Sunday, April 30, 2017

SCBWI Meeting April 2017

The April SCBWI meeting in Columbus featured children's author Linda Stanek.  Linda has published both fiction and nonfiction picture books including, The Pig and Miss Prudence and Once Upon an Elephant.  She spoke with our group about her journey to publication and the magic of the phase, "One things leads to another."

Linda never thought she wanted to be a writer; she wanted to be a farmer when she was little, and ultimately choose a career in teaching.  She took a break from her career when her children were young, and decided to try out writing when she wanted some on-the-go hobbies that she could do during their activities.  She ended up falling in love with it.  It took her two years to draft her first novel, and she joined SCBWI when she decided she wanted to make her "hobby" her new career. 

Linda had heard that it was a good idea to have publishing credits on one's writing resume.  She turned her attention to submitting work to magazines, focusing on the crafts sections in Highlights magazines.  It took a while, but eventually they purchased one of her craft ideas.  Since "one thing leads to another," she ended up selling a nonfiction article to Highlights, too.  Linda said she was very grateful for this early experience in publishing nonfiction because it taught her the importance of good research and fact checking. 

While trying to sell more nonfiction articles to Highlights, Linda wrote an article on Goodyear and how they build blimps.  Highlights wasn't interested, but they gave her the idea to grow the article to a book-length project and submit it to their sister company, Boyds Mill Press.  It didn't work out, but the opportunity got her writing and submitting more and more. 

In 2008, she published The Pig and Miss Prudence and started getting involved with author visits.  And because "one things leads to another," an editor she was working with on the blimp book became the editor for a new line of books with the Columbus Zoo, landing her a book project to commemorate a baby elephant's first birthday.  Beco's Big Year gave her many opportunities to meet elephant keepers and experts, and she learned a ton about elephants.  She learned so much, in fact, that she wrote and published a second elephant book, Once Upon an Elephant.  And her publisher liked it so much that she has another nonfiction book coming out later this year called Night Creepers about nocturnal animals.  (That's two more awesome "one thing leads to another" situations for anyone keeping count!)

And what became of the blimp book?  Linda still hasn't gotten it published, but--as one thing leads to another--she married the Goodyear Blimp Crew Chief.  (Best. Ending. Ever!)

The moral of this tale?  Linda highly encourages everyone to take chances and pursue all the avenues you can.  You never know what might lead to success, but if you keep trying and never give up, something surely will!

A big thank you to Linda for sharing her inspiring (and romantic!) road to publication journey!  You can find out more about Linda and her books at

If you want to learn more about COSCBWI, be sure to visit the group website at  I hope to see you at the next meeting!

Note: Cover image is from Linda's website,