12 X 12 Featured Author Christy Mihaly September 2018

Christy MihalyBuilding a Community, Becoming an Author

It’s an honor to be a featured author on 12 x 12. In fact, when I consider those who have posted in this space before me (all those real authors), my Author Imposter Syndrome starts acting up. You know … that fear that someone is going to discover that I’m a fraud, not a “real author.”

I have battled imposter syndrome this year because my first picture book (Hey, Hey, Hay!) just came out. That meant that for the first time, I faced the unfamiliar (and to me, terrifying) task of marketing. Since 2012, I’ve published many magazine pieces and a half-dozen books in the educational market. Though I’m proud of these, and happy to know that kids are reading my words, I never promoted these works. “Marketing” wasn’t in my job description.

As HAY’s release date approached, I was filled with dread. Ack! Promotion? Reading at bookstores? Signing books? Asking people to buy my book? And what’s this about running book-related kiddy activities at storytimes? Why hadn’t anyone told me about this before? Was this really part of an author’s job? Yikes. Clearly I was not qualified for this gig. The Author Police were going to come and take away my signing Sharpie.

Hey Hey Hay book coverWell, Hey, Hey, Hay! is out, and I’m happy to report that my panic was misplaced. I’m reading my book to kids, and they’re applauding. I’m celebrating with my writing community. It’s a ton of work, some of it outside my comfort zone, but I’m having a great time.

So … I wanted to share with you something I’ve realized. It’s this: The thing that most helped me think of myself as “an author” is that I’ve built relationships within the writing community. The community’s support is what helped me get my story out of my head and into the world—to promote it. And sharing my book with kids, in turn, has reinforced my sense that yes, I am an author.

Most 12 x 12 members already understand the importance of making connections. I was a bit of a late bloomer in this regard. So, for what it’s worth, I’m sharing some ways that I’ve found to build relationships in the world of books over the years. I hope they might inspire you to make or strengthen your own connections, regardless of your publication status.

Meet other writers, in person.

Get out and meet writers (and illustrators, especially if you’re an artist). I remember the first time I attended a writing workshop, five hours from my home. I’d been writing (alone) for several years, and now, surrounded by children’s writers, I was giddy with the camaraderie. I suddenly felt like a real writer. Today, folks I met at that first workshop are some of my best writing friends.

Then, because another writer urged me to get more involved with SCBWI, I attended a regional conference. I was overwhelmed—clearly not cut out for this. But I signed up for a second conference, this time as a volunteer. Now I felt useful. In my “panel support” post (filling the water pitchers and such), I had a reason to talk with the authors running panels; at the volunteer party I connected with others. We had so much in common—questions, ideas, complaints, inspirations. We became friends and colleagues.

Find critique partners.

I now know that critique partners are indispensable. But when Sue Heavenrich first invited me to join her critique group, I didn’t really know what that meant. Fortunately, I took the leap and joined. Five years later, our five-member crit group is going strong—exchanging manuscripts and updates monthly by e-mail—and we’ve helped one another grow as authors. During the group’s lifetime, we’ve all published books, and Sue and I have co-written one. (Diet for a Changing Climate: Food for Thought, YA nonfiction about climate change and food, will be released October 1 by Twenty-First Century Books/Lerner.)

And … I’m now in three other fabulous crit groups, too—one online for poetry, one in-person for kidlit, and another in-person for all kinds of writing. (You should, of course, choose your critique partners carefully—a topic beyond the scope of this post—but if  you haven’t joined a crit group, I recommend making it a priority.)

Meet your local booksellers.

Frequent your local bookstore. Get to know the staff. If you’re browsing picture books, ask the people there for recommendations, and share opinions. Attend author signings and other events. If you can, purchase books and ask visiting authors to sign. Your bookstore staff will recognize you as a Book Person. When you’re ready, you can tell them you’re a writer too.

After I had published a couple of work-for-hire books, I managed to introduce myself to the folks at my local indie (Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, VT) as a kids’ writer. That led to their asking me to give a talk about being a working writer for their speaker series. I overcame my Author Imposter Syndrome enough to do the talk, and enjoy it.

