The Storyteller Academy Blog
Helping You Make and Share Your Stories

Student Success Stories: Teresa Robeson Wins the APALA Award

Student Success Stories: Teresa Robeson Wins the APALA Award

I'm back with a second interview with Teresa Robeson to talk about her APALA Award and her second picture book. If you'd like to read the first interview, you can find it here

I'm giving away a copy of Teresa's award-winning debut picture book, Queen of Physics, and her second picture book, Two Bicycles in Beijing, at the end of this post. 

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Building an Author Website with Ken Lamug

Building an Author Website with Ken Lamug

As picture book authors and illustrators, we might not be tech savvy, so building an author website can feel overwhelming.

But everybody needs a website. You need a landing place for your customers. A website makes it easy to find you, and it empowers you to create the image and narrative that best represents you and your work. It allows you to control your brand.

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Student Success Stories: Sue Macartney

Student Success Stories: Sue Macartney

I have a fun interview with author/illustrator Sue Macartney for you today, and a book giveaway at the end of this post. Sue and I have been emailing back and forth since she signed her first contract last summer, and it's been fun to get to know (and happy dance with) her a bit. 

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Student Success Stories: Charlotte Watson Sherman

Student Success Stories: Charlotte Watson Sherman

I recently discovered that Charlotte Watson Sherman's Brown Sugar Babe released last month, so we're celebrating her book's release with her. Better late than never, right? I'm excited that this beautiful book is out in the world.

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How to Escalate a Picture Book Problem Using Story Loops

How to Escalate a Picture Book Problem Using Story Loops

A couple of weeks ago, we were talking about what story loops are and how to use them in one of Arree's Crafting Picture Book Stories workshops, and I thought it might be a good subject to cover on this blog. Story loops are the interesting pieces that catch the reader's attention and tie everything together. They're great for pacing, slow or fast, and for escalating a story's problem.

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Instructor Stories: Marcie Colleen

Instructor Stories: Marcie Colleen

We're so happy to have the wonderful, award-winning Marcie Colleen teaching our Crafting a Strong Beginning intensive this month. Marcie has a background in teaching and the theatre. She is a frequent presenter at conferences for the SCBWI, as well as a faculty member for The Writing Barn, San Diego Writer's Ink, and the University of California San Diego Extension.

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Five Tips for Attending a Big Conference

Five Tips for Attending a Big Conference

SCBWI's 21st Annual Winter Conference is happening this weekend in New York City. I regret that I will not be going this year. Hopefully next year. 

Can I tell you a little secret? I joined SCBWI in 2012, but I didn't attend any of their conferences until 2017. I'm an introvert, and going to a conference where I didn't know anyone sounded like more trouble than it was worth. I was wrong.

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Five Tips for Critique Groups

Five Tips for Critique Groups

I'm currently placing Storyteller Academy students in critique groups. Some of them have never been in a critique group, so they have been asking me for advice on how to make their critique groups work. I've compiled a list of five things that will help keep your critique group running smoothly.

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Instructor Stories: Alex Leon

Instructor Stories: Alex Leon

Alex Leon isn't new to Storyteller Academy. He helped Arree with Drawing 1 workshops and Illustration/Art Office Hours all of last year, and students have commented on how helpful his suggestions have been. Alex has also taught drawing, painting, and portfolio development to college and high school level students.

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Instructor Stories: Melissa Manlove

Instructor Stories: Melissa Manlove

We're thrilled that Melissa Manlove is returning to teach live Submission Ready workshops for Term 1, which starts on January 25. She will also be teaching a new class in Term 3, which I'll talk more about later, and she's mentoring two critique groups for us this year, one during Term 1, the other during Term 2. (If you're in Makers Pro, watch your email for more information. Those spots will sell out quickly.)

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Student Success Stories: Rita Lorraine Hubbard

Student Success Stories: Rita Lorraine Hubbard

Today is publication day for Rita Lorraine Hubbard‘s picture book with Oge Mora, and I am so excited to share this interview with you! This is not Rita's first picture book, and it has been getting a great deal of attention over the last couple of months. I'm happy that I won't have to wait much longer to read it.

