Friday, March 4, 2016

On the Scene in 2016, and What To Do While Waiting by Wendy BooydeGraaff

When I first signed my contract with Ripple Grove Press, one of the hardest things I had to do was wait. There was waiting to find out who would illustrate the picture book (Bryan Langdo), then there was waiting to see some of the preliminary sketches, and waiting to see the final art and cover, and waiting for my advance copies and the launch date.

Of course, I’ve kept busy writing and marketing—all the things I’ve read to do and all the things author friends have encouraged me to do—but one of the best things I did was find a group of other debut picture book authors and illustrators.

There are 51 of us in a private Facebook group where we share our experiences, ask for advice and cheer each other on. While we are officially a 2016 group, some had launch dates that, surprisingly, moved them into 2015. Some have had setbacks that are pushing their debuts into 2017. Some of us post all the time and some of us rarely post. That’s okay. This group is about community and shared experience, and each member can choose their own level of participation.

Out of that group, we made a public blog: On the Scene in 2016. Here we celebrate our books and ideas with the world. We…

  • introduce ourselves in three scenes (follow this link for a list of introduction posts)
  • celebrate launches
  • give information about our picture book debuts based on voluntary surveys
  • create sentences from the sixteenth word in each of our books (called “The Sixteenth Word Series,” featuring wonky illustrations)
  • welcome your comments

I hope you’ll stop by and visit us. I also hope that when you get that book contract, you join a debut group, and if there isn’t one that fits what you need, create it.

Wendy BooydeGraaff’s picture book debut, SALAD PIE, illustrated by Bryan Langdo, and published by Ripple Grove Press, is available March 1, 2016, wherever books are sold (or you can preorder it on Barnes and Noble, Amazon or IndieBound). Please visit her at where you can ask a question. 

The 2016 picture book debut authors and illustrators are on Pinterest, Goodreads, and on the blog. If you’ve got your first picture book coming out in 2016, it’s not too late to join the group.

Coming up on the Mitten blog: Take-aways from the SCBWI New York conference and another round of Hugs and Hurrahs. To be included, please send your good news to Patti Richards at by March 20th.

Are you following the SCBWI-MI Facebook page? Please "like" the page to help our chapter reach its goal of 500 followers. In addition to the listserv, it's one of the best ways to stay up to date with news from our chapter, including conference updates.

Have a great weekend!


  1. I think the wait is really hard for many writers. That's awesome you joined a picture book debut group. Many of the authors I interview on my blog say how helpful these groups can be.

    1. Natalie, the group has been so helpful. I highly recommend it!

  2. Thanks so much for starting the wonderful group of debut authors & illustrators. It's so nice to share the experiences, frustrations, and excitement of the debut year.

  3. Great information. Thanks for sharing, Wendy.

  4. It IS so hard to be on others' timetables but I love the idea of the behind the scenes work that can be done. You'll be so ready when the launch date comes!

  5. What a great idea, Wendy. Congratulations on Salad Pie!