May 06, 2019
Moving On and Holding On: Writing Picture Books as Therapy
Is it just me or is closure overrated and nearly impossible to achieve? It sometimes feels like the more you try to shut out painful experiences, the more they wave their hands around and yell, “Look ...
April 03, 2019
Small Victories: How to Keep Writing When the Odds Seem Stacked Against You
Everyone thinks that once you get a book deal it’s all sunshine and rainbows: a beautiful book, great reviews, book launches! … But it’s not. Getting published often introduces you to a host of ...
March 11, 2019
Writing and illustrating children’s books: All the surprises
The process of writing, illustrating and publishing a children’s book can be filled with surprises—good and bad! For example, I’m always surprised by how much my heart explodes when a friend sends ...
February 05, 2019
Who I Think About When I Write … It’s Probably You: A List of Questions to Ask Yourself About Audience as You Write
I find it really challenging to write a picture book without imagining its audience. In whose hands will the finished book end up? What will make them pick it up? Will they find my story satisfying? To ...
December 17, 2018
"I Learned That Writing Could Be Hilarious" Naseem Hrab on the Books that Shaped Her Writing Life
Acclaimed picture book author (and beloved Open Book columnist!) Naseem Hrab knows a thing or two about friendship, and she captures that magic in her Ira Crumb series, the newest instalment of which ...
November 22, 2018
Calling All Aspiring Authors: Never Ask an Illustrator to Illustrate Your Picture Book for Free
A few weeks ago, I was in a local tavern with some friends—a few of them are professional illustrators. They were drinking overpriced mocktails and commiserating about the emails they get from aspiring ...
October 23, 2018
Bad Reviews and Broken Hearts: How to Deal with All the Feelings
First: Spend several years working on you—I mean, a manuscript. Revise each draft based on feedback from your therapist—I mean, editor. Get Tinder—I mean, get publishing deal. Agonize over each ...
October 01, 2018
Why Does It Take So Long to Make a Picture Book?: Or, How To Get Really Good at Waiting
I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t prepared for all the waiting I’d have to do in life. And when it comes to writing, you do a lot of waiting. Waiting for inspiration to strike. Realizing that ...
August 27, 2018
An Open Letter to the Stranger Who Asked Me, “How Did You Write That Book for Children If You Don't Have Children?”
Dear Stranger,I realize that writing a book is kind of a self-important undertaking. When I write, I sometimes imagine that there are people out there who might actually enjoy reading my words and letting ...
July 25, 2018
How to Make $3000 a Month Writing Children’s Books: A Case for Day Jobs
When I was a teen, I thought that every children’s author got to sit at home alone and undisturbed, joyfully tapping away at a computer all day and night. Before I went off to university, I learned ...