I am giving away a copy of Rita's picture book, The Oldest Student, at the end of this post. 

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Our Favorite 2019 Picture Books

Our Favorite 2019 Picture Books

Arree and I are going to share some of our favorite picture books published in 2019, and then we'd love for you to share your favorites in the comments. That way, we all end up celebrating a bunch of great books and finding new mentor texts. And to help motivate you to share, there's a giveaway at the end of this post.

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How to Tell Stories That Are Uniquely Yours

How to Tell Stories That Are Uniquely Yours

When you go to conferences or read interviews with agents and editors, people invariably ask what kind of stories they're looking for. Instead of saying that they want more cats in space (or something specific), they usually tell everyone that they want unique voices with universal appeal. They'll know it when they see it. They want stories that can only be told by the person telling it.

What does that even mean?

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Gratitude Helps You Feel Happy and Creative

Gratitude Helps You Feel Happy and Creative

Arree talks about “people angels” when he's teaching sometimes. They're people who've had a profound impact for good in your life. He has been one of mine. Every now and then, I even tell him so.

Step 1: I want you to take a few minutes and think of some people in your life who make you feel grateful. Write down their names.

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Two Editors Talk Comp Titles for Picture Books

Two Editors Talk Comp Titles for Picture Books

What IS a comp title? And do you really need to include them in your queries and submissions?

Comp titles can be looked at a couple of different ways. Publishers use them to position your book in the market, which is why they’re important to editors. But even before you send your book to an agent or an editor, it’s a good idea to read comparative titles so that you can make your picture book stand out.

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Student Success Stories: Sharon Langley

Student Success Stories: Sharon Langley

I'm excited to share this interview with Sharon Langley on the blog today. She was just telling me about her awesome experience at NCTE, and I can't wait for her book to release in January so that I can experience it for myself.   

Sharon is giving away a signed copy of her debut picture book, A Ride to Remember, at the end of this post. 

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Develop Healthy Creative Habits

Develop Healthy Creative Habits

Creating can feel lonely and impossible sometimes, not unlike this cactus I found that grew through a rock. Long roots grew up through a crack.

I've been writing for a long time now. My first sales were to newspapers when I was in high school. They'd call, asking for my mom, which she thought was hilarious. I felt compelled to write, but it gave me anxiety, especially starting anything new. Once I got into a project, I turned obsessive compulsive, sacrificing sleep and other important things to finish. Then I'd feel paralyzed by anxiety and put off starting my next draft. 

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What Is Fear Keeping You From?

What Is Fear Keeping You From?

Do you ever feel like you're playing smaller than you want to be in certain areas?

There can be more than one reason for this.

Maybe you lack resources or funds. I understand this. We all have to prioritize where our time, energy, and money go.

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Student Success Stories: Adriana Hernández Bergstrom

Student Success Stories: Adriana Hernández Bergstrom

I have a fun interview with Adriana Hernández Bergstrom for you today, and a book giveaway at the end of this post. We're just going to dive right in.

Myrna: What is your profession?

Adriana: I’m an artist and illustrator.

Myrna: What made you want to start illustrating picture books?

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Can You Write a Rhyming Picture Book?

Can You Write a Rhyming Picture Book?

Have you heard that editors and agents don't want rhyming picture books?

It's true that some of them don't. But as you can see from the following clip of Melissa Manlove at last November's Black Friday Bootcamp, some of them do.

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Student Success Stories: Teresa Robeson

Student Success Stories: Teresa Robeson

I'm happy to share an interview with Teresa Robeson on the blog today. Teresa has been a Storyteller Academy student even longer than I have. 

I'm giving away a copy of her debut picture book, Queen of Physics, at the end of this post. 

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When You Feel Like Giving Up

When You Feel Like Giving Up

Do you ever feel like giving up?

If so, what makes you feel that way? Are you being too hard on yourself, or did someone else disparage your work? Creative work is hard.

Brené Brown said: “There is nothing more vulnerable than creativity. And what is art, if it’s not love?”

