I have participated in Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month every November since 2011, and Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 writing challenge since its kickoff in 2012. Now, with PiBoIdMo 2015 quickly approaching, I’m thrilled to announce that this year I sold TWO manuscripts that began as PiBoIdMo ideas and were written as part of the 12x12 writing challenge.
In late November 2013, I was pondering picture book ideas and jotted down the title JACK B. NINJA, a twist on Jack Be Nimble. I left it at that. Nearly a year later in September 2014, I finally returned to that little nugget of an idea and used 12x12 as fuel to sketch out a first draft. Four months (and several revisions) later, JACK B. NINJA was acquired by Scholastic’s Cartwheel Books.
Meanwhile, the initial spark for WATER SONG hit during PiBoIdMo 2014. The idea was to explore the many forms of water through the sounds they make. I liked the concept so much that I jumped to write it in January as my first draft for 12x12 in 2015. Six months later, WATER SONG was picked up by Paula Wiseman Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
PiBoIdMo and 12x12 go so well together. It’s the perfect picture book writing one-two punch. In November, you brainstorm all those story ideas (good, bad, and ugly) right out of your head. Then, throughout the following year, you commit to writing at least one draft per month. These two programs are great ways to keep yourself motivated, bulk up your writing portfolio, and join a supportive online community of children's writers. And hey, you never know which of your bright ideas might one day end up on bookshelves.