NAPIBOWRIWEE 2013: Day 8 – Guest Blogger Julie Hedlund, Wrap-Up Thoughts, & Contest Winners Announced!


Welcome to Day 8 of our fifth annual 2013 NAPIBOWRIWEE (National Picture Book Writing Week) where we attempt to write 100 picture books in 100 days. It’s only Day 8 out of 100 days. I hope you are pacing yourself. Burn-out and fatigue usually happens around Day 32 and…


Seriously… NAPIBOWRIWEE 2013 is OVER. Done. History! We all survived! Some of us managed to cobble out 7 picture book first drafts in 7 straight days. Some of these manuscripts are inspired diamonds in the rough that promise to become polished revised final drafts ready for potential submission and even publication. Other drafts might be a bit more, um, questionable. And yes, there are at least one or two clunkers in the bunch that we will cringe at and stick in the bottom drawer of our desks, never to be seen again.

BUT… the whole point of this writing exercise was how to learn and train your brain to WRITE A STORY EVERY SINGLE DAY. A story with a hopefully interesting character and compelling storyline with a beginning, middle, and end and lots of conflict in which our characters conquered with clever and creative solutions.

(NOTE: This is a super long blog chock full of fun surprises, so please bear with me… thanks for your patience and reading through this super duper long blog!)


Today’s blog will feature my Day 7 Experience, wrap-up thoughts, a final guest author blog with writer JULIE HEDLUND, and the announcement of our 2013 NAPIBOWRIWEE contest winners. Julie addresses the alternatives to traditional publishing for our theme of The Future of the Picture Book. She tells us about her success with storybook apps and digital publishing. It’s absolutely fascinating. Even if you are still interested in traditional publishing, Julie’s blog is a refreshing take and point of view of the Brave New World of Digital Publishing that we should all be aware of. 🙂 Her blog fits this year’s theme of “The Future of the Picture Book” to a T! 🙂

SPECIAL NOTE: Julie Hedlund is also offering two copies of her story book app called A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS. Link on iTunes ( It is the first in a trilogy coming out this year from Little Bahalia Publishing ( The second app, A SHIVER OF SHARKS, will be out at the end of May.

Julie’s prize is an EXTRA CONTEST PRIZE. Because you MUST own an iPAD (or mini iPAD), this is a special prize for you. The rules for Julie’s prize? Please write a comment on this blog specifying that you would like to be considered for this prize BEFORE May 15th. Julie will then choose two winners. The two winners will receive her storybook app as a gift through iTunes. I will post a blog announcing the Julie Hedlund winners on Wednesday May 15th (by 6 AM PST).


MY DAY SEVEN EXPERIENCEWho knew what a rough 7 days this would be? I was juggling TV staffing season meetings, maintaining and updating these website blogs, writing my own 7 books, and dealing with an emergency roof leak on Day 6. Yet another memorable NAPIBOWRIWEE! LOL! (BTW thanks everyone for your kind words re: our emergency roof leak. Thankfully it was a quick and not too expensive fix. But New Roof 2.0 looms in the near future! LOL!) For my Book 7, I decided to finally write a rough draft of some research I had done on another historical figure. This historical person was one I had been wanting to write a picture book biography of for a few years but never got around to it. So I wrote a very rough draft. The writing wasn’t too hard only because I have read like four books on this historical person and have a bunch of notes already in my computer files. But in writing it in picture book prose form, I started thinking this might sparkle more as a potential middle grade historical novel in verse. I got carried away and started thinking about chapter ideas and topics for narrative poems. The result? I have a rough draft of a picture book prose biography that will now serve as a template for me to use later IF I decide to go with the novel-in-verse idea. So all in all, I’d say this year’s NAPIBOWRIWEE was successful for me. I haven’t always been able to write 7 picture books in 7 days every year, especially recently. So I was happy that I DID achieve my goal this year – 7 for 7! YAY!  🙂


