Thursday, March 8, 2018

Should an author come to your school for free?

This was just posted today by author, Martha Brockenbrough:  (click on through to find out more about her)

Please stop asking us to work for free. Please stop saying, “It’s for the kids.” 

If you work at a library or a school, every professional who walks through those doors is paid. You wouldn’t call a plumber and say, “Unclogging this toilet is for the kids.” It is, of course. So are the lightbulbs. The napkins. And so on.

Most writers don’t make a living wage. Most have day jobs. Many supplement their income with school visits and the like. We don’t have paid leave from our jobs. The time we spend on this comes directly from the time we have to create. 

(for example - I worked 30 years as a children's librarian in a public library system and took vacation time to research and write my books and also spent more of my allotted vacation time to do school visits. I very seldom actually took vacation.  I was literally working two jobs.)

So when you are manipulating people’s emotions to get this for free, you are taking time from someone who already makes less than minimum wage. You are also taking opportunities from someone struggling to get by. 

It’s crappy that schools and libraries are underfunded. Let’s not further undermine the professionalism of people writing and illustrating for them.

Oh, and writers: You don’t have to say yes to these gigs. People who aren’t paying you also do not value your time and are likely to be ill-prepared to make the most of this—something I say from unfortunate personal experience.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Sharon Darrow - Worlds within Words

One of my favorite faculty members at Vermont College of Fine Arts in the Writing for Children and Young Adults department, Sharon Darrow, has published a book of her lectures.

When I offered a picture book manuscript in a workshop at VCFA run by her, she told me that it read more like the outline of a middle grade novel than a picture book, which changed my whole view of it.  And I spent the next few semesters enlarging it and building the world where those characters lived.

So, if you'd like to get a taste of the kinds of things we learn in this graduate course about writing, I highly recommend her book, Worlds within Words, Writing and the Writing Life. 

You can read a smidgen of it here on the Cynsations blog

Friday, February 16, 2018

Dr. Seuss Trees

One of the first things I noticed when I moved to San Diego (as I nearly ran off the road noticing them) were the trees that looked like Dr. Seuss trees as illustrated in his books.

It was a few years later that I discovered just why trees here looked like those crazy trees in his books.

1.  He lived in La Jolla, a suburb of San Diego.
2.  San Diego is actually a desert/ chaparral area, not normally suited to trees.
3.  Therefore trees in San Diego need to be watered.
     3A - trees take up water with their roots and expire them through their leaves.
     3B - in order to use less water watering trees, the people in San Diego constantly trim their trees to create less branch and leaf area.
     3C - ERGO -- Dr. Seuss trees.

(for a description of how and why trees were imported into the water-parched San Diego area, I refer you to the book, The Tree Lady, The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever  by H. Joseph Hopkins.) 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

What happened to your Book Today?

For all of us writers who are Not going to hear our name or book title announced on Monday morning when the American Library association announces their list of Award winning books, Kate Messner has offered this poem:
What happened to your Book today?

Read it on her blog - click on through the above link

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Picture book author - Eric Pinder

"Wait a minute... It's a humbling career moment when you suddenly realize you're actually the stuffed animal's sidekick."

Read more from this interview with picture book author (and college professor), Eric Pinder.
Where he talks about writing picture books, doing school visits, and teaching writing.

Just follow the links.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Groundhog Day is Here

Will Spring be early or late?  

Punxsutawney Phil  saw his shadow, so 6 more weeks of winter.
Good!  That should mean that the rains might finally come to San Diego.