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Focus on the Picture Book in Indiana

An inspiring conference for children's writers and illustrators was presented by Indiana SCBWI this past Saturday at the offices of Children's Better Health Institute (CBHI) in Indianapolis. CBHI was a wonderful host--special thanks to Jeff, Terry and Julia for their help in setting up and being there during the conference.

This was our first major conference since Trish and I took over as RA and ARA of Indiana's chapter of SCBWI. It took a lot of work and planning, and wonderful volunteers who jumped in to help with a smile.

Courtney Bongiolatti, editor from Simon & Schuster, showed us examples of the four things she looks for in picture book submissions, and gave insight into how to cut words from your manuscript.

Laurent Linn, Art Director at Simon & Schuster, talked about the anatomy of a picture book, and showed how art works to complete the total picture book.

Terry Harshman, editor of Turtle and Humpty Dumpty magazines at CBHI, talked about the magazines at CBHI, and what they're looking for.

Sharon Vargo and Kristi Valiant, authors & illustrators, talked about how they work, and how to market your work.

Hearing from the writing side fills my head with questions--What is unique about my manuscript? How does it relate to the reader? How does it fit into the children's book market? What words should I cut, which ones should I leave in?

I am not an illustrator, but hearing about the illustrator's side can't help but improve the writing side of the picture book.

For me, the words come first. How hard it is to cut precious words! And how wonderful a book becomes when just the right ones are left in.
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