anti-resolutionThree years ago I wrote a blog post that garnered quite a bit of attention. It was titled, 2012 Anti-Resolution Revolution. I skipped 2013, but got back on track in 2014. I’m bringing this tradition with me into 2015, and I’ve asked participants in my 12 Days of Christmas for Writers program to do the same.

Here is an excerpt from the original post:

It is so tempting to start listing all the things one wants to accomplish at the start of a New Year, but in my experience, the process (and thus the result) is flawed.

I believe the reason resolutions often don’t work is because they start from a place of lack, of negativity, of failure.  We think about all the things we weren’t happy with in the previous year and set out to “fix” them in the new one…  Lose weight = I weigh too much…  Make more money = I don’t have enough money.  Write more often = I don’t write enough

There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals, and achieving them is even better.  However, the goals need to be set on a strong foundation… Let’s first celebrate success and then determine how to carry that forward into the New Year rather than berating ourselves for what did not get done

It is CRITICAL to reflect on what you DID accomplish in the previous year. How else can you build from the base you already have? If you don’t take the time to tally up and celebrate what you’ve already accomplished, your resolutions will crumble. You’ll be starting from scratch in every category, and starting from scratch feels scary.

Here is what GOALS (vs. resolutions) look like when crafted this way. Lose weight = What did I do last year to improve my health, and what can I do to continue that progress? Make more money = How much money did I make last year, from which sources, and how can I increase output from those sources and add new ones? Write more often = What did I write this year and how am I going to use that writing in the new year while also writing new stories/articles/books, etc.?

Because I am a firm believer that it takes far more courage to celebrate and compliment yourself than it does to criticize and berate yourself, I’ve invited 12 Days of Christmas for Writers participants to post their successes on their blogs and websites too. Feel free to share links to your posts in the comments here!

Here is a list of my major professional accomplishments of 2014. 

  1. I wrote 7 new picture book drafts and revised 12. Plus I wrote a book proposal. That’s a personal best for me in terms of volume of writing!!
  2. Launched the third year of the 12 x 12 picture book writing challenge with a spruced up Membership Forum. Grew to 750 members!
  3. A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS storybook app won the Independent Book Publisher’s Association Benjamin Franklin Digital Gold Award.
  4. A SHIVER OF SHARKS storybook app won a 2014 Digital Book Award.
  5. Attended the first-ever Picture Book Boot Camp with THE Jane Yolen at her home in Massachusetts.
  6. My agent, Erzsi Deak, took my one of my books out on submission (still awaiting responses).
  7. Ran the second annual Writer’s Renaissance retreat in Florence Italy to great success.
  8. Launched a brand new website for Writer’s Renaissance.Me with MLFY
  9. Filed my first tax return as a single, self-employed person.
  10. Launched a comprehensive online course – How to Make Money as a Writer.
  11. Launched The Ultimate Guide to Picture Book Submissions (with my friend and colleague Emma Walton Hamilton).
  12. Participated as a speaker in the SCBWI-MI webinar series on the topic of being an Author Entrepreneur.
  13. Met with all Denver-area bookstores to plan events for the launch of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN and to get them to carry the print version of A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS.
  14. Learned, once and for all, to use Scrivener. I have to credit Joe Michael’s excellent course,* which I keep open every time I write in the program.
  15. Presented at the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction conference on the topic of changes in the publishing industry, storybook apps, and connecting with your audience.
  16. Presented at the New Jersey SCBWI conference on the topics of author-entrepreneurship and crowdfunding.
  17. Attended the LA-SCBWI Annual Summer conference and was interviewed by Lee Wind for the Official SCBWI Blog.
  18. MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN released on September 9th!
  19. My first radio show interview took place the day before my book launch party.
  20. Held hugely successful book launch at Saturn Booksellers in my hometown of Gaylord, MI. (psst… Saturn still has signed copies of the book in their store…)
  21. Visited all three elementary schools, for free, in my hometown during my launch week.
  22. Presented at the SCBWI-MI conference on the subject of 21st century publishing.
  23. Presented at my first-ever book festival – The Southern Festival of Books – with MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN illustrator Susan Eaddy.
  24. Conducted school visits and several bookstore signings with Susan Eaddy, including Parnassus Books, The Tattered Cover, The Book Bar, The Bookies, and Boulder Bookstore. (As a public service announcement, ALL of these stores have signed copies of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN)
  25. Fulfilled all the rewards for Kickstarter backers of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN.
  26. MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN was nominated for the 2014 CYBILS awards in the picture book category.
  27. Spent a week in London doing research for my picture book biography.
  28. Launched a brand new website for the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge
  29. Participated in PiBoIdMo and came up with 28 new picture book ideas, one of which is already drafted.
  30. Hired a bookkeeper and have begun to get my business finances in order, not just for tax season but also for planning and forecasting.
  31. Continued to contribute to Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books podcast.