Then, when Hey, Hey, Hay! came out, my bookstore support team was ready. We worked together to create a pre-order campaign with giveaways, which was good for me and my book, good for the store, and good for the purchasers. Win-win-win!

Get to know your local children’s librarians.

Several years back, I had an idea for a blog post, “Tackling Tough Topics with Picture Books.” It occurred to me to ask the children’s librarians at the public library for recommendations for kids’ books about death, cancer, and other difficult subjects. That’s how I met Nicole, the children’s librarian, who was happy to help. I had been checking out tall piles of picture books and research materials on a near-weekly basis. But now I started introducing myself and getting to know the children’s library staff. Like librarians everywhere, they are knowledgeable, helpful, and supportive. And when I learned that Hey, Hey, Hay! would be published in August, I ran to the children’s desk, thrilled to share the news—and to schedule a library storytime as my launch event.

Meet a classroom of kids.

Do you have a kid or grandkid, niece, nephew, or young neighbor in elementary school? Have you talked with their class? I’m lucky to be friends with a brilliant first-grade teacher—Montpelier’s Susan Koch—who invited me to visit her classroom. I brought in my educational book, Moose, and we discussed how I wrote it, how I revised, how the book was formatted, etc. The class was studying nonfiction reading and writing, so this tied directly to their lessons.

Meeting this pack of eager readers was inspirational. Here were real kids reacting to my writing. That infectious kid enthusiasm filled me with fresh writing energy. Later, I returned to the classroom with Hey, Hey, Hay! to do my first read-aloud with Mrs. Koch’s class. They provided great feedback on how I could improve!

Writers and illustrators have much to share with teachers and kids. So seek out a classroom and make that connection. Children love hearing about the creative process, the revisions, the rejections, and the journey. And prior publication is not required.

Get to know children’s book people virtually.

Social media is great for this. The 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge connects more than a thousand people who are serious about the craft of picture book writing. It’s an amazing resource. Other internet-based groups focus on nonfiction, or marketing, or school visits, or submissions. On many blogs, book-loving people, writers, librarians, agents, and educators share opinions and pointers about writing. Children’s book people are generous with advice and support if you put yourself out there. Become part of that world! If you love a book, let the author know. When people ask for advice, why not offer suggestions and help? Make friends online. Then, at conferences and other gatherings, you can meet up with people you’re already friends with. How cool is that?

Social media can also help make friends close to home. I met fellow Vermonter Amy Huntington when I posted on Instagram about how much I liked the book Fresh-Picked Poetry. I tagged Amy, who illustrated the book (it’s written by Michelle Schaub). Amy liked my post, and we started an online conversation, then agreed to meet in person. As a result, we recently arranged a joint storytime at a farmer’s market with our farm-themed books. Double the fun!

Collaborate.

The writing community offers many chances to lighten your load by sharing it. For example, I knew I couldn’t create a blog on my own, but in 2014 when I saw a call for people to contribute to a group blog about writing for kids, I volunteered. That’s how GROG—the group blog for kidlit writers, librarians, and educators—was born. As a group of 13, we not only created a vibrant blog, we formed an online group that has provided support, information-sharing, and friendship through the ups and downs of writing and life.

Another recent example is Epic 18. Last year, Hannah Holt and other writers and illustrators anticipating 2018 debut picture books banded together. In this online forum we consult and support one another, answer questions, and sympathize through the sometimes-painful process of dealing with critical reviews, facing empty seats at book readings, vetting storytime crafts, etc. Through Epic 18, I’ve “met” picture book writers around the world. One of those is Margaret Chiu Greanias, debut author of Maximillian Villainous. In fact, Margaret and I are planning a couple of joint readings in California bookstores in October. Because along the way I’ve learned that book promotion—like so much else—is more fun when you share!

I’m sure each of you will have your own ideas for meeting people and creating supportive writing relationships. Good fortune to you, as together we continue to build this Children’s Literature community.

 

Christy Mihaly’s debut picture book, HEY, HEY, HAY!, a rhyming celebration of making hay, came out on August 14. Her nonfiction YA, DIET FOR A CHANGING CLIMATE: FOOD FOR THOUGHT, co-written with Sue Heavenrich, releases October 1. Christy has published nonfiction books in the educational market, as well as articles, stories, and poetry for children’s magazines, and she blogs about children’s literature. She writes in Vermont, under the careful supervision of her dog and cat.

