Today I’m taking a break from my usual book reviews to highlight a contest that’s perfect for aspiring picture book authors, illustrators, and author-illustrators—Brian Gehrlein’s #PBCritiqueFest. Why would you want to enter this contest? I can think of lots of reasons, but two stand out in my mind.
One: The picture book industry is very competitive. Many would argue more competitive than adult publishing or even other kid lit genres. With so many people aspiring to have their picture book stories published, they must first catch the attention of agents and editors. And even before that, they need to write and/or illustrate an outstanding story. You can write a decent story on your own, but getting feedback from other writers can help you turn a good story into a great one. Getting a critique from a professional in the industry (a published author, agent, or editor) can help you write a story that really shines. There are opportunities to purchase professional critiques like this, often available when you attend a webinar or conference, but sometimes someone hosts a giveaway for a chance to win one. That leads me to reason number…
Two: The kid lit community is very supportive. If you’ve ever been to an SCBWI or other kid lit conference or just browsed social media posts written by kid lit folk, you will feel the love! You can find advice, a shoulder to cry on, someone to jump up and down with, encouraging posts, book promotions for fellow author/illustrators, positive book reviews, blog posts, giveaways, querying and pitching tips, writing and illustrating tips, virtual and in-person book launches, ask-the-author sessions, interviews with authors, illustrators, agents and editors, adorable character illustrations, portfolio displays, contests and more. Many children’s book creators volunteer their time to help the greater kid lit community. One of those people is Brian Gehrlein. Not only is he an up-and-coming children’s author himself, but he’s a cheerleader and supporter of the kid lit community. He offers inspirational posts and features informational interviews with authors, illustrators, and agents on his Picture Book Spotlight blog, he sometimes offers his own critiquing skills in giveaways (I’ve won a fantastic and very helpful critique from him myself), and he hosts an annual “giveaway” he calls #PBCritiqueFest!
You can read more about #PBCritiqueFest here, but in a nutshell, you fill out a brief form and you are entered for a chance to win a critique with one of 36 authors, illustrators, and agents. If you promote the contest in various ways (guidelines can be found here), you can earn additional entries into the contest. BUT this year’s #PBCritiqueFest is almost over! You only have until 10 AM today (Eastern time 10/30/20) to enter. What are you waiting for?
Heather is a busy wife and mom of five rambunctious children and one lovable pup They all provide lots of distractions, but oodles of inspiration. Sometimes the pictures and ideas in her head turn into her own children's stories, but she always makes time to read other people's books. Sometimes she reviews them here.