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Student Success Stories: Ken Lamug

Student Success Stories: Ken Lamug

I first encountered Ken Lamug on a webinar with Arree Chung in January of 2017. He was the attendee asking all of the questions that I wanted to ask before I typed them out. We'd both signed up for Arree's free webinar, and then we both signed up for Arree's class afterwards. This webinar was also my first experience with Arree. 

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Three Ways to Tackle Your Next Picture Book Revision

Three Ways to Tackle Your Next Picture Book Revision

How many of you have a picture book manuscript or dummy that you want to revise, but for one reason or another, you’re feeling stuck?

First Stop: Critique Partners

Getting feedback can help. If you have a critique group or someone you trust for advice on how to make your story better, that can be the easiest way to get direction. It’s definitely a great first stop.

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Student Success Stories: Mirka Hokkanen

Student Success Stories: Mirka Hokkanen

Mirka Hokkanen has so many tips for illustrators sprinkled throughout this interview that I'm excited to share. I met Mirka through Storyteller Academy. We were both in the second class that Arree taught, which happened near the beginning of 2017, and then we roomed together at the SCBWI conference in Los Angeles that summer. She's in the header photo for this blog.

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A Choose Your Own Adventure Approach to Achieving Your Dreams

A Choose Your Own Adventure Approach to Achieving Your Dreams

If you could do/learn/achieve ANYTHING you wanted, what dreams would you chase?

At Storyteller Academy, we believe anyone can learn all of the elements of storytelling: writing, drawing, voice, etc. They’re skills that you can learn.

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Five Page Turns for Picture Book Writers and Illustrators

Five Page Turns for Picture Book Writers and Illustrators

One of the most important epiphanies I’ve had about writing picture books came when I took Arree’s class in 2017 and learned about page turns. Picture books are a visual art form. Page turns are an important part of the storytelling, but I—like so many picture book writers—had never taken that into account when writing a story. Making a dummy and learning about page turns changed that for me.

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Two Editors Talk About How Illustrators Are Chosen

Two Editors Talk About How Illustrators Are Chosen

Have you ever wondered how and why an illustrator is chosen for a particular book project? Whether you’re an illustrator looking for work, or a writer wondering if you’ll have any say in your book’s illustrator, this post is for you.

In the following Submission Ready video, Ariel Richardson and Melissa Manlove, two editors at Chronicle Books, talk about how editors consult with designers or art directors about what books need before hiring illustrators.

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Instructor Stories: Jessixa Bagley

Instructor Stories: Jessixa Bagley

We're thrilled to have the multi-award winning Jessixa Bagley teaching our Watercolors intensive this month. Jessixa Bagley graduated with a BFA in painting and printmaking from Cornish Cornish College of Arts. She has worked in comics, fine arts, and illustration, with her work appearing in publications like the following: HighlightsNickelodeon MagazineThe Chicago ReaderThe Stranger, and The Seattle Weekly. Working on picture books has been a lifelong goal for her. 

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Voice in Picture Books: Past vs. Present Tense

Voice in Picture Books: Past vs. Present Tense

Most picture books are written in either past tense or present tense. And while some agents and editors will tell you that they prefer one over the other, I’d hope that any good agent or editor would then add, “but it depends on the book.”

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What Do You Do with a Picture Book Idea?

What Do You Do with a Picture Book Idea?

Do you have a picture book idea that you’re not quite sure what to do with? Whether you’ve never written a picture book or have been writing them for years, you start over with each new idea.

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Instructor Stories: Carter Higgins

Instructor Stories: Carter Higgins

After the success of Writing Voice with Carter Higgins earlier this year, we're excited to have Carter back to teach a brand new 9-week course this coming term. She'll be teaching Picture Book Wordsmith live this term, and then the recorded lessons will be available with live workshops next year. You can view the schedule of upcoming classes here.

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How to Sell a Quiet Picture Book

How to Sell a Quiet Picture Book

Have you ever been told that your picture book is too quiet? Did you wonder what exactly that meant? We’re going to talk about how to make quiet books marketable enough that you can sell them.

