Wednesday, October 27, 2010

what should we talk about?

So as you can see (and as Alvina said) we've freshened up here at the Blue Rose Girl blog. As we head into the next decade and our 5th(!) year, we thought we could use a little enlivening. Thank you so much, our faithful readers that have made this blog what it is and helped us keep our conversations going.

One of the reasons we started this blog was to talk to each other, but we want to talk to you too! So one of the new features we are planning are our Blue Rose Girl Conversations. Once a month, we'll tackle and talk about kidlit topics that are causing our brains to work in overdrive--kind of like "Hot Topics" on the View!

But we need your help! What do YOU want us to talk about?

We're open to any and all suggestions! You can go deeper than the usual "how do you promote your books" (though we're happy to talk about that, too)-- you can also suggest the real nitty gritty like "what are the ethics of authors reviewing other books?" to "have you ever thought of leaving the industry?" Everything will be considered! Combined, we have over ten years of struggles, triumphs, failures and successes to talk about, as well as the issues we face everyday. So, what do you want to hear about?

Don't worry, besides our thanks, we are giving away a big thank-you gift! To a commenter (chosen at random) we'll send you a collection of our books (one from each BRG) and some delicious, homemade cookies (made by moi!)

(these aren't the actual cookies I will send you, I promise they will be fresh and extremely yummy)

All YOU have to do is leave a comment that tells us:

1. what you want us to talk about
2. your occupation/why you read our blog (teacher, author, etc)

Comment & make as many suggestions as you want.
Winner announced on Wednesday, November 10th--so get going!

Many thanks for being a Blue Rose Girl Reader, from all of us!


Anonymous said...

Yes! First one!

I work as a library assistant for a children's library in Texas. I pass on your posts to the staff all the time! The last one was the post on analyzing artwork which we enjoyed.

I love reading picture books (obviously) and I would love to know more about your work process. How does promoting early literacy come into play during the nascent writing and illustrating period?


Anonymous said...

Love the new look! I've been a long time fan of BRG!

1. I love to hear about the process - from creating to waiting (to hear from agent/editor) to the sale and so on. The good, the bad, the ugly. I find all of it inspirational!

2. I'm a children's writer. :)


Unknown said...

1. Something my crit group and I were talking about last night was the fine line between a picturebook with spare text vs one that gets labeled as "slight". I love books like "Shark vs. Train" published by Little Brown or "Show Dog" by Megan McCarthy. What is y'all's take on the fine line of spare vs. slight when it comes to picturebooks? How do you indicate action that occurs in wordless panels in a manuscript? Should you indicate it or just show it in the dummy?

2. Lauren j. Patton - Author/Illustrator I read your blog for insights into the publishing industry from both sides of the editorial desk. Blue Rose Girls is the best blog arround.

Also I like Cookies. :D

Samantha Rowan said...

1) I'm working on a YA novel. It's a story about a girl who applies what she learned from Little Women to her modern life. I'm interested in how you have updated these kind of timeless lessons for modern readers.

2) By day I'm a journalist. At night and on weekends I'm an aspiring author.

jpetroroy said...

I'd love to hear about the entire process of publishing a book, from the inspiration to the writer's block to the copyedits and publication.

I'm a recent graduate of a library science program who's desperately seeking a job as a librarian. And a YA/MG book blogger.

Julie Hedlund said...

One thing that I am very interested in is how to fund research, and I don't mean just for nonfiction writers. Almost every work requires research. Sometimes, it can all be done in a library or online, but what about when it can't?

I've read blogs about authors who discuss their research process - visiting places, people, etc. Who pays for this? Does the writer pay for it him/herself and then hope to get it back out of book sales, or do publishers help front some of it? This aspect of publishing has always stumped me and because I have some ideas that would require more research than others, I'm curious.

Thanks for the opportunity to submit ideas!

Julie Hedlund said...

One thing I'm very curious about is how research on children's books gets conducted/funded. I often read about authors who talk about places they visited, events they attended or people the met with and interviewed during the research process.

