Saturday, 31 May 2014

Huzzah for a New Publishing Company with a Difference...

Jan Carr & Lorraine Gregory
Daring to be different - isn't that the essence of 'indie'? Three Hares Books officially launched on Tuesday 20th May and on the last day of our Everything Indie month we're delighted to congratulate new publishers Helen Bryant (nee Corner) and Yasmin Standen on their new and innovative publishing company.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Illustration Diversity

Let's be frank, it's not easy these days to make a full-time living as an illustrator in the UK. Many agree that these are tough times for the creative industry, with diminishing markets, stagnation, fee erosion, less risk-taking from publishers - where is it all taking us? Is it still feasible to conceive a career in illustration? Well, yes it is, says our Illustration Features editor John Shelley. The answer may be diversification.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

'Standing on the shoulders of giants' - like Robert Paul Weston…

Abi Elphinstone  

There were two reasons I booked onto SCBWI’s Fantasy Writing for Young Readers workshop. Firstly, because the internationally award-winning author, Robert Paul Weston was leading it and secondly, because of the name of the location: The Theodore Bullfrog, in London. Possibly the most fantasy-appropriate name for a pub I’ve come across – sounds like a swash-buckling pirate or a devilish smuggler…

Network News: Practically Perfect Pitching in the North East

by Maureen Lynas
Sara O'Connor

I recently faced my technological fears and organised an online event for the SCBWI BI north east group with Sara O’Connor of Hot Key Books.
We authors gathered in the garden room in York library and after a few nail biting techno hiccups we succeeded in seeing and hearing Sara on the rather large whiteboard via a google hangout. Luckily she could also see and hear us.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

A Fount of Fonts

Catriona Tippin

With self-publishing in mind this month, here are some thoughts on fonts.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 27th May

Some of our SCBWI bloggers are so reliable that the same names crop up again and again on the Blog Break. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's nice this week to hear from some people who don't get featured as often.

Monday, 26 May 2014

The Stock Signing Lesson by Elizabeth Wein

Image used with kind permission of The Sirenic Codex
In the first flush of success that followed the publication of Code Name Verity, I was asked to speak at a conference away from home, and it was during this trip that I had my first “stock signing” experience. Now, I have to tell you, no one explained to me ahead of time the ritual of a “stock signing” tour, and I had no idea what to expect. I’d done a few bookstore signings when some of my previous books were released, so I expected something similar—shaking hands with the bookstore manager, the offer of a muffin and a cup of coffee, and then a handful of customers wandering past and showing interest in you just because you were there—not because they had any idea who you were, of course, but just because it’s kind of cool to meet an author who’s in a bookstore signing copies of her own book.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Stepping in and Stepping Up

Our lovely W&P Editor Jan is on a well-earned break, so I offered to step in for this week's editorial. 

First up, if you haven't already noticed our sparkly new banner, we have another amazingly talented featured illustrator Heather Dickinson, inspired as many of us are in our creative pursuits, by her children. You can find more of her beautiful illustrations at her website.

The Chalkface Challenge 2014

They're back! The love you or hate you sort of judges - though in our experience they're all lovely. They could be your harshest critic or your biggest fan. They're not the gatekeepers but if you want a future in this business, they're ultimately who you have to please.

Do you have the courage to find out if your work stands the test?

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Candy Gourlay - Winner of the Crystal Kite 2014!

Candy's First Crystal Kite
It's official: Candy Gourlay, you're the toast of SCBWI British Isles and SCBWI Ireland!
Candy is now a two times winner of SCBWI's Crystal Kite, her debut novel Tall Story won the prize on its inaugural outing in 2011. When Crystal Kite winners were announced on 12 May this year, her teen novel Shine came out on top - against a shortlist for the British Isles and Ireland Region that included multi-award winning authors Teri Terry (Fractured) and Elizabeth Wein (Rose Under Fire). Here is Candy with a few thoughts on being discovered:

Friday, 23 May 2014

Featured Illustrator: Heather Dickinson

This month Words & Pictures welcomes Manchester based Heather Dickinson as our Featured Illustrator. Heather first discovered SCBWI during her MA in Children's Illustration at the University of Central Lancashire. Membership of the society has been particularly supportive, including enabling her to find an agent. Here she explains her growing success. See more of her work in the Featured Illustrator Gallery

Thursday, 22 May 2014

SCBWI British Isles 2014 Writing Retreat

Dunford House

We're delighted to have Colleen Jones report for us on a recording-breaking year for the SCBWI writers' retreat at Dunford House

Over to Colleen…

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Somewhere between the rainbow... Part Two

Nicky Schmidt

One hopes that as more established authors self-publish both new and out of print work, and as debut authors self-publish having made the investment in professionals, the quality of, and attitude towards self-publishing will change. Agent Jenny Bent summed up the benefits of self-publishing, saying: “What I love about self-publishing is that it's opened up the industry so much, and there is no one hard and fast route to success anymore. Self-publishing means that there are now many different ways for an author to be successful.” And as both E L James and Amanda Hocking have shown, dreams of traditional publishing don't have to fade because an author decides to put their work out on their own. 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 20th May

What do video games, viruses and vampires have in common (well, apart from the obvious alliteration)?

