NAPIBOWRIWEE DAY 6 – Meet Authors Jill Esbaum & Penny Parker Klostermann!

I am assuming this picture reflects everyone' state of mind as we try to make it through the last couple days of NAPIBOWRIWEE! :)
I am assuming this picture reflects everyone’ state of mind as we try to make it through the last couple days of NAPIBOWRIWEE! 🙂


It’s amazing how fast time flies. Just six days ago, I was posting my first blog… sob… 🙂 You guys have grown up so much over the days! Soon you will be able to leave the nest and fly away…  🙂

My progress report: I was unable to finish Day 4 because halfway through I realized the book I was trying to write was actually SOMETHING ELSE. So I ended up just doing some research and calling it a day. For Day 5, I returned to Book No. 4 which had morphed into a different book, and wrote a very, very VERY rough prose draft. It needs more research and better writing. But I actually came up with a beginning, middle and end and realized what the theme was connecting those three acts.

THIS is why writing rough drafts is so important. It’s known as the “exploratory” draft. I’ve read other versions of this – some folks call it the “dream” draft or the “free” draft. Whatever you call it, the first draft is often where we are testing out our theories and exploring what works and doesn’t work. It’s also where we can be bold and make mistakes or write terribly and not self-censor or judge ourselves. That freedom to explore is what creates the foundation for the final version of the book. It’s almost like a blueprint!

Today’s Writing Tip: Even if you feel you are writing a really “crappy first vomit draft,” what might help is focusing on the BEGINNING, MIDDLE, and END. What is the theme or emotional growth that is linking your character or story through these three acts? How does your main character change at the end? Or if you’re doing a more plot-driven “good night” type book, what are the main three plot points you need to reach in order to create a satisfying ending? Explore this in your draft.

Anyway, in writing Book #4 on Day 5 (LOL), I realized… I think this book is The One. I think this book has potential to be more than just a “writing exercise” or fun “NAPIBOWRIWEE” draft that merely served its purpose as a writing growth activity. So I’m really excited! This has given me an extra boost for the final couple days! In fact, I brainstormed ahead of time the ideas for Books No. 6 and 7, so I’m ready to write!

I also wrote Book #5 on Day 5 – I cheated though, and went ahead and finished that orchestra alphabet book anyway. 😛 It’s always fun to just do more of a “list” book. I think this is more of a “writing exercise” book but you never know…. we’ll see how I feel later! 🙂

And before we all enter our Writing NAPIBOWRIWEE Batcaves, here’s a DOUBLE DOSE of GUEST AUTHORS for Day 6! I figure since we’re near the end and getting burned out/exhausted, we need TWICE as much inspiration for today! 🙂

Our guest authors JILL ESBAUM and PENNY PARKER KLOSTERMANN have graciously donated autographed copies of their latest books for our NAPIBOWRIWEE participants. Please visit my blog on May 8, 2016 (9:00 AM EST/6:00 AM PST) to see who won their books!

Meet author Jill Esbaum!
Meet author Jill Esbaum!


Jill Esbaum lives on a family farm in eastern Iowa. New in 2016 are two picture books: Teeny Tiny Toady, illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi, and If a T. Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party, illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova (August). Her books have been nominated for state awards (I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo! in Nebraska, Tom’s Tweet in Iowa and South Dakota, Stanza in Indiana), named to the International Reading Association’s Notable Children’s Book list (Ste-e-e-e-eamboat A-Comin’!), won SCBWI’s Crystal Kite award (I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo!); and featured on Amazon’s Best Book of the Month list (Tom’s Tweet). Jill’s nonfiction books, all published by National Geographic, include five titles in the Picture the Seasons series, four Angry Birds Playground titles, the Big Book of Who and the Big Book of How, and seven books in a series for 3-6 year olds, Explore My World, as well as a picture book of collective nouns, Animal Groups.

Jill co-hosts the Whispering Woods Picture Book Writing Workshop each summer and is the creator and administrator of a group blog of picture book authors and illustrators called Picture Book Builders. She loves sharing her passion for both fiction and nonfiction in lively, interactive school visits that get kids giggling and fired up for reading and writing.

TEENY TINY TODAY by Jill Esbaum and illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi
TEENY TINY TODAY by Jill Esbaum and illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi

TEENY TINY TODAY by Jill Esbaum and illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi (Sterling Publishing, 2016)

Starred review, Kirkus

Summary: “When Teeny Tiny Toady’s mama is captured and put into a bucket, frantic Teeny recruits her big, strong (know-it-all) brothers to mount a rescue. But when their brilliant plan lands them in the bucket with Mama, only one tiny toady is left to save them all – Teeny.”