Almost all books require some kind of research, and not all of it can be done at the local library or online. So where does the money come from to fund the research. Does the writer front it in hopes of getting it back from book sales? Does the publisher help front it? Does it vary? Does it make a difference if the project is fiction or nonfiction (sometimes fiction requires almost as much research as nonfiction these days).

As a writer with ideas that would require more extensive research (but as yet unpublished and without an agent), I'm uncertain how to proceed.

Thanks for the opportunity to give you our ideas!

Julie Hedlund said...

oops - sorry my idea came through two times. I thought I'd lost the first one so I re-wrote it. *blushes*

Abigail said...

Hot topics I'm interested in -- well, I love process posts, so "breaking through creative barrier" discussions might be of interest. Also, the fearful specter of the looming digital age always seems to get everyone going...though I tend to stick my head in the sand a bit about that one.

I'm a published illustrator and an aspiring writer/illustrator. I've been a BRG reader since day one!

Kristi Valiant said...

1. Hot topic - How important do you think it is for picture book authors and illustrators to be aware of the digital picture book potential and to study up on the newest technology?

2. I'm a published illustrator currently working on my own dummies. Love your blog for inspiration - especially the ingenious and creative elements that go into Grace's book release parties!

Jennie said...

1. I like silly conversations that offer snippets into your lives. Questions like-- what's the worst job you ever had or what would you do if you couldn't do what you currently do.

You guys (especially Grace and Alvina) talk about food a lot (and are bribing us with cookies! COOKIES!) I actually really like the food posts. MORE FOOD! (With recipes?)

2. I'm a children's librarian and book lover and blogger.

Nikki Shannon Smith said...

I'm interested in hearing about how you go about submitting your next work to your editor, and anything else that pertains to getting your next work out there.

I am a teacher, SCBWI volunteer, and in Fall 2011, a published author. (YAY!) I am fulllll of questions. I read this blog because I love the combination of professional insight and fun personal posts.

Alicia PadrĂ³n said...

One of the things I like the most about your blog is the fact that you all work in the children's book field but in different parts of it. It's refreshing to read posts from different views as an illustrator, editor, librarian or author all together in one place.

I think your posts have been great so far! Here are just a few ideas.

Maybe you can do a week where you all talk about the favorite book that you've worked on. We could all learn from your experience as to why that one book was special among others. Maybe it was the book itself, or perhaps it was the great relationship you have with an editor, Art Director etc..

Another thing you could talk about is "A day in the life of" just describing your typical day so people get an idea of what it is really like to be a children's book author, illustrator, etc..

You could also discuss things like If you could change things about this industry, what would them be and why?

Or talk about the digital age and how it could affect children's books. If you see benefits or disadvantages all coming from your different points of views.

I think any topic that explains what goes behind closed doors is usually exciting for people to read.

Congrats on your 5th year!

Alicia (IIllustrator)

Jeni said...

I am an editor of nonfiction, a freelance children's writer, and an aspiring children's book author who found your blog via LiveJournal posts and Twitter. My question is, have you ever had a time when you've had to push past the fear of failure to get through the first draft of a novel (perhaps it wasn't your first novel -- perhaps fear hit you as you worked on your third or fourth instead)? What did you do to get past the fear and enjoy the process again?

Courtney Pippin-Mathur said...

I love the process posts, it's so interesting to hear and see all of the steps it takes to get to a finished work. On my desk posts, day in the life of, these are great too! Maybe you could all tackle one burning topic every week, have a blue girls round table discussion on agents, digital publishing, stories of how you got started, etc. Keep up the great work!

Aspiring illustrator, writer/illustrator

Anonymous said...

Love your blog. I read it every time something new is posted. I have an author question: Do you pick the titles of your books or do the publishers? I recently had a conversation about an author who did not choose the title for her book-the publisher did. Just wondered if this is regular practice or unusual. Keep up the good work! I appreciate all the information.

Librarian in Ohio

Anonymous said...

