Times Are Changing
Times are changing. Authors, hop aboard the technology train before you get left behind!
This past weekend I attended the New England SCBWI Conference. The theme was “Moments of Change.” Online presence and author branding were hot topics. Author websites, blogs, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter are ways of getting your name known. You don’t have to do it all, but you must do something. Keynote speakers were Cynthia Leitich Smith, Marla Frazee, and Allyn Johnston. It was a fantastic weekend!
First up on Saturday morning was Cynthia Leitich Smith. She has it all. She does it all. She’s the author of picture books, a chapter book, a ‘tween novel, and YA Gothic fantasy books. She has a website. She blogs. She’s on MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. Best of all, her YA novel, Eternal, debuted at #5 on the New York Times Bestseller List. Wow!
Cynthia Leitich Smith is a funny, down-to-earth person. She is also extremely talented. Her presentation was entertaining and filled with words of inspiration. We learned more about Cynthia during an interview conducted by Melissa Stewart on Sunday morning.
From an early age, Cynthia was a reader. She used to bring home stacks of books from the library. She recognized the “poetry and grace” of children’s literature and learned to love it. When Cynthia made the decision to become author, she did all the write things. She took the time to hone her craft. She’s a person that sets goals and achieves goals through work and determination. Her advice to authors is “write fierce and be brave.”
On Saturday afternoon, Marla Frazee, author-illustrator and Caldecott Honor Award honoree, and Allyn Johnston, VP & Publisher of Beach Lane Books. did a wonderful presentation about picture book endings. It was the same presentation they gave at the Iowa SCBWI Conference I attended, but it was well-worth hearing again. These two talented people make one great team!
In their presentation, Marla and Allyn used text and illustrations to demonstrate how to create a perfect ending to a picture book. Allyn said endings should have a strong emotional impact – even if it’s a funny book. Marla said, “Endings should disarm us.”
Both agree pacing of text and illustrations is a vital part of making a book memorable. Allyn added that an author should focus on choosing the right words because a picture book is a read aloud art form. To keep readers coming back, it’s essential to have a deep, emotional chord at the end of a book.
Stay tuned for part two on Friday: School Visits Starring Cynthia Lord and Toni Buzzeo