Writing and Illustrating for Kids ’09

Never give up — not even after more than 300 rejections. That was the message speaker Diane Z. Shore, the author of six picture books, gave to about 140 writers and illustrators who gathered at Writing and Illustrating for Kids ’09. Shore said she finally broke into the children’s market after working harder on her writing than on selling. She urged writers to read books on writing, to take classes, and to share writing with others for informal critique. Shore peppered her talk with her trademark humor, including a commercial segment for an editor voodoo doll.

In addition to Shore, who also led four workshops, conferees had opportunities to take workshops with three acquiring editors, an agent, an art director, a creativity coach, and five writers working in a variety of genres. I enjoyed presenting a talk titled “Photographs + Stories = Winning Nonfiction.”

Lynne Polvino, an editor at Clarion, said she is very interested in getting young adult novels. She described the market for picture books as “challenging” and said a PB manuscript would have to be really special in order to make it through acquisitions. Two books she’s excited about are: Two at the Zoo by Danna Smith and When It’s Six O’Clock in San Francisco by Cynthia Jaynes Omololu.

I’ll write more about the conference in the coming days.

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