Thursday, July 14, 2011

Headpottering On Kids Lit...

Yesterday at 1pm NZ time Kidlitchat had their two year anniversary. 
Kidlitchat is a real time Twitter conversation with children’s writers that happens each week. The moderators Greg Pincus and Bonnie Adamson set the topic in advance. You log on to Twitter and type #kidlitchat into search and join in the conversation. 
Yesterday the topic was, Why do you write kidlit?  As ever there were heaps of wonderful comments but these four beautifully encapsulated why I love writing and reading Children’s Literature.

I write because my brain is perpetually 12 -Raina Telgemeier

I write for the kid I was - Laurel Snyder

There’s nothing on earth more difficult to write or more strenuous- It’s magnificent -Kelly Barnhill

Why Kidlit?-because I’ve always loved reading it (then and now) because I want to make kids laugh/cry/wonder – Debbie Ohi

In 1998 I read a comment on an international authors thread about how a new book just out was getting a wonderful word of mouth reception...(there was no marketing being done.) I asked John at The Children’s Bookshop if he had heard of ‘the philosophers stone’ book and he sold me his last copy...he had bought just a few.  This book, and the six that came after it, transformed the publishing world but most of all it transported children to a magical reading place. 

I read the book in a sitting...then started it with my class. Within a week mothers were coming to me to ask where they could buy the book...especially mothers with boys. By the time I was half way through the book (and we read every day) half the class had their own copies and were reading along with me. The book caused a phenomenon in the playground with other teachers queuing up to grab my copy.

There have been many comments about how the series needed better editing or better language or was too formulaic...but nothing can take away the fact that millions of kids were turned onto reading and a 700 page book set in this magical world was too short in their opinion. I watched kids reading ability sky rocket and I am forever grateful to Joanne Rowling for the priceless gift she gave children...literacy.

So it is with a heavy heart that I prepare to go and see the last Harry Potter film. (The end of an era.) It has been a much discussed and analysed series in this house with my teen growing up with the books and my middle child (not a reader) finally discovering the book series last year and going from the bottom reading group to the top one in six months. I know that I will cry probably before the film starts...because I can see the faces of all the kids I read those books too...looking up at me, their eyes wide, hanging on every word.

And to give that gift to children, with my own words, would be the best gift I could ever that’s why I write kidslit.

In the link list today Joe Wikert (publisher) talks about J K Rowlings ground breaking decision to make her ebooks DRM free. It is a thoughtful article on where he thinks publishing should go.

Rachelle Gardner, agent extraordinaire, has put together a one stop shop on publishing information. She is always an insightful read and she doesn’t sugar coat, so it is top information.   

Laura Pauling has done the same for agents who are becoming publishers. This topic is still being discussed and debated so if you are trying to get up to speed on this very important issue have a look at Laura’s list.

Dan Elish has written a guest post on the GLA Blog that is a must bookmark. 5 tips to making a cool YouTube video to promote your book. This is a great how to do it and make it go viral.

Sort of linked but way out there...there is a new video blog in town. Ernesto Verdugo has started a videocast about links to make your website go zing...Just take a look at the topics covered in episode one! (on his overview transcript.)

In the craft section

Jenny Hanson talks about Margie Lawson and her ten best ever writing tips...this is another post to book mark. Margie Lawson is a much sought after master class teacher.

Over on Craicerplus I have links to articles on...

The New Midlist –Self Publishing...take some time to read this article.

To finish, two thought provoking articles...

Bob Mayer, as ever, is pushing writers to keep their options open and challenging publishers to start moving with the times. In this great article he looks at the recent Thriller Conference he attended and how attitudes might be changing towards self publishing.

Faith Hunter overheard the three most stupid things to come out of a wannabe authors mouth in a pitch session. She examines why these utterances will ensure that the work will never be looked at...Thank God my readers are not this dumb!

I’m off to wallow in nostalgia...


Pic is the wizard herself...
N.B. Headpottering is a term my university friends came up to describe a deep thinking session....25 years ago. (gulp)


Melinda Szymanik said...

Before the movie even started I was thinking 'I want to see it again' and when I walked out I felt bummed that that was the last film. I'm off to read 'White Cat' again before I start the second of the trilogy 'Red Glove'. You gotta have hope

Maureen said...

Hi Melinda,
Apparently the next big phenomenon book-to-movie wise will be City Of Bones by Cassandra Clare (brilliant series of books and close friend og Holly Black) and the lead character for that has just been announced Jamie Campbell Bower (who played Gellert Grindlewald and has just got engaged to Bonnie Wright)...aaah gossip....

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