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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Keeping Up with the Competiton: 5 Ways to Find Out Who's Writing What

     Though it's been said many times before in these very blog pages, 'butt in chair' is the most effective way to get some writing done.  I would have to add, however, that an effective way to find out what all the other butts are doing is to practice 'body in bookstore.' In other words, I like to keep up with the Writing Joneses and see what's out there.  I have found five ways to check out the competition :
1) Peruse the children's shelves in Barnes and Noble, or any other bookseller near you.  Even though we know that publishers pay for prominent shelf space, it still helps to see who is populating those shelves.  Movie-tie-ins? Seasonal stuff? Classics? The latest release in a series? And always look at who is publishing what.
2) SCBWI Newletter...check out the editions that showcase newly published works - they even include the genre so you get a little more information.
3) Publishers Weekly.  Not all bookstores carry this but I have been able to find the spring and fall editions which showcase all the new children's publications.  It's $12 but maybe you can check it out without buying it, or sometimes SCBWI offers a discount on just these two issues.
4) Horn Book.  A delightful publication about books for children and young adults which is also available online and includes other features- sometimes even Newbury/Caldecott acceptance speeches.
5) New York Times Book Review.  Granted, you have to buy the Sunday NY Times and children's books aren't always reviewed, but often they are themed seasonally or topically.

During my most recent review of the competition I was impressed by something I already had heard - everyone is writing about dinosaurs!  Time to get back home and put my butt in a Jurassic chair...


  1. Great suggestions! And speaking of B & N, don't they offer a free newsletter that I've seen which highlights new titles? I know I've grabbed that on occasion.

    1. Dawn, I think I know what you mean - the regular newsletter also lists new titles? I also kind of like the list of related titles that prints out once you buy a book. I guess the good news is I don't recall seeing any of those awful celebrity books lately - hooray for the rest of us!