NAPIBOWRIWEE 2013: Day 7 – Guest Blogger Erin Eitter Kono! (May 7, 2013)


Welcome to DAY SEVEN of our 2013 NAPIBOWRIWEE event where we are ALMOST DONE writing 7 picture books in 7 days! For the past six days, we have somehow managed to write and finish six picture book drafts. And some of us may be behind – some folks have only written one book, or some folks have maybe gotten a few drafts under their belt. But guess what? You folks ROCK, too! Because you are fighting to write every single day no matter what! So give yourself a pat on the back for not throwing in the towel! 🙂

(For those of you who just happened to stop by and have no idea what’s going on, check out the official 2013 NAPIBOWRIWEE FAQs here to get caught up on on all the action!

I just want to say how proud I am of everyone’s efforts. It’s been so much fun to reunite with NaPiBoWriWee alumni (from the Classes of 2009 to 2012) and to meet NEW NaPiBoWriWee participants from the Class of 2013! I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments and thoughts and had a blast getting to know everyone.

You can also find some souvenirs at our store: And don’t forget to come back tomorrow when I will post a follow-up blog after NAPIBOWRIWEE ends with some post-game thoughts and a list of the winners from our 2013 NAPIBOWRIWEE contest drawing. 🙂

And now, my update on my Day Six which was a DOOZY of a day…

MY DAY SIX EXPERIENCELet’s just say Day Six could be summed up as “PAULA AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY.” LOL! (And if you’re not familiar with the classic Judith Viorst picture book that I’m referencing, check it out here:

Basically, it rained in Los Angeles last night. And we have been postponing re-roofing our house because well, it costs a lot of money. We’ve had problems with one leak in our house for the past few years, so we have used temporary patches until we saved up enough for a full re-roofing.

Well, I think we’ve hit the last of the temporary patch solutions. Our hallway was FLOODED! It leaked ALL NIGHT. I had to keep putting down towels on the floor and empty out pots and pans every half hour from midnight until 5 AM. I couldn’t go to bed, it was that bad of a leak. 🙁 (Picture below…)


AUGGGGGHHHH. I had about 90 minutes of sleep and then had to stay up from 7 AM onwards for the roof repair guys to do one final temporary patch on our roof! But the good news – they fixed the leak! We’re safe from leaks for a few months, but hello new Roof 2.0 later this year. LOL! 🙂

I was REALLY TEMPTED to write a picture book about a leaking roof and other home ownership troubles. How about a picture book on refinancing? LOL!

And then a line popped into my head about a mouse living in a house with a leaky roof. And then I wondered about a fish dealing with a leak in his castle. And so on… And voila… Book No. 6! It was just a fun exercise in writing another picture book poem. Again, I look at my “7 Picture Books in 7 Days” as a way to sharpen my brainstorming skills. A lot of the drafts I written over the past five years will never become published books, but they have been fantastic writing exercises that have led to OTHER ideas that turn into real submissions. And honestly, this was such a cute poem. I am trying to become a better poet, so writing more poetry is a great exercise to improve in the craft of poetry writing. 🙂

I then took my very very VERY rough poem and laid it out in a “dummy” book form as I had suggested in my Day 6 Blog.

I look forward to your comments on Day 7! 🙂


So ready for our final day? We’ve still got another 24 hours left. So here’s our last guest author/artist Q&A blog about The Future of the Picture Book with author/illustrator ERIN EITTER KONO ( Please comment on today’s blogs with your thoughts about Erin’s Q&A and/or giving us an update on your progress on our final day together! 🙂

And remember – our contest winners and a final Q&A author blog with writer JULIE HEDLUND ( will be posted by 6 AM PST on May 8th.

(Keep reading after the jump for our interview with Erin Eitter Kono!)