In a Writing Picture Book Manuscripts workshop, Jim Averbeck talked about what a quiet picture book is, so I’m going to start by sharing that clip.

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Instructor Stories: Arree Chung

Instructor Stories: Arree Chung

I’m updating our Instructor Stories post with Arree Chung, (and there’s a book giveaway at the end of this post). Arree owns and manages Storyteller Academy.

He’s teaching Making Picture Dummies this term, as well helping Alex Leon with Drawing 1 (formerly Drawing Bootcamp). You can view the schedule of classes here. If you’ve taken one of Arree’s classes—even one of the free ones—you already know how generous he is with his time and experience.

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What Makes an Awesome Picture Book?

What Makes an Awesome Picture Book?

You want to create an awesome picture book, the kind that kids reach for over and over again. Right? So, let's talk about the most important elements of a picture book. I’m going to share the two sins of storytelling—two problems that you need to avoid—and three solutions that will help you avoid them and tell a great story.

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How to Write a Picture Book

How to Write a Picture Book

I’m sharing how I’ve learned to write picture books through taking Storyteller Academy classes. I’ve been having an email conversation with a good friend (who also happens to be an award-winning picture book author) who’s having doubts about whether or not she’ll ever write another book that sells. I’m sure that she will. We all have times when we question ourselves. You just have to keep doing the work.

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Self-Ended vs. Separate-Ended Picture Books

Self-Ended vs. Separate-Ended Picture Books

In our Storyteller Academy classes, we get a lot of questions about pagination of picture book manuscripts and dummies that usually stem from the difference between self-ended and separate-ended picture books, so I’m going to share the best explanation I’ve heard.

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Instructor Stories: Kathryn Otoshi

Instructor Stories: Kathryn Otoshi

We are thrilled to have Kathryn Otoshi teaching our Storytelling and Symbolism intensive this month.

Kathryn Otoshi is a bit of a unicorn. She's an author, illustrator, graphic designer, and publisher—all wrapped into one. On her website, she states that her mission “is to introduce young readers to big issues through the power of reading and literature.” To this end, she founded KO Kid's Books and Blue Dot Press.

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Two Editors Talk Back Matter

Two Editors Talk Back Matter

For today’s post, I’m sharing opinions on back matter (supplementary material: author's note, index, bibliography, afterward, glossary, etc.) from two editors from Chronicle Books who are known throughout the children’s book industry for their daring and innovation with nonfiction picture books.

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Plan on Attending Multiple SCBWI Conferences

Plan on Attending Multiple SCBWI Conferences

SCBWI just had their big Summer Conference in Los Angeles last month, and it was a lot of fun to see those of you who came to our dinner.

Conferences are the best way to meet agents and editors in real life. Take advantage of opportunities to share your work with them through portfolio reviews, contests, pitch sessions, round tables, and critiques. That’s how I connected with my agent, Rubin Pfeffer.

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Illustrating African American Hair with Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Illustrating African American Hair with Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Today, I’m sharing a short video demonstration of one way that Vanessa Brantley-Newton illustrates African American hair.

Vanessa determines the shape of the hair first. Then she fills in the hair color. You can have a lot of variation in both of these, so look at photos of real people for reference.

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Student Success Stories: Abi Cushman (with a Giveaway)

Student Success Stories: Abi Cushman (with a Giveaway)

Abi Cushman has been with Storyteller Academy since Arree's very first class. We're so excited that Viking Children's Books will be publishing her debut picture book, Soaked!, in Summer 2020. 

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The Business of Selling Picture Books

The Business of Selling Picture Books

I’m going to share some basic numbers behind the business of making picture books. Making a picture book can cost a publisher around $70,000, so they’re looking for stories that will sell for many years to come. They call those “evergreen” books.

Continue Reading ►

Diversify to Make a Living as a Children's Book Author

Diversify to Make a Living as a Children's Book Author

Today, we’re going to talk about money. Money can be tricky when you’re a freelance artist and/or writer, so I’m sharing a fantastic response that Jim Averbeck gave a student who asked how long he’d been making a living as a writer and illustrator of children’s books.

