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It’s a Blog Party for the 12x12x12 Picture Book Challenge!

Chocolate is in order!

Here’s chocolate cake to celebrate with all my writing friends!
(from the Korean bakery called Paris Baguette)

I began this picture book challenge in January, started by Julie Hedlund, with the idea to write 1 picture book manuscript each month in the year 2012. We’re at our halfway point, and I have 6 manuscripts in my file! Yippee! And last year I had diddly squat. The more I write, the more I learn about the craft. I’m excited to revise them and let them “marinate” before sending them out to publishers.

I read Jeff Goin’s e-book You Are a Writer: So Start Acting Like One, and I was inspired by the point that he says every day we must tell ourselves we are a writer. I’m going to take it even further and say, “I am a picture book writer!”

So congratulations to all the writers out there doing this challenge. And for those of you who aren’t, you’re missing out. You can join us for the 2013 challenge! This group is vibrant, active, inspiring, and reaching goals.

Have a bite of decadent chocolate and celebrate writing! I am….all the way in Seoul, S.Korea!


After being a lone writer in a foreign country for two years, I finally found another SCBWI aspiring picture book writer. I’ve been a little perturbed that I’m paying a big membership fee for this organization, and the Korea SCBWI no longer exists. Since I’ve moved here, they no longer meet and have no advisor. But things are looking better since I chatted with Kathleen Ahrens, the international advisor. She suggested I contact all the Korean members, which I did.  So yesterday, I met a wonderful writer/illustrator/graphic designer lady who speaks English! We met for three hours at my apartment. In fact, she rode the subway two hours just to meet me! Learning about publishing from another country’s perspective sort of opened my eyes. Let me share…

Here are the enlightenments I got out of our meeting:

1. Any picture book writer who doesn’t draw MUST have a pb illustrator critique buddy.  I read two of her dummies which she translated into English just for me. Her writing was spectacular, sparse of words, and was the first time I’d viewed an illustrator’s dummy “live” (besides my own) and not on the internet. Artists can think visually, more than writers who are challenged artists, like me. She was able to help me think through one of my stories in a more visual way.

2. I learned that Korea does have picture book classes, never online, but through an actual class with a lecturer.
My friend’s stories had great structure.

3. Korea WANTS illustration notes.
Her manuscripts were written out in scenes, rather than one story mass like we do in America. She said writers choose their illustrators and even tell them not only what to draw, but what medium to use! She was surprised when I told her we’re not supposed to add illustration notes unless absolutely necessary. And she was shocked that writers and illustrators don’t really communicate during the publishing process.

4. Submissions is a LIVE presentation.
Oh my goodness! Writer/illustrators present their dummy as a presentation in front of the editor. They have to really market their idea and show enthusiasm. She said at the end of her pb class, her lecturer had invited editors for their final presentations. And they’re blunt and very honest. If they don’t like it, they’ll tell you in not so kind of ways. She had also made an appointment with a publisher and presented her book. However, because of the expense involved, the publisher declined.  Can you imagine if author/illustrators in the U.S. had to do presentations?

5. Submissions is never by email.  Publishers won’t read it.

6. We’re going to try to revive the SCBWI critique group.
If no one wants to join us, we’ll just help each other. We’ve already swapped manuscripts. If you know of any children’s writers here, let us know.

I wonder how other non-English speaking countries handle submissions. Well, thanks for listening!

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