NOW WHAT? WHAT’S NEXT? For those of you who are wondering what to do now that NAPIBOWRIWEE 2013 is over, here’s another suggestion. Obviously you will revise your NAPIBOWRIWEE drafts to perfection. You will then have to get a second opinion. I know many of you have trusted friends, writing class teachers/students, and critique groups who help you with their critiques. But if you are interested in professional critiques, I highly recommend the amazing editor AMY LIN who runs one of the best professional editorial critique services in the kid lit world. Her website is here:

I also recommend joining the SOCIETY OF CHILDREN BOOK WRITERS & ILLUSTRATORS ( if you haven’t already. They have great resources, including a PDF file for members only of all the professional freelance editorial services out there in case you want to pursue professional editorial critiques for your work as well.

Finally, you can always find a fun souvenir at our 2013 NAPIBOWRIWEE Cafe Press Store, featuring special notebooks, mugs, travel mugs, bags, and T-shirts! Link here:

(Please keep reading after the jump for our Q&A with JULIE HEDLUND plus a list of our CONTEST WINNERS who will receive special autographed books and store souvenirs! And if you would like to be considered for Julie’s special iPAD app contest, please indicate so in a comment to this blog. Winners for Julie’s prize will be announced on May 15, 2013. Thanks!)

Meet author JULIE HEDLUND!
Meet author JULIE HEDLUND!

JULIE HEDLUND is a Children’s author and Freelance Writer. Julie’s book, A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS, was released as an interactive storybook app for the iPad in February 2013 by Little Bahalia Publishing. Two additional titles in the series are scheduled for later this year.

Julie is the creator of Julie Hedlund’s Template for Storybook App Proposals and the founder and host of the 12 x 12 picture book writing challenge, with 475 members. She is a monthly contributor on Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books children’s literature podcast, a contributing editor on the subject of 21st century publishing for Children’s Book Insider, and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers (SCBWI), the Children’s Book Hub, and the Association of Writers and Writing Professionals. She has been a speaker at AWP, O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing, and SCBWI events.

Julie will also be giving a panel lecture on story apps at this year’s SCBWI-LA summer conference. Her website is here:

JULIE HEDLUND’S GUEST BLOG: The Rise of StoryBook Apps & Digital Publishing

I am VERY optimistic about the future of picture books. In fact, I think this is the best time in history to be both a writer and a reader! Yes, I know big publishers are consolidating. I know physical bookstores are closing. I know some parents are pushing their kids into chapter books sooner, and I know that trade picture books are still a hard sell these days, especially for debut authors.

I also know there are very strong opinions on both sides about the impact of digital publishing on traditional books, especially picture books. But to me, there is no “side.” There is only the opportunity to publish more books on more diverse subjects in more formats than ever before. How do I know this? I am my own case study. A year ago, I had no published books, no contracts in sight, and no agent. Today, I have one published app with two more on the way this year alone. What’s more, my publisher has taken the best from each app and is in the process of producing a print book as a compilation of sorts. We’re also looking at adapting the story to be a simple ebook for both the Kindle and iBookstore. Lastly, we’re contemplating producing singalong apps as add-ons to the series. So by the end of the year I will have, at a minimum, three apps on the iTunes store, a print book, and quite possibly the story available in other formats as well. Where in the traditional publishing world can all of that happen so quickly?

Which is not to say I am at all disdainful of traditional publishing. Quite the opposite. Two months ago I signed with an agent with the strong hope of seeing some of my stories published as traditional, hard-back picture books. As both a writer and a mother, there is simply no substitute for snuggling up in a chair with a physical book and a sleepy child. That primal need for story and connection is never going to go away. Picture books fulfill that need, which is why I am optimistic about their future.

In the midst of all this change and debate, I think it is important to remember that there is no one path to publishing anymore, just as much as there is no one way to reach child readers. In the past, we were mostly confined to big publishers, their catalogs, libraries (particularly school libraries), and book clubs. After that came physical and online bookstores, but even those were still tied primarily to publishing houses. We STILL have those outlets, but now we have more. Authors can connect with readers (or their parents) directly via their online platforms and social media. New smaller, independent and digital publishers are popping up every day. Self-publishing is becoming a far more mainstream and viable option for authors who have niche-market books.

