Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

“I’m Just Like Everybody Else” – Believing in Yourself as a Writer, Despite Naysayers by Kelly Braffet from Books for Better Living. Peek: “I was 17, and I told her my dream, and she told me to give it up.” See also Ten Things Emerging Writers Need to Learn.

Interview with Jessica Young, Author of My Blue Is Happy, by Gayle Rosengren from OneFour Kidlit. Peek: “Looking back, I counted eighty-nine revisions of My Blue, not including the ones I didn’t save. There were so many directions I tried taking it, and I feel incredibly lucky to have had the help of wonderful crit partners and my fantastic agent and editor to support me in getting to the final version.”

Sneaking Telling Into Questions by Mary Kole from Peek: “We tell because we desperately want that information out there in black and white instead of leaving it as a delicious little gray area clue for the reader to find. There’s tension in the latter, though, there’s intrigue, there are even higher stakes…” See also Expand. Contract.: Mapping Out Story Slashing by Rachel Wilson from Quirk and Quill.

Likeability in Novels by Cheryl Klein from Brooklyn Arden. Peek: “When I’m in this mood, I don’t mind if people are unlikeable so long as they’re real, and presented with full histories and friends and enemies and contexts, so I can find sympathy through understanding and empathizing with them rather than needing to be entertained or pleased by them.”

Chop! Chop! Writing in 20 Minute Slices by Kristi Holl from Writer’s First Aid. Peek: “I pick a task–not necessarily in the order listed–set my timer, and get going! Since getting started has always been my biggest hurdle, the list goes a long way toward getting me over that hump.”

Children’s Space Stories are Ready to Take Off Again by S.F. Said from The Guardian. Peek: “Publishers have been wary of this kind of science fiction for years, but it’s set to thrill a new generation.”

Diversity in Writing by Ellen Oh from Peek: “…people are afraid of being called a racist. So they avoid diversity because of it. However, let me reassure you that by not including diversity, you are also being called a racist. Maybe not to your face, but you are. And guess what? Being called a racist is nowhere near as painful as dealing with actual racism.” See also Transgender Characters in Teen Literature: An Interview with Ellen Wittlinger from The Hub and Taking the Risk, Taking the Heat by Patricia McCormick from CBC Diversity.

The Route to Publishing as an Author-Illustrator by Eliza Wheeler from Peek: “You can send your promotion to everyone within a publishing house (where-as with a manuscript it is not acceptable to submit to more than one editor in the same house at a time). This gives illustrators the advantage of having wide exposure to their work.”

Physical Attributes: Muscular Characters by Angela Ackerman from The Bookshelf Muse. Peek: “Muscular individuals are not that way naturally, and so either go to the gym or work in an environment that requires strength, building them up over time.”

Is It Perilous to Pitch the Whole Series? by Deborah Halverson from Peek: “Series can do well in most markets, so publishers buy them when they see marketable concepts and strong writing from authors who can consistently deliver.”

Stepping into the Void by Sarah Jamila Stevenson from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing. Peek: “…there are countless sources of fear for any creative person, from the fears that well up from deep inside our innermost selves to those that bombard us from outside, but what they all have in common is they keep us from creating, keep us from producing.”

Don’t Let Words Get in the Way of What You Write by Brian Yansky from Brian’s Blog: Writer Talk. Peek: “…telling us it is raining is fine but going on and on about it because you like the sound of words often leads to indulgence and bad choices.”

Sign. Query. Submit. with Literary Agent Tina Wexler from I Write for Apples. Peek: “I know I want to sign an author when I’m reading their manuscript and the names of editors who must read it start coming to me.” See also Successful Schmoozing with Agents at Conferences by Jenny Bent from Bent on Books.

Giveaway ABCs by Stina Lindenblatt from QueryTrackerBlog. Peek: “If the goal is to increase book sales, giving away copies of your book will help.”

I’m Your Neighbor: Children’s Books and Reading Projects Build Bridges Between “New Arrivals” and “Long-term Communities.”

Unpacking Why Adults Read Young Adult Fiction from Malinda Lo. Peek: “A lot of reception studies focus on how consumption of a media product (TV show, book, etc.) is tied into an individual’s identity formation. Watching a show or participating in a fandom is part of your construction of who you are.” Source: Gwenda Bond.

Native YA Protagonists: Three Recommended Reads by Audrey from Rich In Color. Note: I’m honored to see my own debut novel, Rain Is Not My Indian Name (HarperCollins, 2001), among the recommended titles, which I likewise endorse.