One lucky 12 x 12 winner will a copy of HEY, HEY, HAY! So, go get those September drafts written!

This Post Has 185 Comments

  1. Great advice–I think you addressed most of the worries in my head. The many ways to ease into marketing a book make that a tad less scary now. Looking forward to reading Hey, Hey, Hay.

  2. This blog was great. I know what you’re talking about. It’s hard to make yourself say, “I am a writer.” We are all writers here at 12 x 12. No one should be nervous about admitting their authorship, even if they’re not published yet. I am thankful for my critique groups, both on line and in person and I love making connections at conferences and workshops.

  3. Congratulations! I checked out Hey, Hey, Hay, from my Chicago library and I loved it! Your words and the story arc and even a recipe, all make for a perfect picture book to share! Best of luck with the marketing. Sounds like you’ve got this.

  4. THANK you for this amazing post! I co stantly feel like an imposter so it’s always so nice to know I’m in such incredible company! 🙂 I appreciate all the advice and insight and can’t wait to read your new books! Congrats!!

  5. Fantastic advice! And congratulations on your debut picture book. I have it on my “to read” list and can hardly wait to read it.

  6. Great post of what happens after . . . Good marketing tips and tips for building community. Congratulations on Hey, Hey, Hay.

  7. Thank you, Christy, for sharing so many great ideas for making connections. Being a part of a community is important for me too. I’m impressed with how many different ways you’ve found to immerse yourself in the writing community and the creativity you bring to it–along with your writing creativity.

  8. Fabulous post, Chris…and I love all of your action steps for authors who have books out or are hoping to. In fact, I’m going to print out this post and tack it up near my computer to remind me of what I need to be doing. I am so proud of you and absolutely love your new book!!!

  9. Christy,
    Thanks for outlining your process for connecting and marketing in the kid lit community. I have a ways to go but with persistence I’ll get there. Thanks for shining the light on your path.

  10. Congratulations on you debut picture book. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels like an Imposter. Thanks for all your wonderful advise.

  11. So much useful information about building your network and linking in with other writers and readers! Congratulations on your new book – hope the launch goes well next month.

  12. Christy, I was so excited to see a book about the making of hay come out. I have lived and worked in rural Nova Scotia for many years and my students and their parents and grandparents have seldom see themselves or their experience featured so brilliantly in a picture book.

  13. Christy, I read your debut PB, Hey, Hey, Hay! And you’re definitely not an imposter. Thank you for your insightful and reassuring post. I’m not anywhere near the promotion stage but I’m terrified of it. I’ll be sure to keep your suggestions in mind! I’ll also look for your other books to read.

  14. Thanks for the good suggestions! We writers tend to be so darn introverted! Good reminders for us all. And I can’t wait to get “Hey, Hey, Hay”, as I teach kindergarten in a rural area with lots of hay baling going on around us! It’s perfect for here!

    1. Hi Carella, Thanks for the kind words. I hope your kindergarteners like the book. I read to some elementary students today out in Colorado ranch country, and was surprised how many kids knew what hay was but had no idea how it was made … we had fun talking about it.

  15. Wow! What a great post. Thank you for the advice, encouragement and ideas. I think I need to read this post about 100 more times! I have read Hey, Hey, Hay and really enjoyed it. I’ll be reading it to kiddos in the school library where I volunteer for sure. Congratulations and thanks again!

  16. Ha, love the Author Imposter Syndrome. Can so relate to that. But what great advice on building relationships and community. It doesn’t come naturally (at least, not to me!), so having a working list to consult as a way to change that is terrific.
    Many thanks for sharing your thoughts and congratulations on Hey, Hey, Hay!

  17. Thanks for sharing your journey of growth as a writer — and the importance of how building those connections with other writers strengthened your work, and you, at each stop along the way toward publication of your first books. Congrats on publication and thanks for the valuable insights into building a network, Christy.

  18. Congratulations, Christy! Thank you for sharing these tips and for talking about your author imposter syndrome. I know it well and look forward to the feeling less and less of it as my writing develops.