Bottom line: Have you ever seen a two or three year old with an iPad? If you have, I think you’ll have to agree with me that these kids are going to grow up with the expectation of being able to consume stories on these and other devices. It’s our job as writers to reach the kids where they want to read. In some cases, that will be in a chair with a paper book. In other cases, it will be on a Kindle or an iPad. To me, which format of book they read is far less important than the fact that they do read.

So for all of you who have finished this amazing challenge – my hat is off to you! You are writing the drafts today that I have no doubt will become the books that will shape our children’s future tomorrow.

Many thanks to Paula for including me in NaPiBoWriWee this year and for conceiving of the challenge in the first place! We are all grateful for the work you do to advance picture books and their authors.


Thanks to JULIE HEDLUND for her very fascinating blog on the bravel new world of digital publishing and storybook apps! Please comment on this blog specifying if you own an iPad and would like to be entered for a special EXTRA contest to win one of her storybook apps. Winners will be announced in a blog to be posted on May 15, 2013.

(NOTE: ALL Winners, I will email you individually to make arrangements for your prize deliveries!)

Now, finally… THE CONTEST WINNERS! FYI… Names were drawn AT RANDOM from a hat. By my cat Oreo. Seriously. 🙂 He says you will not receive your prize unless you follow him on Twitter:

My cat Oreo randomly chose winners’ names from a hat for this year’s NAPIBOWRIWEE contest. He says meow and congratulations!



SHINING STAR: THE ANNA MAY WONG STORY by Paula Yoo, illus. by Lin Wang (Lee & Low '09)
SHINING STAR: THE ANNA MAY WONG STORY by Paula Yoo, illus. by Lin Wang (Lee & Low ’09)








GOOD ENOUGH by Paula Yoo (HarperCollins  '08)
GOOD ENOUGH by Paula Yoo (HarperCollins


RACHEL HAMBY (aka “RachelH”)


Little Chicken's Big Day by Katie Davis and Jerry Davis
Little Chicken’s Big Day by Katie Davis and Jerry Davis

WINNER OF KATIE DAVIS’ PICTURE BOOK, “LITTLE CHICKEN’S BIG DAY” (illustrated by Jerry Davis, Margaret K. Elderberry Books, 2011):

TRACEY M. COX (aka “Tracey”)


How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight? By Vasha Bajaj, illus. Ivan Bates (Little, Brown '04)
How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight? By Varsha Bajaj, illus. Ivan Bates (Little, Brown ’04)

WINNER OF VARSHA BAJAJ’S PICTURE BOOK, “HOW MANY KISSES DO YOU WANT TONIGHT?” (illustrated by Ivan Bates, Little, Brown Books, 2004):





MEG S. JACKSON (aka “Meg”)

LAURA WYNKOOP (aka “Wolfie172”)




SARA THERESE (aka “saratheresebooks”)

SHARALYN EDGEBERG (aka “Sharalyn”)








ROBYN CAMPBELL (aka “Robyn”)

BECKY HALL (aka “Becky”)


JOANNE ROBERTS (aka “Bookish Ambition”)


Left: Beach Bag; Right: Tote Bag


LAURA RENAULD (aka “LauraR”)






Two winners will be announced in a future blog to be posted on Wednesday May 15, 2013. PLEASE post a comment on this blog specifying that you would like your name to be put into a special drawing before May 15th.


CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN TO OUR WINNERS! ALL WINNERS WERE CHOSEN AT RANDOM FROM A HAT BY MY CAT OREO. SERIOUSLY. THIS IS A FAIR RANDOM DRAWING. Oreo wishes he could have chosen ALL of you. But we need to pay for a new roof, so not this year. LOL! 🙂

Well, that’s it for this year’s 5th Annual NAPIBOWRIWEE (National Picture Book Writing Week). Grateful thanks to all our Guest Authors – LAURI MEYERS, KATIE DAVIS, VARSHA BAJAJ, MARTHA BROCKENBROUGH, PAUL COLLINS, TANIA MCCARTNEY, ERIN EITTER KONO, and JULIE HEDLUND – for your participation and generosity. HUGS to all NAPIBOWRIWEE participants. I’m so proud of you! I’m sorry I could not reply individually to your comments, but I read all of them and was truly honored and touched by your hard work and kind comments.