I’m quite happy with this list. 🙂

Now it’s your turn to make YOUR list! Share in the comments if you’d like. 🙂

*I love Joe’s course so much I became an affiliate. That means if you use my link and make a purchase, I get a small commission. As always, I NEVER recommend anything I don’t love and use myself. But it is important to do your own due diligence before making any purchase to determine whether it will work for you and/or meet your needs. 🙂

Categories: 12 x 12, A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Agents, Apps, Authors, Brain Burps About Books, Creativity, Crowdfunding, Holidays, Italy, My Love For You Is The Sun, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Poetry, Publishing, SCBWI, Storybook Apps, Works in Progress, Writer's Renaissance, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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troop ibpaBFDA_Awards_Seals_GOLD_highresWhen I found out late last week that A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS was an Independent Publisher’s Association Benjamin Franklin Award Gold winner, needless to say I went a little bananas! I wrote all about it in this post, also published today.

Having to wait the whole weekend before sharing was excruciating, but now I am CELEBRATING with a sweepstakes for YOU. That’s right, these fabulous prizes are yours for the taking. Instructions for entering the Rafflecopter and the rules are below.

  1. GRAND PRIZE = $100 gift card to EITHER the Apple iTunes store OR Amazon.com
  2. 8 x 10 print of your choice of TROOP or SHIVER illustration, signed by illustrator Pamela Baron
  3. FREE download codes (one each) for both TROOP and SHIVER – there will be two winners drawn for this prize
  4. An adorable stuffed monkey + a bag of TROOP and SHIVER customized M & Ms

    Stuffed monkey prize similar to this one if not exactly the same.

    Stuffed monkey prize similar to this one if not exactly the same.

Although purchasing (or owning) a print version of TROOP is one of the ways to win, there are MANY others – something for everyone. These are all listed on the Rafflecopter below, but here is a bit more information on each.

UPDATE! The sweepstakes will now be open until Friday, May 9th to give people who purchase the print version of TROOP an opportunity to write reviews and increase their chances of winning.

  1. Purchase a copy of the print version of TROOP (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound – if you live in the Denver/Boulder corridor, TROOP is stocked at the Boulder Pearl Street, Thornton Creek, Westminster, and 16th Street Mall B&N locations). Then email your receipt per the instructions in the R/C. OR, if you already own a copy, snap a shot of yourself with your book and email using the same instructions.
  2. Write an honest review of TROOP on Amazon (It counts if you’ve already left one – just enter the link according to the instructions). Note that is IS acceptable to copy and paste reviews from one site to another. 🙂
  3. Write an honest review of TROOP on Barnes & Noble
  4. Write an honest review of TROOP on Goodreads
  5. Once per day, you may tweet about the giveaway. A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS is Benjamin Franklin Digital Award Winner! Celebrate with #giveaway of $100 #giftcard. http://wp.me/p2 (Click to tweet this)
  6. Once per day, you may share the giveaway on Facebook. The kids’ storybook app A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS is a Benjamin Franklin Digital Award Winner! Author @JulieFHedlund is celebrating with a great sweepstakes. http://wp.me/p2pGqV-3h8
  7. If you haven’t already, you can like my Author Page on Facebook.

Rules

Must be a resident of the United States (SO sorry to my international friends, but trying to comply with sweepstakes rules/laws in multiple countries proved too much for me!). No purchase necessary. Winners will be announced on Monday, May 12th 2014. Prizes will be shipped no later than May 23rd, 2014. Winners will be required to provide an email and/or mailing address in order to receive prizes. Prizes must be claimed within three business days of the winners being announced or alternate winners will be selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Categories: A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Apps, Children's Books, Digital Publishing, ebooks, Giveaway, Picture Books, Rhyming · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Rocky coming home after 4 days in intensive care!

Rocky coming home after 4 days in intensive care!

As I said in this week’s Gratitude Sunday post, I am beyond grateful for EVERYONE who helped with Rocky’s care and recovery in the aftermath of his shooting. I am still overwhelmed by all of the love and support received from every corner of our lives.