Continue Reading ►

Student Success Stories: Marla Lesage (with a Giveaway)

Student Success Stories: Marla Lesage (with a Giveaway)

I've been getting emails from illustrators who want to know more about finding publishers for their work, so I'm sharing a rather unique author/illustrator success story. There isn't one way to get published. There are tried and true paths that have worked for a lot of people, but then there are stories like Marla's.

Continue Reading ►

Picture Book Revision Tips From Two Editors

Picture Book Revision Tips From Two Editors

We’re halfway through the term, so there’s a good chance that you’re revising a picture book dummy or manuscript. I’m currently struggling with two that are in different stages.

Continue Reading ►

Three Tips for Connecting with Agents and Editors Through Conferences

Three Tips for Connecting with Agents and Editors Through Conferences

I flew back home from the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles, California, on Monday night, and I’m still processing all of it. I go to conferences to find inspiration and make connections with people. Being around people who are working toward the same goals that I am makes me happy.

Continue Reading ►

Instructor Stories: Kenard Pak

Instructor Stories: Kenard Pak

We are so lucky to have Kenard Pak teaching our Textures in Your Illustrations intensive this month.

Kenard Pak has worked on animation for Dreamworks, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Disney Television, PDI Dreamworks, Laika, Blue Sky, Hornet, and Oculus Story Studio.

Continue Reading ►

When an Author Should Submit a Dummy

When an Author Should Submit a Dummy

Every term, since I started moderating workshops for Storyteller Academy, I've heard at least one question about whether or not picture book authors can submit their dummies. It's not surprising. After all, we encourage writers to draw and illustrators to write. The more elements of picture books that you understand, the better. Right? Making my first picture book dummy in Arree's class helped me finally understand page turns and pacing.

Continue Reading ►

Optimize Your Critique Group Experience

Optimize Your Critique Group Experience

We have a lot of critique groups meeting for the first time next week, so let’s look at how you can optimize your critique group experience. The most important thing you can do is show up. I mean, it’s best to have your own work prepared and ready to share, but even if you don’t have anything, you need to attend, give feedback, and build relationships. When you join a critique group, you’re making a commitment to be there for the other people in the group. It’s one of the smartest investments you can make.

Continue Reading ►

Student Success Stories: Vicky Fang

Student Success Stories: Vicky Fang

Today, I'm excited to update an earlier post with the prolific Vicky Fang! The first time around, Vicky had one picture book announcement. She has since added two more book deals: one for four chapter books, and another for two board books.  I don't think we have an announcement to share for the board books, but here's one for her chapter books!

Continue Reading ►

Develop a Picture Book Character From a Photo

Develop a Picture Book Character From a Photo

Have you ever developed a character from a photo before? In our Black Friday Bootcamp last November, Vanessa Brantley-Newton shared how she created the main character for The King of Kindergarten, which released earlier this month.

Continue Reading ►

Make Your Picture Book Stand Out

Make Your Picture Book Stand Out

With all of the picture books out there, how do you make your picture books stand out? This is a question that if you haven't asked (and answered) it, it's probably time that you did.

Continue Reading ►

Student Success Stories: LaRonda Gardner Middlemiss

Student Success Stories: LaRonda Gardner Middlemiss

Some of you may have read an earlier version of my interview with Storyteller Academy student LaRonda Gardner Middlemiss, but that version was lost with our website in May, and her picture book has a cover now! So, I'm updating our interview and giving away a copy of her picture book. The book doesn't release until next summer, so the winner of this giveaway will have a bit of a wait. But I'll preorder the book now so that I don't forget.  

Continue Reading ►

How to Research Literary Agents

How to Research Literary Agents

I’m going to cover how to research literary agents, specifically agents interested in picture books, and share some of my favorite free resources with you.

If you’re a SCBWI member, you have access to The Book, which has the following sections: Agent DirectoryAgented By, and Finding an Agent: Best Practices. If you haven’t checked those out, that should be your first stop.

