Welcome to the first edition of SCBWI INSIGHT, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators brand new, monthly report on the children's book field. Expect to receive INSIGHT on the first of every month, another exclusive benefit of being an SCBWI member.

Hot Topic
Cyberspace As A Source for Book Acquisitions

 by Lin Oliver, Author and SCBWI Executive Director


It's the age old question, one we hear every day at SCBWI: How do I sell my children's or YA book to a publisher?  Well, there is the traditional way---get a good literary agent who submits your manuscript to publishers and wait for the offers to come in.  Historically, that's been the best route, the SCBWI recommended path.  But times are changing, and new paths to publication are emerging.  The Internet has proved to be a powerful one.


Using the Internet and all of its various platforms---Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Tumblr, Instragram, YouTube, and personal websites-has become an effective means to develop, display and promote ideas, concepts, creators and content for new books.  Review the sales stories, and you'll see that authors, illustrators and book properties are being actively discovered by publishers who are literally trolling cyberspace to find new talent, new ideas and proven content.


Last year, Simon and Schuster's Atria Publishing teamed up with United Talent Agency to launch Keywords Press, an imprint designed to give "digital influencers" a book based platform. It's first release, the YA novel Girl Online, was based on video blogger Zoe Sugg's (aka Zoella) wildly popular YouTube series.  Although Sugg received a great deal of "editorial input" on the novel, Girl Online broke records by selling over 78,000 copies in its first week of release in the UK---more than Harry Potter titles!  Other YouTube hit series are finding homes on the lists of traditional publishing houses. To highlight just a few:  Marcel the Shell is coming out from Razorbill (an imprint of Penguin Random House) and The Secret Diary of Lizzie Benett is coming out this month from Touchstone (an imprint of Simon and Schuster). The lyrics to the viral YouTube music video hit "What Does the Fox Say?" has become a popular picture book from Simon and Schuster.   

SCBWI Exclusive with . . .  
Allyn Johnston

Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster opened its La Jolla studio doors on April Fool's Day, 2008.


VP & Publisher Allyn Johnston and Senior Editor Andrea Welch (who worked together for eight years at Harcourt in San Diego before starting Beach Lane) are eager to find emotionally-engaging manuscripts across all ages and genres, but their passion is picture books, and what they're looking for is . . . irresistibility. As in, the stories are so unexpected and fresh and fun and rhythmic and universal that anyone would want to go back to the beginning and read them again-preferably aloud!  


Allyn and Andrea's primary acquisition goal is for the books they publish to connect with children, parents, families, teachers, and librarians for years to come. And they hope their books will strike such a chord with children that they remember them throughout their lives.


The two bring this enthusiasm and hope to every new submission they receive (and they read all submissions themselves!). And, as the saying goes, they know it when they see it. Last year at the SCBWI Summer Conference, Allyn did a Saturday afternoon breakout session, got an e-mail picture book submission within the hour, and had committed to publishing it before the evening Gala began.  Read More 


On the Shelves  
Dolly's Books 
On the Shelves profiles an independent bookstore or library on what books readers "can't put down," what booksellers want, and how authors and illustrators can get involved in the community.


Dolly's Books has been a staple on Park City, Utah's, beloved Main Street for over thirty years. The charm of the small store front goes beyond its nooks nestled with picture books and comfy chairs to manage a large section of children and young adult books housed among colorful toys and enticing reading corners.  


Manager and Bookseller Sue Fassett says picture books like Jean Regan's How to Babysit a Grandpa are still big sellers, and children's hardcover books never go out of style.  Read More 



Illustrator Info 
4 Questions for . . . Jannie Ho
The Illustrator Info column is intended to give concrete help to working illustrators. You'll find informative, brief interviews full of practical information and advice.


After starting out as an in-house designer at Nickelodeon, Scholastic, and an art director at TIME Magazine for Kids, Jannie Ho began pursuing illustration for children full-time in 2006. She has a prolific career illustrating trade books as well as educational books, magazines, toys, crafts, and digital media. You can see her colorful, energetic artwork at www.chickengirldesign.com.


Do you have separate portfolios that you use depending on what type of work you are looking for? And are there any differences in your style or technique depending on the type of publication?  Read More


Best Advice Ever. . .  
Linda Sue Park 
We ask leaders in the children's book field for the best single piece of advice they've ever received. Every month, we'll bring you one.

This month's is from Newbery Award-winning author Linda Sue Park, who says she has distilled this advice from many sources, including Katherine Paterson and Anne Lamott.


Focus on a single small task. (A paragraph, or two or three.
A scene, or part of a scene-two pages at most.) Do it. Redo it. Redo it again. Repeat as necessary, until it's as good as you can possibly make it.


Then go on to the next thing.


It's not just how I write. It's how I try to live my life, too. ----Linda Sue Park


Draw This! . . .
Draw This! is our monthly prompt word for illustrators.
June's word is . . . BOUNCE
To view all the BOUNCE submissions, 
See our online gallery.

June's Featured Images:

And the prompt for the July SCBWI INSIGHT is . . . ADVENTURE

Info Links 
A collection of blogs, news articles, and other must see links click here flat icon
for authors and illustrators.
30 Copy Editors Tell You Their Pet Peeves: Link


Helpful Writings Tips from Children's Books: Link 

Know What the Most Banned and Challenged Books
    of 2014 Were?:


Finding the right agent for your book: Link   


INSIGHT Bonus Read:  Celebrating Partial Success: Inside an Agent's Request to See More of Your Work by Paul Gleed  


Monthly Contest
Enter to Win words orange ticket for a raffle or jackpt drawing winner of cash or prizes

Everybody says start your story with a bang. That usually
means something attention getting, including humor.


Send us your idea of a funny first line to a book whether
picture book or novel. Try to not only make the reader laugh, but to read on to the next line. One entry per person. Send to Steve at [email protected]. The winning entry will be published in the next INSIGHT and the winner will receive a piece of SCBWI merchandise.