Tuesday Debut – Presenting Picture Book Junction ’23 (Part 1)!

Welcome everyone! Grab a hot beverage and get comfy because today we have an extra-special Tuesday Debut!

While Tuesday Debut exists almost exclusively to introduce debut picture book authors, illustrators, and author/illustrators, we do sometimes get to visit with debuts of other kinds (publishing houses, co-written books, self or hybrid published books, etc.) and other topics closely related to our goal of becoming published picture book authors, like last week’s debut which began as a picture book and ended up getting published as a graphic novel.

Today, I am thrilled to introduce you to the first of a three-part series (parts 2 and 3 will take place later in the year) on picture book collaboratives – groups of authors and illustrators which form to help each other promote their books to gain visibility. These groups have become increasingly popular in recent years, and anyone with a new book coming out – whether it’s their debut or their 10th book – can form or join a group such as this to help their books gain traction. It is a very worthwhile, some feel essential, endeavor to participate in when you have a new book.

But how do you find these groups? Or form them? What kind of work is involved? How much do the groups actually help? What exactly do you have to do?

Picture Book Junction ’23, a group of 16 creators, has kindly offered to tell us about their group and answer a lot of questions for us over the course of the series, beginning today with Ana Siqueira (who was featured previously on Tuesday Debut), Marie Boyd Aimee Isaac, and Lisa Varchol Perron and Suzy Levinson (who will both be featured on Tuesday Debut in April.) 5 more of their members will visit in a couple months, and 6 a couple months after that. Not only are they going to educate us on picture book collaboratives, they are very generously offering amazing prizes! Just leave a comment on this post (and if you’re feeling extra-nice, share this post or the authors and their books on social media) to be entered in a random drawing to win one of these 4 fabulous prizes! (Everyone can benefit from Marie’s 😊)

Ana will be donating a Picture Book Critique (fiction, and non-rhyming)
Lisa will be donating a 20-minute “Ask Me Anything” Zoom call/critique.
Marie is sharing a video tutorial with three easy quilled crafts for kids inspired by the snails in JUST A WORM. 
Aimee will be donating a 20 minute “Ask Me Anything” Zoom/phone call.
Suzy will be donating a Children’s Poem Critique (rhyming only, please).

Like I said – AMAZING!

So let’s jump right in and see what we can learn!

SUSANNA: Thank you all for coming to join us today, Ana, Lisa, Marie, Aimee, and Suzy! We are so looking forward to learning from you! I asked you all how to find or form a picture book collaborative, what kind of work was involved, and how you felt being part of the group was helpful to you. You provided the answers below.

ANA SIQUEIRA:

Besides being connected with the Picture Book Junction 23, I am also part of StoryJammers, 21fortheBooks, and Diverse Dreamers. How did I find all these groups? Connections, connections. When you connect to writers through classes, critique groups, social media, etc, you will discover these groups. Then, connect with the founder and ask if you can join. For my 2021 debut book – BELLA’S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS – I asked to join a group too late and they were full. But the founder knew about another group. I connected with 21fortheBooks and we are strong and together until now. The biggest advantages of belonging to a group:

  1. Help you with the overwhelming chores of discovering the best marketing strategies. And many heads do think better than one.
  2. Review your books and request them at libraries. 
  3. Try to go to all book launches and when possible pre-order the books.
  4. Support you when you are having your down moments.
  5. Become your friends and supporters for the rest of your life. I hope.
  6. Some members of your group might become your critique partners. 

ANA’S TIP So, my tip: Announce on social media that you are looking for a debut (or not debut) group and get connected. Then, make sure to support everyone and they will support you too.

Ana’s 2023 Book – ABUELA’S SUPER CAPA – Simultaneously published in Spanish: La supercapa de Abuela

A heartwarming bilingual picture book about a young boy who learns to accept that Abuela needs to retire her super capa. Perfect for families experiencing sickness and loss, this engaging multigenerational story will help young children find the language to express their feelings and adjust to change. 

Bio and more books follow https://www.picturebookjunction.com/about-us

To learn more about my books and me: https://anafiction.com/

*Ana will be donating a Picture Book Critique (fiction, and non-rhyming)

LISA VARCHOL PERRON:

Picture Book Junction began with a small group of creators who connected via the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge. To get started, we used the guide created by another book promotion group, The Soaring ‘20s. We decided that we wanted our group to extend beyond debuts, so we accepted applications from both new and more seasoned creators. 