One thing I didn’t mention is that many people offered to donate funds toward Rocky’s care and/or set up a website to take donations. Taking these kind people up on their offers was tempting because his expenses were, as you can imagine, significant and unplanned. Paying those expenses are, without a doubt, a hardship for us, but the truth is I DO have savings and I DO have a loving and supportive family to help me. Many others have neither. So once the dust settles and I get caught up a bit, I am going to do a fundraiser in support of the emergency funds at both Rocky’s family veterinary hospital and the emergency hospital where he spent most of his time following the shooting. These funds are used to care for animals when the owners truly cannot pay and/or stray animals are found suffering and brought in for care.

In the meantime, there IS a way you can help me and my family, and that is by supporting my work, as the financial impact of this tragedy goes beyond the veterinary costs and into lost income.

The month of January is when I earn the bulk of my income for the calendar year because registration for the 12 x 12 picture 12 x 12 new badgebook writing challenge is open and the greatest number of people sign up. I lost a full week of work during what should have been the busiest week of registration. So if you are a current member of 12 x 12 or a fellow writer who believes the challenge is worthwhile, sharing the news that registration is open and/or how much you are enjoying 12 x 12 on Facebook, Twitter, etc. would be fantastic. Here are several “Click to Tweets” that can be used on Twitter or cut and pasted into Facebook.

Calling all #picturebook writers! Join 500+ of your peers in the #12x challenge. Write, revise, critique, submit. http://ow.ly/t5BIy (Click to Tweet this)

So glad I joined @JulieFHedlund’s #12x challenge for #picturebook writers. Amazing community and resources! http://ow.ly/t5BIy #kidlit (Click to Tweet this)

Want to submit #picturebook mss to an #agent each month? Join #12x at the GOLD level. http://ow.ly/t5Cdf #publishing #kidlit (Click to Tweet this)

For Facebook: January 2014 is drawing to a close. If you haven’t joined the 12 x 12 picture book writing challenge yet, you’ll need to act quickly if you want to submit to an agent in February. Three different membership levels provide something for everyone. Soon registration will be closed until 2015. Hope to see you there! http://www.juliehedlund.com/registration-for-2014/

Available in bookstores everywhere!

Available in bookstores everywhere!

Another way you can support my work, if you have children in your lives who enjoy books, is by purchasing a copy of A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS. If you have an iPad, you can get the interactive versions of the two apps featured in the book, TROOP and A SHIVER OF SHARKS (2014 Digital Book Award Winner!).

Another way to help is by leaving honest reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads if you already own a hard copy of TROOP. The book has very few ratings and reviews at the moment, both of which are needed to make it appear higher in searches.

Lastly, I am running a giveaway of TROOP on Goodreads right now to help spread the word about the book AND build an audience before my next book, MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN comes out in the fall. Simply sharing the giveaway on Twitter and/or Facebook would be appreciated.

Thank you all so much! If none of these options work for you, simply sending positive thoughts goes a long, long way. 🙂

Categories: 12 x 12, A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Agents, Apps, Charity, Children's Books, Digital Publishing, Dogs, Family, Friendship, Gratitude Sunday, Picture Books, Social Media, Volunteer/Community, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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skisHas it really been six weeks since I’ve done a Gratitude Sunday post? If that ever happens again, somebody please call me out on it (somebody OTHER than my mother that is :-))!

Well, let’s just jump right in, shall we?

Quotes on Gratitude

“One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?'” — Rachel Carson

“I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it–I believe life loves the liver of it.” –Maya Angelou

“Don’t wait for other people to be loving, giving, compassionate, grateful, forgiving, generous, or friendly… lead the way!” -Steve Maraboli

Gratitude list for the week ending January 18

  1. Two weeks into registration for the 12 x 12 picture book writing challenge and we have more than 400 members already. The forum is abuzz with activity and picture book passion!
  2. Kelli Panique, the world’s most amazing assistant, without whom I would not have survived the past two weeks. She’s worked so hard and so long and solved problems I didn’t even see coming.
  3. A SHIVER OF SHARKS won a 2013 Digital Book Award!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  4. My little girl turned 11 and got her ears pierced. Watching her grow up is a little bittersweet, but it’s such a joy and privilege to be her mom.
  5. First time skiing this season, on a perfect Colorado Bluebird day. Sometimes, what the heart and soul really needs a full day outdoors.
  6. Watching How to Train Your Dragon with the kids.
  7. Getting TWO picture books revised this week. Thanks to Meg Miller and all the folks who kept the fires burning for ReViMo!!
  8. I’ve started reading the first Harry Potter book to Jay. And so the journey begins again…
  9. Watching the Golden Globes – guilty pleasure.
  10. Friends who forgive you for being self-absorbed

