Monday, 29 February 2016

The Buzz: Self-Publishing for Children's Authors

How to succeed at self-publishing without really trying

The answer? Easy. You can’t. Not without trying, I mean. 

When I tell people my books are self-published, reactions are mostly positive. Occasionally, though, I get a quizzical look, and I know why. 

Friday, 26 February 2016

What does SCBWI BI do for illustrators? Two good examples!

Illustrators, writers, families - young and old - here's something different to do on Mothers' Day, Sunday March 6 from 2- 5 pm. Come and party at North London's vibrant bookshop, Pickled Pepper Books in Crouch End!  Buy a print for your child's bedroom and it will help another child thanks to Action for Kids. There'll be live drawing, book signings by some of the artist/authors and plenty of space to browse, chat, drink and nibble.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

How Book Bound Could Help You Reach Publication

Looking for an excellent writing retreat in stunning surroundings? Want the chance to pitch to agents within a small group? Want to learn from people working in the publishing industry? Then look no further - Book Bound might be just what you are looking for.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Opening Lines with Amber Caravéo from Skylark Literary


What grabs the reader's attention? What immediately draws you in and makes you want to read on? 

We welcome Amber Caravéo from Skylark Literary, who kindly joins us to offer feedback on the opening lines submitted by our brave SCBWIs. 

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Alphabet Soup - Tim Collins' Long-Distance Collaboration

Alphabet Soup logo by Paul Morton
Nick Cross writes:
I'm pleased to introduce our first guest blog on Alphabet Soup.

Tim Collins is one of the most prolific children's authors I know, with an output that includes such titles as the Diary of a Wimpy Vampire series and Dorkius Maximus, as well as many other adult non-fiction and packaged fiction books. Although lots of Tim's books are highly illustrated, he's never met his regular illustrator, something I asked him to tell us all about...

Monday, 22 February 2016

Ask a Picture Book Editor

Have You Met This CHARACTER Before?

Have you noticed how really great picture book characters practically leap off the page, pull up a chair and sit down to join you for tea? Their mannerisms, their catch-phrases, their joie-de-vivre – even their problems are so recognizable that you feel like they are old friends right from the very first page of the book.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Small Big Celebrations from the Indie's Harrison Davies and B B Taylor

When searching for that magical publishing deal or agent, you can forget about the successes the Indie authors are making. Today, Harrison Davies explains how he went from Indie to publisher. And B B Taylor explains how she got Waterstones to stock her self published book on their website and in their Birmingham store.

Friday, 19 February 2016

The Perfect Work Day, by Jane Heinrichs


Jane Heinrichs is a Canadian born illustrator based in London.
Twitter: @janeheinrichs

Jane is posting a drawing a day on Instagram @janeheinrichs

Thursday, 18 February 2016

How to Organise Your Book Launch

Worrying about organising your debut book launch? Worry no more. Debut author, Kathryn Evans gives tips on how to make it perfect.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Alphabet Soup Interview with Tommy Donbavand

Alphabet Soup logo by Paul Morton
Nick Cross writes:
Are you ready for the man with the coolest job in comics? Tommy Donbavand has written a ton of children’s books over the last ten years, including the massively popular Scream Street series (which has also recently been adapted as a CBBC TV show). But I’m here to talk to him today about his excellent sideline working for the Beano. While Tommy has written strips for Billy Whizz, Calamity James, and Gnasher and Gnipper, it’s the troublesome students of Class 2B who most interest me. Yes, please welcome the writer of The Bash Street Kids!

Monday, 15 February 2016

The President and the Toymakers

Seated in Sherborne Abbey by K. M. Lockwood
There was no way I would do a Day-after-St.Valentine's-Day post - so I had a hunt round for anniversaries for 15th February. I chanced on this one:

1903  1st Teddy Bear introduced in America, made by Morris & Rose Michtom

Few creations have been so beloved by children (and adults) so this had to be looked into.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Mazel Tov Meira Drazin!