Please stay tuned for one last blog to be posted on WEDNESDAY MAY 15, 2013 listing the two extra winners of the iPAD storybook app from JULIE HEDLUND. I will also probably have a few more post-game thoughts and wrap up stuff in that blog as well.

Until then, you can follow me for the rest of the year on Twitter @paulayoo. And my cat @oreothecatyoo.

I also post blogs regularly on my non-NaPiBoWriWee normal blog here: (You can also comment on my regular blog but you don’t have to go through a whole registration process like you do for NaPiBoWriWee. The SPAM filters are pretty user friendly on my other blog.)

For fun cat videos of my Oreo, Beethoven, and Charlotte, please follow me on YOUTUBE here:

Now… everyone, you must take a long nap and NO WRITING for at least 24 hours. You need to rest. Because after today, I expect everyone to write every day… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! 🙂

Sincerely and with much love,

Paula Yoo 🙂


  1. Thanks again for everything. Paula, you are a continued inspiration – you finished all 7 ms despite the discouraging conditions!
    Julie, you are always such a positive influence in the kidlit community. Thanks.

  2. My almost 3 year old LOVES playing with the iPad and “reading” storybook apps. He’s very in tune with the “clues” on how to turn page and enjoy the interaction. He loves Troop, so we don’t need a copy. We enjoy the copy we have.

  3. Thanks, Paula. What a busy week you had, I’m glad you were able to get all seven drafts done.

    I too was able to do seven. Yay!

    I’d love to be involved for the drawing, our family owns an iPad and would like to be entered for a special EXTRA contest to win one of her storybook apps.

    Thanks again, you got me to sit down and start writing each day. You’re right, that is what it’s all about.


  4. You had me going there with the 100 picture books. LOL. Thank you for hosting this, Paula. This was my first time taking part. It’s such a great way to encourage us to write every day. I loved Julie’s guest blog. It’s inspiring! Thanks for all the wonderful info and fun!

  5. Can’t wait to try out the new book on my new iPad 😉 getting one this week to take to the SCBWI conference whoop whoop!

  6. Whoohooo! I won something! Thank you so much, Paula, for an incredible program. You inspire us all and I am amazed that I was able to get as much done as I did this past week. Looking forward to next year’s NaPiBoWriWee. Happy creating to you and to all. T.

  7. Congrats to all the NaPiBoWriWeeners! I mean…WINNERS! Which is everyone who put pen to paper, or finger to keypad, during the challenge.

    Think of all the picture books about to be polished, critiqued and edited before being unleashed on all the lucky, happy readers of the world!

  8. I love your story and e-book thoughts Julie! Thanks for sharing. I agree with all the contributors, e-books are here to stay, but they aren’t interchangeable with print books.

    Is it just me or is anyone else’s e-device always going dead/dead at a crucial time? 😀

    I won a t-shirt? Hooray!! Thanks Paula!!

  9. Oh yay – I won a mug! That’s very cool. Thanks, Paula. Do you need my address? Thanks also Julie for your thoughts. I’d love to be part of the final app draw. Thanks!

  10. Lots of winners here! Even if I didn’t win a prize, and even if I didn’t write 7 PBs, I know I’m still a winner because I am surrounded and inspired by marvelous people here! And even if I only wrote 2 PB’s this week, I am running with it in hopes to turn it into something worth submitting. Thanks Paula Yoo!

  11. Congrats to everyone who finished manuscripts as part of NaPiBoWriWee! I’m totally feeling like a rock star now. Not only did I actually finish this year, I won something, too!! Thank you so much.

