2017 in review, and a sneak peek at 2018 goals


If you’ve followed my blog for a long time (or know me at all), you probably know I can be a little obsessive about setting goals and doing annual performance reviews. So, as 2017 comes to a close, I thought I should reflect on what I’ve accomplished the past year and think about what 2018 might bring.
One of my main goals for 2017 was to get more comfortable speaking in public.  It’s a good thing I was able to do that, since (and probably because) I got a lot of practice! Here’s a quick summary:

  • 24 keynotes, assemblies, presentations, or workshops for young people,
  • 17 Skype visits,
  • 7 presentations for adults,
  • 6 bookstore appearances,
  • 2 roundtable critique sessions,
  • 1 radio interview, and
  • an 8-week improv class.

The success I feel here isn’t so much from the quantity, but from the quality. First, it’s gotten MUCH easier for me. I can do these talks in stride now and don’t stress out for a whole day prior and then need a whole day after to decompress. That’s a big win! Also, the improv class was oddly terrifying to think about, but so much fun and such a great experience in practice. So, I’m really glad that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
I also had some success with major writing goals and projects:

  • TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: IT’S ALIVE! was released in June, and I put a lot of time put into promotion, including developing promotional materials like curriculum guides and swag, and creating new presentations around it.
  • We’re just now putting the final touches on the second book in the series, TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: HISTORIES AND MYSTERIES, which we researched, drafted, revised, copyedited, and sourced photos for all in the past year. This one is so good, I can’t wait to see it out in the world next June!
  • We have the outline for the third TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE book just about wrapped up, too, so 2018 will see a lot of work (and fun!) on that front.
  • I wrote a brand-new picture book from scratch, revised it, and it went out on submission! I’m hopeful this one will find a home in 2018.
  • I revised my MG nonfiction project and sent it back out on submission. Alas, it looks like this one will need yet another fresh approach, which is also on the schedule for 2018. I’m mulling over a couple of ideas about how to proceed.
  • I worked on revising two other picture books, one fiction and one nonfiction, but neither one is quite ready yet. More work to come on both of those in the year ahead, and hopefully they’ll be ready to send out soon.
  • I started researching a new picture book biography. I’m really excited about this one, and the research so far has only fueled my interest further. I hope I can complete a first draft in the coming year.
  • I had a new idea for another nonfiction picture book and have started researching that one as well. This one is still in the idea phase and will take some noodling to get just the right approach, so for now I’ll keep researching and thinking and see what happens.

As you can see from the above, I’ll have my work cut out for me in 2018 with one new book to promote, one under contract to write, (at least) two picture books to finish revising, the MG nonfiction to re-envision, and the two new picture books to research and draft. Phew — that’s a lot of big goals. Wish me luck! =D

Read more kids' nonfiction in 2012!

Facts First! Nonfiction Monday

Still trying to come up with some resolutions for the new year? Or would you prefer having one or two that are more pleasure than pain? Well, in the spirit of

…I’ve got just the thing for you!

Read more nonfiction for kids!

There are two challenges out there right now to help you do just that… and share the fruits of your labor with like-minded peeps around the world.

First,  Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detecetives have teamed up to offer the The Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012. Their goal is to encourage everyone to read more nonfiction picture books this year. All you have to do is set a goal for yourself (like reading one nonfiction picture book each week or each month). You can visit both the Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detecetives blogs throughout the year for nonfiction reviews and giveaways, tweet about the challenge using the hashtag #nfpb2012, and add the Non-Fiction Picture Book badge to your web site.

Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge 2012


Second, Ms. Houghton’s Class challenges us to read the Sibert Medal winners and honorees here. This has been on my to-do list for awhile, so thank you Ms. Houghton for giving me that extra push. I’m in! She has the complete list in her post, OR you can find the official list of past winners here and current winners here. New winners for 2012 will be announced 1/23/2012 (search for #alayma on Twitter). You can also keep track of this challenge on Twitter by searching for #nerdibert.

I’m doing both, along with my other New Year’s Resolutions, which are to read more adult nonfiction and keep better track of all of these books in a reading log. I hope you’ll join me!
UPDATE: I made a Google docs spreadsheet with all the info for the Sibert books. Feel free to download it from here and use it to track your progress!