Author Topic: Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book: Online Course  (Read 236 times)

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Offline HaroldU

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Eileen Robinson and I of Kid's Book Revisions are putting on this 6-session class every Wednesday starting April 29, live at 8 PM Eastern time, with the recording available the next day. Cost: $180 for early bird registrations (ends March 31), with a special offer of a further $20 off through midnight on the 29th...

Why take this class? Picture books are short and simple, written for young children, so they must be easy to write--or so we hear from people who have never attempted one. Picture book writers know that's not true, but their length does make it more practical to revise them, perhaps multiple times, and even to completely re-think or "re-imagine" them, than when working with longer forms.

That's what we aim to help you do in this webinar, as we give you techniques to use during the class and for years afterwards. As independent editors, and in-house children's book editors in New York before that, both of us have years of experience in working with writers on picture books. Based on our "Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book" in-person workshop, this webinar will teach you techniques to help you find problems with your manuscript, reshape it, and then polish it up before you send it out.

There's more information and a link to the registration page at the Kid's Book Revisions site.

If you saw the discussion about our free webinar, The Unwritten, we set that up as a preview to this course, so if you're interested and want to see what we do or how the webinar format works, check that one out.

I hope some of you will be able to join us! Please feel free to post any questions or comments and I'll address them here.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2015, 03:27 PM by HaroldU »
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

Offline koozoo

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Re: Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book: Online Course
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2015, 07:19 PM »
I really enjoyed the webinar (I saw the recorded version, not live). It came with extremely useful handouts that I can see using with not just published books but definitely my own manuscripts. Thanks! I am planning on enrolling in the full 6 session course.

The webinar also got me thinking....The trend to PBs with fewer and fewer words, while not entirely a bad thing, obviously makes it harder for the writer to communicate their vision to the illustrator. The melding of words & art is so crucial. It is my understanding from some writers that illustrators, chosen by publishers, rarely ever have contact with the writers until after the book is in final form (if even then).

My question (maybe this will be answered in the course, but I thought to ask it here): Do publishers see a future trend of having the writers and illustrators work together more closely, much like the collaborations seen in books by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen? Could publishers even help arrange such collaborations? Or will the trend continue as it currently appears towards publishers seeking individuals who are both authors & illustrators?

Offline HaroldU

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Re: Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book: Online Course
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2015, 07:45 PM »
Good questions! FWIW I'm not convinced there is a trend towards ever-shorter PBs. The main example text we used in the webinar was The Snowy Day, published more than 50 years ago, which at 300 words and change is right in line with the word count that we are told is the "shorter" word count of today!

In fact picture books have a big range. There has been some erosion at the very top end--the picture story books--due to parents pushing their kids out of picture books and into early readers and chapter books as fast as they can (IMO).

It has long been a practice to insulate illustrators from the authors. I can tell you horror stories of what can happen when publishers don't. The practice evolved early in order to let the illustrator work without pressure from the authors. Authors' experience is with words, and though they often have a vision of how they want "their" book to look, it can be a more limited and less creative one than what illustrators can develop. Time and time again, I've heard from published authors how pleased they were to see how a picture book turned out--that it was better than what they had imagined.

Collaborations like the one you mention DO happen, and I think are not a new thing. I remember when I worked at Orchard 25 years or so ago, Peter Catalanotto did a number of picture books in collaboration with George Ella Lyon. But these are very much the exception and I don't expect they will increase.

As for more books by author-illustrators, I know that that's widely accepted as something that's happening now, and it's my impression that the Big 5 or 6 publishers DO tend to go for author-illustrators for their picture books, but I don't think anyone has dug into the numbers. If you compared catalogs from today with 10, 20, 30, etc. years ago, what would you see? I don't know.

(I'm answering here because we aren't going to talk much about the market, except in the final session. We think that it's crucial to make your manuscript be the best it can be...)
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

Offline koozoo

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Re: Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book: Online Course
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2015, 07:51 PM »
Thank you, Harold, for your thoughtful response. This helps a lot.

Now I can worry less about market trends & better focus on helping my manuscripts sing.

