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Starting on November 10th the FREE digital edition of PW's round-up of the best Children's and YA books of the year, "Children's Starred Reviews Annual 2015" will be available. Simply click on to get access to the issue on your desktop or download the "Publishers Weekly" app for iOs, Android or Kindle Fire to read it on your mobile device.

Hot Topic 
SCBWI Tackles Book Launches for its Members
By Lin Oliver, SCBWI Executive Director  

On December 1, the SCBWI will throw its first ever Book Launch Party. Three launch parties will follow in 2016---Spring, Fall and Holiday. Our Book Launch Parties will provide a special forum for SCBWI members to publicize, promote and sell their new books. For a $25 fee, you can purchase a page, design and individualize it yourself, populate it with photos, videos, reviews and even a contest. Your page will put forward what you'd like viewers to know about your book. Every launch page will feature a "Buy" button where viewers can connect to Amazon, Indie Bound or your website to buy the book.

Creating this Book Launch Party initiative is a radical step for SCBWI, an authors' and illustrators' organization. But we felt the time had come to do it. The children's book marketplace is full of high-quality, first-rate books that never achieve the success they deserve. The SCBWI will now include in our mission statement the goal of helping our members increase recognition and sales of their work. Our community needs to come together to help creators have their work discovered and find a way into the hands of readers. 

SCBWI Exclusive with . . .
Beverly Horowitz 

SCBWI Exclusive with Beverly Horowitz, VP & Publisher of Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children's Books.
Beverly Horowitz began her career in the editorial department of Little, Brown and has held positions as publicity/promotion director at Bradbury Press and Academic Marketing and School and Library marketing director at Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Beverly has never stopped being an editor. She works with Judy Blume, Louis Sachar, E. Lockhart, Laura Hillenbrand, Caroline B. Cooney, Wes Moore, and many other beloved and debut authors. Throughout her career, she has been an advocate of First Amendment rights and has fought against censorship.
Over the course of your illustrious career, what are the most significant changes you've seen from a business perspective in the field of children's book publishing?
The health of the book industry is actually better than people think. It's interesting and happy news that brick-and-mortar bookshops are still alive and well. The other thing that is noteworthy is that big-box stores such as Target and Walmart have kept their book departments; some have even turned over more shelf space to books for teens and kids. There's no denying that these stores focus on bestsellers, but still, kids are getting books and developing the reading habit. It's wonderful that the general public has better access to books.
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On the Shelves   
A Children's Place 

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.

Billie Bloebaum of A Children's Place in Portland, Oregon, tells us what's on the shelves.

What trends do you notice in children's book sales? What are the current hot reads?

Original graphic novel content is continuing to gain steam. There are a lot of interesting stories being told in this format and the books themselves appear to fit nicely into that space between early chapter books and meatier middle grade fare. And, as the readers get older, there are graphic novels with more challenging content. We do especially well with graphic novels aimed at a female readership. I think this is at least in part because there are series like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Timmy Failure and Nate the Great that are marketed to boys, but, with the exception of The Dork Diaries, there isn't much similar that's marketed to girls. And it's not that girls can't and don't read those series, but Greg Heffley isn't going to face the same experiences as a ten-year-old girl. Having women like Raina Telgemeier and Victoria Jamieson and Dana Simpson creating graphic novels that speak to these girls and reflect their lives and experiences is huge. Honestly, if Ms. Telgemeier were to ever do an event at our store, she would be greeted like a rock star by her adoring fans.    

Illustrator Info 
4 Questions for . . .
Laurent Linn

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.

 Laurent Linn, art director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers,  art directs picture books, middle grade, and teen novels, including The Blessing Cup, by Patricia Polacco; All Different Now, by Angela Johnson, illustrated by E. B. Lewis; DRAW!, by Raúl Colón; Better Nate Than Ever, by Tim Federle; and the Rot & Ruin YA series by Jonathan Maberry. Laurent is on the Board of Advisors for SCBWI, and is Artistic Advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York. He is also an author; his debut teen novel, Draw the Line, comes out in 2016.   
For a while, people were saying that the picture book is dead.  True or false?  How would you characterize today's market for picture books?

