|By 2012 debut author Lynne Kelly|
Kathi Appelt, Franny Billingsley, Kimberly Willis Holt, Jane Kurtz, Dian Curtis Regan...
To you, these names should represent some of the brightest, most respected talents in youth literature.
To me, they—among others—signify those established authors who made an effort to reach out to me as a young, beginning writer. They offered encouragement or advice or comfort or friendship—or all of the above.
And yes, I’m still starstruck by them all.
I’ve never been an active member of another arts community, so I don’t know whether this is unusual or the status quo. But I do know it had a powerful impact on my art, career and life for the better.
I can never repay them for their gifts, but I do what I can to pay it forward. And I hope I’d do that even if there were no pending debt. To those of you who, like me, have been traveling this path for a while, I strongly encourage you to do the same.
Here are 10 ways to nurture new voices:
1) Say hello and offer encouragement at your local SCBWI, RWA or other writer organization meetings.
2) Speak to and teach beginners about writing via private and/or public workshops and meetings.
3) Meet with newcomers, one-on-one, for a cup of iced tea and to answer their questions.
|By 2012 debut author Gwenda Bond|
4) Send an occasional encouraging card or email.
5) Celebrate when someone signs with an agent or lands his/her first contract. Send cards, flowers, share their announcement on facebook – whatever’s appropriate to the relationship.
6) Upon request, be willing to read in-production manuscripts and, if they’re a fit, offer blurbs.
7) Attend debut and new voice author launch parties and other promotional events.
8) Raise awareness of debut books via your blog, social networks, and perhaps even speaking engagements. (I often include cover art from various first-timers' new releases in my event presentations.)
9) Purchase and distribute debut books to your own book-loving contacts with a personal notes of recommendation.
10) Offer a sympathetic ear if expectations are dashed or must simply be readjusted from time to time.
The debut authors of 2011 and 2012 are still, in many ways, finding their feet. They new voices of 2013 are perched on the horizon. Let's think more about how we can show all of them some love.
What suggestions would you like to add?