As a debut author, I really appreciate the range of experience in our group. It’s been helpful to be able to ask questions on our group’s Facebook page and/or via email about things like press kits, website redesign, and book swag. Also, our talented author-illustrators were so generous in creating our logo and helping with social media graphics.

Whether or not promotion groups end up having a significant impact on sales, I think they can have a big impact on a creator’s experience of releasing a book into the world. It’s such a joy to get to celebrate each other’s work. Writing can feel isolating at times, so I appreciate being part of a community that lifts each other up every step of the way.

Lisa’a 2023 Books – PATTERNS EVERYWHERE

Look around and discover patterns in the natural world—from leaf veins to snowflakes to sand dunes. Rhyming verse is accompanied by stunning photographs, and brief sidebars explain how these different patterns form. 

MY LOVE FOR YOU

This lovely and lyrical board book reassures a child that although all things change or come to an end, a parent’s love lasts forever.

For my bio and news about other upcoming books please visit https://lisaperronbooks.com/ and sign up for my mailing list! You can also connect with me on Twitter and IG @LisaVPerron.

*Lisa will be donating a 20-minute “Ask Me Anything” Zoom call/critique.

MARIE BOYD:

My debut book, JUST A WORM, is coming out in March and this is my first time being part of groups like Picture Book Junction ‘23. I’m also part of Green PB 2023. I’m active in various writing and illustration communities and on social media, but I didn’t know groups like these existed until one of the founding members of PicBook Junction reached out to me about joining the group after seeing the deal announcement for JUST A WORM in Publishers Marketplace. I’m so grateful she reached out!

I have enjoyed connecting with other authors and illustrators through the groups and cheering on their successes. I have learned so much about preparing for a book launch. I try to support other members and pay it forward. 

Marie’s 2023 Book – JUST A WORM (March 14, 2023)

After being called “just a worm” by two children, Worm embarks on a journey around the garden to prove them wrong. Debut author-illustrator Marie Boyd seamlessly incorporates concepts of nature, natural selection, habitats, and interdependence in this picture book beautifully illustrated with a cut-paper technique called quilling.

Marie Boyd is a member of Picture Book Junction and GreenPB23. For craft ideas and more, connect with her at www.marieboyd.com and @artistscholar on Instagram.  

Bonus: A video tutorial with three easy quilled crafts for kids inspired by the snails in JUST A WORM. 

AIMEE ISAAC:

I’m so grateful that we have a balance of debut and experienced creators. Once we came together we split up tasks such as website creation, graphics creation, social media team, events team, and a team for giveaways and reviews. This has kept the commitment manageable and fun. Despite planning for a year, in many ways, we are just getting started! It’s hard to say at this point how our work will impact sales but the network we’ve built is invaluable. It’s also safe to say that many of us are learning new skills from this experience such as creating promotional images, tweaking the website, and navigating social media.

If you are looking for a group, try connecting first with critique partners or on social media (12×12, Susanna’s Facebook Page, Kidlit411, Twitter, etc.). Other avenues for finding members and groups are to seek similar release dates by scouring Publisher’s Weekly (it’s quite easy to search through) or by connecting with bloggers. Once your group has formed, agree on a structure and find an easy way to communicate so that you can strengthen the connections and elevate your support of each other. We found it worked well to start small and then seek members.

And don’t reinvent the wheel. Use the Soaring 20s guide or ask another marketing group to share materials and ideas. The author community is always willing to share!

Aimee’s 2023 Book – THE PLANET WE CALL HOME (March 2023)

A lyrical and loving ode to planet Earth and the ways in which its features are connected to each other and to the people who call Earth home.

Aimee Isaac is a member of Picture Book Junction and GreenPB23. Connect with her at aimeeisaac.com and @IsaacAimee on Twitter.

*Aimee will be donating a 20 minute “Ask Me Anything” Zoom/phone call. 

SUZY LEVINSON:

Picture Book Junction began with a teensy bit of rejection, which felt completely appropriate given the industry we’re in. A handful of us applied to another promotion group and didn’t get in…but that was okay! The founding members of that group were kind enough to let us know it wasn’t personal–they were simply full. And they put us in touch with each other so we could form a group of our own! Then we were off to the races. And by “off to the races,” I mean we got on Zoom, stared at each other, and said, “Um…now what?”

I think there were a few key elements that set us on the right path. As a couple of others have mentioned, finding the Soaring ’20s guide online was huge. (Anyone starting a new group should seriously check it out!) And I love how early on, we all agreed that the group should consist of members with a diverse set of backgrounds, skills, and levels of experience in the publishing world. Everyone’s bringing something a little different to the table, and we’re all the more awesome for it.