I, too, would like to hear about the process of publishing a book from start to finish.

I'm an aspiring author, aspiring gardener, aspiring cook, but mostly just love books and enjoy the cornucopia (jeeze, I must be ready for Thanksgiving already!) of perspectives on this blog.

Tiffany Ann Laufer said...

Go Blue Rose Girls, POW!

I would love to hear more about Middle Grade Readers. I have dabbled in picture books and find I have more to say and thought the Middle Grade reader might be the place.

I work in film and have one picture book out. I studied art in college and have loved getting back in touch with art and storytelling.

Thank you for such a great blog. Looking forward to reading more of it. All the best!

posse said...

I love how different all of you are from one another. I think this is what makes your blog exceptional. Each day the reader gets another taste.

In lieu of making "suggestions", I'd like to mention some of your posts that have stayed with me:

Grace, I love when you talk about your feelings. Your most recent post "She Took Trouble" is one of my new favorites.
Meghan, I remember the controversial post where you discussed the importance of talent. Intriguing!
Libby, I really enjoyed "Wilbur, Olivia...Naming Characters".
Alvina, you wrote a post called "How I Edit" that was interesting and very helpful.
Anna, I adore the picture you took of the tree stump.
And Elaine, I love love love each and every poem you share with us.

Blue Rose Girls, please keep doing exactly what you have been doing!

posse said...

I almost forgot #2. I am a teacher and a writer.

Jennifer Bao Yu "Precious Jade" Jue-Steuck said...

I just love reading about your (ongoing) creative process. Your new blog look is engaging and inspiring! Fabulous.
Jennifer (SCBWI member & author)
"One World"

Jennifer Bao Yu "Precious Jade" Jue-Steuck said...

p.s. LOVE your group pics!
Jennifer (SCBWI member & author)
"One World"

Martha said...

I'd like to hear more about how you edit/revise as writers. I am fascinated by Anna's posts about her art in process, but I'm curious about the revision process of the writers. How do passages, chapters, books change as they go through the revision process. (Is it possible to share a paragraph that has changed and how and why?)

I am a mother of a 2nd grader and college English professor (with no aspirations for writing children's books of my own). I read BRG as a way of learning about good books (including poetry -- thanks, Elaine) for my daughter -- and for me.

Fourth musketeer said...

I love how you shared with us picking out Grace's dress for the Newbery banquet! It made me feel like I was there celebrating with you. I'd love to hear more about how authors and bloggers can work together to promote great children's books.

I'm a library science student, blogger (at and would-be children's librarian.

Anonymous said...

I would love to talk more about how children respond to different books. We are all aware that some of the big awards go to books that-in reality- few kids enjoy. The writer's job (in my opinion) shouldn't be to pander to her audience, but I know of a lot of people who don't buy what we would classify as "great books" for their bookstore shelves or libraries because they know that they will not sell or circ. Do you feel these pressures?

I am a school librarian by week & children's public librarian by weekend.

Vicki said...

I will do anything for cookies!

I teach classes in children's book illustration, so I'd love to hear from the illustrators- are there certain "rules" you keep in mind while composing your pictures, thinking about color, etc? How did you go about building your portfolio in the first place- did you take classes, give yourselves "assignments" and deadlines? Any projects or words of wisdom that really made things click for you as authors/illustrators?

Thanks so much for the wisdom consistently shared on this blog! I always refer students to this site to learn more about the biz.

Kimmyv said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kimmyv said...

As a children's writer, I love this blog because it gives me a way to connect to others in the writing world. I like that the site has both writer and editors on board because it offers a nice balance. If there were ever going to be a show called “America’s Got Writing Talent,” you would make great panel judges! ☺

As for added interest, I’m always interested in how other writers form ideas, map out their first chapters, and organize their research. I’d also enjoy hearing about both writer’s and editor’s favorite reference books, software programs, blogs, you name it!

Thanks for asking and offering cookies- Yummy! I’m excited to keep popping into the site and seeing what’s new.