Congratulations to everyone whose books made the YALSA Teen Top Ten list for 2009!
Thanks to everyone to came out to see me at SUNY Oswego yesterday! And thanks to those who sent in questions about picture book writing. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Do you get to know your picture book characters as well as those in your novels?
I know them on a completely different level, like the way you knew your best friend in second grade.
I would love to know more about how long it takes, from idea to published!
ZOE is my seventh picture book. So far the average time from initial idea to book-on-the-shelf has been four years. ZOE took longer because the story was "resting" in my drawer for several years.
[Today] you said that the illustrator is more important than the author but that the author has no control over the illustrator. That seems stressful. Does that just apply to the beginning of the process? Is there a point at which the author does have some control over the illustrator? How does the illustration process work?
The fact that authors have basically no control over their illustrations freaked me all the way out at first. But I got over it. The truth is that artists bring their own vision to the story and (in my case, at least) it’s a much more creative and energetic vision that the author has. In my non-fiction picture books, THANK YOU, SARAH and INDEPENDENT DAMES, I had a little input and was able to share my research with my illustrator, Matt Faulkner. With ZOE, I was sent the early sketches (this is very common) by my editor and was able to have a discussion with the editor about them. There was one tiny reality glitch, I believe, in the spread where the hair isout in the hall while the family has a meeting with the principal. I was able to point that out.
My illustrator, Ard Hoyt, is going to share his side of the ZOE story in this blog tomorrow.
UPDATE ON QUEST TO GET ZOE INTO A BOX OF CHEERIOS:
I’m told that Zoe is holding in at fourth place in the Spoonful of Stories contest. One the intrepid Friends of the Forest dug around and discovered that the author and illustrator of Jump! (the mysterious unpublished book currently in first place) has been making funny YouTube videos to get folks to vote for his book. This is brilliant!
I, sadly, don’t have time for videos, so I will resort to old-fashioned groveling and begging.
PLEASE VOTE FOR ZOE TODAY AND EVERY DAY UNTIL THE END OF OCTOBER. AND PLEASE GET FIVE FRIENDS TO DO THE SAME THING. ::grovels in a humble and appeasing manner::
For those of you who are new to our game, here are your voting instructions:
HOW TO VOTE:
2. In the bottom right corner, click on MORE BOOKS twice. (Yes, this is the tricky part. No, I don’t know why Zoe is buried at the absolute back of the pack. Kind of makes you feel sorry for her, huh?) That will take you to ZOE.
3. Click on the yellow box that says VOTE!
4. Notify all of your friends, neighbors, family members, the folks at church or temple or mosque or other house of faith, the rest of the PTA, the people at the firehouse, everyone in your classroom, and tell them all pretty, pretty please with a headful of unruly red hair, PLEASE VOTE FOR ZOE.
5. Do this every day until the end of October.