On this page, I'll share inteviews that I have done with different published authors and illustrators. This will be another tool to expose new writers to information and advice from those who are already making a splash in the world of writing, in a section I'll call "Points from the Published"!
Jim Averbeck Interview
It has been a while since I’ve posted a Points from the Published, so I am extremely excited for my newest interview. Remember, way back when I first started this blog, and I posted my first Books I Love entry on In a Blue Room? Well, my next interview features the fabulous Jim Averbeck, the author of that wonderful book. I had hoped our paths would cross again, and sure enough they did. Enjoy the interview!
Can I use your interview answers on my blog: Yes
Can I use your picture on my blog: Yes
- What was your path to publishing a book?
Well comparing publishing to a “path” is a little misleading. It makes it sound like there is a linear journey that you go on. But in actuality, publishing is more like a river, with several tributaries you need to feed to make them all come together at the same time. The first tributary is craft. In my case I learned how to write a picture book at a Berkeley extension class, and how to illustrate them at two more classes there. Then I went to conferences and workshops to learn more. The second tributary is networking. A great deal of getting published is about getting your work off the slush pile and seen by editors. For me, the greatest help in this department was SCBWI. I volunteered to work for the organization and that gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful industry professionals—and, incidentally, another place to hone my craft. The third tributary is luck. Many people are good writers who know a lot of people but still don’t get published. I don’t know how to feed the luck tributary. Maybe make an offering to the gods of writing?
- How long have you been in this business? When did you start? When did you get your first book published?
The first class I took was in 1998. My first book, IN A BLUE ROOM, was published in 2008, by Harcourt. I had another book that was acquired before that one, but it was orphaned when the acquiring editor left the publishing house and it languished for 6 years before my agent and I took back the rights.
- What inspires you and what motivates you to carry on in this business?
For me, my books are like my children. I hope that some of them will live on in libraries, on bookshelves and hopefully in the hands of eager young readers long after I am dead. But I need to create books that are good enough to stick around, so I keep trying
- Do you have another job or is writing your only job?
Writing and illustrating for children are my only jobs.
- Do you have an agent? If yes, what steps did you take to obtain one?
Remember that networking tributary I mentioned above? I went to SCBWI conferences and got my work looked at whenever possible. I met my agent, Deborah Warren, there. At first I wasn’t sure about having an agent, but she seemed to honestly admire my work, and understand it, and she would write to me every 6 months or so telling me she’d like to represent me. About a year or a year and a half after we met, I signed on with her.
- What advice would you give to a new writer?
Be persistent. This industry is not easy to break into, but if you concentrate on continuing to grow and challenge yourself as a writer, eventually you will be noticed. That, and win the lottery if possible, because this is not the go to place to get rich.
And good luck!
Thanks again to Jim Averbeck for sharing insight about getting published!
If you’d like to learn more about Jim Averbeck, check out his websites and blogs:
Here are his books, including his newest publication The Market Bowl.