Category: Blog

Cheers for the Fantastic Flying Books

As a book lover, seeing Hugo, Harry Potter, The Help and The Descendants represented at the Oscars was wonderful. Some of the best movies of last year were adapted from books. But one of the best films up for an Academy Award Sunday night wasn’t adapted from a book but celebrates them in a spectacular…
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Austin SCBWI Conference: Definitely Something For Everybody

I spent last weekend at the Austin SCBWI conference, and reafirmed my understanding of why going to events like these are so good for writers. I was there in a volunteer capacity, helping to organize the critiques and make sure they went smoothly for all participants. On that front, it was wonderful to see the…
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Author Interview: Cynthia Leitich Smith on writing a series

Today I’ve got a treat, an interview with an author who’s as warm and generous as a person as she is skilled and talented with words: Cynthia Leitich Smith. Cynthia is the New York Times and Publishers Weekly best-selling author of Tantalize, Eternal, Blessed, Diabolical and Tantalize: Kieren’s Story (Candlewick). Her award-winning books for younger children…
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Revision Strategies: Edit or Start Again?

In my 19 years as a journalist and editor, editing was always open document, save as version 2 (or 3 or whatever, we actually used our initials) then clean it up. Don’t waste what you’ve already got. Build up the weak spots, move sections around, polish up the sentences and viola! The final piece. We…
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Beautiful Beginnings: Bethany Hegedus’ Between Us Baxters

Editors and agents talk a lot about “voice,” that seemingly elusive quality that every good book possesses. As soon as I started reading Between Us Baxters by Bethany Hegedus, I was immediately struck with one thought: “Wow, what a voice!” Between Us Baxters is a middle-grade novel set in the fall of 1959, a time…
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When to quit querying and self-publish

Rejections are tough, and when they stand between a writer and his dream of getting published, the call of  the world of digitally self-publishing can start to echo louder and louder. But when is the right time to quit querying and self-publish? We’ve all heard those stories of great books getting turned down by agent/editor after…
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Brilliant Beginnings: Jessica Lee Anderson’s Calli

The beginning of a book is oh so important. The first page can mean the difference between someone buying the book and leaving it on the shelf. And as much as writers write because they love it, they equal love when people buy their books and read them. Brilliant beginnings aren’t easy. They have to…
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New year, new goals

Hello 2012! Despite what the Mayans and filmmaker Roland Emmerich think will happen in 2012, I think it’s going to be a great year. That’s the wonderful thing about a new calendar — possibilities to make everything better. This year, I have my usual resolutions, to be a better person, be more patient, spread more…
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How to install IndieBound Reader on Kindle Fire

My wonderful husband surprised me with an Amazon Kindle Fire under the Christmas tree this year. Before Christmas, I had heard some disappointing things about the Fire, but the biggest one — that Fire users can’t buy ebooks from independent bookstores — turns out to not be true. Great news for anyone who has already…
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Christmas book giving

It’s Christmastime, and that means giving. So, in the spirit of the true meaning of Christmas, here are some easy ways to give: At the Teaching Authors blog, the six writers/teachers who contribute are offering to donate up to $225 to First Book with your help. For every comment submitted to the blog through Dec.…
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