Quick correction! Steve Malk of Writers House's
talk is actually titled How To Make The Most of Your Picture Book Career in Today's Market: Writing, Revising, Submitting, Promoting, and Everything in Between.
Steve has a couple of big
Questions Steve gets asked on a daily basis: Is the picture
book market okay? Can I have a viable career as a picture book maker? Is it okay to drink apple cider vinegar?
Steve says the answer to all of the above is a resounding YES.
"If I call 15 editors tomorrow and tell them I have the next
great picture book, they’re not going to say no thanks, they’re going to be
chomping at the bit to see it."
But the above market worries, those are all beside the point, says Steve, this is all about passion.
"You must feel compelled to create children's books, it’s not a passing fancy
for you, you’re not doing it to make some quick cash."
Steve says making books that will impact and shape the rest of a
child’s life is a big responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Steve is
getting fired up now, and asks the audience to give him an AMEN.
We do! He moves on to his next slide:
The L Word
Steve's talking about LUCK. No one knows, it’s impossible to
know, which picture books are going to sell and be great successes, and which
ones are going to plop like the things that cats leave in litter boxes.
You can’t control luck, so don’t focus on that, says Steve, make your
own luck by working hard, being patient, and working straight from the heart.
Raise the bar on yourself, says Steve. And rock your OWN
world, I’m sure he would add.
SLOW DOWN, says Steve, follow Cynthia Rylant’s advice of
making every word sing, and Marla Frazee’s practice of making a dummy over and
over again until it is perfect.
I'll leave you with one final Malkism: "Control your work, don’t let the work control you." This is
especially important for ventriloquist dummies and exorcists to remember, too.