Somehow I’ve neglected to post about Larry Gets Lost in Philadelphia! (Now available) Let’s remedy that immediately.
Phillie is still using old fashioned metal tokens on public transport. On the title page I wanted to capture that as well as acknowledge the iconic L Train. A clumsily cribbing of M. Sasek who did it better in This Is London.
The great cheese steak showdown: Pat’s vs. Geno’s. Much like the Chicago hotdog (Larry Gets Lost in Chicago) or the New York pizza (Larry Gets Lost in New York City), my books require exhaustive research into the local cuisine.
The Barnes Foundation and Love Park.
Though some might wish otherwise, the Philadelphia Art Museum and Rocky Balboa will be forever linked.
My nephew, the original model for Pete, now 10 years old and at Little League practice. His blonde hair still sticks out under his cap.
Larry is ready for his closeup. Here’s his very first book trailer. My friend Ava Schwartz provided the voice talent and Rightchuss Noize did the music and sound effects. Thanks everybody!
I did a half hour interview with Suzanne Lieurance on Book Bites for Kids on Blogtalkradio. Lots of inside information for aspiring authors and stories about the making of Larry Gets Lost in Prehistoric Times and the creation of the Larry series.
Here’s a sneak peek at Portland ABC. It’s much more stylized than previous Larry books. I tried to evoke the feeling of old two color printing. Sort of. On some pages I used two colors, some three, some four. I started out with rules then threw them all out the window.
Check out my latest guest blog on the creation of Larry Gets Lost at the Museum on the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ website.
Frequently I’m asked for advice about breaking into children’s literature. It’s frustrating because I have very little to offer. I kind of lucked out at a small publisher, no agent, and the series grew from there. To this day I have no means of getting inside the big publishers –including Random House which distributes my books. But I finally have a great piece of advice I want to share.
If this were a late night infomercial, I would say “learn what they don’t want you to know!” I’ve been a children’s book author for 7 years, an illustrator a little longer, and I attended my first writer’s conference last weekend (SCBWI Western Washington’s 22nd Annual Writing & Illustrating for Children Conference). If I had only known the real deal about writer’s conferences –the thing they won’t tell you– I would have gone YEARS ago. If you’re an aspiring writer, go to the very next writer’s conference you can. Why? Because it’s a racket.
You know all those art directors, editors, and agents that are speaking at the conference? Those people whose names you’ve gleaned from the fine print of the Writer’s Market, whose submission guidelines generally include the dreaded phrase “no unsolicited submissions?” Every unpublished author knows that that means you need an agent. But have you ever tried to get an agent? I have. And even after selling over 100,000 books I still can’t get one. What hope is there for an unpublished author? I submitted a book to Chronicle Books’ slush pile about 4 years ago. Still waiting to hear back.
Here’s what I didn’t know about writer’s conferences. When you pay your admission fee and get your badge and program, take a look inside the program. Along with the bios of the speakers you’re dying to get an audience with is exclusive contact information. Within 6 months of the conference anyone who speaks there agrees to review an unsolicited submission from anyone who attends the conference. That’s the racket. Quid pro quo. The conference pays editors, agents, and art directors an attractive fee to speak at a conference and in exchange they agree to take a look at whatever horrible book idea you want to show them.
So would you rather spend months vainly searching for an agent or pony up a couple hundred bucks and get direct access?
Why don’t they advertise this? I can only assume they consider it a bit grubby for the rarefied world of literature. I’m a member of the SCBWI and I hope they’re not mad about me blowing their cover. I also strongly encourage anyone considering a career in children’s literature to join SCBWI.