Five Reasons to Use a Facebook Profile (Not a Page) to Build a Platform by Lisa Hall-Wilson from Jane Friedman. Peek: “While there’s a 5,000-friend limit on Profiles, there’s no limit to Followers (previously known as subscribers). Many professional athletes and other media personalities—journalists for instance—are using this option instead of maintaining a Page.” See also How (and Why) to Create a Pinterest Board for Your Book by Dee Garretson from Project Mayhem.

IBBY Appeal for Syrian Refugee Children in Lebanon from IBBY: Sharing Books, Bridging Cultures. Peek: “The Lebanese Board on Books for Young People (LBBY) is a registered organization that is concerned with the well being of children and the promotion of reading. It has participated in the development and installation of numerous school libraries.” Donations welcome.

Jane Addams Legacy: An Interview with Author Susan C. Griffith by E.M. Kokie from The Pirate Tree. Peek: “The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award (JACBA) is an honor given annually by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Jane Addams Peace Association to children’s books of high literary quality, published in the United States, that best engage young readers in thinking about peace, social justice, world community and equality of all sexes and races.”

How Old Should My Middle Grade Protagonist Be? by Deborah Halverson from Peek: “Consider the sophistication of your concept, themes, and storytelling style as you determine where your project falls.”

SCBWI’s New Spark Award

The SCBWI is pleased to announce the creation of the Spark Award, an annual award that recognizes excellence in a children’s book published through a non-traditional publishing route. The award is open to current writer and/or illustrator SCBWI members who have independently-published a board book, picture book, chapter book, middle grade, or young adult novel through an established self- publishing enterprise or individually self-published. Submissions must be submitted in traditionally bound form, contain an ISBN number, and provide evidence of Copyright registration.

Entries may not have been previously published in any print or digital form prior to the self-published form and SCBWI reserves the right to disqualify books published by enterprises that we believe, in our discretion, operate in a predatory or unprofessional manner.

One winner and one honor book will be chosen by a panel of industry professionals and will focus on quality of writing and concept, quality of illustrations (if applicable), professional presentation, and editing and design.

The winner will receive a Spark seal to display on their book, a commemorative plaque, have their book featured in the SCBWI online bookstore and marketed on SCBWI social networking sites, and receive the opportunity to sell their book at the SCBWI Summer or Winter Conference in Los Angeles or New York. See more information.

This Week at Cynsations

Cynsational Giveaways  

See also Five New Giveaways & New Releases from Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing.

More Personally

Wowza! I’m honored to be the recipient of the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation’s 2013 Illumine award for excellence in literary achievement in the category of young adult fiction. The honorees in other categories are Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg and Stephen Harrigan. See recipient biographies, and check out the whole scoop from Austin SCBWI. Note: I’ll post photos after the gala in November.

Don’t miss Samantha Clark’s interview with me about reading and writing graphic novels (includes giveaway) from earlier this week!

Congratulations to Kathi Appelt and her fellow authors named to the 2013 National Book Award Longlist for Young People’s Literature.

Stalked by velociraptors at Moody Gardens in Galveston.
Picabu, the king penguin from my Penguin Encounter
The painting Picabu created with her feet!

Personal Links

Cynsational Events

Katherine Paterson and Katherine Applegate Headline Authors to Appear at National Book Festival Sept. 20 and Sept. 21 at the National
Mall from the Library of Congress.

Delve into the world of graphic novels on Oct. 5 with a Graphic Novel Workshop, featuring author/illustrator Dave Roman, author Cynthia Leitich Smith and First Second Books Senior Editor Calista Brill; sponsored by Austin SCBWI.

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will speak Oct. 17 at Lampasas ISD in Lampasas, Texas.

Cynthia Leitich Smith will offer several presentations the week of Oct. 20 in conjunction with Jingle Dancer (Morrow, 2000) being the featured title for children as part of the 2013 One Book, One San Diego campaign, sponsored by KBPS, more details forthcoming.

Cynthia Leitich Smith joins featured authors at the Texas Book Festival Oct. 26 and Oct. 27 at the State Capitol Building in Austin.

Cynthia Leitich Smith and P.J. Hoover will sign their new releases from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Barnes & Noble in Round Rock, Texas.

Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith will speak at the Florida Association for Media in Education Conference Nov. 20 to Nov. 22 in Orlando.

The Craft & Business of Writing: Everything You wanted to Know About Writing, a fundraiser featuring C.C. Hunter, Miranda James and Lori Wilde for the Montgomery County Book Festival, on Nov. 16 at Lone Star College Montgomery Campus in Houston. Fee: $100. Registration deadline: Nov. 10. See more information. Register here.