Featured Interview in Huffington Post

I was interviewed by The Book Doctors in the Huffington Post today in an article entitled “Josh Funk on the War Between Pancakes & French Toast, SCBWI & Getting Published” – it’s probably the most in depth interview I’ve done to date, with some seriously awesome questions, such as:

  • How did you go about getting a book contract not only for Lady Pancake, but also for your next two books which are coming out?
  • Hasn’t anyone told you that rhyming books don’t sell? How did you overcome this ridiculous idea, and why do you think people keep saying that?
  • What are some of the most horrifying things about being a professional author?
  • How has being a member of SCBWI helped you in your career and as a person?
  • Why in the name of all that’s good and holy would you choose to get into the publishing business? Have you had your head examined recently? Been checked for brain parasites?
  • How do you keep it so funky?
  • and more …

And I got to share the #TeamKrush logo designed by Jessie Devine.

Team Krush Logo TeamKrush

Check out the entire interview here.

Two for You

(two books I highly recommend)

1. Backhoe Joe written by Lori Alexander and illustrated by Craig Cameron

Backhoe Joe

Want a backhoe for a pet? Of course you do!

2. There Was a Wee Lassie Who Swallowed a Midgie written by Rebecca Colby and illustrated by Kate McLelland

there was a wee lassie

A Scottish twist on this much-loved rhyme!

My First Podcast Interview: Let’s Get Busy with Matthew Winner

Just a quick note today: if you’ve never listened to the Let’s Get Busy Podcast with Matthew Winner, you certainly should. And today you have TWO reasons … because I am the featured guest on Episode #193 talking about Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast!

podcast

In this interview I:

I highly recommend you subscribe to the Let’s Get Busy Podcast if you haven’t already. Matthew Winner has so many amazing interviews with fabulous guests in the previous 192 episodes (and many more lined up to come!). And certainly check out his new home for the podcast – All the Wonders, a home for readers to discover new books and to experience the stories they love in wondrous ways.

Also, I decided today to start a new tradition. Because so many of my blog posts are about me, I’d like to share two favorite books by others at the end of every post from this day forward. I’ve decided to very creatively call this:

Two for You

(two books I highly recommend)

1. Boats for Papa written and illustrated by Jessixa Bagley

boats for papa

I love everything about this book. Get the tissues ready, cause it made me start crying in the middle of a bookstore.

2. Snoozefest written by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Kristyna Litten

snoozefest_big

Great rhymes and illustrations, and starring a sloth.

#pb10for10 #TeamRhyme

Educators Cathy Mere & Mandy Robek have been running the #pb10for10 event for years now. Basically, pick 10 picture books you simply can’t live without and share today, August 10th, with the hashtag #pb10for10 (see the official rules here).

pb 10 for 10 015

It’s hard to pick just 10, so to help narrow my field I’m going to stick to my favorite rhyming picture books.

 

Iggy Peck, Architect

written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts

I’ve said it over and over and over again, but this is one of four books that inspired me to become a writer. Advanced rhyming at its best.

Iggy Peck Architect

 

Snoozefest

written by Samantha Berger & illustrated by Kristyna Litten

Woodstock for the sleepy. And starring a sloth.

Snoozefest book by Samatha Berger & Krystyna Litten

 

If I Built a House

written & illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

I could have gone with Circus Ship or any one of Van Dusen’s other rhymers, but I just love the wackiness of this one.

If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen

 

Orangutangled

written by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen & illustrated by Aaron Zenz

Sudsy is one of the best rhymers out there, and all her books are great, but this one continues to entertain me and the kids every time we read it.

orangutangled

 

The Library

written by Sarah Stewart & illustrated by David Small

This and The Gardener (which doesn’t rhyme) are two of my favorites ever.

the library by sarah stewart and david small

 

Three Ninja Pigs

written by Corey Rosen-Schwartz & illustrated by Dan Santat

Be on the lookout for a third in this series coming in 2016!

three ninja pigs

 

1 Zany Zoo

written by Lori Degman & illustrated by Colin Jack

The award winning debut from a stellar rhymer!