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: 12 x 12, A Shiver of Sharks, Apps, Birthdays, Children's Books, Digital Publishing, Family, Friendship, Gratitude Sunday, Picture Books, Winter, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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anti-resolutionTwo years ago I wrote a blog post that grabbed the attention and touched the heart of none other than Katie Davis, who is now one of my very best friends. It was titled, 2012 Anti-Resolution Revolution. Katie was so inspired by that post, she created her own special tool to capture her accomplishments throughout the year and evaluate them at the end. She has graciously offered to share this workbook with you – click here for more info.

Here is an excerpt from the original post:

It is so tempting to start listing all the things one wants to accomplish at the start of a New Year, but in my experience, the process (and thus the result) is flawed.

I believe the reason resolutions often don’t work is because they start from a place of lack, of negativity, of failure.  We think about all the things we weren’t happy with in the previous year and set out to “fix” them in the new one…  Lose weight = I weigh too much…  Make more money = I don’t have enough money.  Write more often = I don’t write enough

There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals, and achieving them is even better.  However, the goals need to be set on a strong foundation.  So I figured, why not start with what I did accomplish this year and set goals from there.  Let’s first celebrate success and then determine how to carry that forward into the New Year, rather than berating ourselves for what did not get done..

I didn’t write a similar post in 2013, but I should have. It is CRITICAL to reflect on what you DID accomplish in the previous year. How else can you build from the base you already have? If you don’t take the time to tally up and celebrate what you’ve already accomplished, your resolutions will crumble. You’ll be starting from scratch in every category, and starting from scratch feels scary.

Here is what GOALS (vs. resolutions) look like when crafted this way. Lose weight = What did I do last year to improve my health, and what can I do to continue that progress? Make more money = How much money did I make last year, from which sources, and how can I increase output from those sources and add new ones? Write more often = What did I write this year and how am I going to use that writing in the new year while also writing new stories/articles/books, etc.?

Here’s an example from my own year. All year long, in my head, I lamented how little writing I got done. So much so that by the end of the year I was sure I’d done almost nothing. Yesterday, when I tallied it all up, I was pleasantly to find I’d written far more than I thought I had. I had written full drafts that I’d completely forgotten about. Drafts that I can continue revising and working with this year.

I am a firm believer that it takes far more courage to celebrate and compliment yourself than it does to criticize and berate yourself. So let’s get started.

Here is a list of my major professional accomplishments of 2013. 

In addition to this list, I ran the 12 x 12 challenge all year, wrote new drafts and revised existing ones, and continued to contribute to Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books podcast. Whew! I’ll be sure to come back to this whenever I feel discouraged about how much I “don’t get done.” 🙂

Now it’s your turn to make YOUR list!

Categories: 12 x 12, A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Agents, Apps, Authors, Bologna Children's Book Fair, Brain Burps About Books, Children's Books, Crowdfunding, Digital Publishing, ebooks, Florence, Goals, Holidays, How I Got My Agent, Italy, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Publishing, Queries, SCBWI, Social Media, Storybook Apps, Travel, Video Idiot Boot Camp, Works in Progress, Writer's Renaissance, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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09. December 2013 · Comments Off on A “Slew” of Announcements

I can’t ever get very far away from collective nouns. 🙂 I have a number of things to share today, so let’s dive right in.

1.  The lovely and talented Elizabeth Dulemba interviewed Susan Eaddy and me about our venture to crowdfund MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN on Kickstarter. Please join us over there to get “twofer” answers on Elizabeth’s great questions AND to win a copy of the book when it releases next fall. Thanks to Elizabeth for hosting us!!

My Love for You is the Sun - Illustration

My Love for You is the Sun – Illustration

2.  There are just THREE days left in our Kickstarter campaign. Although we have reached our funding goal, publishing a book is just the first step. Then comes finding an audience and promoting. All extra $ we raise will go toward providing free school visits to underfunded schools and PR/Marketing for the book. No pledge is too small. Spreading the word also helps immensely! Here are some “click to tweets” to make it easy for you if you are on twitter.