Happily, that is false. Since there is no form of storytelling for children as special and personal as a picture book, I've never believed the picture book could be dead. For a while the sales definitely went down substantially, but there were many reasons for that, mainly the economy. Then came the uncertainty of ebooks and what that might mean. Now, of course, we've seen that the ebook format has had no bearing on picture book sales at all. A couple years ago we might have seen ebooks making up 2% - 3% of sales, but now it's not even 1%. Not surprising, given that the picture book is such a unique and special thing. In my opinion, not only is looking at a "picture book" on a digital device not the same as a printed book, it's a lesser experience. It's not a video game or an animated story so really it  doesn't fit the technology. A child can have ownership of a printed picture book, and that can't be replaced. Think about the books you had as a child. I still have most all of my favorites from back then, and I imagine most people have theirs as well. It becomes a personal object that has great meaning and comfort.
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Best Advice Ever
Betty G. Birney

Betty G. Birney's popular According to Humphrey series has won seven
 state awards and a Christopher Award. Book twelve in the series comes out in 2016, along with two new entries in the Humphrey's Tiny Tales series. Other books include The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs and The Princess and the Peabodys. Her television work has garnered an Emmy, a Writer's Guild of America Award, and three Humanitas Prizes. She lives in Studio City, California.

Once my books were out in the world, I discovered that people love to tell writers what they think they should write. Worse than the outside forces are powerful internal forces that nag, "Those books are popular; maybe you should write one of those." Or the inner voice that says "I wish I'd written that." The piece of advice I return to again and again comes from my agent, Nancy Gallt. Over the years, she has said, "Write what you want to write, and I'll do my best to sell it." Those external and internal voices are powerful, but Nancy helps me focus on writing what I feel passion for. Now my mantra (and advice to others) is: Write the book that only you can write.

Draw This!  
Draw This! is our monthly prompt word for illustrators. Going forward, we will feature one winner and one runner-up. The winner Don't worry, we'll still have the beautiful gallery depicting all the month's entries available. 
November's word is . . . Reflection 
To view all the REFLECTION submissions, 
 see our online gallery.

November's Featured Images:
Paula Wallace 
Kirk Parrish 



And the prompt for the December SCBWI INSIGHT is . . ."Sleigh Ride from Hell"

Click here for submission guidelines.
Info Links 

A collection of blogs, news articles, and other must see links
click here flat icon
for authors and illustrators.
Writing Begins with Forgiveness: Why One of the Most Common Pieces of Writing Advice is Wrong:

8 Lucrative Tips for Selling Articles to Magazines and Websites:
Looking for an Agent? Read This First: Link
Are Kids Reading More Than Adults?:  Link

Write This!    
Write This! is our monthly writing prompt. We are spicing up Write This!. Going forward, we will choose ONE winner and ONE runner-up to appear in the following month's INSIGHT so agents, editors, and your colleagues have yet another way of hearing your writing voice. The winner will receive a piece of SCBWI swag and bragging rights.

The October prompt was "a stranger enters..." 
To view the top October submissions see our  online gallery. 

The crusty, shelled mollusk grumbled to the glistening, sparkling, round stranger who entered its folded pod.
"Who are you?"
"Where did you come from?"
She isn't much for words, thought the shell, but she sure is pretty.

---Amy Cluck

The door flew open and a large figure lurched into the room. It stopped and glared at me, then lumbered to the bookshelf, grabbed a small volume, ripped out a page, wadded it up and swallowed it whole.  "Good book," it belched as it left the room.

---Jean James

THE NEW PROMPT: In 50 words or less, describe a "sleigh ride from Hell."
The prompt for December is due November 15.  Remember, only one winner and one runner-up will be chosen. So write well and be noticed!