Erin Eitter Kono

Erin Eitter Kono is an author/illustrator who grew up in Iowa, wandered around the world, and now lives in Southern CA with her husband, daughter, hamster, the neighborhood peacock, and a couple of wild voles. Her latest book, CATERINA AND THE PERFECT PARTY will be published this July 2013 from Dial. Visit her at and


QUESTION: Do you think the rise in popularity for the eBook will help or hurt the future of the picture book? For writers, when you work on a new book, do you think about how it will “read” on an eBook reader as well? Does that affect how you write your book? As an illustrator, what challenges do you face if you know a picture book you are illustrating may also be distributed as an eBook?

ANSWER: Overall I think it means less books will be made by publishers and the midlist will shrink. I think the eBook may hurt certain kind of books and not matter as much to others. As a parent I don’t see books and eBooks as interchangeable. For picture books, at least until now, books are still used differently than an e-reader. Even great eBooks like those produced by Moonbot seem to be perceived by the kids I know, as more of a game than as a book. I think that especially for PB age children the e-reader may enhance a book’s world by having age appropriate games and activities that tie into the theme of a book but I know few parents that would cuddle up to an e-reader, so I don’t think they’ll ever be used as much for ‘book time’. That being said, things change. If we do go more digital, then I think the books most harmed will be those small quiet books that have less production appeal. That, I’m afraid, would be very sad.

As a author/illustrator I don’t think about the eBook at all when making a book. I do think of digital content within the lager scheme of marketing, but not while making the story. Stories, whatever the platform, need to stand alone.

QUESTION: There have been many “Boy Who Cried Wolf” articles in the media recently about how picture book sales have declined as anxious parents try to push their students into reading chapter books instead. Why is it important for children to read picture books? What makes a picture book special as well as important for a child’s educational growth?

ANSWER: I actually think it’s just as much peer pressure as it is ambitious parents. I have a seven year old who was dying to move on to chapter books. I didn’t fight it and now that she’s read a few, I’ve reintroduced older age picture books and she’s happy to go back and enjoy them again. (Yay Bill Peet!) Picture Books actually can introduce far more complex ideas than a chapter book geared towards the very young, so it’s worth it for them to be reading both.

QUESTION: Many aspiring picture book writers are discouraged by the doom-n-gloom reports of the declining book industry (Big Six mergers, lower sales of picture books, more emphasis on the writer-illustrator as opposed to the solo writer). What words of encouragement would you give to these aspiring newbies to NOT give up?

ANSWER: Life’s short; things are difficult everywhere; so you might as well do what you love.

QUESTION: What challenges do you face as a published author/illustrator of picture books in these volatile times of the publishing industry? Have you noticed a change in your career in terms of what agents/editors/readers want?

ANSWER: I think publishers are more inclined to go with the tried and true during these times of transition. I certainly don’t blame them, it’s a business and that’s what is selling. Pretty much everyone I know who isn’t a ‘big’ name has had far less work than before. I think the key is, as it always has been, to know your audience and produce great work.

QUESTION: Any final words of advice or any epiphanies you would like to share with us about your own writing/art journey?

ANSWER: No epiphanies… just work hard.


Thanks again to Erin Eitter Kono for answering our Q&A for Day Seven!  

Tune in tomorrow by 6 AM (West Coast Time) for our follow up blog with some post-game thoughts from yours truly as well as the announcement of the WINNERS of our 2013 NAPIBOWRIWEE contest drawing featuring autographed books from myself and some of our guest authors along with fun souvenirs from our store and other surprises! We will also feature a final Q&A with writer JULIE HEDLUND (!

In the meantime, good luck writing today. Please post any comments below for today’s blog with your thoughts, questions, and writing updates. You can follow me on Twitter @paulayoo. Please feel free to use this HASHTAG – #NaPiBoWriWee

I’m off to write! Again, I am so proud of everyone for hanging in there with me for these past seven days. Let’s make Day Seven a day to remember!

Until tomorrow’s blog, remember… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! 🙂



  1. The last two rough drafts are done and in my revision folder! I didn’t come close to meeting my goal of 18 picture books, but I really like the 10 that I have. Two of them I will be turning into chapter books.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful day!