  19. Congratulations on your book and love that Joe Cepeda is your illustrator too 🙂
    I know every time I attend one of the regional conferences, I feel like such a fraud. I am getting better but locally, few people know that I write picture books. I’ve been writing and submitting for years so I’ll just wait until I have some news before I let the whole town know. I look forward to reading your book-it will be a great read for my classes!

  20. It’s reassuring to hear the goings on of another writer. Appreciate the reminder about building community at so many levels. I’ve put a hold on Hey Hey Hay at our library. Look forward to reading it. Thanks.

  21. Thank you for such a wonderful resource for making connections and marketing. And congratulations on your new book! I look forward to reading it.

  22. Great post, Christy! Thank you for giving us a look at marketing (an aspect of writing that few of us understand) and what you did to promote “Hey, Hey, Hay!”

    I live in Vermont and you had me at mentioning my favorite bookstore, Bear Pond Books… I practically lived there while a student at VC… Every semester I’d hit Bear Pond and spend most of my Pell Grant money on books, books, and more books… you can never have too many books… or cats in my opinion!

    Can’t wait to read “Hey, Hey, Hay!” Having been born in Windsor and lived all over the state I have done my share of haying. I really like that your book shows a mother/daughter team working and putting up the hay.

  23. Thanks, Christy, for sharing the ways you connected to the writing community and your audience. Marketing sounds like a big challenge but the steps you took are certainly doable. This was not only interesting, but helpful.

  24. Thanks so much for a great post, Christy! Love your concrete steps for making connections. I look forward to reading your picture book – congrats! 🙂

  25. Thank you for a great post, Christy! Love your concrete steps for making connections. I look forward to reading your picture book – congrats! 🙂

  26. Christy, thank you for reminding us that human connections are one of the crowning jewels in a writer’s treasure chest. Much luck to you. Enjoy your shared bookstore talks with Margaret. She’s a former critique partner of mine. Wishing you sales, sales and more sales.

  27. Solid advice. Congratulations on your new book! I’ve never made hay, but I’ve sure done my share of shacking it back when I worked on a horse farm in my twenties. I look forward to reading HEY, HEY, HAY!

    P.S. I had the good fortune of meeting and speaking with Sue Heavenrich this past March at my regional SCBWI conference. I learned a lot from her about writing nonfiction. Lovely lady.

  28. Christy, you are definitely not an author impostor! I share that same fear with you and your advice in this post hit home for me. Thank you so much for sharing! And congratulations!!!!!

  29. Congratulations and thank you for pointing out the ways in which to promote books, establish kidlit connections, and nurture ourselves as authors (and human beings)! I really appreciate your thorough and helpful approach to this topic!

  30. Congratulations on your book Christy! Getting out of a comfort zone is always a hard thing to do. It sounds like you have managed to take it one step at a time with an attitude of perseverance that has resulted in success and lasting friendships! Thanks for all the good ideas!

  31. What a wonderful (and somewhat soothing, I might add) post! I love the idea of doing marketing with others; that seems so much less stressful.
    I totally agree on the invaluable sentiment per critique groups.
    Congratulations on your success, Christy. May it continue!

  32. Thanks, Christy, for your wonderful encouragement of writing relationships. It is a lonely world sometimes as a writer in front of your manuscript, but a seemingly safer place to be than in front of people and putting out your book on the market place. You have given some words for thought and taken away some of the unknown.

  33. Thank you, Christy, for wonderful words of encouragement and writing relationships. It is a lonely world sometimes as a writer in front of your manuscript, but a seemingly safer place to be than in front of people and putting out your book on the market place. You have given some words for thought and taken away some of the unknown.

  34. Thanks for the excellent advice, Christy, and big congrats on your book! Making connections has been my greatest joy since joining the kidlit community. I feel lucky every day to be hanging out with such wonderful, smart, caring, and creative people!

  35. Hey, hey, Christy! You are the best for sharing your ideas for establishing relationships in the writing community. I miss the collegiality of teaching, and you showed me some ways to make writing a bit less solitary. My library does not yet have your book in its collection, so I am going to suggest that a copy (or two) is purchased. Best of luck!