Honey and Me by Meira Drazin is the winner of the 2016 Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award, presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries. The Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award is given each year to an unpublished fiction manuscript for readers aged 8 to 13 that appeals to readers of all backgrounds while depicting authentic aspects of Jewish life.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Plot and structure are the way to your reader’s heart By Sheila M. Averbuch

Mastering plot and structure can take a lifetime, so there's no time like the present to get to grips with these story elements. SCBWI Southeast Scotland gave writers the chance to do just that in Edinburgh Central Library on 6 February. 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Writers' Minds - Elizabeth Wein

Writers' Minds image: Whizzy Barr

Ever wondered what makes a writer tick? What cogs of creativity whirr to bring stories to life? We take a peek into the minds behind the craft and probe for creative rituals, routines and inspiration hunting.


Award winning author and longstanding super-SCBWI, Elizabeth Wein joins me this month for Writers’ Minds. Her latest novel, Black Dove, White Raven is shortlisted for the 2016 Scottish Children's Book Award - the winner will be announced at an awards event in Glasgow on 2 March 2016. The full shortlist announcement can be found here

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Alphabet Soup Interview with Jo Cotterill and Cathy Brett

Alphabet Soup logo by Paul Morton
Nick Cross writes:
I’m joined by a very special double act today – Jo Cotterill and Cathy Brett.

Jo and Cathy are both published children’s authors in their own right, but like Marvel’s Avengers they’ve come together to form a writer/illustrator super team!

Monday, 8 February 2016

Contest and Open Agents Roundup for February 2016

Is your children's book manuscript ready to send off? Are you sure? Then here you go: a list of competitions and agents who are open to submissions RIGHT NOW.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

A tribute to Gill Hutchison

Gill was a member of SCBWI Central North for ten years and for seven of those years, she shared the co-ordination duties. For all of those years she was my friend. 

Friday, 5 February 2016

Featured Illustrator - Lorna Murphy

Our Featured Illustrator this month is Lorna Murphy. After studying children's illustration as a mature student, Lorna graduated with an MA from Anglia Ruskin University and now devotes her time working from her studio in Suffolk on projects for all age groups. See more of her work in the Featured Illustrator Gallery.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Salmon Swimming in the Egmont River by Sarah Broadley - final part

Here is the third and final part of Sarah Broadley's account of her visit behind the scenes at publishing house, Egmont.

 Today we hear from marketing and PR, sales and export as well as rights. 

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The Debut Author Series: Kathryn Evans

Kathryn Evans
More of Me

The Learning Curve - Insights from Debut Authors 

by Nicky Schmidt 

Of all the Debut Author Interviews I’ve done for Words & Pictures, this is one of the most special - as I get to interview one of my long-time critique partners and dear friend, Kathryn Evans. 

As every Debut Interview starts... 

For many the road to publication is long and fraught. For Kathy this has indeed been a long and challenging road, but it is a road she has walked with singular grace, humour, and tremendous kindness and generosity to others, especially her fellow writers and pals at SCBWI. I have shared Kathy’s joy at hearing the news of her deal, squealed with excitement at a very early sneak preview of the cover of More of Me, and listened to her worries about edits. It was with great delight that I was able to ask Kathy to participate in the Debut Author Series. Here’s her story…

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Welcome to Alphabet Soup

Logo by Paul Morton
Nick Cross writes:
When I took the decision at the end of last year to stop writing the Ten-Minute Blog Break, the obvious question was “What next?” The answer turned out to be the brand new weekly feature you’re reading right now, which glories in the name Alphabet Soup. But what (apart from a tasty and educational foodstuff) is Alphabet Soup? Well, read on and you’ll find out!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Trying Scrivener

How do you organize your writing? Do you write with a pen or pencil, in a notebook, or on an old-fashioned typewriter, for the feeling of it? Manuscripts have been written on papyrus and parchment, silk, clay, and palm leaves, on paper and telephones, on rice grains and on air-sickness bags. But if like most of us you use a computer for your writing, you might have noticed that quite a few of your writing friends are enthusiastic about a program called Scrivener. It’s compatible with PCs and Mac and costs about $45 (£32); you can download and try it for free for thirty days (and save all your work if you decide not to buy).

But what's all the fuss about?