  2. Paula, sorry to hear about your leaky roof. They are never fun, but the picture book idea that came out of it sounds adorable.

    Erin, I’m glad that you also believe e-books will never take the place of picture books because of the “cuddle factor.” I just can’t picture a parent reading a bedtime story off of a Kindle.

  3. Peer pressure probably has a lot to do with wanting to get into chapter books. Also there are teachers promoting the idea of how ‘grown up’ it is to read chapter books over picture books.
    Thanks for your blog today — the best thing really is to work hard!

  4. I just wrote my last PB draft and I think it’s my favorite of all 7. Yay!! Thank you Paula, for starting this challenge. It was a good way for me to get myself into the habit of writing every day.

  5. Yikes! Sorry about the leaky roof, Paula. Things like that are so frustrating. And thanks for your thoughts on PB’s, Erin. Well, I’m a little shocked, but I actually have my 7 drafts! I’m so happy I participated this year. I did it the first year (I think it was the 1st)and didn’t get past day one. Then I was intimidated to try again. But this year I knew I had the time to do it and really enjoyed the push. Thanks for hosting this fun event, Paula. Hopefully I can participate again next year. 🙂

  6. Wow Paula, sorry to read your news, looks terrible 🙁 Still, at least you could use the experience for inspiration!
    I’ve struggled with inspiration this week. Have managed 3 complete drafts and 3 half ones. Endings are hard! Hopefully I can use today to finish them all up (and perhaps write another complete one but that might be pushing it!).
    Its been a great week though – I’ve learnt a lot about myself as a writer – am really glad I took part.
    As Erin said in her interview its all about hard work.

  7. Thanks for having me as a guest Paula! I’ve enjoyed this year’s event. It’s always great reading comments and advice from so many people in so many places who all share a love of picture books. I know you put a lot of work into organizing Napibowriwee and all of us out here appreciate it! The seven days are a worthy challenge. So far I’ve been pretty good. I missed one day, but am going to buckle down and finish strong. Good luck everyone!

  8. Erin says: Life’s short; things are difficult everywhere; so you might as well do what you love.

    So true! Paula, I do hope that your roofers love roofing, cause we need people to do those kinds of jobs as well!

    I have 6.1 drafts done but will surely reach 7 before the day is done. Thank you as always for the encouragement, the inspirational guest posts, and the virtual community members cheering each other on!

  9. Thanks for your insights, Erin. I love your website!

    I wrote my last draft of the week this afternoon. Closed the notebook and won’t look at my 7 drafts for a few days. Who knows? Maybe there’s a diamond in the rough in there 🙂

    Paula! What can I say? Another great NaPiBoWriWee! And you with a leaky roof and LA traffic. Thank you so much for doing everything you do for us. The blogposts were so interesting and the encouragement from you and your guests was appreciated. I feel like I do about working out– so good to do it, so glad when it’s done (for now)!

    I wish everyone well with their last day of this challenge. I had a great time and enjoyed reading comments and facebook posts.

  10. It’s great to read about everyone being so positive and hopeful about the future of picture books.

    I am proud of myself. I finally started the picture book draft I have been thinking about since November. I was putting it off, because I knew it would require a lot of research. But spending part of my day researching was a lot of fun. And I wrote part of the draft and have more of an idea how it should go.

    Thanks for a great challenge!

  11. Erin, I enjoyed your insights on the future of eBooks.
    Paula, it’s amazing what life brings you. You turned something an ordeal into something positive- a story. Love it!

  12. Paula – Thanks for hosting NaPiBoWriWee again this year. I enjoyed reading about your journey, as well as the thoughts of your guest bloggers. So sorry about your roof – and your night of little sleep.

    I’m proud to say that I actually finished the challenge this year!!! Some of my drafts are pretty ugly, but I’m hoping I have one or two unpolished gems among the rubble. I’ve even got a few more ideas that I’m itching to work into manuscripts.

    Thanks again!

