Three Questions For Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Welcome to Inkygirl: Reading, Writing and Illustrating Children's Books (archive list here) which includes my Writer's and Illustrator's Guide To Twitter, interviews, #BookADay, writing/publishing industry surveysWriting & Illustrating a Picture Book For Simon & Schuster BFYR post series and 250, 500, 1000 Words/Day Writing Challenge. Also see my Inkygirl archives,  and comics for writers (including Will Write For Chocolate).

I tweet about the craft and business of writing and illustrating at @inkyelbows. If you're interested in my art or other projects, please do visit DebbieOhi.com. Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Entries in imbored (27)

Wednesday
Aug142013

I'M BORED enhanced ebook, book narration and another reason I love Twitter

One of the many reasons I love Twitter is because of the conversations and connections that can happen because of casual mention.

For example, I discovered that the narrator of the enhanced ebook version of I'M BORED was Cassandra Lee Morris while listening to an updated version of the ebook:

I decided to tweet about my Instagram video above. I always try to @mention people when possible, so did a quickie search for Cassandra. Lo and behold, I found her!

Here's an excerpt from the ensuing conversation:

:-)

If you'd like to buy a copy of the enhanced version of I'M BORED with Cassandra's hilarious reading, you can find it on iTunes.

Wednesday
Jul032013

Julie Falatko shares why she and her children love picture books (and includes I'M BORED, yay!)

Julie shares why she and her children love picture books from Candlewick Press on Vimeo.

Thanks so much to Julie Falatko (@JulieFalatko on Twitter) for this wonderful video. Love how she pulls out I'M BORED at the end and starts reading it! See her original post on ReadingStartsHere.com.

I'm especially honoured, considering the company.

Thanks, Julie! And thanks to Samantha Berger for the heads-up. :-)

Thursday
Apr252013

Kudos and Thanks

I'M BORED is 2013 ITC March Madness Champion!

Thanks to the Kindergarten and 1st Grade students at Avoca West Elementary in Illinois for choosing I'M BORED as their 2013 ITC March Madness Champion. :-)

For more info about Avoca as well as winners in other categories, see this blog post. Thanks to Susan Geidner for alerting me to this news via Twitter.

Also:

Thanks to Writer's Digest for choosing Inkygirl.com as one of its 101 Best Websites For Writers in the May/June issue!

Saturday
Feb232013

In The End, It's All About Young Readers

The whole I'M BORED adventure has been amazing and continues to be amazing. Whenever things start to settle, something else happens that reminds me all over again to appreciate every moment.

I was floored about how it all began, with a rejection and a friend's encouragement. Then came the Simon & Schuster BFYR book illustration contract and the SCBWI Illustrator Mentorship program. Then the fun and immense satisfaction in collaborating with my editor and art director on the project.

Because I had been so focused on just trying to get published in past years, I underestimated how much joy I would get from reader feedback. Wow. 

Experienced authors and illustrators out there are likely much more used to this, but I'M BORED is my first children's book project and I'm still getting used to the fact that people out there -- people who aren't related to me and don't know me -- are looking at my illustrations in a published book they bought or borrowed.


From Paula Speer White, who sent me the photo above: "This book is excellent for teaching verbal irony at the secondary level and self-efficacy at the elementary level~I give it a 10! Humorous, courageous, and witty!"

I've heard from some parents whose children have learning challenges or who are slow readers, who delight in the humor and want to read the book over and over again.

Parents tell me that their older children are enjoying the book as well, reading it on their own.

Librarians tell me that I'M BORED has become a favorite with their young readers. I so love the idea of a copy of the book eventually becoming battered and dog-eared because of constant use. 

I think about a young person sitting down with a copy of I'M BORED, or perhaps having the book read to them by an adult, and try to imagine what happens as they listen to the story. Does it make them laugh out? Does it engage their imaginations? Do they identify more with the little girl or the Potato? Does the experience engage them enough to encourage a greater love of books and reading?

Does it change them for the better, even in a very tiny way?

Oh, I truly hope so.

What I've come to realize: While it's good to keep the market in mind (particularly if you want to get your work accepted by a traditional publishing house), remember that it's all about young readers. In the end, we create the magic for them, not the industry.

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For more fun photos, see the I'M BORED In The Wild reader gallery. If you'd like to submit a photo, here's how.