Q: What inspired you to write or illustrate picture books?

A: I’d been sitting on the fence thinking about writing for years. It was repeated readings to my kiddos of Kevin Henkes’s perfect Julius, Baby of the World that shoved me off. You know the page in which Lily is up a tree, shouting a warning at the pregnant lady passing beneath … ? Wow. Learning I could include a little irreverence in a children’s story was eye opening. And irresistible.

Q:  Do you write in any other genres? If so, what?

A: I write nonfiction books for National Geographic, and I’m working on a couple of mg novels.

Q: What do you like most about picture book writing versus other genres? 

A: Revision. Because picture book stories are so compact, reshaping them is pure joy. A finished first draft always triggers a happy dance and a “woo-hoo!,” because I know the fun part is about to begin.

Q: What is the most challenging part about writing picture books?

A: Crafting a story with depth, humor, and heart in less than 800 words.

Q: Tell us about your first published book – what inspired the idea? 

A: Friends who live in an old house with an exterior entrance to the cellar accidentally left that door open. In the middle of the night a skunk decided to investigate. Their ever-vigilant shepherd followed it down the stairs and ended up getting sprayed. The stink wafted up through the entire house, and the family had to evacuate at 2:00 a.m. From that came Stink Soup (FSG, 2004, illus by Roger Roth).

Q: How long did it take to write (for artists – or illustrate & write)? 

A: That one took about two months. I’d hit it off with an editor at a writer’s conference who’d said he was looking for longer, multi-layered, humorous picture books for older readers. So that’s what I went home and attempted to write.

Q: Any fun or interesting details about the road to your first book’s publication?

A: It was eight months after I sent the manuscript that the editor called and said he hoped it was still available. I’d long before planned how I’d act if ever I got The Call – remaining calm, asking intelligent questions. Instead, my knees gave out, and I hyperventilated. He advised me to breathe into a paper bag, then held on while I crab-crawled to a kitchen drawer to find one. When he could stop laughing, he made an offer.

Q: If you weren’t a writer/artist, what would you be?

A: A librarian. I’d love being surrounded by books every day, savoring the voices and kindred spirits and wild imaginations living inside.

Q: If you could give one piece of writing advice for our NaPiBoWriWee participants, what would it be?

A: Learn to look at your own work with a critical eye, as though it was written by somebody else. Somebody you don’t like very much.

Q: There’s been increasing pressure for writers to be active on social media. Are you on social media? If so, where can your readers reach you? Has social media helped your writing journey and career? Any advice for writers who might feel overwhelmed by the social media “burden”?

A: I am, and I try to be fairly active, although Facebook feels more natural to me than Twitter (I’m @JEsbaum). Being on Facebook, connecting with readers and other writers, has definitely made my writing journey more interesting. Plus, a little positive feedback can keep me going for days. My two cents regarding Twitter:  Check in once or twice a day; retweet other people’s writing-relevant news or share something great you’ve found online. But don’t worry about keeping up. Nobody can. Well, nobody who also wants to write and have a life. My website is at, and I blog (along with seven other picture book creators) at  Drop by anytime!


Meet author Penny Parker Klostermann!


Penny Parker Klostermann is the author of There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2015) and the upcoming, A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale, (Random House, 2017).

There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight was named Best of Rhyme 2015 in conjunction with the Rhyming Picture Book Revolution Conference. Also, it is one of fifteen books on the list for *Sunshine State Young Readers Award Jr. 2015-2016.

Penny loves all kinds of books, but especially loves very silly picture books that make her laugh. She has been known to hug her favorite picture books and seriously hopes that someday her books will gain huggable status too.

THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT by Penny Parker Klostermann and illustrated by Ben Mantle (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2015)

THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT by Penny Parker Klostermann and illustrated by Ben Mantle (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2015)

Brief Summary: We all know that “there was an old lady” who swallowed lots of things. Now meet the old dragon who swallows pretty much an entire kingdom! Will he ever learn a little moderation?! This rollicking rhyme is full to bursting with sight gags, silly characters, and plenty of burps! Parents and kids alike will delight in Ben Mantle’s precisely funny illustrations and in Penny Parker Klostermann’s wacky rhymes.


Q: What inspired you to write or illustrate picture books? 

