Thursday, August 22, 2013

Peter Reynold's Dot Day

Do you guys know about Dot Day? It's September 15 this year. It rocks. I spent a modified Dot Day (it wasn't the actual day) last year volunteering in my daughter's 4th grade classroom. She still has dots on her wall from last fall, including "celebri-dots" Barack O-Dot and Mitt Rom-Dot.

Ways to find out more about Dot Day:
Website and registration for International Dot Day, visit  
For official Dot Day Twitter feed, follow @DotClubConnect.  
Find International Dot Day on Facebook at
On September 15th, nearly a million children and adults around the globe are expected to celebrate International Dot Day – a grass roots “creativity & courage” movement, which has generated support around the globe, including all 50 U.S. states, all seven continents, and even on the International Space Station.  Inspired by Boston-area author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds’ classic “storybook for all ages” The Dot, International Dot Day inspires young and old to embrace the power of personal creativity to change the world.
The Dot is a heartwarming story of a perceptive and caring teacher who reaches a reluctant student who thinks she can’t draw by encouraging her to trust in her own abilities and to be brave enough to “just make a mark and see where it takes you.” Exploring the themes of creativity, bravery and self-expression, The Dot has been translated into many languages (including Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Hebrew, Spanish and even Braille) and the animated film of The Dot (produced by Reynolds’ multi-media design and development firm FableVision and co-producer Scholastic) earned the Carnegie Medal of Excellence.
International Dot Day began four years when Iowa teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Reynolds’ book on September 15th, because the original publishing date of The Dot is September 15, 2003.  Shay, a public school teacher for over two decades, notes “In The Dot, it is the teacher’s invitation to be creative becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage for the student, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing. Every great teacher works for those transformational moments.” 
International Dot Day has garnered attention in schools, libraries, and communities around the globe. Registrations reached 17,500 in 2011 – and last soared past the 850,000 mark.  Reynolds notes, “There’s even an entire town in Connecticut celebrating – connecting the dots between the schools, public library and community at large – truly amazing.”  Indeed, Dot Day celebrations now take many forms; from short art workshops where students make dots and sign them to animating dot-inspired art/stories on the computer, from weeklong school-wide celebrations to a year-long theme for a school district. 
Earlier this year, a copy of The Dot book was even rocketed to Canadian Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield serving at Commander aboard  the International Space Station.  Reynolds explains, “Commander Hadfield snapped a few photos of The Dot book floating in the cupola of the space station. On his last day of his recent Boston visit, he handed me my book, which he had signed, noting that this copy…had made 2,500 trips around the big blue dot – planet Earth.”
This year Reynolds will be honored by the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. on Dot Day with a museum-wide celebration of the book.  The day-long event will include special dot-making and sharing activities for all ages, as well as a special showing of award-winning animated film version of The Dot, a co-production between Reynolds’ children’s media firm FableVision and Scholastic. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My New Agent Announcement

I am thrilled beyond belief to announce that I am now represented by Kathleen Rushall of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Honestly, I'm still pinching myself. I'm awake, right? If not, don't bother waking me.

At some point, I'll post the story of my query process. Until then, suffice it to say that I am honored to  have the opportunity to work with Kat and to be a part of the MLLA family.

In the meantime, you should totally follow Kathleen on twitter. She's a little slice of awesome. @KatRushall

Here's a picture of a fancy drink to celebrate! Seriously, anyone close enough to Massachusetts--I'd love to see you at the meet up on August 27 in Chelmsford. We can toast in person!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Intro to Children's Writing WORKSHOP

I'm excited to announce that I'll be delivering a noncredit workshop for Mt. Wachusett Community College at the Devens, Massachusetts campus on Tuesday, October 22, 2013.

Here's the course description.

INTRO TO CHILDREN’S WRITING | CRN 96369 Participants will learn the basic framework for writing children’s literature from a published author’s perspective. You will be given a comprehensive reading list, a hand-out of recommended websites and writers’ blogs, and an action plan for how to get started in the writing industry.

If you'd like to register, click here.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

On Querying (with links)

Querying can mess with your mind. It can crush your confidence. It can halt your productivity. And when you get a request or a "I love this" it can make the world sunshine and roses and rainbows. Like I said, it messes with you mind.

First of all...try really hard not to let it. Stand up straight. Shoulders back. Query with confidence.

Rejection is going to be a part of this. Know it. Own it. Your query is going to get rejected--at least once. Or if it doesn't, your book is going to get rejected by an editor as some point. No one makes it through it unscathed. Even J.K. Rowling had rejection. Realize that it's not you. Be okay with it. Or don't query.

Getting an agent isn't the end of the journey. It's really just the beginning. It doesn't mean a sale, it doesn't mean you've made it. It means you're one step higher on the ladder, and you're learning. Remember to not stop learning.

Sub it Club link on how to handle outstanding queries when you get an offer.
Post from Dahlia Adler about being back in the trenches AFTER separating from an agent

Agents are people, too. Which sounds dumb, I know. I got a very nice pass yesterday from someone who said my book was right up her alley. BUT, she's swamped with work and she's getting married in a month. Who knows, in another time and space, she might have loved my book and offered representation. In this life, it's "no thank you." This has NOTHING to do with me, and I can't do anything about it. So, say congratulations and move on.

1. Be polite
2. Be professional

If you can't do either of those things, you have no business querying or really interacting with anyone. This is a BUSINESS. You must know that going into this. You may be passionate about  your work--and you should be--but don't let your passion made you blind to professionalism.

Seriously, if you can't be professional, no one will want to work with you. And that means twitter, goodreads, your blog, and in person. This is a small industry, really.

Good luck out there!