In the winter of 1998, my agent sold a manuscript that would eventually be published as my first book, Jingle Dancer, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu (Morrow/HarperCollins, 2000).

In September of 1998, I launched a do-it-yourself, official author Website (www.cynthialeitichsmith) and monthly e-newsletter. Over time, the newsletter eventually attracted more than 1,000 subscribers.

The focus included my own work, but also celebrated youth literature more globally.

Each issue highlighted publishing news, writer resources, and a couple of original author interviews.

This information was then archived in a major section of the main author site, Children’s and YA Literature Resources, which grew more extensive with each passing month.

In 2004, the Cynsations blog replaced the e-newsletter. By that time, the main site was attracting more than 100,000 unique visitors a year.

Then in 2006, Lisa Firke of Hit Those Keys (interview) transformed my amateur design effort on the main site into a work of art, and by then, Cynsations had become its biggest feeder after Google.

By 2007, the number of unique visitors had climbed to more than 2 million. At current traffic rates, 2008 looks likely to top that.

For the past decade, it has been my great pleasure to take part in the discussion of youth literature on the Internet, and so I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you!

Thank you to the writers, artists, authors, illustrators, editors, agents, bloggers, publishers, publicists, booksellers, book doctors, teachers, librarians, reviewers, readers, gurus, university professors, and children’s-YA book enthusiasts of all stripes who have visited my site-blogs!

Thank you to everyone who passed along my URL on a listserv or site or blog or message board or chat or at a live event!

Thank you to everyone who suggested a resource to feature or shared your thoughts in an interview!

Thank you all for your support and encouragement!

And if you haven’t surfed by lately, please check out!

Cynsational Notes

In a Dec. 12, 2007 interview with YA author Sarah Aronson at Through the Tollbooth, I advised fellow writers:

I have found that it helps to celebrate every victory, no matter how small.

You finished your draft? Celebrate!

You received a personal rejection letter? Celebrate!

Your workshop leader says your story arc is stronger?

An agent asks for the whole manuscript?

You’ve sold your first book? Your fiftieth?

Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate!

So, in celebration of the ten-year anniversary of, I asked several well-established authors–folks I’d featured early on–the following question:

Over the past decade, what are the most important lessons you’ve learned about your craft, the writing/artistic life, and/or publishing, and why?

And in my tradition of highlighting new voices, I also asked several first-time authors:

As a debut author, what are the most important lessons you’ve learned about your craft, the writing life, and/or publishing, and why?

Answers are incoming (and fascinating)! Over the next few months–amidst more typical postings–I’ll share them as they become available.

I’ll also be offering a 10th anniversary giveaway and other celebratory features.

Stay tuned, and thanks again!