Jane Yolen interview with David Alan Binder

posted Apr 24, 2018, 3:41 PM by David Alan Binder

Jane Yolen interview with David Alan Binder

 

Her bio from her website:  Jane Yolen is an author of children’s books, fantasy, and science fiction, including Owl Moon, The Devil’s Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

 

She is also a poet, a teacher of writing and literature, and a reviewer of children’s literature. She has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the twentieth century.

 

Owl Moon, Winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal, Jane Yolen’s books and stories have won the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, two Christopher Medals, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards, the Golden Kite Award, the Jewish Book Award, the World Fantasy Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Association of Jewish Libraries Award among many others.

Jane Yolen:  www.janeyolen.com

ON Twitter   #janeyolen

On Face Book : Jane Yolen

 

1.     How do you pronounce your name? 

Jane is easy. Yo’linn is not very difficult either!

 

2.     Where are you currently?

Western Massachusetts but I spend three plus months in Scotland. Well...because!

3.     What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

Talent without hard work gets you nowhere.

Talent with hard work, but without luck, is just a whole lot harder.

But when talent, luck and hard hard work are combined, the sky is closer.

4.     What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?  

I can make instant rhymes and songs.

5.     Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

Certain things like regional, family stuff, esoteric stuff—and poetry—fine for self publishing. But if you want a bigger audience, it is much harder doing everything yourself. But if you decide to go self-pubbing route, for God’s sake, hire a professional editor and a professional designer. And if you want to sell to more than just family & friends, hiring someone to do promotion would help as well.

6.     Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they located?

I have worked with just about everyone in traditional publishing—in NY: Harcourt, S&S Penguin, Putnam, Random House, Harper, Holt, Tor, others. Many of the Macmillan imprints, you name it. Pennsylvania—Boyds Mills Press (part of Highlights.) Midwest: National Geographic, Lerner, Creative, Holy!Cow. San Francisco—both Chronicle and Tachyon. etc.

 

7.     Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

I prefer conventional (traditional) publishing because they pay me, and do all the work I am not interesting in doing. But when I do adult poetry, I either do it with small presses, or occasionally with local printers.

8.     Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?

Send it out. Not being facetious here. If you are afraid of submitting, you won’t get published If you are afraid of rejection, you won’t get published. Madeleine L’Engle’s book A WRINKLE IN TIME was rejected by 29 publishers.  Dr Suess’s first book by well over 30.

9.     How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent?  Any tips for new writers on getting one?

Check out lists from various writers’ organizations and make sure you are sending what that agent actually likes. IE Don’t send a cookbook to a children’s book agent. Or nonfiction to someone only interested in novels.  Fifteen years ago I would have said “An agent is wonderful, but they do take a chunk of your money, so caveat emptor and don’t whine. Though wine is permitted. But now, with most of the publishing houses closing their doors (and windows, and flues) to un-agented writers, you need to know someone personally to get read without an agent.

10.                        Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be so specific that this most likely will not have been seen elsewhere)?

Join a writer’s organization to be up on the latest in their particular genre or field. Get into or start a critique group. And LISTEN to what they say. Filter it as you wish, but what you hear from them comes from nterested and well-meaning readers. And do NOT be thrown by rejections. They are part of the process. Editors are not out to get you. They are out to get wonderful stories.

11.                        What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

That there are people out there of all ages to whom I’m not related who love my work!

12.                        How many books have you written?  

Written? Probably close to 500. Published? 370 are out there now. Of the unpublished, I expect/hope to get another 50 or so taken by editors though—as I am 79—odds are I will not be around to see all of them made into books. (And honestly there are a large number of mss. that I have written that are truly DOA.

13.                        Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be so specific that this most likely will not have been seen elsewhere)?  

BIC Butt in chair. It’s the only way

14.                        Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?  

Be prepared to surprise yourself. That’s what I do.

15.                        What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?  

Can’t answer this.

16.                        What are some ways in which you promote your work?

Book festivals, readings, signings in bookstores and at conventions and conferences, and by teaching writing.

17.                         What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why? 

Learn to touch type.

18.                        What saying or mantra do you live by? 

Touch Magic, pass it on.

19.                        Anything else you would like to say?  
NOPE

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