Today is the daaaaaaaay! Chicken Wants a Nap is on bookstore and library shelves!
To celebrate, I’m sharing tips on how to think like an agent over at the BookEnds blog. From the post:
I’m not advocating that you write for the market – the market will shift and change, and more important – you’re going to have to spend a lot of time with this book. You want to write it because you’re excited by it.
But if you’re a picture book writer, you might have noticed that the picture book market has shifted to prefer shorter, sparser texts in commercial picture books. Or you might notice that the market is open to middle grades with heavier themes than one might have expected if they aren’t watching the shelves. When you’re looking at trends, pay attention to both content and form.
I also haven’t had a chance to share this amazing starred review from Kirkus Reviews on the blog!
Marchini and Felix successfully portray their chicken as a real animal, not a cartoon or a human stand-in, and present life on a small farm. Marchini’s story and economy of telling display the chicken as total id, and Felix’s pencil-and-watercolor illustrations are genuine works of art.
A surprising gem.
Earlier this month, I also stopped by Kathy Temean’s blog to talk about the book’s journey to publication. From the post:
I guess Chicken’s story starts in 2012, when I was working part-time and earning my MFA in Writing for Children full time. My professor, Anna Staniszewski, had assigned us to write about a character’s best or worst day. I was absolutely exhausted that evening, and the best thing in the world to me at the time (and plenty of times since!) was a nap. So out popped this line – “Chicken wants a nap.”
I started to write about this chicken who was in desperate need of a nap, but kept being disturbed by the barnyard around her.
On Susan Uhlig’s blog I talk about publishing, Chicken and just why I love ducks:
Honestly can’t point to a particular reason. They’re just one of those animals that always makes me smile when I see one. Domesticated ducks make great pets if you have the right space for them (alas, I don’t), and will even act as “guard ducks” to protect their human family. Plus, they start as ducklings. Who doesn’t love a fluffy duckling?
At Vivian Kirkfield’s blog I talk about my writing process, how to get a perfect pizza crust without a pizza stone, and why I write for children:
I just love how the world has infinite possibilities for children. There’s an incredible sense of freedom (and opportunity for humor!) when you can write from a number of implausible premises.
As someone who read a lot as a child, I also think that reading itself is a fundamental childhood activity and I hope to write (and as an agent, represent) books that foster a love of reading well throughout adulthood. It does make me a little sad when I hear that an adult doesn’t read (and not just because I’m in the book business!) I can’t help but wonder if they just never found that book that spoke to them as a child.
On Karlin Gray’s blog I talked about writing, publishing, and Chicken‘s unusual submission history:
So, this is completely unusual, but I only sent CHICKEN to one publisher that I had worked with in the past and knew would be a good fit. But most authors aren’t going to sell a book without at least one rejection for that manuscript, and I certainly have rejections from previous picture books.
Whoosh! A big thank you to everybody who hosted me, shared links to the blog posts, and especially pre-ordered Chicken Wants a Nap. I hope the young (and young-at-heart) readers in your life enjoy!