Teachers: if your class sends me snaimail about I'M BORED, I'll write back (with doodles!).

Saturday
Dec082012

I'M BORED Process: How a picture book is translated into other languages

 

 I was thrilled to find out that the French version of I'M BORED was available for ordering online, and then got curious about the process.

How does a picture book get translated? Are there any issues that children's book writers and illustrators need to be aware of, when working a project?

I interviewed Tracy Philips from the S&S UK Translation Rights team about the process, over the I'M BORED Scrapbook Blog.

Sunday
Dec022012

A Thank You To Justin Chanda and Simon & Schuster Children's

NYTimesNotableKids

Today's print issue of The New York Times Sunday Book Review has their list of Notable Children's Books Of 2012. There are six YA books, eleven middle grade books, and eight picture books….and I'M BORED (written by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by me) is included!! I'm about to head out this morning to hunt down a copy of The New York Times  in Toronto but first, I wanted to write this post:

It's been a truly extraordinary year for me.

Not only did my very first children's book come out in bookstores, but Simon & Schuster also gave me contracts for two more books - one of which I'm also writing. I am grateful to so many people who have encouraged and supported me in the past as well as during the I'M BORED creation process, but today I'd like to mention one person in particular: Justin Chanda.

JustinChanda bySonyaSones credit

In 2010, Justin saw my portfolio in the SCBWI Summer Conference Showcase and decided that I'd be the perfect illustrator for Michael Ian Black's newest picture book. Later on (after it was too late for him to change his mind), I asked Justin more about why he picked me; you can read some of his answers in the I'M BORED Scrapbook.

S SKids

Justin had never heard of me when he first approached me at the conference. He didn't know anything about my "author platform" or the fact that I had been focusing on writing up to that point ... it was all about my art. From Justin, when I asked him:

There was a sense of whimsy and definite style. I loved the assorted cast of characters, but I loved your point of view just as much. I remember there was an illustration of a robot who had lost his arm and one of a little girl looking at these tiny monsters. In both instances I got a clear sense of character, a sense of humor, and a sense of style.

Over the years, I've had a wide range of rejection letters from a wide range of children's book publishers…from the bare form letter for my early efforts up to much more personalized "we like her writing but the story's not quite there" or "we love her mss but it doesn't quite fit our list right now". I've been appreciative of all feedback and I can tell by the quality of the rejections that I've been getting much closer…. but they're still rejections. :-)

Justin Chanda was the first children's book editor to believe in me enough to offer me a contract, and I will always be grateful to him and Simon & Schuster Children's. I'M BORED has opened up other opportunities at S&S, with two more picture book contracts. Justin says he'd also be happy to take a look at anything else I've done, including my middle grade and young adult writing (YAY), so I've  been working hard on some new projects.

2011 01 31 SS Sign

THANK YOU, JUSTIN AND S&S CHILDREN'S, FOR TAKING A CHANCE ON ME.

I'm going to be writing a series of short gratitude posts over the coming months, thanking some of the people in my life as well as those involved with the creation of I'M BORED, but for now... I'm going out to get a print version of The New York Times Sunday Review so I can get ink on my fingers and spend way too much time marvelling at the extraordinary fact that my name is included.

Photo below was taken by my husband Jeff, when The New York Times reviewed I'M BORED back in September. Below the photo, I've posted the comic I created after reading the review. 

DebbieNYTimes

NYTimesBoredComic 600

Wednesday
Nov212012

New NaNoMusical episode out today: "Page and Page Count" (and my book is in the first scene, woohoo!)

Yay, a new episode of NaNoMusical came out today!

 

And LOOK, a copy of I'M BORED is in the background!!

2012 11 BoredNaNoMusicalEp4

Even if it wasn't, this episode would still be my favourite.

I love the chemistry between the two lead actors, the humor, the background characters (Muses?) who assist Jill and Dale during the genuinely touching duet at the end.

Ooo, and it looks as if the NaNoMusical crew is putting together a professional CD!

