, a nine-week class, January 7 to March 9. You’ll find more info about how illustrators create characters, plus other important topics Joy will cover, such as pacing, drama, shapes, rhythm, and the importance of white space at Joy’s “Got Story? Countdown” blog:

In Karen’s curling hat (glad the grey stone hat didn’t really weigh in at 40 pounds!) I read from her script, which covered some of the ins and outs (and potential stinostifications) of ebook publishing. She has transformed her out-of-print book Bully at Ambush Corner into both an ebook and a paperback. Check out the archives of Karen’s year-long anti-bullying blog at  Karen’s YA book Sexted will be out soon. And, yes, she was the skip (that’s like captain) of the curling team and they won their game bigtime. Very exciting.

In my propeller hat and as head of the published members’ group, I did my usual “you have 15 seconds to show me something you can hand to a stranger with info about your writing or illustrating.” Lots of hands went up with bookmarks, brochures, cards. But not enough. It goes back to my Girl Scouting days, Juliet Low’s “Be prepared” in spades. That means having samples of your art, or copies of your book at hand at all times. (I know, nag, nag, nag. Just do it.)

I discussed thinking outside the box and being both brave and creative in spreading the word about your work. In my propeller hat, I urged saying “yes” to school visits, libraries, book sales, book fairs and other opportunities. (I admit there was one this year where we sold zero books but the people-watching/ character-observing opps. were fab and we had lunch afterward!) This is the year my biography of Barbara McClintock came out as an ebook, thanks to And I did something I’ve never done before, brought my out-of-print CryptoMania! Teleporting into Greek and Latin, into paperback. Originally with now (sadly, sadly) defunct Tricycle Press, it goes with my 34-week CryptoKids Decoder Program for schools and homeschoolers, so I’m super excited that it’s available once again at Yellow Book Road in San Diego and from me. Also blogging once a month as the Grammar Patrol at eFrogPress with Judith Josephson in conjunction with our Nitty-Gritty Grammar guides. I also mentioned the Square, with which you authors and illustrators can sell your wares with a swipe of a card (smart device with Internet connection needed).