Go to @dulemba for a chance to WIN a #picturebook funded on #kickstarter! http://ow.ly/rB5fH + meet author & illustrator #giveaway (Click to tweet this)

Final days of #kickstarter campaign for lovely #picturebook. Extra $ go to school visits + audience-building. http://kck.st/1aCWc9p (Click to tweet this)

I backed this beautiful #picturebook on #Kickstarter. Have you? Just 3 days left – check it out! http://kck.st/1aCWc9p (Click to tweet this)

This #picturebook was funded in record time on #Kickstarter. You’ll see why if you visit the campaign. Just 3 days left! http://kck.st/1aCWc9p (Click to tweet this)

3 days left to back @JulieFHedlund effort to not only pub #picturebook but share with many kiddos. http://kck.st/1aCWc9p #kickstarter (Click to tweet this)

3.  Information on registration for 12 x 12 in 2014, including membership levels and fees, has been posted. HOWEVER, there12 x 12 new badge are no payment links yet because registration does not open until January 6, 2014. The information is there for you to determine which membership level is right for you and to budget. If you were not a member in 2013, the best way to be kept informed on registration openings, program features, etc. is to sign up for the 12 x 12 mailing list to make sure you receive the most up-to-date information. Existing members do not need to sign up for this list – I know where you are. 🙂

4.  I have NOT FORGOTTEN about the December featured author post for 12 x 12. It’s coming! I think the holidays have been  a bit killer for everyone with December coming two days after Thanksgiving. So stay tuned my friends.

It's a Jungle in Here!

It’s a Jungle in Here!

5.  On a personal note, I hosted my first-ever book release party yesterday for A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS. What a thrill! I’m looking forward to doing many more events in schools, libraries and bookstores in 2014. There’s no adrenaline rush quite like signing books, I’ve discovered. 🙂

That’s all for now folks! For everyone who, in thousands of different ways, have supported my writing journey and my books – THANK YOU!

Categories: 12 x 12, A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Crowdfunding, Digital Publishing, Entertaining, Giveaway, Picture Books, Publishing, Social Media, Storybook Apps, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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View out the window from my writing spot this weekend!

View out the window from my writing spot this weekend!

It’s been another crazy week over here in Julie-land. I embarked upon one of the most exhilarating and terrifying journeys I’ve ever taken. I announced that I am attempting to crowdfund my next picture book via Kickstarter. This particular book is so close to my heart, and I underestimated the emotional impact of going “live” with the announcement. Nonetheless, I am so grateful to have a fantastic team, not behind me, but WITH me. This includes not only those directly involved, but also my “Crowdfunding Crew,” my “Mastermind group,” and all of the people who left comments of support and encouragement on my blog this week. THANK YOU!

Quotes on Gratitude

“I have never interviewed a single person who talks about the capacity to really experience and soften into joy who does not practice gratitude.” Brene’ Brown

“Unselfish and noble actions are the most radiant pages in the biography of souls.” — David Thomas

“Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” — Albert Einstein

Gratitude list for the week ending October 26

  1. Everyone who shared the news about my crowdfunding project and/or left encouraging comments. Every share, every comment, every “You Go Girl!” makes a HUGE difference in my outlook.
  2. Fantastic Girl’s Night out with the book group gals
  3. Having the honor of guest blogging, TODAY, for Tara Lazar in preparation for Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo)

    Can't beat a great Girl's Night!

    Can’t beat a great Girl’s Night!

  4. Spending the weekend in Breckenridge with my critique group for a writing retreat where all we do is… write.
  5. Having one of the best meals (and cocktails) I’ve ever consumed on Friday night as we began the retreat.
  6. The spectacular, invigorating mountain air, which seems to feed my creativity (and my soul).
  7. Lita, for sharing her most lovingly created and decorated vacation home with us. I could not imagine a better place to write or better company with whom to write.
  8. Both A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS and A SHIVER OF SHARKS were nominated for Cybils awards in the book app category!
  9. A great meeting with Jon Bard at Children’s Book Insider, on his porch on a gorgeous fall day in Fort Collins, CO
  10. My mom’s flank steak, which fed me three times during a very busy week

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Apps, Creativity, Crowdfunding, Digital Publishing, Friendship, Gratitude Sunday, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Publishing, Storybook Apps, Travel, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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I’m honored that my friend and fellow 12 x 12 member Kirsti Call invited me to guest post on Writer’s Rumpus where, appropriately, I answer 12 questions. I’d love it if you’d drop by. Thanks! 🙂

Categories: 12 x 12, A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Apps, Children's Books, Creativity, Digital Publishing, Guest Blogging, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Publishing, Queries, SCBWI, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Available in bookstores everywhere!

Available in bookstores everywhere!