  13. Whoo Hoo! I did it, I wrote 7 drafts!! This is the first year I’ve ever gotten past the day 4 mark. In 2010, I bought the mug that had the days of the week with the check boxes on it—hoping it would inspire me to check off the boxes—but still only got to day 4. This year, I have checked off all the boxes!

    Each day’s blog post was just the right thing to keep me going, and so encouraging in this constantly changing market.

    “Life’s short; things are difficult everywhere; so you might as well do what you love.”

    Exactly. Thanks, Erin. And thank you, Paula!

  14. Thank-you to Paula, Erin , and all the other guests. Whoopie! I made it! I completed 7 drafts. Don’t ask me if they are any good; I still have my inner critic on mute. But after last year’s disappointing results, I never expected to finish. This challenge has taught me a lot about myself. I have enjoyed sharing the journey with all of you. To anyone still striving . . . Don’t give up! You’ll be thankful you persevered.

  15. Thanks for all the fantastic inspiration and motivation. I managed to write 6 drafts (a few I really like) and one sketchy-idea-messy-thing that could turn into a story when the time is right. Now time for the rewriting…

  16. Water issues are the worst. There is always something – flooding, washers overflowing, A/C units backing up, water heaters going. Ugh, ugh, and ugh.
    I have 7 drafts! I don’t actually have 7 beginnings and 7 endings, but I have 7 solid story-type-thingies. 🙂 Thank you Paula for another great year!

  17. “If we do go more digital, then I think the books most harmed will be those small quiet books that have less production appeal. That, I’m afraid, would be very sad.”

    I agree Erin!

    Thanks again Paula!! 🙂

  18. Thank you Paula and Erin for your words of wisdom. Thanks for putting this together Paula, this was my first time and it was fun. I managed to finish 6 drafts and an idea for a 7th. It was just what I needed–to work on new stuff. Getting a break from the many revisions I had been working on was fantastic.

  19. Thank you for this week long journey. I went back to my 31 in 31 for ideas. They came in handy.

    Thank you to all of your guest speakers.

    I know all about roof issues. I have one of my own. Maybe by this fall, a new roof will be in place.

    It would be a shame if there were no picture books.

    “Life’s short; things are difficult everywhere; so you might as well do what you love.”

    This is so true.

    Done with day 7 draft. I think it is my best one yet.

    I hope to do this again next year. Until then, have fun and keep writing everyone.

  20. Paula, I wasn’t sure if I had it in me, but I did in, 7 in 7. AMAZING. I’m so impressed right now. I had NO idea what to write and none of my ideas were grabbing me, but I kept at it and wrote a not-terrible story. THANK YOU!! It feels amazing to have done this!!

  21. Paula,I am so sorry to read about your roof and hope nothing was too damaged and it will be fixed soon.

    My ending results where: 2 full rough drafts done,3 about half way done and 2 ideas that are outlined out.So for my first shot at this and only having an idea for 1 story I thought I did pretty well.

    But I hope everyone had a great time as I did this year.

  22. Erin, you said it best right here: “Life’s short; things are difficult everywhere; so you might as well do what you love.” You are soooo right! It is easy to get caught up in the frustrations, but as long as we do what we love in the end, that makes everything better! Thanks for the inspiration! I completed my 7 days with 7 drafts! Wooo-hooo! I love what I do!

  23. “Stories, whatever the platform, need to stand alone.”
    I thought this was the best comment of the week. How very true. But, oh how I love the illustrations.

    Sorry about your leak,Paula. That is gonna hurt.

    Hip-hip-hooray for me. I finished 7 drafts. They, like your roof, will need some construction. I have yet to blog about it. What I wanted to do yesterday was spend the last day looking at all my past pibo’s and wriwee’s and concentrate on working titles. I feel so uncreative when it comes to titles. Any suggestions?

    But, I decided to stay in step with the dance and write my 7th s_____y draft. One thing I did different this year was once I finished a story I didn’t go back and read it. I’ve let them sit to marinate in Zebra’s Kitchen.

    Thanks for all the responces, the guests and mostly you, Paula.


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