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Two Editors Talk Back Matter

Two Editors Talk Back Matter

For today’s post, I’m sharing opinions on back matter from two editors from Chronicle Books who are known throughout the children’s book industry for their daring and innovation with nonfiction picture books.

Continue Reading ►

Plan on Attending Multiple SCBWI Conferences

Plan on Attending Multiple SCBWI Conferences

SCBWI just had their big Summer Conference in Los Angeles last month, and it was a lot of fun to see those of you who came to our dinner.

Continue Reading ►

Illustrating African American Hair with Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Illustrating African American Hair with Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Today, I’m sharing a short video demonstration of one way that Vanessa Brantley-Newton illustrates African American hair.

Continue Reading ►

Student Success Stories: Abi Cushman (with a Giveaway)

Student Success Stories: Abi Cushman (with a Giveaway)

Today, I'm sharing a slightly updated interview that Abi gave us last year, and she's giving away an 8×10 inch signed giclee print, using archival inks on a cotton rag paper and featuring a scene from Soaked!

Continue Reading ►

The Business of Selling Picture Books

The Business of Selling Picture Books

I’m going to share some basic numbers behind the business of making picture books. Making a picture book can cost a publisher around $70,000, so they’re looking for stories that will sell for many years to come. They call those “evergreen” books.

Continue Reading ►

Diversify to Make a Living as a Children's Book Author

Diversify to Make a Living as a Children's Book Author

Today, we’re going to talk about money. Money can be tricky when you’re a freelance artist and/or writer, so I’m sharing a fantastic response that Jim Averbeck gave a student who asked how long he’d been making a living as a writer and illustrator of children’s books.

Continue Reading ►

Success Stories: Marla Lesage

Success Stories: Marla Lesage

I've been getting emails from illustrators who want to know more about finding publishers for their work, so I'm sharing a rather unique author/illustrator success story. There isn't one way to get published. There are tried and true paths that have worked for a lot of people, but then there are stories like Marla's.

Continue Reading ►

Picture Book Revision Tips From Two Editors

Picture Book Revision Tips From Two Editors

We’re halfway through the term, so there’s a good chance that you’re revising a picture book dummy or manuscript. I’m currently struggling with two that are in different stages.

Continue Reading ►

Three Tips for Connecting<br> with Agents and Editors Through Conferences

Three Tips for Connecting
with Agents and Editors Through Conferences

I flew back home from the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles, California, on Monday night, and I’m still processing all of it. I go to conferences to find inspiration and make connections with people. Being around people who are working toward the same goals that I am makes me happy.

Continue Reading ►

Instructor Stories: Kenard Pak

Instructor Stories: Kenard Pak

We are so lucky to have Kenard Pak teaching our Textures in Your Illustrations intensive this month.

Kenard Pak has worked on animation for Dreamworks, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Disney Television, PDI Dreamworks, Laika, Blue Sky, Hornet, and Oculus Story Studio.

Continue Reading ►

When an Author Should Submit a Dummy

When an Author Should Submit a Dummy

Every term, since I started moderating workshops for Storyteller Academy, I've heard at least one question about whether or not picture book authors can submit their dummies. It's not surprising. After all, we encourage writers to draw and illustrators to write. The more elements of picture books that you understand, the better. Right? Making my first picture book dummy in Arree's class helped me finally understand page turns and pacing.

Continue Reading ►

Optimize Your Critique Group Experience

Optimize Your Critique Group Experience

We have a lot of critique groups meeting for the first time next week, so let’s look at how you can optimize your critique group experience. The most important thing you can do is show up. I mean, it’s best to have your own work prepared and ready to share, but even if you don’t have anything, you need to attend, give feedback, and build relationships. When you join a critique group, you’re making a commitment to be there for the other people in the group. It’s one of the smartest investments you can make.

Continue Reading ►

Student Success Stories: Vicky Fang

Student Success Stories: Vicky Fang

Today, I'm excited to update an earlier post with the prolific Vicky Fang! The first time around, Vicky had one picture book announcement. She has since added two more book deals: one for four chapter books, and another for two board books.  I don't think we have an announcement to share for the board books, but here's one for her chapter books!