A: I taught school for 26 years before I began pursuing publication. I witnessed the students’ reaction to picture books. I witness how the books took them on journeys right there at school. I wanted to write stories that could take kids on adventures.

Q: Do you write in any other genres? Yes If so, what? 

A: Poetry

Q: What do you like most about picture book writing versus other genres? 

A: I love the marriage of text and art. It never ceases to amaze and surprise me when I pick up a picture book that gets that marriage just right. People want to know how I can let go of the control over illustrations. My answer—I have no choice. But, I love that I have no choice. I love that two creative minds together create a work of art. I want control over my text, but it delights me that I don’t have control over what the illustrator will bring to the story.

Q: What is the most challenging part about writing picture books? 

A: Revisions that bring a manuscript to polished state. I’ll think that I have it and then I’ll revisit my manuscript a few days later and realize there’s something missing. Sometimes that something is obvious, and that’s a gift. Other times, it’s illusive. It’s usually a small thing, but for me it may take many revisions to find that small thing. It’s challenging to not get discouraged…to keep chipping away at my story.

Q: Tell us about your first published book – what inspired the idea? 

A: THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT was inspired by my desire to write a cumulative tale. After many attempts at finding just the right character, the dragon showed up. He showed up hungry and ornery and was just the character I needed to make my cumulative tale stand out and have a twist or two.

Q: How long did it take to write (for artists – or illustrate & write)? 

A: It took an hour to write the first draft and a year of polishing before it was ready to send out. Of course I was working on several other projects at the same time.

Q: Any fun or interesting details about the road to your first book’s publication? 

A: The editor accepted my final text in August of 2013. Due to input by Ben Mantle, the illustrator, my editor and I discussed a change in the text in February 2014 and I decided to make that change. This is a great example of the collaborative effort that makes a picture book the best it can be.

Q: Any valuable lessons you learned from any rejections you received on your writing journey? 

A: Many. The two most important lessons:

1. Let the rejection sting and then learn from it if you’re lucky enough to receive comments from an editor. I’ve been very lucky, as most of my rejections have included comments for me to consider.

2. Embrace rejections as part of the journey and believe that they’re subjective.

Q: If you could give one piece of writing advice for our NaPiBoWriWee participants, what would it be?

A: Oh, I could give many pieces of advice. But since you only asked for one, I’ll give the one piece of advice that I think has helped me the most. Read hundreds of books in the genre you wish to write. We hear this over and over again. The reason we hear it is because it is such important advice. It helps you see the the successful and not-so-successful application of every other piece of advice you’ll receive about writing picture books.

Q: There’s been a growing demand for more diversity in children’s book publishing. What are your thoughts on that, if any? 

A: I think it’s very important. I believe that writers can accomplish this in many different ways with characters that children will relate to. Ultimately, the writing has to feel true and not forced. You can’t shove diversity down your young readers throat. You can’t preach diversity. Your characters have to reflect it and that’s the challenge. LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET touched me in ways that a picture book hasn’t touched me in a long time. To be able to create characters like that…to write like that…oh my! I’m not sure if it was written with the “demand for diversity” in mind, but that story is a great example of getting it just right.

Q: There’s been increasing pressure for writers to be active on social media. Are you on social media? If so, where can your readers reach you? Has social media helped your writing journey and career? Any advice for writers who might feel overwhelmed by the social media “burden”? 

A: I’m on …

Facebook at

Twitter at

Pinterest at

No doubt that social media has helped my writing journey and career. I have made invaluable connections with other writers who have provided encouragement, support, and resources. All of this has been amazing. I’d urge anyone who is wanting to write for children to connect with social media. As for advice about feeling overwhelmed…I feel overwhelmed by social media much of the time. But setting goals has helped me avoid the void—avoid being sucked in when I should be writing, revising, or critiquing. I have to draw lines. I would love to join every writing-related conversation on Facebook. I would love to read and comment on every blog post about writing. But that’s impossible. So, I schedule some Internet-free time at the beginning of my day and try to stick to it. That means I don’t check email, don’t get on Facebook, etc. until I’ve had at least an hour writing, revising, or critiquing. That may not help with feeling overwhelmed, but at least I’m not ignoring the reason (my writing) that I’m connected to writers on social media to begin with.


