Many of you already know Susanna Leonard Hill and the myriad things she does to benefit the writing community, but there may be a few of you who aren’t familiar with all she does. Besides, Susanna is worth being celebrated!
Susanna is a prolific picture book writer (although with all the other things she does, I have no idea where she finds time to write.) One of her recent picture books, MOON’S FIRST FRIENDS, was on the New York Times bestseller list. All her books are wonderful, in my estimation. You can find a listing of them on her website.
When she’s not writing books, she’s supporting writers.
She is the mastermind behind Perfect Picture Book Friday, (recent post as an example) and each week during the blogging year she hosts a listing of picture books other bloggers have read and reviewed. These posts are also cataloged by topic, so if you’re looking for a book about some particular topic, check Susanna’s listings. You’re sure to find (dare I say it?) the PERFECT picture book.
On Tuesdays at Susanna’s, it’s time to meet debut picture book authors and illustrators as Susanna interviews a new debut for Tuesday Debut (recent post as an example). It’s a great showcase of new authors and illustrators, and lets readers get to know the person, their journey to publication, and their brand new book. Below the interview, there’s always a listing of previous Tuesday Debuts, and the list is getting long!
Wednesdays bring an opportunity for writers to have their pitches critiqued by blog readers, as Susanna presents Would You Read It Wednesdays (not just for picture book writers). Would you read this book as pitched? What suggestions can you make to help the writer make their pitch even more appealing? Each month, one lucky pitcher has their pitch reviewed and commented on by editor Erin Molta. Here’s a recent post as an example.
But wait! There’s more!
A few times a year, Susanna presents a writing contest that challenges writers to condense their writing into very few words, still with a full story arc. The first of these contests will be coming up soon – watch for my post about the Halloweensie contest sometime this month. There is also a Holiday contest in December, and a Valentiny contest in February.
Participants post their short stories on their blogs, or in the comments on Susanna’s contest post, and blog hop to read and support their fellow contestants. There are always amazing prizes for the winners, and an enormous amount of work for Susanna and her crew of helpers, who read every story (often over 200 entries per contest) and narrow the field to a shortlist of 12 or so. The shortlist is posted (without author names) on Susanna’s blog, and readers vote for their favorite.
Each of the shortlisted writers is guaranteed a prize, and sometimes there are honorable mention prizes as well. It’s a lot of fun, and a great way to hone your skills at expressing a full story arc in a very few words.
There are also blog post mini-series from time to time.
And there’s still MORE! Susanna runs a highly-commended picture book writing course called Making Picture Book Magic. Each month, there’s a new session of the interactive course, in which Susanna guides her students through the creation of a picture book manuscript, with interaction, feedback, and support in a private Facebook group. There is also a self-directed version of the course (at a lower cost) which doesn’t have the interaction, but still allows you to learn through Susanna’s brief daily lessons, and still helps you create a picture book manuscript by the end of the course. I have heard many positive comments about this course, and participating in it is definitely on my bucket list.
Back in 2013, I interviewed Susanna on By Word of Beth. To read that interview, click here.
All this, and she manages to write delightful pictures books, too. Here’s to Susanna, a person who is definitely FOR WRITERS! (and illustrators!)