They all make an appearance on the Blog Break this week!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Somewhere between the rainbow... Part One

Is there a “third way” of publishing? 

Nicky Schmidt 

Since writing a series of blog posts on self-publishing in 2011, I have followed the debate with interest. Three years later, self-publishing remains a hot topic - driven by a publishing industry in a state of flux and focused on shareholder profit. The reduction in royalties and advances and lower offerings on new books also factor into the debate. While it is true that publishers are still very much on the lookout for new talent, it is equally true to say that nurturing an author’s career is increasingly a thing of the past. Authors have a small window of opportunity in which to prove their financial worth and should they fail, they are cut adrift. 

Sunday, 18 May 2014

A Spark of Independence

Thank you for bearing with me last week. Pre Book Bound, my head like my fiction (see below) was all over the place.

Now half way through May, we've had some fabulous insights on Everything Indie. Please note our theme is aspirational; we haven't quite and don't expect to, achieve everything Indie by the 31st!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Books are now Bound!

Let glasses chink and bubbles of whatever your tipple may be, fizz…

It's many, many congratulations to Sara, Sara, Karen and Jasmine for a wonderfully successful first Book Bound Retreat!

Friday, 16 May 2014

An Illustrator's view of the London Book Fair

This week, Anna Violet takes an illustrator's eye view of the 2014 London Book Fair

I ventured to the London Book Fair as a lone illustrator on a first visit last month. I knew it was primarily a place for global rights negotiations in the publishing world, so what use could it be for an illustrator? I was curious to find out. 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Simply Super

Mike Brownlow 

Superhero Supply Co.
We were on a mission. We had our orders and knew we must carry them out to the letter. The Manhattan skyline glinted at us across the East River as we marched along the streets of Brooklyn. We were close. Just a few more blocks now. Then suddenly there it was – a modest little store, chirpily advertising its unusual wares to the world. 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 13th May

I was a little worried this week that no-one would have written blogs, due to the two different writing retreats over the weekend (one of which I was at). But luckily, our SCBWI bloggers haven't deserted the internet entirely!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Ask a Picture Book Editor

So, you’ve found your UNIVERSAL theme, but what can you do next to make your writing really stand out from the crowd? Our next three blogs will focus on how to hone and refine your craft.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Whys, Wherefores and What Nexts?

Contributor George Kirk talks about her Slush Pile Challenge Prize including her project Manfred.

I'm Book Bound

Can't helping thinking of being egg bound every time I refer to the Book Bound Weekend. It's where I am at the moment and hopefully I am. Book not egg…

So as I'm writing it's actually Thursday and I should be packing, printing, preparing and doing everything that the last Book Bound Post told me to do. RIGHT NOW. Here are a few ideas:

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Congratulations Teri for an amazing 11 awards!

This week, crack open the champers and make some noise for Teri Terry who’s just launched the final book in the Slated trilogy, Shattered. Teri blogged about the launch party here, where she says: “I've gone from completely-terrified-debut-author-clutching-first-book-full-of-hope, to slightly-less-terrified-third-time-author-clutching-last-of-trilogy.” 

Friday, 9 May 2014

Making a Picture Book Dummy

Tools for making a dummy
As publishers lean more and more towards picture books both written and illustrated by artists, creating a presentable dummy to show illustrations and text together is an important skill for illustrators today. This week Margaret Sturton explains one method.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Swimming Against the Tide - an Interview with Ali Fraser, Editor of Stew Magazine

As part of Words & Pictures' Everything Indie month, Nick Cross chats with Ali Fraser, the editor of Stew Magazine - a new bimonthly independent publication for children aged 8-12.

In an in-depth interview, they discuss the creative and commercial challenges of launching a print magazine without the support of a corporate publishing team or a fat marketing budget.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Ten-Minute Blog Break - 6th May

As I write this, it's Bank Holiday Monday, the sun is shining, and yet here I am inside, ironing shirts for the week ahead while simultaneously typing on a laptop (no, really I am). Oh, how we must suffer for our art!

Monday, 5 May 2014

State of Independence

A Words & Pictures Inspiration piece

First off, apologies to all those who now have the Donna Summer hit wriggling into their ears.

The roots of independence as a word also relate to ‘pendant’ – there’s a sense of ‘not hanging onto something’. Our development from baby to child to adult often means letting go. We release our grip on our parents’ fingers to stand by ourselves, we stop clutching the side of the pool to take our first swimming strokes.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Welcome to May!

Welcome to May and as it is that day today I'm going to say it: May the fourth be with you - oh yes!
And we have a new monthly theme - Everything Indie (link box to follow soon)

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Zuppardi’s cooking up a storm!

Words and Pictures is thrilled to welcome back Sam Zuppardi to the celebrations page! Sam, the illustrator of the middle grade series ‘The Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe' and the picture book, 'The Nowhere Box,' is back with the second book in Gordon McAlpine’s trilogy and a new and interesting illustrated venture.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Photoshop Brushes Part two - Let’s make our own.

In the concluding part of his coverage of Photoshop tools (read Part 1 here), Paul Morton shows how illustrators can create their very own unique brushes.