Tara Lazar is a children’s book author, mother, foodie and founder of Picture Book Idea Month (a.k.a. "PiBoIdMo"). Her first picture book, The Monstore, will be published by Aladdin/Simon & Schuster in 2013. Tara is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Find out more about Tara at her blog: http://taralazar.wordpress.com/
And stay tuned for PiBoIdMo 2011 this November!
What inspired you to start PiBoIdMo?
I got active in the online kidlit community in November of 2007. I learned about NaNoWriMo immediately--EVERYONE was chatting about it. I was jealous of novel writers having all the fun, so the following November I decided I would do something to inspire me as a picture book writer. I'd created one new picture book concept a day. I didn't make it through the whole month, though. I finished with 22 ideas, but one of them was for THE MONSTORE, my upcoming book with Aladdin/Simon & Schuster.
How many years have you run PiBoIdMo?
PiBoIdMo 2008 wasn't official, it was just me and a few local writing friends. I ran PiBoIdMo on my blog for the first time in November 2009. This past November was the 2nd year for the blog-based event.
How successful has it been?
The first year I ran PiBoIdMo, I didn't have a sign-up period, so I don't know how many people participated, but a little over 100 signed the pledge at the end, confirming they had at least 30 ideas. My website received 15,000 hits during November 2009, which, at the time, was the most active month the site ever had.
For PiBoIdmO 2010, there was a sign-up period which logged 404 particpants, with 201 completing the challenge. Web hits soared to 30,000 for the month and my blog was ranked in the top 100 book blogs by Technorati, making it as high as #10. I was blown away by the enthusiasm of the participators! Many blogged their daily progress. Megan K. Bickel, for instance, put her own spin on PiBoIdMo by creating ideas in alphabetical order.
And PiBoIdMo has netted others contracts and awards. Corey Rosen Schwartz came up with the idea for GOLDI ROCKS AND THE THREE BEARS during PiBoIdMo 2009, which was bought by Putnam in 2010. Diana Murray wrote a manuscript from a PiBoIdMo idea which won the SCBWI Barbara Karlin Grant. Those are the two PiBoIdMo success stories I know of, and I'm sure there's more to come! I hope people will contact me with their good news.
Have you enjoyed running it?
It's been a blast running it, but also a lot of work. The first year, I decided to do a daily post after I had already recruited guest bloggers. There were 15 guest bloggers, which meant I had to write 15 posts on my own. That was a bit much, so in 2010 I decided to schedule more guest bloggers. The response was surprising--there were more volunteers than days in November! So some of the guest spots rolled into early December. I had so much fun putting the posts together; I felt privileged to read all the great advice before anyone else.
Next year I might need a PiBoIdMo assistant! So many people volunteered prizes that I'm still doling them out in January!