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!