It’s hard to know if this group will impact book sales, but I can state without hesitation that it definitely impacts my peace of mind as the big debut looms. It’s been great to celebrate our covers together, share our ARCs, boost each other on social media, and even find cool opportunities like this one to speak to you right now. I hope Picture Book Junction continues beyond 2023, for years to come!

Suzy’ 2023 Book – ANIMALS IN PANTS (Cameron Kids, April 2023)

An irreverently illustrated picture book of simple and silly poems featuring all kinds of animals wearing all kinds of pants.

To find out more about Suzy, check out her website at SuzyLevinson.com and follow her @SuzyLevinson.

*Suzy will be donating a Children’s Poem Critique (rhyming only, please).

Readers, if you have questions for Ana, Lisa, Marie, Aimee, or Suzy, please post them in the comments below and if they have time I’m sure they’ll respond!

All of their books may be purchased at Picture Book Junction 23 HERE

We can help our debut authors successfully launch their careers by:

– purchasing their books

– recommending their books to friends and family

– recommending their books to our children’s teachers and librarians

– recommending their books to our local libraries and bookstores

– suggesting them as visiting authors at our children’s schools and our local libraries

– sharing their books on social media

– reviewing their books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other sites where people go to learn about books.

Thank you all for stopping by to read today!  Have a lovely, inspiration-filled Tuesday!  Maybe today is the day you’ll write your debut picture book 😊

Missed any previous Tuesday Debuts?  Check them outs HERE on the new Tuesday Debut page!

47 thoughts on “Tuesday Debut – Presenting Picture Book Junction ’23 (Part 1)!

  1. Lauri Meyers says:

    This was a fun Tuesday debut to start the week! Such a smart approach to work together to elevate marketing while also learning new launch skills. Congrats on all these debuts!

  2. readmybook2002 says:

    It’s the connection with other authors/illustrators in a group setting that interaction helps propel ideas and information toward a writer/illustrator’s progress. Even being a solitary occupation, you can’t do everything by yourself.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      That is so true, Bru! And you remember, a little while ago, I had a post about how important reviews are, and how hard they are to get, and this is one way to make sure your book has at least 15 reviews by the time it releases!

  3. Colleen Owen Murphy says:

    Congratulations to all of you debut authors! What a great idea to bring a group together to help with getting the word out. Good luck to all of you!

  4. Kim A Larson says:

    Congratulations to all! I loved reading all the fun story blurbs. And the information about starting a group was so helpful. Thank you!

  5. Cathy Ballou Mealey says:

    There’s nothing like the positive power of picture book pals to celebrate, motivate and spread the word about new books!

  6. marshaelyn says:

    Susanna, what an enlightening post. I guess it “takes a village” to promote our work. And here I thought that drafting, revising, critiquing, revising ’til the cows come home, and submitting were the “long haul.” WOW! Launching and broadcasting our books is hard work as well. I’m grateful for all of the suggested ways we go about that. Our Kidlit community continues to amaze me by how supportive we are of one another. Each month on my website, I feature a picture book and its author and illustrator. I’d like to promote each of these authors…beginning with Suzy Levinson’s ANIMALS IN PANTS for April. Sending gratitude for all you continue to do for us, Susanna.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      It really does take a village, Marsha! And it’s true – as hard as it is getting published, doing the work after is just as much of a challenge and something that isn’t talked about as much. I’m sure any of these authors would love to be on your website – every chance to be be featured and reach new readers is helpful!

  7. mariearden says:

    Thank-you for this post! I have my debut picture book releasing in spring 2024 and am looking for other authors of traditionally published books to form a co-publishing group. The success of Picture Book Junction is very inspiring!

  8. seschipper says:

    Great post! PB Junction 23 is amazing! Looking forward to the upcoming posts! I’m sure it is a fantastic experience to be a part of one of these groups!
    It would be a dream come true!
    Thanks for sharing ! 🙂

  9. Sheri Delgado Preston says:

    Thank you so much for all the wonderful information and advice. I plan on looking for these books at the library and book store:) Congrats!

  10. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Congrats to all of these authors! I am in Ana’s StoryJammer group that formed back in late 2021. And yes, it takes a village these days, because publishers expect authors to be “out there” on social media or doing events to help promote their books. I now belong to three different marketing groups. Sharing info is quite helpful. Supporting each other psychologically and on social media is also super helpful. It can feel kind of lonely, otherwise. But you have to make sure you don’t overextend yourself and forget to write, LOL. So easy to do that…..

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