Friends Don’t Let Friends Write Alone

by Heather Kelly, Founder, The Writers’ Loft

THERE’S A TON OF WRITING ADVICE out there. In fact, I feel fairly confident that you can go and Google whatever information you need to get your writing career to the next level.
Heather KellyBut is that enough? Is information in a vacuum what you truly need?

The truth, for me, is that even with all the information in all the writing books in the world (I’ve read a ton) and all the webinars on writing and marketing online (there’s some stellar stuff out there), I wouldn’t survive the writing and publication industry by myself.

I need community. I think you might, too.

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Stealing the Cat: How My Theft Led Me to The Writers’ Loft

by Lisa Rogers

MY CONNECTION TO THE WRITERS’ LOFT began when I stole Heather Kelly’s cat.

I didn’t intentionally commit a crime: my husband, daughter, and I were on our daily hour-and-a-half walk with Tucker, our 90-lb. Treeing Walker Coonhound. After our Dalmatian nearly had his ears cut off by a cat crouched in some bushes, we’d been wary of letting this dog nose his way into shrubs. So when Tucker’s sniffer started eye-deep into a patch of greenery near a baseball field, we pulled him back.

What was in there turned out to be Heather’s cat, Jelly.

I’m allergic to cats, but my daughter isn’t, and she reached in and snatched up a beautiful calico female. We figured she was lost, so we took her home and safeguarded her in Tucker’s never-used crate.

Days later, I connected with Heather, and she claimed Jelly as her own.

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Anticipating My First SCBWI Conference

Eager but anxious, this first-timer will rely on The Writers’ Loft light-blue lanyards to find family.

by Cathy Stenquist

I WAS NOT OFF TO a good start. I had forgotten to scribble the SCBWI conference registration date on my calendar and to pre-read the course guide. I quickly ran downstairs to the computer, sure that it was too late. Missing the sign-up meant I’d need to wait till next year; but on the other hand, I could save some money I really didn’t have. That honestly didn’t sound so bad.

Then I had a second thought…I had worked hard over the past couple of years to learn about the craft of writing picture books. I knew deep down that I should go, that I was ready to go. Continue reading

Book Clubs—Not Just for Adults or Bookworms! A 7-Year Kids’ Book Club Veteran Shares Her Best Tips

by Wendy M. McDonald

IN 2010, AS MY DAUGHTERS finished first grade, I realized there was a huge difference in their reading abilities. Hermione was a voracious, confident reader, but Luna clung to Picture1.pngher step-one readers. Witnessing her twin zip through the Geronimo Stilton series and anything else she could find, Luna felt jealous and more than a little hopeless. She had
a collection of books she wanted to read, but was too afraid to try. The letters were too tiny. There were few—or no—illustrations. The long blocks of text may as well have been Mt. Everest.

I decided that not being able to read at grade level—yet—was no reason for Luna not to enjoy the stories that interested her. I would read to her, and she could read ahead whenever she wanted. But wouldn’t it be even better if a bunch of Luna’s friends read (or heard) the same book and I got the kids together to talk about it, just like a regular book club?

If you’d like to start your own kids’ or teens’ book club, I offer these tips based on what I’ve learned during my seven years leading a successful group. Continue reading

“Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon: A Discussion Guide For Writers

Everything Everything.pngDiscussion questions prepared by Kelly Carey

IN NICOLA YOON’S YA NOVEL Everything, Everything, a teenage girl is trapped in her sterile room by a rare disease that makes her allergic to the world outside. Writers can use Yoon’s novel as a mentor text for exploring the use of I-messaging as dialogue, evaluating the characteristics that move a novel from MG to YA, and examining how character, plot, and pacing create tension.

Use the discussion questions on your own or with a book group to investigate Everything, Everything. As you consider each question, take note of how your own manuscripts apply Yoon’s methods.

These discussion questions were inspired by the KidLit Book Club meeting at The Writers’ Loft. We’d love to have you join us. Check out the Loft calendar to find out about our next meeting!

Discussion Questions:
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Before You Do Anything Else … Know Your Marketing Goals

by Allison Pottern Hoch

WRITING OR ILLUSTRATING A BOOK can seem easy compared to marketing, because marketing involves talking to other people. About your book! And yourself! Pure agony for us bookish introverts. Allison Pottern Hoch.jpgBut listen, I have good news. Marketing can also be fun. Once you start to crack the code on how to market, it becomes a creative endeavor, the same as writing or making art.

When I coordinated author events for an indie bookstore, I interacted on a weekly basis with authors who were nervous and overwhelmed by the prospect of hosting a book event. I’ll tell you the same thing I told them: The secret to great marketing is preparation. Making sure you’re prepared for your events and marketing outreach ensures that you have less work to do in the long run—and that you’ll have greater success.

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