Thank you Jill and Penny for taking time to answer my questions and donate your books for our PRIZE DRAWING! I LOVE Jill’s adorable story on how STINK SOUP came to be – as well as her hilarious “crab crawling” reaction to getting “The Call”! 🙂 And Penny’s advice is also a good reminder that writing a draft is just the first step – she wrote her first draft in an HOUR but then spent a YEAR polishing it. Again – as we learned earlier this week, this is all clearly about CRAFT and PERSISTENCE… and PATIENCE. 🙂

Well, let’s not waste any more time – we’ve got two days left. Everyone, keep it up! You can do it! Again, remember – you are trying to write 7 picture books by the end of the 7th day… but if you cannot write 7 books, I hope you at least tried to write every single day this week. The real purpose is to make sure you develop your “writing muscles” so you can handle and endure a marathon writing schedule. Because once you publish a book, trust me, your editor will expect you to write on a regular basis. Think of this as our pre-Olympic training. 🙂

PS. Speaking of Olympic training, I happened to catch a re-run on TV recently of the famous and wonderful Disney movie COOL RUNNINGS about the first Jamaican bobsled team to make it to the Winter Olympics. There’s a beautiful scene between Coach Irv (played by John Candy) and the young Jamaican bobsled captain Derice (played by Leon Robinson) where Coach Irv reminds Derice that the end goal is NOT the Gold Medal: “A gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without one, you’ll never be enough with one.”

That moment always makes me cry. It reminds me that at the end of the day, we are writing for writing’s sake – to create and express our feelings and viewpoint. Getting published is a Gold Medal – it’s great to get one, but in the end, that shouldn’t solely define WHY we write. We are writing for much deeper reasons beyond that.

Wow. It got really heavy in here. Sorry. LOL! 🙂 I have a habit of rambling if you haven’t noticed by now. 🙂 I think this is why my website theme is WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT. 🙂 But now that we’re getting close to the end of our 7 days together, I hope you are also thinking about WHY you love to write. It’s never truly about the “glory.” At the end of the day, it’s about writing from the heart. 🙂 Anyway, if you want to see that wonderful moment in COOL RUNNINGS, go here:

Our DAY 7 blog featuring more details about our fun prizes from JODELL SADLER and SHIRLEY NG-BENITEZ will be posted May 7, 2016 at 9 AM EST/6 AM PST. Until then, always remember… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! 🙂



  1. Thanks Jill and Penny.
    Jill – love your reaction to The Call.
    Penny – I also love the relationship of text and illustrations in PBs.

  2. Day Six. Wow.

    Thank you Jill and Penny :). You both are so busy, and I appreciate the time it took for all your advice. The more I listen to professionals like yourselves, the more I appreciate the craft of PB. I am learning that writing PB might be amazing fun, but it definitely isn’t child’s play.

    I still can’t believe I’ve gotten six—–very rough LOL LOL—-drafts done.

    Everyone have a great day


  3. Thanks for this delightful duo! (There’s today’s music reference for you Paula!)
    Penny and Jill are both superstar favorites in my picture book universe, and I appreciate the chance to hear more from both of them!

  4. Great, GREAT encouragement from both of these amazing authors. I’m inspired – off to work on my FOURTH draft (not sixth, but more than when I started!).

    • That quote made my eyes leak a little. Wish I had a nickel for every time my kids watched that movie, back in the day.

  5. I always appreciate hearing from these two ladies (and from you too, Paula). Extraordinary gift on the NaPiBoWriWee blog today. Wonderful tips and I have to agree with Penny that revising to that POLISHED state is super challenging. Thank you all!

  6. Thank you Jill and Penny. I can attest that Jill’s summer writing class is a great one. I learned sooooo much that is still resonating. Thank you again, Jill.
    I cannot wait to read There was an Old Dragon….

  7. Penny & Jill: Thanks for your great tories!
    Paula, given your expertise, I’m wondering if you ahve any chance you have any favorite music-to-write-by that you’d be willing to share? I need a new infusion…

    • Ok, I’m going to try that again (with proofreading):
      Penny & Jill: Thanks for your great stories!
      Paula, given your expertise, I’m wondering if you have any favorite music-to-write-by that you’d be willing to share? I need a new infusion…

    • Anna, because I’m a violinist, I listen to everything from rock to classical, country to punk rock, hip hop, rap, movie soundtracks, Enya (LOL), jazz, prog rock, heavy metal and of course ’80s New Wave. But because I’m also a musician, music actually DISTRACTS me because the musician starts focusing on the chord charts and keys and time signatures. I tend to listen to music when I’m revising or doing research. When I actually do real writing (actual drafts), I write in complete silence. I sometimes will play a little music at first to inspire me into the mood, and then it’s SILENCE. Complete, utter deathly silence. LOL. 🙂 The music I use to get me in the mood depends on the project – ’80s music to get me into a teenage mindset for YA, gorgeous classical or movie soundtracks for sad stories, rock/hip hop/dance energetic music for funny stuff, etc. But once I’m inspired to write… THE SOUND OF SILENCE. 🙂 However, I do recommend downloading OMM Writer cuz it has cool ambient sounds and New Age music that also sometimes helps me focus. Go here: I’ve mentioned this link before in previous NAPIBOWRIWEE’s – it’s an app to turn your computer into an entire writing screen with no distractions. Try it! 🙂