Continue Reading ►

Develop a Picture Book Character From a Photo

Develop a Picture Book Character From a Photo

Have you ever developed a character from a photo before? In our Black Friday Bootcamp last November, Vanessa Brantley-Newton shared how she created the main character for The King of Kindergarten, which released earlier this month.

Continue Reading ►

Make Your Picture Book Stand Out

Make Your Picture Book Stand Out

With all of the picture books out there, how do you make your picture books stand out? This is a question that if you haven't asked (and answered) it, it's probably time that you did.

Continue Reading ►

 Student Success Stories: LaRonda Gardner Middlemiss

Student Success Stories: LaRonda Gardner Middlemiss

Some of you may have read an earlier version of my interview with Storyteller Academy student LaRonda Gardner Middlemiss, but that version was lost with our website in May, and her picture book has a cover now! So, I'm updating our interview and giving away a copy of her picture book. The book doesn't release until next summer, so the winner of this giveaway will have a bit of a wait. But I'll preorder the book now so that I don't forget.  

Continue Reading ►

How to Research Literary Agents

How to Research Literary Agents

Today, I’m going to cover how to research literary agents, specifically agents interested in picture books, and share some of my favorite free resources with you.

Continue Reading ►

How Editors Think

How Editors Think

Today, I’m sharing this absolutely delightful clip of Ariel Richardson and Melissa Manlove (editors at Chronicle Books) talking about how editors think. I mean, we all know that taste is subjective, and each editor is an individual, but there are things that most of them have in common. When I took Submission Ready from Ariel and Melissa earlier this year, the things they had in common surprised me.

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Student Success Stories: Elaine Kiely Kearns

Student Success Stories: Elaine Kiely Kearns

I've been wanting to give away a copy of Noah Noasaurus, by Elaine Kiely Kearns since before it came out. So, I'm reposting my interview with Elaine and adding a picture book giveaway! If you don't already know Elaine, you're in for a treat. And if you already know Elaine, then I don't have to tell you that. Do I?

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Popular Art Styles in Children's Book Illustration

Popular Art Styles in Children's Book Illustration

Let’s talk about popular art styles in children’s books and how picture book illustrators use them. I’ll give you a list of examples from various styles. Then I’ll share a YouTube video where I discuss examples critically, even explaining how illustrations could be improved.

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Illustrating Skin Color with Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Illustrating Skin Color with Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Today, I’m sharing a video from Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s Black Friday Bootcamp presentation that will help you understand how to get differences in skin color right when illustrating.

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Instructor Stories: Tim McCanna

Instructor Stories: Tim McCanna

For this month's Storyteller Academy intensive, Tim McCanna is teaching “Storytelling in Rhyme.” We're excited to have Tim coming at rhyming picture books from a slightly different background than Diana Murray's. While Diana has a lot of published children's poetry (and books), Tim has a background in musical theater and song writing. 

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Two Editors Talk Mentor Texts and Multiple Hooks

Two Editors Talk Mentor Texts and Multiple Hooks

Today, I’m sharing a couple of highlights from one of our Submission Ready workshops. In the first clip, Melissa Manlove and Ariel Richardson, two editors from Chronicle books, share why multiple hooks help sell a book, citing some mentor texts for students to look at. In the second video, they focus more on how and why you should use mentor texts.

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Free Picture Book Challenge

Free Picture Book Challenge

Tomorrow, we’re releasing a free educational video series that will include Arree’s journey to publication and some of the very best parts of last November’s Black Friday Bootcamp. 

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Instructor Stories: Jannie Ho

Instructor Stories: Jannie Ho

Today, I’m excited to introduce the incredibly prolific Jannie Ho as our Adobe Illustrator instructor. Also know as Chicken Girl, Jannie has illustrated children’s books for over a decade. You can find her work in trade and educational books, magazines, toys, crafts, and digital media.

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Student Success Stories: Isabella Kung

Student Success Stories: Isabella Kung

Today, I’m sharing a recent interview with the fabulous Isabella Kung. I’ve fallen in love with Isabella’s vibrant style, and I think you will, too.

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