  36. Christy,
    What fun to learn of all the ways you have connected with others after moving to a community and learning about farming and the hay bales. And now you have multiple support groups for writing. I am envious. I have
    had several groups of in person groups that have fizzled and about 4 online groups but they don’t last forever but I have learned so much from 12 x 12 in the 4 years I have been writing with them and the cbi clubhouse. Thanks for your insight and what you learned when sharing at bookstores, classrooms, and libraries.

  37. I don’t think I realized the value of networking with other authors until I joined 12×12 this year. Being part of a supportive community makes me feel more like an author because I’m introduced to new ideas and opportunities in the field of children’s literature every day. Thank you for all your networking/marketing tips. Great ideas! And congrats on your debut picture book!

  38. I love the range of advice here. There are so many ways to build community, and to overcome Fake Author Syndrome. Now, I just need to tackle my Fake Adult and Fake Mom Syndromes!

  39. Thanks very much. It’s nice to hear someone that isn’t a marketer managed to get out there, do it, and have some fun. Something to look forward to:)

  40. Christy, these are some wonderful words & tips to write by. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas & your writing journey. Wishing you much success with both your book babies this year!

  41. Congratulations, Christy! Thank you for sharing your journey and the fab tips 🙂 You’ve driven home some terrific points to ponder.

  42. Outstanding! I especially appreciate that so many of these activities do not depend on publication. Thanks for sharing, Christy, and congrats on the new PB!

  43. To Christy
    Congratulations on your picture book HEY! HEY HAY! Thanks for sharing your knowledge about your writing journey on how you got where you are today!
    Sincerely Bev K. Taylor

  44. Great practical advice. Thank you, Christy. Your “late blooming” was a consolation to me. I often feel my ducks are scattered everywhere and lining them up before the next step in the process seems impossible—and it probably is! Your thoughts will keep me going. Congrats on your book!!

  45. Dear Christy,

    I really enjoyed this and was nodding me head along to it all. It’s so reassuring to see that many of us have the same feelings when a first PB comes out. Best of luck with your book. I can’t stop thinking of that Sawdoctors song, ‘Bale ’em’, everytime I see the cover 😉 It makes me think of home.

    All the best,
    Evelyn

  46. Christy, these are great suggestions. This is an area I need to work on. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I feel inspired now and have a few ideas of my own! Congratulations on HEY, HEY, HAY! I can’t wait to read it.

  47. What a great post, Christy! Thanks for sharing your experience and all these awesome tip on making connections and, the scarier aspect of it all for me, marketing. I can’t wait to read your book. Congratulations!

  48. This post is just full of great advice for making connections, and it’s what I love best about the writing journey! We’re surrounded by such a warm, giving network of people who are ready to share knowledge, resources, love, and support! I’m so thankful to be a part of it all.

  49. Thanks for all the information, Christy. There’s so much to do but you make it all sound manageable – with the help of networks. Strong takeaway there.

  50. Thanks, Christy. Great advice especially for us Introverts. Congrats on Hey, Hey, Hay! I’ve requested that my library purchases a copy.

  51. Christy, you are SO right about the importance of personal connection in this industry. It is what gives true joy and meaning to the whole process! Thanks for the reminder and congrats on your book. All my best wishes to you for present and future success as an author :).

  52. Thank you, Christy. I’ve been in this business long enough to become stodgy. (Not really working for me.) Your story is inspiring me to do more reaching out. Sounds like you have found ways to make it fun, which is always the best of ideas! Thank you again for the push!!

  53. Christy –

    Thank you for telling about your fear of “Marketing”. You gave a little glimpse of what it is like so if it is ever my turn, I’ll remember you said it wasn’t as bad as you thought!

  54. Hey hey fellow Coopmate! These tips are spot-on and make this daunting task of marketing seem doable! Your story of how you have handled it connects with my own journey from imposter to beginning to be comfortable with the role. Bit by bit, entering into this world of children’s literature has become fun. The community is amazingly supportive and it’s incredible to meet, often virtually, so many talented people, and to celebrate their successes. And of course, meeting the children who will be reading your book is the best part!

