Friday, December 11, 2015

PiBoIdMo – Going the Extra Pages by Rachel Anderson

PiBoIdMo is Picture Book Idea Month. The goal is to brainstorm picture book ideas. You sign up in advance to participate, and all you have to do is come up with 30 ideas during the 30 days in November. They don’t even have to be good ideas. Easy peasy!

If you want to be more involved with the challenge, read the daily posts to glean advice and writing tips. If you comment on the blog posts, you’ll have an opportunity to win a prize.

At the end of the 30 days you pledge that you came up with 30 ideas in 30 days. You also promise, to the best of your ability, to turn those ideas into picture book manuscripts over the next year. All this is on the honor system, folks. You don’t have to turn in your ideas or your draft manuscripts. Good thing! Some of my ideas earned titles like: What? Stinky Stink! Trash Me Now. So I came up with an additional 5 ideas to cover up those stinky ones.

For the past two years of PiBoIdMo, I have to admit I minimally tackled the challenge. I read the posts when I could and commented on a few. I came up with ideas - whatever popped in my head – and I wrote them down. But this year, I decided to tackle the challenge with gusto; to thoroughly read every PiBoIdMo blog post to not only glean advice from each writer, but to use what I learned to come up with my idea for that day. I also decided to see if there was more good stuff I could find within each post.

So what happened?
  • After I read each daily post, I wrote down the guest blogger’s name and a line or two about their advice or writing style.
  • I compiled a list of their published and upcoming books.
  • Several interesting websites were viewed; I will continue to view more of them.
  • If agents were mentioned, I wrote them down.
  • I compiled another list of publishing houses.

Great Gusto! This was a whole lot more work, but I learned much by going through this process. From these wonderful PiBoIdMo posts, I found authors I want to follow. I have a new list of agents whom I will research to see if they might be someone I’d love to work with; someone looking to publish the type of picture books I’m writing. I saw different styles of websites, and I duly noted which sites kept me there for awhile to learn more about each person and what they offer to fellow writers or illustrators. I’ve been introduced to publishers I’ve not heard of before. I’m learning more about some established publishers and what they’re looking for. And I have a long list of books I want to read. I have homework, but fun homework because it’s all about books!

Hats off to Tara Lazar and the guest bloggers who gave so much of themselves and their craft, pre-PiBoIdMo, during PiBoIdMo and post-PiBoIdMo (say that fast, three times!).

P.S. I can’t forget about my other homework. Thanks to 30+ days of PiBoIdMo, I have all those ideas (stinky ones included) which I need to turn into potential picture book manuscripts. Anyone want to brainstorm over a cup of coffee?

Rachel Anderson continues to hone her writing at her home in Gaylord. She is a wife, mother and grandmother. She is also a long time SCBWI member who served on the Advisory Committee for SCBWI-MI for several years and served as co-RA for one year. Rachel is currently pre-published. ;-}

Thank you Rachel for sharing your experience with us and for all of the time you've dedicated to our SCBWI-MI chapter over the years. We're cheering for you to turn some of these new ideas into published picture books!

Coming up on the Mitten blog: Everyone's favorite feature - Hugs and Hurrahs! Patti Richards is busy compiling the good news. Email her at by Monday, December 14th to be included.

See you next Friday,

Kristin Lenz


  1. Wonderful write-up, Rachel! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Thanks Erin. Sure do miss you. One of these days we MUST get together - in Michigan!

  2. This kind of thinking and work is what separates the pre-published from the very-soon-to-be published! Great ideas here, Rachel.

    1. Thanks, Carrie. Going into the process, I knew I'd learn something, but WOW. I learned a lot of somethings!

  3. You know what they say about getting out of it what you put in. Thanks for reminding us the extra effort pays off!

    1. Absolutely, Dawne. Thanks for reading the blog post and commenting.