1 zany zoo

 

Chuckling Ducklings

written & illustrated by Aaron Zenz

He illustrated Orangutangled (above), but he is also an expert at dishing out rhyming text. This series (including Hug a Bull & I Love Ewe) are AWESOME gifts for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or to a newborn baby!

chuckling ducklings by aaron zenz

 

Monster Needs Your Vote

written by Paul Czajak & illustrated by Wendy Grieb

I know it’s not out until August 25th (in 15 days!!!), but I’m a big fan of the Monster & Me series, and this is the first one being published that I helped critique.

monster needs your vote

 

Guess Again!

written by Mac Barnett & illustrated by Adam Rex

Technically, this isn’t quite rhyming, but if you’ve read it, you’ll get it.

guess again

 

And those are my ten for #pb10for10!

My publicist would behead me if I didn’t mention that my debut picture book Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast (illustrated by Brendan Kearney, out on September 1st) also rhymes.

Lady Pancake Cover Image (2)

 

That is all. Make sure to check out all the other #pb10for10’s linked up!

Josh Funk’s Guide to Writing Picture Books (in 12 easy steps)

Yesterday I updated my official website (joshfunkbooks.com) to include a new Resources for Writers section.

Josh Funk's 12 Step Guide to Writing Picture Books

For those of you that have been following this blog for a while, those 12 lessons may look familiar. I took my Tips for Writing Picture Books series and reorganized it a bit to make it a little cleaner and available all in one place.

See all of Josh Funk’s 12-Step Guide to Writing Picture Books

Lesson #1: So, You Wrote a Book. Now What?
Lesson #2: Picture Books Are Short
Lesson #3: Every Word Counts
Lesson #4: The Illustrator Is Your Partner
Lesson #5: Show Don’t Tell
Lesson #6: Write with Active Emotion
Lesson #7: Story Arc Components
Lesson #8: Don’t Write In Rhyme
Lesson #9: Rhyming Is All About Rhythm
Lesson #10: Some Ideas Don’t Work
Lesson #11: Keep Learning
Lesson #12: Now You’re Ready! Dive In!

I hope that these lessons help any prospective picture book authors, as it’s basically a massive brain dump of things I’ve learned in the last ~4 years.

Feel free to share – and enjoy!

Happy Old Year, 2013!

Before celebrating another year since the birth of the Earth (hey, that rhymes!), I’d like to congratulate 2013 for being pretty awesome to me. Here are some highlights:

I began 2013 with a little over a year’s experience, a single handful of decent manuscripts, very few contacts, and no online presence.

I adopted a pseudonym.

I wrote. I revised. I joined a new critique group and critiqued.

I dipped my toes into the pool of social networking.

Facebook LogoInstagram LogoTwitter LogoPinterest LogoWordpress Logo Google Plus LogoGoodreads LogoMammoth Logo  Tumblr Logo
(did I forget any? Probably…)

I ate lunch with at the same table as a Newbery Honor winner.

I made real and virtual friends with skillful sarcasm.

I attended 4 book launches and purchased more signed books than I can count.

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I started another critique group and became a board member.

I queried and submitted with a success rate higher than 0.0%.

Marsal Lyon Literary Agency Logo

I abandoned the pseudonym.

I end the year in the process of waiting.

Waiting for the phone to ring

The lessons of 2013? Don’t use a pseudonym. And get out there. And my wife is always right. Even if I crossed off the last five things from my list, it would still have been a pretty awesome year.

I wish all (both) of you a 2014 as ‘happy’ as my 2013.

Tree of Thanks

I’ve had a lot of good luck lately. But I’ve also had a lot of help. I’d like to take this blogortunity to thank those who have had a direct effect in helping me get to wherever I am today.