  55. Great post Chris- your suggestions are so helpful and encouraging. While I’ve taken some of the steps, your post reminded me that I can always do a little more and keep building on my efforts. I’ve always utilized my public library, but just recently started building connections with librarians. Thanks!

  56. Chris,
    Thank you for showing us a healthy approach to overcoming your fears. Of course, your answer is developing one’s community and jumping in. I can see that with each new supportive relationship you became stronger and stronger, thus showing and sharing your talent much more. Thank you for sharing and thank you to all of our wonderfully supportive writing groups, formal and informal, that assist each of us on our own writing journey.

    Congratulations!

    Susan Orton

  57. What a lovely journey, not unlike so many who are a part of this remarkable community. Congratulations on the new book – it just came in on a wave of picture books from the library where there is a line of patrons waiting to read it.

  58. Great post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas. I can’t wait to get this book in my hands. Christy, I am thrilled for you. So glad I got to meet you in person a few years ago, and I hope to see you again!

  59. This is a lot of great advice. I feel imposter syndrome all the time. Despite having a published book, I have to constantly remind myself that I’m legit. You have pretty much nailed every piece of advice I use to combat it. Thanks for the reminder, and all the best to you and your book!

  60. Wow! What a great post! Great advice, especially for folks like me – the shy, quiet type. Congratulations on your new book. I look forward to reading it. Thanks for your words and encouragement.

  61. So encouraging for an introvert to read that you not only leapt out of your comfort zone, but you’re enjoying it. A lot of great tips. Thank you!!

  62. Most days I fight the ‘imposter’ syndrome.
    Christy, you have re-reminded me that I need to get out there and collaborate with like-minded people.
    Wish me luck.
    And good luck and hard work to each of y’all 12 x 12 ers.

  63. I enjoyed this post. I love Bear Pond Books in Montpelier. And Bridgeside Books in Waterbury. And Ebenezer books in Johnson. What a great community from which to launch your ideas! I

  64. Thanks for the great advice. The kidlit community is so supportive. It’s one of my favorite things about this new adventure I have embarked on.

  65. Congratulations Christy! What a clever title and concept for a PB! Thank you for your insight and practical advice.

  66. Christy, congratulations on your first picture book. I can’t wait to read HEY, HEY, HAY. I love your advice about teaming up for book readings, double the fun. I can’t wait to be a real author like you, instead of a pre-published imposter.

  67. Imposter syndrome? Love what you are saying Christy and also the way you did things like the group blog. Lovely to listen to your story. Thank you 🙂 Pauline

  68. Christy,
    I started out thinking my head’s in the same place as yours…the imposter syndrome, all the fears, the introvert… but boy, did you ever dispel all those! Over a relatively short period of time you came out of your shell, became the extrovert with gobs of wonderful ideas of what a “real” author can and does do! Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.

  69. So many great tips here! Congrats, Chris! You are one of the Epic 18! It’s terrific how you’ve built your community. We all feel a bit less lonely when we know others are going through similar struggles. Thank you!

  70. Congratulations on your book debut! Such great news that you are now doing all those tough author things and adding such tremendous benefit to your community.

  71. Thank you for sharing your fears of marketing and how you overcame them! It was a lovely, personal post, and it’s so inspiring to see you doing it out there, despite your anxiety about it! Best of luck with Hey,Hey,Hay and I look forward to reading it!

  72. Congratulations on your book, and thank you for the comprehensive list of kidlit support – especially the booksellers! It is an amazing community.

  73. Loved your book! Thank you for the frank discussion on “feeling like a real writer” and making connections in the writers’ community. Congratulations on this book and I wish you a much more success in your writing career.

  74. Thank you for this wonderful posts. I completely agree, becoming involved with the kidlit community is one of the best things I’ve done. Connecting with others who share the same passion as you is so important. Huge congratulations on the release of Hey, Hey, Hay!

  75. I can’t wait to read Hey, Hey, Hay! Thank you for this post and encouraging us all with your relatable stories and finding the fun in the things that fall under the job title, Author, but are outside some of our comfort zones.

  76. Thank you for sharing all the ways you’ve connected with the kidlit writing community. It is such an important part of the creative and promotional aspects of this industry. I love how you said the kids gave you pointers after your first read-aloud! I’m sure I’ll need some pointers, too, when that day comes!