Today is the official release date for the print version of A Troop is a Group of Monkeys!!

I am SOOOO excited, and to celebrate, I am giving away a set of 8 TROOP/SHIVER bookmarks PLUS a stuffed monkey to one lucky winner.

All you have to do is watch the short video below and in the comments, name one of the animal groups mentioned in the video. I will draw a winner this Friday, October 18th. Good luck!

Categories: A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Children's Books, Giveaway, Picture Books · Tags: , , , , , , ,

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Tim_Headshot_Jan2013I am positively giddy about introducing today’s Tuesday 12 x 12 author. The timing could not be more fortuitous either, as Tim McCanna’s outstanding music is featured in my storybook app A SHIVER OF SHARKS, which was just released YESTERDAY! 

Tim tells the wonderful tale of how we came to meet and collaborate on both SHIVER and A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS, but I have to add my own two cents about how phenomenal its been to work with Tim every step of the way. Tim is exceptionally talented in so many ways, and if he has a fault at all it’s his modesty. Many of you who have been following my blog and publication path are familiar with Tim’s work on the apps, but just WAIT until you read his own app, TEENY TINY TRUCKS, releasing from Little Bahalia later this summer. You are in for such a treat! In the meantime, I’ll try to stop gushing and let Tim speak for himself. Please welcome Tim!!

HOW 12X12 PAVED MY PATH TO PUBLICATION

Okay, so technically, I am still a pre-published writer, but in a few months that will all change. Before I get to that, let’s go back in time to early December 2011. I had just finished Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month. Tara mentioned in a final email that some mystery woman named Julie Hedlund was inviting anyone to join her in this 12×12 challenge thingy. For me, it was an instant no-brainer. I need goals and deadlines. Badly. 12×12 hit the spot.

In early 2012, Julie announced that she was being interviewed on something called Brain Burps About Books. Huh? Whah? At the time I was podcast illiterate. But curiosity got the best of me, and I’m so glad it did. After listening to Julie’s Brain Burps episode, I devoured earlier podcasts hosted by author/illustrator Katie Davis. It’s a treasure trove of industry insights—all for free. I was so inspired by Katie’s contribution to the kidlit community, that I was stricken with song. A bouncy little Brain Burps jingle popped out of my head, so I recorded it and sent it as a 100th episode gift to Katie. It’s been her show-opening theme song ever since!

That experience was an awakening for me. Beyond writing and submitting over and over for the sake of getting published, I had finally found a personal way to contribute to the community. It was a discovery that came through a chain reaction of active participation. Without any ulterior motive, I wrote a song to say thanks and make someone smile. (By the way, that feels really good.) But I wasn’t done. There were more links to add to the chain.

I ended up writing a 6-month celebration song for 12×12 as well as a jingle for the Picture Book Academy. Then, in September I got an email with the best subject line ever: “Want to be in my app?” Julie loved the Brain Burps song and offered me the opportunity to write a sing-a-long version of the text for her story app, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys. And now it’s out there! Available to anyone in the world with an iPad! My son says I’m famous.

Around the same time, Julie released her App Proposal Template, which was based on the proposal that had landed her deal with Little Bahalia Publishing. I had a shelved app concept of my own that was going nowhere, so I bought the template and developed a much stronger app proposal for my story. After I wrapped up my work on Troop, I sent my proposal to Stacey at Little Bahalia. Within a week, I got a phone call! And so, Teeny Tiny Trucks is due out this summer. It’s being illustrated as we speak!

Now, did having a brief working experience with Little Bahalia help my chances of getting a contract? Maybe. I don’t know. I hope so. That’s kinda the point! My first publishing deal didn’t come from an anonymous, unsolicited slush pile submission. (Though I always daydreamed it happening that way.) It came through participating in writing challenges. It came through contributing to other people’s work. It came through building relationships and helping others. Katie Davis calls it reciprocity. Whatever you want to call it, the fact is, we all have our own paths to publication—if that’s your goal. After four years, I’m grateful for the path I finally found, and for the friends I’ve made along the way.

Tim McCanna writes books, music, and apps for children. He lives in Mountain View, CA with his wife Trudi and their two grade schoolers, Nate and Sophie. Learn more about Tim and watch his kidlit videos at www.timmccanna.com.

Categories: 12 x 12, A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Apps, Authors, Brain Burps About Books, Creativity, Digital Publishing, ebooks, Friendship, Guest Blogging, Music, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Publishing, Social Media, Storybook Apps, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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