Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What Authors say to Librarians

Tip of the Day: if you happen to be in the Lansing, MI area and would be interested in seeing an author speak, picture book writer Deborah Diesen will be at the Fowlerville District Library next Tuesday, April 27 from 5:30-6:30 pm. And if I read this correctly, I believe she shares an editor with our very own Kristina!

One of the perks of being a librarian is attending conferences. Recently, I attended the Michigan Library Association's spring conference for children and teen librarians. There were lots of wonderful authors and illustrators who had some interesting things to say, so I thought I'd share a few words of their wisdom.

Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket):

Unfortunately not only was my camera not on me when meeting him, but I was also so enthralled and entertained with his speech that I forgot to write down much of what he said.

But I did find it interesting that he got his name on the fly as a joke, because for a hobby he used to read small newspapers, pick out the most harmless articles about things like bake sales, and compose outrageous letters to the editor about the articles for fun. He didn't want his own name associated with these, so the first thing that came to mind was Lemony Snicket. I guess everyone has to start writing somewhere :)

E.B. Lewis:

Extremely interesting to listen to an illustrator's point of view. He mentioned that the difference between a good painter and a great one is the absence of detail. If you fill in too much detail the reader will walk away feeling complete, but if you leave just enough to the imagination they will keep coming back and find new meanings out of the painting. It's essentially tricking the brain to want more. He compared this to writing too. I found this such a great way to explain the saying "less is more."

Brandon Mull:

I found his story very interesting only because his Fablehaven series is with a smaller publisher Shadow Mountain and it's sort of snow-balled and become a New York Times Bestseller. I think this gives hope to all the people who think that their books can't find success because of small print runs or limited marketing. Sure it's not as likely, but Brandon credits word-of-mouth for his books becoming successful. So it is possible!

Kazu Kibuishi:

He talked about how important graphic novels are becoming for the teen group. He also gave a very interesting talk about how illustrations are done for graphic novels. And my head was pretty much spinning, thinking of all the drawings that have to be done, redone, and then perfected. I believe he mentioned that his first Amulet book took him 4-years to complete, but now he's got it down to about 6-months, since he has assistants help with some of the coloring and detail work of the illustrations. Very fascinating.

--Emily, Miss Querylicious


Alissa said...

I loved all these little snippets, and the bit about the Lemony Snicket letters to the editor makes me wonder about some of those outrageous letters I've read in the newspaper. My favorite being the one that "proved" the existence of God, wish I had clipped it out and save it.

Kate Fall said...

Wow, that was a great roundup. I love graphic novels myself. But I'd love to see a collection of Lemony Snicket letters to the editor. I think I'll start doing that myself. Amerks even hockey playoff series? Unspeakable filth!

TerryLynnJohnson said...

nice post. I will actually be in Lansing Mi for the SCBWI conference on May 1, but I'll miss Deborah Diesen's talk. I can't wait for the conference though!

DeenaML said...

My teens love the AMULET series. Yes, I am so jealous of your event!

Emily Marshall said...


I really wanted to go to that conference, but couldn't make it this year. And now they are sold out of tickets too. It looks like it's going to be a great event.


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