This Is Not My Family
This is not actually my family

In chronological order, I begin by thanking my many many children, without whom I would probably never have had any interest in writing books for children. Once I began, however, the spouse formerly known as Mama Funk (my wife) encouraged me to write. She discovered a community education class taught locally by a children’s author and strongly encouraged me to join (perhaps she needed a night off from me every two weeks). I signed up for the class …

Jane Sutton’s newest book

Jane Sutton, along with a healthy following students (some of whom were taking her class for the fourth consecutive session) taught me the basics (and the advanced) of writing for children. The critiques from my classmates were both encouraging and enlightening. I learned that I might have potential. I also learned that I still had a lot to learn. One particular student, Ellen Cohen (who does not have a link here because she does not have a blog – START A BLOG, ELLEN), encouraged me to join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and attend our region’s annual conference. I signed up for the conference …

NESCBWI 2012 Logo

At the 2012 New England SCBWI Conference I met dozens of friendly people. I gained knowledge from the sessions and speakers (Kate Messner’s recap of her TED talk was unforgettable). But nothing was more influential than a short conversation at Friday evening’s wine and cheese gathering with LorettaJo Kapinos and Sera Rivers. In short, they told me that volunteering at the conference was great fun and a terrific way to meet people. If I remember correctly, their volunteer duties included acting as bodyguard for a guy who wrote picture books about bats. And that’s how they got their fancy yellow badges (whereas mine was boring white). They had me at yellow badges. In 2013, I signed up to volunteer …

Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
You could be Brian Lies’ bodyguard, too!

Prior to the 2013 NESCBWI Conference, I was asked to select volunteering duties. Among other duties (door watcher, sign-in checker), I chose Open Mic (I was probably going to perform, anyway).  Alicia Gregoire, the host of the event introduced me to a whole bunch of writers who had recently started a writing community called The Writers’ Loft (I recently learned that these writers were not expecting a nerdy white dude when they heard Papa J Funk would be stopping by, but that’s neither here nor there). After the conference, I began frequenting The Writers’ Loft …

NESCBWI 2013 Logo

The Writers’ Loft is a magical place where writers’ dreams come true. The Loft plays host to critique groups, craft chats, author panels, book launches, write-ins, think tanks – basically a year-long SCBWI conference at whatever pace you (the writer) want. For me, The Writers’ Loft is the people (“it’s the people, people!”) – many of whom have helped me edit manuscripts, brainstorm ideas, and teach me the ins and outs of writing for kids (and writing in general). Although I might have gotten here (wherever here is) eventually, I want to thank three particular Lofters (Heather KellyAnna Staniszewski, and Kris Asselin) who have guided me and made my life far easier than it would have been without their help and support.

The Writers' Loft

And of course I must thank all my critique partners and groups (Cousin Rachel, Deb O’Brien, Jane’s Class, my online group, and The Writers’ Loft PBCG). Without all of you, I wouldn’t be the unpublished (but represented!) writer I am today.

Thank You

And if I didn’t thank you (yes, you – the one reading this blog post), then I thank you, too.

Maybe

So, I don’t really have anything to blog about. Then why I am I writing a post, you ask? I don’t have an answer. Maybe one will come to me before I hit the Publish Button button.

Maybe I have nothing to post about. Maybe I’ve done nothing ‘blog-worthy’ since I last posted (on August 12th?).

Maybe I traveled through time and jumped from August 12th to September 23rd?

Maybe I’ve run out of sarcastic things to say? Or maybe I’m pouring my sarcasm down the avenues of Facebook, twitter, and my writing?

Maybe all of my computers and phones and pads have been broken.

Maybe I’ve partaken in so many exciting events that I simply haven’t had any time to blog about it? Maybe I’ve been book launches, craft chats, and critiquering groups.Maybe I was in a coma, suffered while on a jungle safari.

Maybe I’ve been so busy submitting manuscripts to agents and editors.

Maybe I’ve become so glum and depressed collecting rejections and the absence of rejections from said agents and editors.

Maybe I don’t need a reason. I just didn’t.

Or maybe …