One Writer’s Journey

February 7, 2019

Author’s Copies: Going to the Dogs

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:39 am
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Look at what I found on the bench Tuesday?  Another pair of author’s copies.

Labradoodle and Puggle are both part of the Top Hybrid Dog series from Capstone. Whenever possible, I like to get two books in the same series especially if it is a new-to-me publisher or a tried-and-true publisher but a new series.

Two books mean that I figure out the standards and format for the series one time and then get to apply it twice.  These particular books were a lower reading level than I am used to writing which also meant that they were shorter.  While I’m used to including sidebars in a chapter, I also had to include fact boxes – a brief, interesting fact that didn’t appear in the main text.

I also didn’t anticipate just how difficult these books would be to research.  Fans of each hybrid tend to focus on the pluses – smart, high energy, fun, curly coat.  People who want you to buy a pure bred often focus on the negatives – smart = easily bored and thus destructive, high energy = needs a lot of exercise, curly coat = brushing required as well as trips to the groomer.  The books had to be upbeat which made it hard to write about potential health problems although knowing about these problems are an essential part of researching any dog, purebred or hybrid.

I’m not ready to quit writing younger books – these are for readers in grades 3 to 4.  But I have to admit that writing at a 7th to 8th grade level is definitely my sweet spot.  I can write either higher or lower but it takes a lot more thought as I rough it out and tinkering to reach the desired reading level.

The series that I’m getting ready to pitch is for this reading level. Maybe the dog books were good practice because it doesn’t seem as difficult as it was the first time.  You know what they say – practice makes perfect.


March 21, 2016

What kids are reading…

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:57 am
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Kids, Reading, Book, Kids Reading, Girl, CuteOn March 2, 2016, An American Book Sellers Association Panel discussed books that resonate with young readers.  You can read the entire Publisher’s Weekly article here but I’ve listed some of the highlights below.

  • Hannah Lambert at Little Simon (books up to age 8) reports that they have good luck with nonfiction that tells a story.  Young readers want a character to lead them through the piece and/or they want to know how it relates to their world vs being a bunch of facts.
  • John Rahm from Capstone says that they’ve had good feedback on their interactive You Choose series which includes a Choose Your Own Adventure vibe.
  • Capstone has also had good luck with STEM titles although Rahm prefers the acronym STEAM which inserts art and emphasizes how art and design work within the context of the science, technology, engineering and math.
  • Celia Lee from Scholastic mentioned “recasting” a fiction character in a nonfiction story as Ted Arnold does with the Fly Gus presents nonfiction readers.
  • Lee also noted that books that include both illustrated images and photography are selling.
  • Increased interest in picture book nonfiction, especially biographies.
  • Increasted interest in books that combine simple concepts, styles and forms such as Herve Tullet’s Press Here.
  • More craft and how-to books for ages 4 – 12.  Something they might want to see?  Cookbooks for this group with recipes that require minimal adult help.
  • Books that are interactive such as coloring books and Capstone’s Wearable Books with masks to punch out.

Their final words of advice?  Avoid fads.


December 24, 2012

What Did I get from Capstone?

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:26 am
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capstoneNot long ago, Capstone hosted a drawing on their blog, Capstone Connect.  Because they were moving, they were finding all kinds of fabulous things.  Just what did they find?  Check out the photo!

I won the drawing and was expecting a bag and a book or two.  This is what I got:

  • TWO bags.  One is already home to three knitting projects.  The second is probably going to replace my library bag.  Yes, I’m the kind of geek that has a dedicated library bag.  I’ve been using the same bag since my son was born and, in spite of the occasional trip through the washer, it is starting to show its age.
  • An awesome nonfiction book on Iwo Jima — Raising the Flag: How a Photograph Gave a Nation Hope in Wartime by Michael Burgan.  I’m always on the lookout for nonfiction to study but I may have competition.  This is the one my son is most interested in reading himself.
  • Two illustrated novels, Aquaman: Deepwater Disaster by J. E. Bright and Tony Hawk’s 900 Revolution: Drop In by Donnie Lemke.  My son and husband love superheroes and so do I so I’ve been interested in the DC Super Hero line that Capstone is now producing.
  • And, last but not least, a picture book series —  I See Spring, I See Summer, I See Fall and I See Winter by Charles Ghigna.  The I See set is  part of the Picture Window imprint.  This is a set of concept books.

Whew.  If I don’t come up with an idea or 12 after studying all of this, I’m simply not trying.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some reading to do.


October 6, 2009

New book line

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:24 am
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apisAs a nonfiction author, this caught my eye.  Capstone Press plans to launch a line of nonfiction graphic novels.  Graphic Expeditions will introduce readers to social studies, history and world cultures.

Read more about this and the publisher’s plans to add longer fiction graphic novels to their lists.

So far, my favorite graphic novel is Clan Apis by Jay Hosler.  I love the way the author uses dialog although the characters are all insects.   I know, I know.  Strictly speaking, bees do not speak in English dialog.  But it works.  Check this book out if you haven’t already read it.  You can read the review of it here on my other blog.

I’ve never tried to write a graphic novel but the thought of getting to write one that focuses on history and world cultures is mighty tempting.


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