  8. Jill, I had not read your “call from the editor” story before. I can imagine reacting the same way you did.

    Penny, I have learned a great deal from hanging out on the sidelines reading about your process of editing There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight.

    Thanks to both of you!

  9. Thank you so much Jill and Penny, your insight comes straight from the heart! Super tips for keeping all of us motivated and focused on polishing and rewriting and reading loads of books, it is so important to read constantly mentor books, i do understand that now that i am doing research for a story. Penny, my students are still thrilled with your book and they ask to check on their drawings that left at school! That dragon of yours is a magic one! Jill, can’t wait to meet at WOWRetreat in July!! Greetings to all from Greece! Yiassas!

  10. Loving that this post is loaded with great advice! My biggest takeaway from today is the bit about revising your own work as if someone you hate wrote it. I often struggle with self-editing and I think this technique will totally work for me 🙂

  11. Great post! Thank you. Jill and Penny for giving us a peek at your road to publication. Jill I loved your story about getting “The Call”! I’d probably scream and faint dead away.

    Paula, I too to listen to music when I’m doing research on the internet. Classical or New Age… Yanni works the best for me… Yes, I like Yannie and it also works to get my creative juices flowing if I have my sage and sweet grass incense going at the same time. But being a Golden Oldies NUT (50 & 60’s Rock and Roll) I tend to get nothing done if I listen to it, as I end up dancing and/or signing along with the music.

  12. Thank you for sharing your stories for your process. They were both very inspiring! Writing, writing, writing tonight!

  13. Sheeee-oooo! Day 6, really? I wasn’t even sure I had this many stories in me. At the beginning of this week, I thought/commented how I’d wished I’d taken a week’s vacation to meet the challenge’s demand, but now, so close to the end…? Well, I feel like I’ve *been* on a writing vacation, and I’m feeling a bit anxious it’s coming to an end tomorrow. Draft 6, in the books.

    A delicious morsel from Jill: “Learn to look at your own work with a critical eye, as though it was written by somebody else. Somebody you don’t like very much.” –hA!

    One from Penny on reading, reading, reading: “It helps you see the the successful and not-so-successful application of every other piece of advice you’ll receive about writing picture books.” –!

    I’m getting so much out of this!

  14. Two more wonderful interviews and very useful tips and information all around! Thank you, ladies! I have been learning so much. Can’t wait to put it all to practice (and practice and more practice). Happy writing!

  15. So was battling a bit of writers’ block this morning; I decided to take a break and work on my mother’s gift for Sunday. Every year for as long as I can remember I purchased a bouquet of gladiolus. Mothers Day happened too early this year and no one had any… I was bummed. Then I remembered, every good writer takes the negatives in his/her life and makes a book out of it… And Gladiolas For Mom was born? 6 for 6!

  16. Thanks Penny and Jill–great interviews and great advice! Thanks, too, Paula for your encouraging words each day. I love the part about the gold medal. I have enjoyed working my writing muscles this week (well, spending too much time on a draft that still isn’t finished wasn’t that enjoyable). I think I can finish five books by tomorrow–not too bad for my first go around in NaPiBoWriWee. I’ll do more planning ahead next year. It has been fun to push myself. Thanks!

    • I didn’t even try this year, Kristen. But I like your idea of a little advance planning. I’ve started a new file where I’m going to put the 7 best ideas I come up with the rest of this year. Next year, I’ll be ready!

  17. JILL: I LOVE your wisdom: ” Learn to look at your own work with a critical eye, as though it was written by somebody else. Somebody you don’t like very much.” This will revolutionize my editing view/technique! THANK YOU!!!

    PENNY: I LOVE your advice about creating diverse characters readers will care about: “the writing has to feel true and not forced.” SO TRUE!!!