Marianne

Offline HaroldU

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Re: Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book: Online Course
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2015, 05:50 AM »
That's the right approach! If you set out to write "for the market," you won't produce your best work.
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

Offline Sheila

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Re: Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book: Online Course
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2015, 09:05 AM »
Hello,

I'm thinking about taking this six-week class, but I haven't gotten the recording yet of The Unwritten and am wondering how the class works. Do the students submit work on-line to be critiqued and discussed? Are the students expected to be working on one  particular picture book manuscript the whole time? I have Parkinson's and typing can be difficult for me at unpredictable times. So I'm trying to decide if something like this would be helpful or if the pressure would make it too stressful. I have several picture book manuscripts that I've been working on and two that I wrote and illustrated have been published by MeeGenius.

Thanks!
Sheila Welch,  author/illustrator. Don't Call Me Marda, Waiting to Forget, Something in the Air, The Shadowed Unicorn, Little Prince Know-It-All

Offline HaroldU

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Re: Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book: Online Course
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2015, 09:32 AM »
Hi Sheila,

Hello,
I'm thinking about taking this six-week class, but I haven't gotten the recording yet of The Unwritten and am wondering how the class works.

First of all, you should check your spam filter. The email with instructions and links to access it went out on Thursday. The message is from aaron (at) delve writing dot com.

Quote
Do the students submit work on-line to be critiqued and discussed? Are the students expected to be working on one  particular picture book manuscript the whole time?

You'll get a good sense of what to expect if you watch "The Unwritten" but briefly, the way it works is that we present information and techniques. There is a chat room feature you can use if you want to interact or ask questions, but you can just watch. We do assign "homework" to allow you to try out the techniques presented in each class, but it is entirely optional. We also offer students a critique option--a one-on-one critique with one of us--for an additional fee.

So you can use the course in a number of different ways. You can just watch, and you'll have the handouts and the recording to come back to later when you want to use a technique or tool. You can work on one manuscript the whole time. Or you can apply what we present to various manuscripts, as you realize a particular technique would help with one of them.

Quote
I have Parkinson's and typing can be difficult for me at unpredictable times. So I'm trying to decide if something like this would be helpful or if the pressure would make it too stressful. I have several picture book manuscripts that I've been working on and two that I wrote and illustrated have been published by MeeGenius.

I think this course would be a good match for you. As I said, you can use it as you like. If you miss a session for any reason, you can watch it later. You can type as much or as little as you like in the chat room, do as much or as little homework as you like. And we made a decision early on to NOT offer pitching opportunities or manuscript submission promises, because although those make a course like this more tempting, they also put more pressure on the students. We want this to be a learning opportunity and as free of stress as possible.

I hope that helps. There is more information about the course at Kid's Book Revisions via the link in the first post, and of course I'm happy to answer more questions here as well.
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

Offline Sheila

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Re: Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book: Online Course
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2015, 12:28 PM »
Hi Harold,

Thank you for your detailed response. I've now had a  chance to watch The Unwritten and have a better idea of what you'll be offering. Now I just need to decide if  this is the best time to take the course. Thanks for your PM also, Harold.




« Last Edit: March 22, 2015, 01:34 PM by Sheila »
Sheila Welch,  author/illustrator. Don't Call Me Marda, Waiting to Forget, Something in the Air, The Shadowed Unicorn, Little Prince Know-It-All

Offline HaroldU

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Re: Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book: Online Course
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2015, 12:32 PM »
You're welcome! I hope it works out for you.
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

Offline HaroldU

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Re: Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book: Online Course
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2015, 03:29 PM »
I've updated my original post to say that our added $20 discount has been extended to a week from today--it was supposed to just run though this weekend, but a typo in the message we sent out with the recording for "The Unwritten" gives the end date as the 29th, so we are honoring that and extending the offer until then.
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

Offline Sheila

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Re: Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book: Online Course
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2015, 05:02 PM »
Hi!

I just paid for the course. Thanks!
Sheila Welch,  author/illustrator. Don't Call Me Marda, Waiting to Forget, Something in the Air, The Shadowed Unicorn, Little Prince Know-It-All

Offline koozoo

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Re: Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book: Online Course
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2015, 05:11 PM »
Me too, Sheila! See you then! :dancer

Offline HaroldU

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Re: Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book: Online Course
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2015, 05:46 PM »
Welcome, Sheila and Marianne! Glad that you are joining us!
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown