Monday, November 20, 2006

The Direct Approach

This is kind of bald, but in the words of Harriet the Spy:

“Where are you going tonight?” Harriet said abruptly. She couldn’t think of any way to find out subtly without Ole Golly catching on. Sometimes the direct approach was best.

So here’s the direct approach: who are you? Why do you read blogs in general and this one in particular? I’m really curious about who is reading this blog. Some of you I know from your comments, but what I wonder is: is anyone reading this and never commenting? If you haven’t ever commented, would you say something on the blog or in an email to

I’ll answer for myself. I’m the author of Blow Out the Moon (and pretty much as I am in the book – as a coworker once said, sounding mildly surprised: “It doesn’t seem that different from the way you talk now”)…that was a coworker in the Fidelity Investments design group (I wrote for the web site!). I've had too many jobs to count; my most recent was selling books to libarians-- not my book, other people’s: I was a salesperson. I loved talking to the children’s librarians about books, especially librarians in places like Oklahoma and West Virginia but it was commission-only and I only talked about the books I liked – mainly children’s books, which cost much less than adult books -- so I didn’t make much money.

I left the job to work full-time on my new novel (or almost full-time, I earn some money editing self-help books for adults). I read blogs to find out what’s going on in & communicate with the children’s book community (especially with the other BRGs!),to promote myself and my work, and, sometimes, I think, just to give myself the illusion that I’m doing something work-related while I’m really just goofing off. Children’s book blogs are the only ones I read. What about you?


Anonymous said...

Cupcakes brought me out of lurkdom.

I'm a children's author and stumbled upon the BRG blog through a web site or by Googling Grace, Alvina, or Meghan. Or maybe Cheryl Klein. I don't remember.

Why do I read it? I think you're cool! I love the group aspect--I'm starting a blog with my critique group *because of* the BRGs. It's all your fault. Well, that and I'm chicken to do one on my own. Also, I read because I'm in awe of illustrators, what can I say?

The only blogs I read are by/for children's writers/illustrators.


Bonnie Branson said...

I have posted before but I will introduce myself anyway. I'm a recent Boston implant (JP!) from NYC who is currently studying art education, loves children's books and hopes to maybe get published.....again. (My undergrad was illustration, but the isolation of working for myself and the constant waiting 7 or more months to get paid for published work, and/or the possibility of never being paid at all drove me away..for now anyway. Plus I think I am still searching for my "visual niche.")
So far now I'm eating lots of Clam Chower, enjoying the fall and learning how to be an AWESOME art teacher! yay!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if I've commented before, but I've been visiting your site for a couple of months now, and I enjoy the discussions and variety of perspectives.

I read blogs in general because I've always been fascinated by children's books, and I read them as an adult, though I thought that this was a slightly quirky pastime. I started my own blog about a year ago, and was thrilled to discover the thriving kidlitosphere. I read the blogs in this area for a sense of connectedness, and to learn of interesting things to write about on my own page. And because many of the people at the blogs I visit have become my friends, and visiting your friends is a fun and important thing to do. Someday, I hope to find a way to work in this area on a more full-time basis, but I also have a paying job, as co-founder of a software company in the semiconductor industry.

Thanks for asking! I do mostly stick with children's book-related blogs, but visit a few others, too.

Anonymous said...

I've been quietly reading the blue rose girls blog for a few months now. I'm a fan of all of your work and enjoy the changing points of view each day, from author to illustrators to editor. Keep up the good work!


Anonymous said...

Hey Libby, I am one of those readers-but-not-so-much-for-commenting people. I had you as a creative writing teacher at RISD about a million years ago, and I know almost all of these girls thru RISD, one way or another (but not Alvina!). I read mainly children's book blogs, some animation ones, and friends' ones, too. BRG is a good one because you guys manage to keep the posts changing daily, so it's always new. Not too many others can manage that.

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

I've posted before, but I'll introduce myself as well. I am a children's book illustrator, known in cyberspace as "e." Hi!

I've only recently become addicted to blogs, mostly through's Megablog.

I live in the south, and until recently, I lived in a very rural area. Trying to research the publishing industry online has been a tremendous advantage, but it's still been difficult to get the feel of New York and the people actually working in the biz. Reading blogs like yours and Cheryl Klein's has helped me understand this industry in a way I never could without moving to the heart of all the action in New York. (Maybe not even then.) It's helped me understand what happens on the publisher's side and will (I hope) make it easier to work with everybody, knowing what my responsibilities are and the expected etiquette. Blogs also help me remember people better (and their books!) as I get to know them via their blogs. In other words, it's become a valuable part of my research to understand this business better.
Elizabeth O. Dulemba

Elaine Magliaro said...

Great post, Libby!

Even though I am a contributor to Blue Rose Girls, I am a relative neophyte to the children's literature blogosphere. Grace had warned me that it was addictive. I should have listened.

As a blogger, I really appreciate the comments left by readers--and I often respond to their comments.
I try to leave comments at other blogs when I feel I have an opinion to express or something positive to contribute. I understand better now how the comments left by readers let us bloggers know that someone is reading our posts.

Anonymous said...


I come here almost every day to read your blog, and I've wanted to comment a number of times. But I must admit, because Alvina was my editor on a book that's been mentioned here before, I felt a little weird about it. Thanks for making me feel a little less weird. You guys are great--I'm constantly inspired (or made to feel less lonely) by the honesty in your posts, whether they're about the nature of creativity, the cold, hard business of children's literature, or cupcakes.
Keep up the good work, and I'll keep reading!


Anonymous said...

Hi BRGs,

i am ashamed to say that i read your blog almost every day and have never once made a comment. the cupcakes nearly brought me out of the woodwork, but then it was too hard ot pick a favorite post...

anyway, i'm not really sure how i came upon this blog - maybe someone linked to it on another discussion board or something? in any case, i got my degree in illustration a little over a year ago and read your blog to get a little window into the world of children's books where i hope to find myself someday. i went to art school after going to grad school in history and taking a couple other wrong turns, so i'm kind of a late bloomer. but i must say reading your blog gives me one more affirmation that this time i've made the right choice cause you gals sound just like me! i was cringing when i read anna's hankerchief post cause it hit WAY too close to home.

right now, to pay the rent i create animated tutorials with goofy characters and bad jokes for a genetics education website (actually, i'm a total luddite and just design all the characters and make all the illustrations - someone else animates them), and teach figure drawing and community arts courses here in pre-college and continuing ed programs in and around san francisco.

your blog is the only one i read everyday, cause i love the mix of illustrator, writer, and editor perspectives you share with all of us wanna-bes.

thanks! i'll try not to be such a lurker in the future.


Abigail Marble said...

Hi there -- I've commented before but never introduced myself properly. I think I heard about your blog through my on-line crit group (, which includes e and agy). I'm a writer-illustrator, though so far published only as an illustrator. I also work as a freelance graphic designer.

I too have become an addict, and I think it's due to the oft-mentioned 'window into the world' of people who are deeply doing this work. You all have great voices and are fun to read, and I'm amazed that you've been able to maintain your rigorous posting schedule. That's definitely part of the addiction -- you're never quite sure when a new post might go up, so you have to keep checking!

Thanks for sharing your experiences -- I am beginning to see the publishing industry less as a mysterious corporate Other, and more as a bunch of great people who love books, thanks to you.


Courtney Pippin-Mathur said...

I think I have commented twice, but since other people are making a formal intro, so shall I. (I'm such a follower) My name is Courtney and I found this blog through Meghan and Grace's blogs. I loved their work and musings and was super excited when I found this colabrative project. I am a wanna-be illustrator, I have a BFA in Fine Art and dream of a career illustrating and writing children's books. This blog gives great insight into all aspects of my dream field with personal and funny commentary that is addictive. I read this blog and many others relating to kids lit almost every day with other artist and mom blogs sprinkled every so often.

Erik Brooks said...

Ciao BRGs,

I'm a fellah author/illustrator and also a reader who is usually shy about commenting...

Odd, since the main reason that I stop by fairly often is for the sense of community that your cohort inspires.