Thursday
Oct182012

I'M BORED in Seven Impossible Things today

I've been a fan of Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast: A Blog About Books for ages, and was THRILLED to discover from Hazel Mitchell (my Pixel Shavings author/illus friend) that Jules has posted about I'M BORED today. You can read the post here:

What I’m Up to at Kirkus This Week, Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Debbie Ridpath Ohi

I've started keeping a physical scrapbook of I'M BORED clippings like this, by the way. Yes, I know I also have them collected online. But I find there's something more satisfying about being able to flip through physical pages and look at something in print, especially in days ahead when excitement dies down and I get back into regular work....and regular rejections. :-)

Oh, don't get me wrong. I know that at least my foot's in the door now when it comes to getting more books published. But I'm also realistic and know that rejections are as much of a reality AFTER getting published for the first time as before.

I figure this scrapbook will be a much-needed spirit booster in those days.

Wednesday
Oct172012

Trying out Animation Desk app for the iPad: potential book trailer use?

I've had the Animation Desk app on my iPad ($4.99 in iTunes store right now) for ages but only finally got around to trying it out recently. I created the animation above in about an hour, and that included figuring out how to use the app. I have zero animation experience but still had a lot of fun. Next time, I may try adding some audio. :-)

Sunday
Oct072012

I'M BORED into its second printing, yay!

And speaking of other cool snailmail I've received recently...


The note from Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing reads:

"Congratulations! Your book has been reprinted! Please find a sample copy enclosed. Best wishes, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers."

Sunday
Sep162012

I'M BORED reviewed by The New York Times today!

Friday
Sep142012

Interview with TYPE Books owner + I'M BORED launch info

If you haven't seen it already, check out this wonderful stop-motion video that Sean Ohlenkamp (Lowe Roche) created, called "The Joy Of Books", with the help of 25 volunteers over four nights:

Thanks SO much to Type Books for hosting my illustrator I'M BORED Book Launch. The launch will take place this coming Tuesday: Sept. 18th, 6-8 pm at TYPE's Queen St. location (883 Queen St. W., 416-366-8973). You can find out more info and RSVP at the Facebook event page for the I'M BORED Launch. To Michael Ian Black fans: please note that the author will NOT be there -- it'll just be me. :-)

 Type Books owner, Joanne Saul, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the bookstore.

Q. How did TYPE Books get its start?

TYPE was started in 2006 by my partner Samara Walbohm and myself. We met doing our PhDs in CanLit at the University of Toronto. We would often daydream in the stacks at Robarts library about what we might do if we didn't go the academic route. TYPE was one of those dreams.

We call ourselves a friendly neighbourhood bookstore and we mean it. We stock local authors' books. We launch them too. We host events for local writers. We have strong relationships with local publishers. We have a gallery in our basement where we show the artwork of neighbourhood artists. We have a storytime for neighbourhood kids. We host a love of reading and writing program in our basement called "Word-Play." We have kids from four local schools come to the store twice a week for a full program. We're very proud of the work it does.

Type 883 Queen West

What's the best part of of being a bookstore owner? What's the most challenging?

The best part of being a bookstore owner is meeting new people and establishing relationships with customers (and authors and publishers). I love interacting with my regular customers and talking about what they're reading.

I love the feeling of community in both the stores. It's a true joy to be able to put the right book in the right person's hands.

The worst part of owning a bookstore is paying the bills.

March Madness Window

Other than the I'M BORED launch :-), are there any other upcoming events and news you'd like to share?

We're so excited about the I'm Bored launch! We can't wait. It's a fabulous book - beautiful and funny too. My son just changed daycares and "I'm Bored" was his going away gift to his old centre! I'm also really thrilled to be part of the launch for Andrea Curtis' book, "What's For Lunch" at the end of the month. It's a fascinating look at what kids eat for lunch around the world. Andrea's event at TYPE: September 30th, 3-5.

Facebook Event Page for the I'M BORED Book Launch (Illustrator)

Where to find more info about TYPE:

Their website: http://typebooks.ca/

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/typebooks

On Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/typebooks/

Wednesday
Sep122012

I'M BORED interviews, guest posts a podcast (and many giveaways of the book!)

TodaysParent Adele

It's been an exciting and whirlwind week since I'M BORED launched on bookstore shelves last week!

Thanks so much for those of you who have been helping me promote the book online and offline. I've compiled a list of interviews, guest posts and other places online where you can find related posts, and most of these still are or were holding random draws for copies of the book.

*NEW* I am also going to be sending hand-drawn doodles to each of the book giveaway winners for I'M BORED. This applies to any blog who is doing an I'M BORED giveaway in the near fuure.

TODAY:

Wed. Sept. 12, 2012 (online): Interview by Christina Farley on Chocolate For Inspiration.

