Tuesday, May 31, 2016

#FicFest Fables #3 - 5 Big Trends in the Slush

Through out my #FicFest teasers as I perused the slush, I noticed several trends. Some of them followed the industry ones while others hinted at up and coming ones. I actually chatted with a local writer friend and one of my mentees about a few of these on Thursday and Friday nights, and both of them had some input on why the trends might be around.

Trend #1 - Diversity

This is a no brainer trend that's at the forefront of the industry, since #weneeddiversebooks has become a leading campaign and demand, as well it should be. The slush was heavy with not only cultural diversity, but also family dynamics, physical and mental disabilities, and even non-fiction characters breaching diversity gaps. It also makes sense that so many diverse books made their way into the slush because many of the participating picture book agents asked for it as well.

Trend #2 - Man's Best Friend

Whether they brought a forgotten item, became a hero, or just got into trouble, dogs abounded in the Ficfest entries. I actually learned that pets in general, and dogs especially, make up a large portion (nearly 50% according to a source!) of characters in picture book submissions. So it only makes sense that the special animals in our lives also make it into our stories!

Trend #3 - The Wild Jungle

Though less often then a dog, jungle animals appeared in at least half a dozen of the more then 50 entries I read. Some were in the wild, others in a zoo, all of them offered up fun dialects, silly points of view, and loads of laughs. Just like dogs, however, this trend really makes the writers that write well to stand out.

Trend #4 - Art

In many ways big and small, with strokes of genius and expression of self, art took a lead in the Ficfest slush. I found it surprising and strangely rejuvenating. In years past, it seemed that music and art got pushed to the way side, but in recent years the call to return to the arts for their mental stimulation and stress relief have made it important again in schools. Perhaps this is the reason for the influx in art in picture books? This was my favorite trend! I loved many of the stories that included it, especially one about murals.

Trend #5 - Japan

The Japanese folklore and ancient culture came up in several of the Ficfest entries. Some of them only mentioned it in the "Where in the world" portion of their email, while others based their story upon it. I really have no ideas on why this trend is happening, but I want to do some more research or discussion on it. (If you have any ideas, I'd love you to leave a comment below!)

Please come back for our last #FicFest Fable post about common issue I saw in the slush, and a sample query letter from the #QueryHelper!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

#FicFest Fables #2: Slush As Told in Tweets

Has it really been two weeks already since the big #FicFest reveal? I've been so busy with critiques and getting to know my mentees and LIFE that I nearly forgot to continue my #FicFest Fables series. Here is part two where you get to know exactly what the slush held, what I thought about as I perused it.

Did you see all the fun stats on the first annual #FicFest submissions? 

Was that tweet about my entry???

I've been a hopeful entrant in contests past, so I know how every tweet with a hashtag of the contest name or your category can leave you wallowing in self doubt and strangely hungering for more. I'm going to do what I always hoped the mentors in the contests I participated in would... tell the entrants which posts were about what entry. (Please note, this is not meant to hurt any feelings or call anyone out. Totally subjective. I am a single voice in a large and diverse publishing/agenting/mentor field!)

How Do You Love?

21 Sandwiches

 Pomeroy Tours the Jungle

 Mario Defario

Dog Show Dropout

Bear's Winter

Jack's Packed

Lighting the Way

Tiago de Lupolo En (Tiago Hops On)

Story Box


Drac Lets in the Light

Mabel Fairbanks: Rising Above

When the Paint Runs Out

Sneakers are not Food

 Finn, The Misunderstood Shark

Get Set Rufus

 The Witch Babysitter

Bedtime Kiss for Little Samurai

Sandwiched between a brother and a baby (so real)

Ticka Ticka Tap

She's Not my Mom


Lighting the Way

Humpty Dumpty Decree

Give This to Daddy 

 Push, Poof, Pop!

 Mina and the Monsoons

ZZZs at the Zoo

 A Wallful of Murals

Operation Photobomb

Anton Takes a Walk

Twirl Bella Twirl

 I Am Famous


A Meaty Trick or Treat

Trailer Park

Armstong and Sputnik

One Drip One Ocean

Drawing Ayoka Wild

Wanted:  A Friend for the Queen

Granny has a Secret

One Drip One Ocean 

The Claustrophobic Caterpillar

The Last Letsgoboy

The Artist and the Carp

 T-Rex Troubles

I am Not A Unicorn

Be sure to come back for part 3 of #FicFest Fables on the trends I saw in the slush!