I appreciate your writings on many levels -- and of course the general awareness that I'm not the only one who stays up way too late far too often as I try to fit creating books into my life.

Many thanks to Meghan esp. for some very humorous posts on that subject, and to everyone else for their consistantly eloquent and honest perspectives...not that Meghan and Gloria aren't equally eloquent and honest :)

Write on!


Anna Alter said...

Thanks everyone for introducing yourselves (hi Leo and Liz, long time no see!)- I'm sure the other BRG agree that its really fun learning about who is reading the blog. We hope you'll comment more, when the mood strikes- its great hearing lots of different opinions!

Anna Alter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
theartgirl said...

I am an unpublished writer. I've worked as a fine artist for over fifteen years. I'm immersing myself in all aspects of writing and blogs of those who are successful at it.

I'm currently querying agents and have my fingers crossed that one in particular will offer me representation.


Libby Koponen said...

Yes, THANK YOU! And Liz -- what a fun surprise! I remember you and something you wrote vividly. I just went to your blog and laughed out loud (that cranberry sauce!)and I am pretty sure you are the Liz I'm thinking ogf.

If you are that Liz: of, do you remember this story? You were working as a waitress (at, I THINK, the Aurora club, or maybe some fancy restaurant)and over lunch the guys were telling the plot of a play and trying to remember the author. You suggested helpfully:
and instead of thanking you, they gave you a dirty look and said something like,
"Just take the order, please, miss."

This is a misquote but I thought (and still think) the story captured what the experience perfectly....I also remember that you really liked Jane Austen (not sure how I worked HER into that class), and that you had a friend (Mark?) who did NOT like me and my bossy ways! I remember him writing "I don't care what Libby says, I'm going to...."

And hello Leo! I am a fan of yours, too.

And thank you everyone for introducing yourselves. I enjoyed meeting you all and am glad you read and like our blog. Thanks for taking the trouble to tell us.

Anonymous said...

Ha! Libby, I think you've got the wrong Liz, because that story doesn't sound remotely familiar! I do remember loving your class, though (wayyyy back in '89 or so)...I got an "A"!

Anonymous said...

Hiya, ladies! I'm eisha, one of the two bloggers at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, and also a children's librarian in the Boston area. So we have much in common! I have enjoyed reading your blog, and I'm enjoying being on the Cybils Poetry Nominating committee with Elaine. Thanks for being here!

Anonymous said...

Grace invited us over from the Blue Board (Verla Kay’s website) about the same time I got back from the LA conference. I had heard Alvina speak there. Then, when I saw the names of the Blue Rose Girls, I noticed some were illustrators that were mentioned there. After reading a few posts, I was hooked. You’ve now joined my bookmarked places to visit with my morning coffee! I mostly read, but have posted a couple of times.

I am so glad you asked us to introduce ourselves. It’s kind of a weird thing, this getting to know people online and they don’t know who is getting to know them. So here’s the scoop on someone who’s getting to know you! I live in Arizona, where I’ve lived most of my life. I am an author/illustrator of picture books. I have one book that’s making the submission rounds, one that’s very close to being sent out, and a couple on the back burner. My background is in Graphic Design and Illustration. I read this blog because it’s fascinating to hear all the behind the scenes stuff, great to hear from people I can relate to, and well, I guess I’m kind of a nosey person. So thanks for letting me snoop around.

gail maki Wilson

Anonymous said...

Hi there. Nancy here. I comment a lot but have never really introduced myself.

I am not a serious writer, sad to say, but I'm seriously interested in children's lit and have been for as long as I can remember. I did my undergrad thesis and my graduate work in this area, and once I made the leap into blogging, found my way to the kids-litosphere pretty quickly.

My blog is about children's lit, poetry and word-games and word-play, so I read beyond the blogs about children's lit. But I'd say 90% of what I read is inside the "sphere."

alvinaling said...

Hey all! I'm reading this from Taiwan (yes, couldn't resist) and it's so wonderful reading all of your introductions. I hope more people will pipe in and introduce themselves! And Leo and Jeff, I'm glad Libby's post brought you out of lurkdom.