I'll also be giving a talk tonight at the monthly CANSCAIP meeting about my I'M BORED experience, the benefit of conferences like Packaging Your Imagination and SCBWI, as well as how to get the most out of these kinds of events.

RECENTLY:

Today's Parent and Parenting magazines featured I'M BORED (Today's Parent photo at the top right of this post courtesy Adele Maclean)

I was Featured Artist on PaperTigers.org

July 27, 2012 (online): Toasted Cheese interview with me about I'm Bored - by Erin Bellavia

August 20, 2012 (online): For Young Readers: Most Anticipated Books Of Fall 2012 (49th Shelf)

August 27, 2012 (online): At The Desk: Debbie Ridpath Ohi on Open Book Toronto

Tue. Sept. 4, 2012 (online): I'm Bored Releases Today! - by Christina Farley

AndreaMack PotatoCelebration

Tue. September 4, 2012: A MiG Writer Book Birthday Series: Happy Book Birthday To I'M BORED, by Christina Farley - A Fun Potato Recipe from Carmella Van Vleet - A Boring School Challenge, by Kate Fall - I'm Bored Potato Celebration, by Andrea Mack

Wed. Sept. 5, 2012 (online) - Miss Marple's Musings. Interviewer: Joanna Marple.

Wed. Sept. 5, 2012 (online) - I'M BORED contest announcement by Andrea Mack.

Fri. Sept. 7, 2012 (online) - Perfect Picture Book Friday, with Beth Stilborn.

Fri. Sept. 7, 2012 (online) - I'M BORED review by Greg Leitich Smith. "With expressive illustrations and a hilarious point-counterpoint, a little girl demonstrates that children are less boring than potatoes. And there are waterfowl, too. Really."

October issue of TODAY'S PARENT (print): I'M BORED feature mention

Sun. Sept. 9, 2012 (online) - New Voice & Giveaway: Debbie Ridpath Ohi on Cynsations. Interviewer: Lena Coakley.

WildPhotoCollage v01 600

Above: selection of photos from my I'M BORED In The Wild gallery of readers with the book.

Mon. Sept. 10, 2012 (online) - The Other Side Of The Story - podcast interview by Matt Mylusch

Mon. Sept. 10, 2012 (online) - It's Worth The Wait: My guest post on Beth Stillborn's blog, By Word Of Beth, about the waiting process between the offer and when the book finally appears on the shelves.

Tue. Sept. 11, 2012 (online): I'M BORED Trifecta with Mr. Schu and Colby Sharp:

-- My guest post on Nerdy Book Club: In The End, It's The Story That Matters (A defence of so-called celebrity books)

-- Mr. Schu's post about the I'M BORED book music video, his interview with Zoe (w/ help from Zoe's Dad)

-- Colby Sharp shares his 4th grader's favorite moments from I'M BORED on Sharpreads

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You can find these and other press links on my Debbie's Interviews, Appearances, Guest Blog Posts and Other Cool Press Page.

Tuesday
Sep042012

I'M BORED (my first children's book!) launches TODAY

Can't believe the day is finally here! It's been two years since a rejection turned into a book contract with Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers to illustrate Michael Ian Black's I'M BORED.

I've updated the I'M BORED In The Wild photo gallery with more reader photos! I invite you all to send in your own photos: here are the guidelines and info about how to submit.

You can find more info about the book, related resources for teachers and librarians, photos, sketches of the book in progress, tips for young writers and illustrators, an I'M BORED In The Wild photo challenge, comics and much more: I'M BORED Scrapbook.

I'm Bored Music Video (inspired by the new picture book from Simon & Schuster BFYR) from debsanderrol on Vimeo.

 

Thursday
Aug302012

Seeking I'M BORED "In The Wild" photos

ImBoredWildHeader flat600

I'm creating a gallery of photos featuring people reading I'M BORED in fun places and situations, and I welcome submissions! Photo below is an example: I'm reading I'M BORED on the Toronto Transit system. :-)

Debbie TTC ImBored

If you're interested in submitting a photo (hey, you may win a PRIZE), read the details here.

Photo below: Shara Alexa, Children's Sales Manager at Simon & Schuster Canada:

Wednesday
Aug292012

I'M BORED is A Junior Library Guild Selection!

