Picture Book Academy & Publishing

PBA-graduation-button-square-bear2 I have been working with the intentional goal of publishing for children since about 2008/2009. I have been (and am) a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators. I have been to major conferences, regional meetings, and workshops in Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, Fresno, Paris, Stuttgart, Kandern… and I’m sure many other places (especially if you count the various skype calls and e-courses I have participated in.) I participate in Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) and National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). In fact, my most popular stories among critique groups are PiBoIdMo picture-books and my NaNoWriMo novel.

Why is this important???

Because I just completed five weeks with the Picture Book Academy… and I have to say: It was SUPERB.

FANTASTIC.

Enough years in the children’s market and the messages become familiar.  I leave with more knowledge, yes, but still stuck in my story “problems.” I’ve worked with Mira before and should have known she would yet again astound me.

It was such great, hard work that I was proud of my graduate certificate. So proud, I decided to have it printed and hung in my writing area. But one of the “catches” to living abroad found me out again… I had no idea what the sizes were when ordering the photo. So this is what showed up: 1370296_10152284821797571_2101488670_n

Just another cross-cultural moment.

I mean, I am proud. But not life-size, poster-proud.

Or maybe I am (hee hee).

1371657_10152284820152571_1252424132_n So I tried again and it went much better.

But enough about my photo-processing cultural challenges and back to why I am so pleased to be a graduate of this stellar program.

The class has so inspired and equipped me, that I’ve been more intentional about submitting, working, pitching, querying… and writing. I have some new, great, practical “tools” in my writer’s toolbox that I didn’t have before.  I’ve left with a new fantastic critique group, an e-book with all the information, access to the website for awhile longer, and Mira.

Mira is amazing.

Since the class ended ( a couple of weeks ago), I’ve won second place in the Perfect Character Driven Pitch contest.

I queried an agent who responded with a manuscript request!

I submitted a book to a publisher I’ve worked with before (SNAP Learning) who loved my work and bought it!

And I’ve received feedback from some of my critique-group friends like this: “This is great! It just needs a publisher!”

All of these are such affirmation to me of the last years of hard work. But it also shows me how much the Picture Book Academy was the final cherry on the sundae.

I’m thrilled to be taking the Writing Wonderful Character-Driven Picture Books with Marsha Diane Arnold– one of my prizes for winning the pitch contest. But you can take it too! I’d love to see you over there and know you would find it more than worth your while.

My husband (brag alert) is a ridiculously talented artist… he can sculpt, paint, draw, dance, act… you name it, if it’s art, he can do it. Mira discovered his “magic” for herself when he attended a writing and illustrating workshop with me. That being said, I’m SO excited that he’s decided to take the Hero’s Art Journey e-course. It’s only just begun but I expect some beautiful things to come from this exchange.

I am a connector and networker. I love connecting people to great resources. I get almost giddy when I find two people who need what the other has to offer.

Thus, this post. I couldn’t keep this gem to myself. I know my writer friends would benefit like I have from the Picture Book Academy– whether illustrators or writers. Check out the site- there’s always something fun going on. Free workshops and/or webinars, new e-courses all the time, contests… it’s a great site for keeping you connected to good resources.

 

An Unforgettable Month- November

It truly has been an unforgettable month!

I took on two challenges this month… National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo).

For NaNoWriMo, I had to write 50,000 words. I picked up and dusted off my early work on a Narrative Non Fiction… per the encouragement of my awesome, Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrator’s RA, Kristen Carlson.

It was on a long drive with her that my story came up and she, in her excitement, asked if I had done NaNoWriMo. Her words triggered something in me and I did it!!!

Winner-180x180

I also did my third year of PiBoIdMo. Some of my best stories (yet to sell, but they will sell) are from this month of coming up with an idea every single day of November. Sound easy? HA!

piboidmo12winnerlarge

 

Well, it’s not. I mean, maybe it’s easy to come up with any idea… but the point is to come up with ideas so that at the end of the month, we have something we can turn into a full picture book manuscript. I have 32 more ideas to work on!

So now I have the first draft of a completed novel and 30 picture book ideas. Looks like December (or January) or 2013 are going to be busy for me also.

Ultimately, I’m just excited to have the time, energy, and inspiration to write every single day for two months (yep, I took a challenge in October too)…

Congrats to all my fellow “winners” out there… for NaNoWriMo and PiBoIdMo alike! I am only one among many and I’m truly proud of all my writing / illustrator buddies! WAY TO GO!

 

Getting My NaNoWriMo On!

You read it right…

I am getting my NaNoWriMo on!

What is THAT you ask?

It stands for National Novel Writing Month! And it’s CRAZY!

But today it begins.

And as if that wasn’t enough… I’m also doing my third year of PiBoIdMo! That’s Picture Book Idea Month and it’s a lot of fun. (I’m in it for the people… the ideas are secondary 🙂

Anyway… I successfully completed my 31 Days in 2012 with the Nester which felt like a huge accomplishment for me. I basically wrote as many posts in the one month as I have in the entire life of this blog. What a breath of fresh air it was for me to take time daily to think creatively!

So here I am, November 1… the very next day after I’ve completed October’s challenge… beginning two more.

It’s amazing what can be done with two kids in kindergarten.

Half days.

Aside from that… I’ve never written a novel and have actually been quite apprehensive to ever do so. However, after some encouragement from a writing coach and my Germany/Austria Regional Advisor, Kirsten Carlson… I’m going for it.

So what does that entail?

Writing 50,000 words in the month of November.

Getting the first draft down.

And telling everyone I know that I’m doing it.

That way I can’t quit.

Because you can all see, with my little widget on the right side, how many words I’ve written and how far I have to go. You’ll know wether I finish or don’t by watching for “participant” to change to “winner” by the end of the month.

So here, borrowed from my SCBWI regional friend and fellow-writer, Lindsey Cole… is the writer’s affidavit for NaNoWriMo.

Noveling Affidavit*

I, Marcy Pusey, hereby pledge my intent to write a 50,000-word novel in one month’s time.

By invoking an absurd month-long deadline on such an enormous undertaking, I understand that notions of craft, brilliance, and competency are to be chucked right out the window, where they will remain, ignored, until they are retrieved for the editing process. I understand that I am a talented person, capable of heroic acts of creativity, and I will give myself enough time over the course of the next month to allow my innate gifts to come to the surface, unmolested by self-doubt, self-criticism, and other acts of self-bullying.

During the month ahead, I realize I will produce clunky dialogue, clichéd characters, and deeply flawed plots. I agree that all of these things will be left in my rough draft, to be corrected or excised at a later point. I understand my right to withhold my manuscript from all readers until I deem it complete. I also acknowledge my right as author to substantially inflate both the quality of the rough draft and the rigors of the writing process, should such inflation prove useful in garnering me respect, attention, or freedom from household chores.

I acknowledge that the monthlong, 50,000-word deadline I set for myself is absolute and unchangeable, and that any failure to meet the deadline, or any effort on my part to move the deadline once the adventure has begun, will result in well-deserved mockery from friends and family. I also acknowledge that, upon successful completion of the stated noveling objective, I am entitled to a period of gleeful celebration and revelry, the duration and intensity of which may preclude me from participating fully in workplace activities for days, if not weeks, afterward.

Signed,

Marcy Pusey

So cheers to all of the other NaNoWriMo challengers! And off I go!!!!

* Affidavit originally from Chris Baty’s NO PLOT? NO PROBLEM! Novel-Writing Kit.