    PAULA: I LOVE your words of inspiration that the real purpose of NAPIBOWRIWEE “is to make sure you develop your ‘writing muscles’ so you can handle and endure a marathon writing schedule.” This has been a WONDERFUL exercise program for me. I AM FEELIN’ THE BURN! I ache in places I haven’t for far too long! THANK YOU!!! I also LOVE the wisdom you shared about the REAL gold medal being the writing itself. TRULY INSPIRATIONAL!

    THANK YOU, LADIES, for such an inspirational post!!!

    • Natalie,
      I read every blog post/article about diversity that comes across my radar and that is what I have gleaned from reading. It almost scares me to think about tackling diversity because I wonder if my words will feel true and not forced. But I’ve learned that diversity can be addressed in different ways. I feel I’m getting a better grasp and hope I can apply the words of wisdom I’ve been reading.

  18. Thanks to each of you for sharing! And, I just love the titles “Teeny, Tiny, Toady” and “There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Night.” The titles alone make me want to dive right in.
    And, Paula, “writing from the heart” and “write like you mean it” are lovely signposts for the journey. I think attempting so many *new* stories and full drafts in one week has left me a bit disappointed some days, staring at the gap between where I’m at and where I’d like to be, but you all are right (Penny’s one-hour draft and one year in revision illustrates this beautifully), so much of this is about persistence and patience, with a great deal of heart driving it all.
    Here’s to having the heart to keep at it, always, and especially on the days when the words just don’t see to be working.

  19. Great advice all round. Thank you.
    So glad to hear that you’ve found a potentially publishable piece, Paula! (How’s that for alitteration? 😉 ) I’m really enjoying this week despite the increased level of business, but I can’t say I have anything I’m as confident in as your draft 4/5. Never mind 6 and 7 await. To work I go!

  20. Terrific advice and fun anecdotes from two terrific authors! Irreverence is one of the reasons I love PBs, too. And I’m also trying to do the one hour away from the Internet thing, but I don’t think I’m as successful as Penny. 🙂

    • I think you probably are, Teresa. We have those days/weeks where our well-intentioned goals fall to pieces due to life or busy schedules. My week has been a bust! But I still will continue aiming for the one hour. Just having that goal has made a huge difference for me.

    • Me, neither, Teresa. I love getting caught up in a story and “coming to” to realize I haven’t checked into Facebook for 4-5 hours.

  21. Jill,
    Like you I would be a librarian if I was not a writer right now. Also, you are so correct in viewing one’s own work as someone elses. The problem with that for me is that I have to con myself that it’s now my own writing but it does work when I can. Best of luck to you with the MG books you are working on. I look forward to reading those as well and will put them on my mustread list.
    Traci Bold

    I agree whole-heartedly about reading hundred books in my genre. I have read over 700 PB’s in the last three years and I learn from every one. Love your books so they will always be on my mustread lists just like Jill Esbaums.
    For me, revisions are the hardest as well but I enjoy the scavenger hunt of finding what works best while revising.
    Best of luck to you in all your endeavors!
    Traci Bold

    • Good luck, Traci! The revising gets easier as time goes on – those words don’t feel so precious after a few weeks/months. Or after a few rejections! Those ALWAYS make it easier for me to revise, to go back in and try to figure out what isn’t working.

  22. So much great advice and wonderful stories! Thanks so much for sharing, Jill and Penny. And thanks, Paula for “rambling on”– I love it. Now off to watch that video clip. 🙂

  23. There is so much wisdom in this post!
    -Look at your writing like it was written by someone else.-
    -Read as many books as you can in your genre so that you can examine successful and unsuccessful applications of everything you’ve learned.-
    -It is NOT about the gold medal. We write from the heart and that is enough.-

    Thank you for all of these magnificent gems and more!

  24. Thank you Jill and Penny for all the excellent advice mentioned above and the advice to find a community and practice patience. Thank you so much for taking time to encourage us in this challenge and the many upcoming revisions.

    • The patience part of the equation was not easy for me, Maria. It was years before I stopped sending out manuscripts that weren’t ready. But that’s part of the learning process.

  25. Thanks to all of you. There are so many golden tidbits of advice in this post from each of you. I found your ideas inspirational and motivating.

  26. I love, love, love Picture Book Builders. Thanks, Jill, for establishing that collaborative blog. Everyone on there is so smart about picture books. I always learn from it. Thanks Jill and Penny for generously sharing your insights here!

  27. OK, I’m very late to the party–just catching up on some blog posts. Loved this interview with two wonderful people and writers. And it made me laugh (“Somebody you don’t like very much.” Ha!) and nod my head in agreement wtih all the great advice! Thanks, all three of you!