Monday, August 18, 2008

2009 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market

The 21rst Annual Edition of the Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market edited by Alice Pope (Writer's Digest, 2009) is now available.

The 2009 edition includes more than "700 listings for book publishers, magazines, agents, art reps, and more" as well as "exclusive interviews with award winning authors and publishing professionals."

If you're a beginner, this is a great resource for building your savvy! As an author, I often receive queries from new writers looking for information about youth publishing. In many cases, the answer is already in the CWIM. And remember, it's important to do your homework before you begin actively networking (preferably before your first conference).

If you're an established pro, it's wise to keep up with the market. Do you hear "writing (or illustrating) as a business" and want to run the other way? The CWIM is a user-friendly, non-intimidating source for the ever-evolving industry that connects your art to young readers and supports your livelihood.

Here's just a sample of the articles: "Six Reasons to Quit Writing (and One Reason You Shouldn't)" by Donna Gephart (author interview); "What's In? What's Out? An Expert Panel Talks Trends" by Darcy Pattison (author interview); "A Long-time Editor Talks Picture Books" by Allyn Johnston; "Great Opening Lines in Picture Books" by Lisa Wheeler (author interview); "Getting Rid of the Dull Stuff" by Kathleen Duey (author interview); "Creating Memorable Characters" by Cecil Castellucci (author interview); "My Journey Into Young Chapter Books" by Lynn E. Hazen (author interview); "YA Fiction: A Matter of Perspective" by Andrew Karre (editor interview); "Children's Graphic Novels: Formatting and Submitting Proposals" by Mac McCool; "Is An Agent Essential? Agents and Editors Weigh In" by Alma Fullerton; and "Sherman Alexie: Elevating--and Shaking Up--YA" by Kelly Milner Halls (author interview).

You'll also find insider reports from folks like Scott Westerfeld (author interview), Katherine Applegate; Marissa Doyle; Michelle Meadows (author interview), Jay Asher (author interview), and more.

More personally, the articles include "Making Your Web Site Educator-Friendly" by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Peek: "Young readers may be your ultimate target audience, but educators--teachers, university professors, and school librarians--are on the forefront of efforts to connect books and kids. What's more, they're using the Internet more than ever to help them make a purchasing decision."

The article includes insights from pros like: publicists Vicki Palmquist and Susan Raab (publicist interview); librarian Sharron L. McElmeel;, author-librarians Toni Buzzeo (author interview), Leda Schubert (author interview), and Shutta Crum (author interview); Candlewick educational marketing supervisor Anne Irza-Leggat; authors Tanya Lee Stone (author interview), Gail Giles (author interview), Fred Bortz, Rebecca Stead, and Katie Davis (author interview); and author-poets Hope Vestergaard (author interview) and Tracie Vaughn Zimmer (author interview).

My key subtopics are the importance of making your site educator-friendly, how to go about it, and what to include (with some innovative suggestions).

Sidebars discuss how to "Market Yourself as a Speaker" and feature a "Q & A with a Web Designer" (Lisa Firke of Hit Those Keys).

That said, I also made sure to emphasize core content because, ironically, that's where the need is highest. Many of us are doing better with the "bells and whistles" than the basics.

For example, at Cynsations, I do my best to include the following key information (with support links) for books: title; author; illustrator; publisher; year of publication. I'm also interested in cover art that's bigger than a thumbnail.

I make an effort to include links from the title to either a dedicated book-information page on the author's/illustrator's official site or on the publisher's official site. I also try to include links to the official creator (author and/or illustrator) sites.

As an exercise, those of you who're authors/illustrators may want to start at Google or another major search engine and--pretending you don't already know it--try to fill in that list of key information for one of your books.

As an example, I'll pick on my husband and sometimes co-author Greg Leitich Smith.

Let's say an interviewee mentions that his debut novel Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo is among their favorites. The interviewee doesn't mention the author's name, so I do a search using the title. (Many people looking for information on a book know either the title or author but not both). Using Google, the first page to pop up features only Greg's cover art.

But good news! Now, I know what the book looks like, who the author is, and I'm on his official site. So I click "Books" in the sidebar of that page.

This leads me to a page featuring all three of his titles. Ninjas, his first book, is at the top, and that listing includes publication information (Little Brown, 2003, 2005)(Recorded Books, 2004), a nice array of awards and honors, and a link on the title. I click that link.

There I find a dedicated page that includes the cover art, publisher description, publication information, awards and honors, blurb, and review quotes. In terms of basic information, I have everything I need (and more!) to help raise awareness of the book that my interviewee recommended.

If it were a picture book, I'd also hope for the illustrator's name and a link to the illustrator's site, if available. But it's not, and in any case, three clicks for all that information isn't bad. Often, it takes eight or more, plus an image search, and pouring through the publisher's site (once I figure out which publisher it is).

How easy is it to find basic information online for the titles you care about most? If it's harder than you thought, don't panic! But do consider augmenting your listings and making your Web resources easier and quicker to use.

And pick up a copy of the 2009 CWIM--it's jam-packed with even more useful information!

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