This is the blog home of #kidlitart, a live Twitter chat Thursdays at 9:00 pm Eastern, for children's book illustrators, picture book authors, author/illustrators and friends. Check back weekly to read transcripts, comment on previous chats and suggest topics for upcoming chats.

Monday, December 20, 2010

We have a twibbon!

You may have heard: #kidlitart is sponsoring a dummy challenge to celebrate our first anniversary (a year already!).

Thanks to the lovely and talented @DiandraMae, the Great Dummy Challenge has an official twibbon! . . . cool, huh? Get yours here: https://twibbon.com/join/PBdummy-Challenge-2

We've also taken the hashtag out for a test spin: #PBdummy will be the place to post comments on Twitter during the challenge.

The planning and scheduling is still being finalized, so be sure to add your comments/questions here, or DM us (@BonnieAdamson; @WendymartinArt).

We're looking forward to kicking things off January 6--see you then! In the meantime, watch this space for updates.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Transcript 12/16/10

TOPIC: Are holiday-themed promotions effective?

Points worth mentioning:

The big winter holidays are probably more a time to connect with and show appreciation for the people you work with: a card or small gift works well, depending on the closeness of the relationship.

As a creative marketing tool, try sending promos themed to another holiday: April Fool's; St. Patrick's Day; National Cupcake Day--riffs on any of these can give your promo a hook to make it stand out from the crowd.

Regarding manuscripts and/or dummies, don't forget that publishers are always looking for holiday tie-ins; it might be smart to have one or two in your portfolio.

Speaking of dummies, the last half of the chat was taken over with discussion of the Great Kidlit Dummy Challenge, set to kick off January 6 . . and somehow, that morphed into a general food-themed free-for-all. :-D

Programming note: Kidlitart is taking a holiday hiatus, and will return January 6. Stay tuned to Twitter and to this site for updates between now and then.

Wendy and I wish all of our kidlitart friends the very happiest of holidays!

Full chat transcript below--enjoy with the beverage of your choice:

#kidlitart 12-16-10

Friday, December 10, 2010

Transcript: 12/9/10; Guest Jannie Ho

TOPIC: Update the outdated. Website questions? Ask @JannieHo.

Apologies to our guest, super illustrator Jannie Ho--the conversation last night was impossible to shape into a more reader-friendly Q&A; we've provided a list of highlights instead.

Please check out Jannie's website, the awesomeness of which was the inspiration for the chat.

Note: Jannie recently updated to a Wordpress site, using the Headway premium theme.
Alert chatters provided a link to a purchase promo currently running for Headway theme packages; and suggest a Twitter source for Headway support at #headwaywp.

Advice/suggestions/comments regarding illustrator websites:

1) Keep the site as simple as possible: it's not necessary (and possibly frustrating to busy ADS) to add animations, etc.

2) Consider opening directly onto a gallery page--the fewer clicks to get to your art, the better. However, opening with your blog might move you higher in search engines.

3) Provide your name and contact information on EVERY page; if an AD prints samples from your site (and some do), your name should be on them.

4) STOP USING FLASH: makes sites slow to load, hard to bookmark; not SEO-friendly; doesn't work on iPhone/iPad; ADs may be unable to download images.

5) make sure your site is mobile-compatible, as many ADs report surfing for talent from smart phones.

6) ADs repotedly like thumbnail organization; thumbs should be shrunk from originals, however, not cropped into obscurity.

7) Opinions divided on wisdom/effectiveness of providing pdf portfolio on website. Pro: handy for ADs to print samples for prospective clients; Con: makes it easier to steal images. Chatters point out that there are ways to add security, but NO image on a website is ever totally safe.

8)Questions raised in regard to performance of Wordpress in controlling SEO for images. Some use the NextGEN gallery plug-in or Flickr to display images.

9)Choices for monitoring visits to your site: StatCounter; Google Analytics; or statistics provided by The Authors Guild Web Services

10) If you have an established blog, consider exporting content to new web site, or placing a link to the existing blog on your site.

11) Edit content on your new blog: get rid of old, outdated work; keep it fresh.

12) Don't include styles in which you do not want to work.

Thanks to all for your insight! Full transcript below:

#kidlitart 12-9-10

Friday, December 3, 2010

Dummy Challenge

Hello, kidlitart-ers!

In addition to the traditional avenues of promoting our work with postcard mailings, online portfolios and sample submissions, many of us have original picture book ideas we'd like to develop. The notion of combining our art and writing talents received support recently from this post, which suggests that the picture book market is uniquely receptive to the author/illustrator. And several of us got an extra boost by participating in Tara Lazar's PiBoIdmo challenge last month. Add all this to the fact that #kidlitart's first anniversary (!) is coming up January 6th, and we've got a great reason to celebrate with our very own kidlitart picture book dummy challenge!

This is all still in the discussion phase--which is where we need your help. Here are the ideas so far:

1) host an online challenge, either here at the kidlitart blog or elsewhere, that would include a schedule of checkpoints to creating a finished dummy and a mechanism for posting your progress (not the work, just a comment on where you are in the process).

2) create a hashtag for keeping up with/encouraging each other via Twitter

3) establish a closed blog or Flickr account for participants who wish to disuss specific ideas or post work in progress for critique (this would be voluntary--you would not have to post work to participate in the challenge)

4) the challenge would be open to everyone: non-illustrator friends are welcome to join in (making a dummy is a great exercise for polishing any picture book manuscript)

5) the challenge would begin after the first of the year--kickoff January 6th--and run through May or June.

6) At each stage, the host site would post reference material for participants: links to online resources; pdf downloads of storyboard templates, etc.

7) the goal for illustrators would be to have a finished dummy ready to submit as part of an author/illustrator package. In other words, no prizes other than the satisfaction of accomplishing an objective.

Obviously, there are still lots of details to work out. If you're interested, we need your feedback to make this work! Please use the comment field below for questions, concerns and suggestions, or just to let us know you're interested. We won't hold you to it, but it will help in the planning if we have some idea of how many might be participating.

Thanks to all for your input so far, and for your support of #kidlitart every week: the energy and enthusiasm is wonderful!

Transcript: 12/2/10

TOPIC: Does anyone know what you do? How do you promote yourself OUTSIDE the book/art community?

Note: This chat morphed into a discussion of a possible kidlitart-sponsored online challenge to create picture book dummies. Please see Dummy Challenge post for details.

#kidlitart 12-2-10