Week of January 27, 2013—Wisdom from FL SCBWI, Miami
Tuesday, January 29—Wise Advice from Maria Modugno
You met Maria Modugno, editorial director for picture books at Random House, a couple of weeks ago when I interviewed her on Picture This! Maria was a member of the faculty at the FL SCBWI Miami event, and I had the pleasure of hearing her speak several times during the weekend. Below are some of Maria’s memorable quotes.
“I believe in magic,” (Maria was referring to the fact that even when all the ingredients for a bestselling picture book are in place, there still has to be an element of magic to make a book resonate with readers.)
“A picture book is two artistic visions—two ways to tell the same story. One with words and one with pictures.”
“As a picture book writer, your first job is to be a reader.”
“Picture book characters should be stand-ins for real-life kids, and must be appealing and well-rounded.”
“A character must have a distinguishing quality—something that signals the character’s personality.”
“Writers must think of character and plot. A story must have a beginning, middle, and end.”
“Picture books that do well, do well because of their placement on book store shelves. Books need a sales hook, a reason to be on the shelf in a store.”
“If you want to know what promotional hooks book stores follow, keep an eye on the card section of your local store. The holidays, events, and occasions celebrated with cards can be sales hooks for picture books.”
“Three key pieces of advice
1. Read everything you can and ask yourself why you like (or dislike) the book.
2. Look in book stores and libraries.
3. Listen to kids.”