    It wasn’t 100 picture books, but didn’t someone do a picture book marathon a few years ago – was it 30 books in 30 days? I can’t even imagine…

  12. Wow! I am thrilled I won a signed book by Paula Yoo! And it’s a picture book bio, I love it. Thanks Paula! Congratulations to the other winners and to everyone who participated. Thank you Julie for your optimism!

  13. Thank you, Paula, for another year of kicking myself in the a** and writing every day. I now have 7 drafts that I didn’t have a week ago. And maybe one or two of them will take wings and fly. It was a fun week.

    I do have an ipad and I would like to be entered in the “extra” contest. Thanks to Julie and all the guests—so much great info and inspiration in one week—the rest of the year is going to feel mighty tame!

  14. I love the new horizons and opportunities opening up for writers and readers. Thanks to Julie for the great comments on them, and thanks to Paula for another wonderful kick-in-the-arse PB marathon. (And yes, please do include me in the iPad app drawing!)

  15. You’ve given us more to think about when we write, Julie. So many possibilities. Thanks for all the info. (Unfortunately, I don’t have an iPad so don’t put me in the drawing 🙁 )

    Congrats to all who participated this week. I had a blast and am so happy I did it and even happier that it’s done (until next year– right, Paula?!). Thanks!!

    Happy Revisions!

  16. You had me shocked for a few seconds when you said 100 pb. for 100 days. I could never keep that pace. Thanks again. I love the coffee mug. Thanks so much. I hope I will find this again next year. As it got me some rough drafts to work on. Because this is my first year, I am not sure what I have to do to claim the prize.?? Sorry to bother you with details.

  17. P.S. Don’t mean to be a pest, but if possible, I would be able to use the thermal coffee mug the most. But of course, either is fine. THA;NKS AGAIN!

  18. Thank you Julie for your comments on the interesting opportunities opening up for both picture book writers and readers.

    And thank you again, Paula, for hosting this. I now have 12 manuscripts that I will be revising as part of Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge later in the summer. And please give Oreo a special treat from myself and Canoe for the NaPiBoWriWee notebook! I will be emailing you my address.

    Hope to see everyone here next year!

  19. Woohoo for all the winners!! What a fun interview with Julie! I’m enjoying the 12×12 Challenge this year but plan to do NaPiBoWriWee next year…because I miss Oreo and your other kitty-babies! 😉

  20. 7 drafts AND a prize? How lucky am I? Thanks, Oreo! Kudos to you, Julie for embracing the changes in the industry and congratulations on your successful year. A lot to think about with the story aps. Thanks again to you, Paula. I had fun and got things done.

  21. Julie, thanks to your post, I have a new perspective on the value of picture book apps.

    And YES (fist pump and all), I get Paula Yoo’s autograph!! So pleased that it’ll be in Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds, too. The New Voices contest was the first place I had ever sent in a manuscript. Thanks, Oreo, for scratching at my name!

  22. Julie,thanks for your positive and encouraging post. I am excited about the great opportunities that are happening for you.

    Paula, Thanks for making this great week happen! All the best to you.

    and,I have an ipad so please enter me in the contest for Julie’s ipad app. May 15th is my birthday so maybe it will be an extra lucky day.

  23. Thank you, Julie for a thoughtful post. 🙂

    Thank you, Paula for running this challenge. I managed to write all 7 of my picture books (3 of which I might actually do something with). 🙂

  24. I’m late getting to the party. I did get mine done with a little help from my animal friends here on our farm. Thanks for the notebook. I do solemnly swear to use it, not abuse it by leaving it to gather dust. I already know what I’m going to do. Jot down loads of ideas for upcoming picture books. CONGRADS everyone.

    Julie, I heart you woman. Thanks for all you do.

  25. Had a great time with this year’s challenge. I have several stories and ideas. I was not able to finish the challenge due to some obstacles.
    Thanks to you, I was able to get out of my rut. Again, thanks to Paula. I really enjoyed the interview with Julie. It gives us courage to grow with her words of wisdom for writers.
    See you next year!

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