If you want to find out what McDelivery has to do with being a focused writer, head over to the Grog Blog, where I share 10 tips that help me stay on task as a writer. Have a great writing week!
Short answer: Very.
Long answer: Keep reading :)
Last month my editor for my forthcoming picture book, Rice from Heaven, said she wanted us to create a subtitle just to make it clear what it's about. So the editor and her team suggested some, my agent suggested some, and then I reached out to a couple of my critique groups, and they suggested some. So I had about 10 titles to work with.
A subtitle, IMO, should be written concisely, and beautifully sum up the main idea of your book.
Here are some examples of recently published picture books with subtitles:
Vincent Can't Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky by Barb Rosenstock
Long May She Wave: The True Story of Caroline Pickersgill and Her Star-Spangled Creation by Kristen Fulton
She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton
After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat
Kick! Jump! Chop!: The Adventures of the Ninjabread Man by Heather Ayris Burnell
La, La, La: A Story of Hope by Kate DiCamillo
Did you notice the first three were nonfiction picture books, and the last three were fiction picture books? So subtitles can be used for both.
Author Darcy Pattison has something interesting to say about subtitles here. Will the subtitle help teachers, parents, and librarians find your book in the database?
Lastly, this article has good points about the dos and don'ts of subtitles.
So--what is my subtitle? You'll have to wait for the cover reveal to find out!
My first picture book was announced in Publisher's Weekly twice, July 18-19. One of the hardest things for an author to do is to keep matters a secret! But now it's official!
I wrote this story last year May 2016 after helping North Korean refugees send rice in balloons over the border of South Korea into the communist country. As the book comes closer to being published, I'm sure I'll share more details. Writing tip: Never give up. Revise and revise some more. If you don't know how, learn.
But for now, here's a timeline of Rice from Heaven for those of you who like writing details.
May 2nd, 2016: helped with balloon rice mission
May 9th, 2016: wrote 1st draft at 818 words
Dec. 19, 2016: snagged agent with this story (different draft)
Jan/Feb. 2016: 1st round of 20 editors, 7 responded mostly they liked the story behind it, needed to improve writing (rejections), 1 took to acquisitions
End of Feb/ March/: Revised to be more lyrical--for more details on that, see this post
April 18: sent out 2nd round of submissions, 18 editors, 6 rejected, 3 interested
April 18, 2017: Sonali Fry emailed, interested, took to acquisitions
April 21, 2017: Sonali Fry made an offer
May 1, 2017: phone call with Sonali and Adria
May 2017: draft #17 of 473 words sold verbally to Sonali Fry at Little Bee
May 18, 2017: Began back matter assistance with Little Bee
June 1, 2017: received 1st draft of contract
June 24th, 2017: signed picture book contract for Rice from Heaven in California with my agent and found out who the illustrator will be
July 10, 2017: received signed contract back from Little Bee
July 18, 2017: announced in Publisher's Weekly
Hey, everyone! Today was my LAST day of school for the summer! After packing up my room, I'm exhausted. But I'm over at the Grog Blog today talking about my path to writing a lyrical picture book manuscript. Have a slice of virtual Baskin Robbins cake and join me.
I'm over at the Grog Blog today discussing Guided Reading Books. Hope to see you there! And I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend!
"He has risen!" Matthew 28:6
She announced there was a new agent at her agency, a children's agent who would specialize in the Christian market. My eyes took notice, and I started researching her. My stories weren't specifically for the Christian market, but they could be tweaked to lean that way. I queried Adria with two stories I felt she might like. The next day she said to send them over. About three weeks later, she emailed that she had read my stories that same day I emailed them and hadn't been able to stop thinking about them. And she asked for THE CALL! I was thrilled. So that weekend (working out time zones) we talked, and I printed out those lists of questions to ask an agent, and she offered representation. I signed the contract on December 5th, after first querying her on October 30th. To God be the glory!
It's been wonderful having Adria by my side, my advocate, cheerleader, and one to submit for me. If it wasn't for her, I think I would have given up on one of my stories. We've gotten good feedback from editors and are pushing my story to be the best it can be. I've learned that real, true, revising is HARD.
Adria will also help negotiate my Scholastic Asia contract for my novel coming out next summer 2018! I heard from my editor and have received a list of things to revise.
Meanwhile, my husband & I just finished proofreading a Korean/English pocket dictionary for a publisher. Who knew there was such a job? And because of my blogging about guided reading books, a publisher from Australia discovered my site and just commissioned me to write 22 books for them. I guess I might not have another blog post until summer. :P
Thanks for bearing with me! What have you all been up to?
I was just telling my son that tomorrow is the last day of 2016. Time flies! So much has happened and changed this year. These 12 days after Christmas I'm participating in a writing activity. See below.
Children's author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year's resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity - what DIDN'T get done or achieved in the previous year. Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! Here is my list for 2016.
Please note that all this is accomplished because God gave me strength! Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Not in any particular order:
1. Revised 9 picture book stories
2. Wrote 3 new picture book stories
3. My novel manuscript, Chasing Freedom:The Asian Underground Railroad won 1st Runner Up (2nd place) in the Scholastic Asian Book Award.
4. Attended my first writing conference in Singapore at the Asian Festival of Children's Content where I accepted the award in #3.
5. Met Leonard Marcus, pb historian and judge at the AFCC, met authors Emily Lim, Cynthea Liu, and Cynthia Leitich Smith whom I had known of online in kidlit circles
6. 2 stories accepted by Clubhouse Jr. magazine
7. Wrote a new teacher unit for my little store in Teachers Pay Teachers
8. wrote several book reviews for a Korean Christian children's magazine
9. Proofread a Korean/English textbook for publishers Tuttle and Pagoda Books
10. Wrote many blog posts for the Grog Blog
11. Commissioned to write educational material for Oxford University Press Asia (will start Feb. 2017)
12. Acquired a literary agent!! (more to come on this in another post)
I know Christmas is over, but I love the lyrics in this song Noel by Lauren Daigle. (the chorus) The chorus sums up how I feel about this year.
"Noel, noel. Come and see what God has done." And all this was done while I taught kindergarten in a new school & city.
To God be the Glory!
I love picture books, especially Christmas ones! My friend, Evelyn Christensen and her debut picture book, The Twelves Days of Christmas in Kentucky are at the grog blog today. Join me to see how Ev landed this contract.
Wanna know more about conducting author Skypes? Read about it at the Grog blog where I interview picture book author, Laura Murray, of the Gingerbread Man Loose in the School series. She recently Skyped with my students. It was fabulous!
Also, don't forget November is picture book month! Each day a picture book author shares their thoughts at the Picture Book Month web site!
Since I am teaching kindergarten this year, I'm in the trenches of back to school picture books. Some picture books correlate nicely with a theme in which the teacher can use the picture book to support the classroom theme.
For example, I am using a pirate theme. There are soooo many pirate picture books out there. Sadly, I don't have that many, but what I do have, I'm excited to share because it goes perfectly with my theme. I found this image below on Pinterest.
My fun "assignment" for you is to think of a great classroom decorating theme and go write a picture book that a teacher could use with that theme. For example, I recently saw Planet Kindergarten (haven't read it yet), but that might be fun to decorate with a space theme. If you research "Kindergarten" or "back to school books," check out what themes have been used. Create your own. I don't want to be doing pirates forever!
Tina M. Cho, children's author
I'm a children's author and freelance writer for the educational market. Welcome!