Last week, I was tickled to get a package from  Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers that contained a letter of congratulations from the Junior Library Guild (see bottom of post) as well as a certificate….

JuniorLibraryGuildCertificate 500

... and a cool lapel pin:

Closeup JLG LapelPinsm

I had seen "A Junior Library Guild Selection" on book covers before but confess that up to now, I didn't know that much about the designation. So in addition to asking my editor and publisher (Justin Chanda at Simon & Schuster Children's), I also did some research online.

What I found: Having your book selected by the Junior Library Guild  is a BIG DEAL.

Apparently the JLG editorial team reviews thousands of new titles each year, in manuscript or prepublication stage, and end up choosing what they say is "the best of the best."  According to the Junior Library Guild website, nearly 95 percent of their selections go on to receive awards and/or favorable reviews. 

JLG's mission: to help libraries wade through the mass of books published every season and pick what’s best for their collections. You can read about different ways that schools and libraries have been using JLG to cope with staff and budget cuts, etc.

What does all this mean for an author and illustrator? Good things. It means that JLG orders a bulk quantity of your book from your publisher, then includes your book in their recommend lists…and these lists are used by schools and libraries. When I posted the announcement on my personal Facebook Wall, one friend said:

"Excellent! That means that there is a high probability that my school district will buy it for all of our elementary schools; they rely on the JLG lists for purchases!"

Yay! :-)

ScannedJLGCongratsLetter 600

In summary:

I am absolutely thrilled to have I'M BORED chosen as A Junior Library Selection, and am grateful to the JLG for the honor.

More more info about the Junior Library Guild:

Junior Library Guild website

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/JrLibraryGuild

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Junior-Library-Guild/329843906949

Wikipedia entry on Junior Library Guild

Friday
Aug242012

I'M BORED Music Video - 11 more days until the launch, woohoo!

I'm Bored Music Video (inspired by the new picture book from Simon & Schuster BFYR) from debsanderrol on Vimeo.

Thanks to my friend Errol Elumir for co-writing the I'M BORED song and creating the video above to help celebrate my upcoming book launch. Note that the song is only loosely based on the book. To find out what REALLY happened to the potato and the end, please buy the book! :-)

And special thanks to 7-year-old Zoe Elumir for playing the part of the girl in this homemade video!

I've posted some behind-the-scenes photos and info about the video plus lyrics/chords to the song in the I'M BORED Scrapbook.

ImBored BannerHeader flat600

Monday
Jul092012

I'M BORED got a starred review in Publishers Weekly!

PWreviewcoverJul092012

 

Thanks to my publisher/editor Justin Chanda and art director Laurent Linn for alerting me to the fact that Publisher's Weekly gave I'M BORED a starred review in their July 9th issue, woohoo!

An excerpt:

"It looks to be the ultimate ennui smackdown: a bored-out-of-her-gourd kid vs. an equally jaded potato... Debut illustrator Ohi’s minimalist, scraggly digital drawings are anything but boring, and speak volumes about irritation, desperation, and disdain."

Yaaaay! :-D

For those who aren't familiar with my book...

I'M BORED is a new picture book written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by yours truly, coming out on Sept.4th from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. You can read about how the book was created plus see sketches and sample spreads in the I'm Bored Scrapbook. Parents, teachers and librarians may also want to check out the Super Secret I'M BORED Bonus Page.

You can also find I'M BORED on Facebook, Google+ and the Simon & Schuster website, and buy I'M BORED swag on Zazzle. All swag proceeds will go to  Breaking The Chain, a nonprofit literacy cause founded by Riley Carney. Breaking The Chain which works to put new books in high-risk, high-need elementary and middle schools.

Tuesday
May082012

I'M BORED Scrapbook updated: My First Visit To Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers In NYC

2011 01 31 S S Sign

I've updated my I'M BORED Scrapbook with a post about my first meeting at Simon & Schuster in NYC last year: initial impressions, what I learned, and photos.

See my Scrapbook Archives for earlier sketches, photos, and quotes from Justin Chanda (editor/publisher), Laurent Linn (art director) and Michael Ian Black (author of I'M BORED).

2011 01LaurentJustinDebbie final

 

 

Wednesday
Mar282012

My new comic about the I'M BORED creation process

Potato Interviews v4flat700

 

For those interested in comics, photos, interviews, sketches and info about how I'M BORED was created, do visit my I'M BORED Scrapbook.