  77. What a joy to see you in your community of writers and readers! It is so true — face-to-face real relationships are what life and success are really about. Thank you and good luck!

  78. Christy, coming from a farming background and still living in a farming community, I love this book for young kids!! Clever title!! Thanks for all the tips and information to help all of us on the writing journey.
    Continued success and keep spreading your magic!
    Lucy

  79. Christy,
    Congratulations on your picture book–the first of many to come! I really appreciated your recommendations for how new writers can join the kidlit writing/publishing community in small steps. When people are so busy and writing in small fragments of time–and then trying to figure out the submission process and read all the advice out there–it can be hard to figure out what to do next. Your post gave me a great idea for a next step. Thanks!

  80. Such great insights. Thank you for sharing. It can be hard for an introvert to get out there, but you’re right – it’s so important. I’m really impressed with how you developed relationships in all those different areas. I think you were perhaps more prepared for the marketing part of being an author than you realized. Very inspiring. Thanks.

  81. Thank you very much for sharing your journey. Have also learned this year the importance of socializing with like people and the importance of a good critique group. Have done school visits as an illustrator, and taught an after school literacy program for grades 3-5.

  82. Thank you for such a positive narrative about the motivation and support you have received from the kid lit community. Congratulations on your book and the collaboration on the upcoming book with Sue Heavenrich( a cousin of mine thru marriage!). Your suggestions about ways to be connected to the world of writers and how that builds on itself is so instructive and inspiring. Best to you and thank you!

  83. Christy, thanks for such a useful and informative post! I appreciate all of your suggestions and personal “behind the scenes” truths! When I joined 12×12, I tried to get people to follow each other on Twitter for the same reason–I love the idea of bonding together in our community and mutually supporting each other. Congrats on all of your success–two books!! Wow!! Can’t wait to read them both:)

  84. Christy,
    I have imposter syndrome too. Thank you for the discussions on how to conquer it and have fun. I’m realizing the importance of all the relationships needed to be a good writer. Your book is timely and very much needed. I cannot wait to read it.

  85. So many great suggestions! My mom is a retired third grade teacher. Her students loved critiquing my latest manuscripts. Children are so honest and they love getting to help mold the story being shared. While I’ve been a member of SCBWI since 2014, I never attended conferences until this year (I’m attending a total of four!). Meeting fellow writers is such an uplifting experience. It can be lonely in the writing realm and having a strong community to belong to is beyond helpful. Thank you for the wonderful tips!

  86. I appreciate your emphasis on community and building relationships that encourage and celebrate writing – and reading! I took my three daughters to a new book store this week, and we so enjoyed implementing your advice by getting to know the employees there. We had a charming experience and made a new friend 🙂

  87. This is so encouraging! I’m probably like many writers–an introvert–and the idea of making so many connections is a bit overwhelming. But I know I’ve taken big steps by being in 12×12 and joining an online critique group, and later this month I’ll be attending my first agent/editor day through my SCBWI chapter. It’s great to be reminded that these are all valuable parts of the process.

  88. Thank you, Christy for such an inspiring post. I also struggle with promoting my books. You are so right that it is important to make connections with other authors, local bookstores, and others in your community.

  89. Christy,

    Such good advice and knowing the areas we can connect to others in the kidlit world is great. I also have found that kidlit authors give their time and advice for those who are prepublished. Best of luck with your debut.

  90. Excellent advice. Some of these I’m excited to say I’ve been working on…others I clearly need to put more energy into. Thank you for sharing your insight and leading us in the right direction!

  91. I totally feel you on the marketing aspects, but I too am getting more comfortable with it and I think the ideas you offered are solid.

  92. Thanks, Christy, for all your advice. I agree that making connections and having the support of a writing community is so important. Congrats on your debut picture book!!

  93. Christy, Thank you for sharing so many ways to connect with other authors and with your readers. I know I will refer back to this post to get encouragement. It was special hearing about how you encouraged the students to give you feedback. I loved seeing the joy in your eyes and in the eyes of the children, too!
    Congratulations for your successes in getting several books published but most of all for being willing to share from your heart with others in your critique groups and in this post.
    Thanks,
    Brenda

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