Picture Book Mania

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Today is the start of Picture Book Month (Watch the video above to learn more!), and here at T.A.A., we’ve found a fun way to celebrate that you can benefit from. Throughout November I’ll be spotlighting some of my favorite picture books and the authors/illustrators who bring them to life. From  world famous series to the first-time efforts, and all the (Once hidden) gems in-between!


Today also marks the start of PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month)-




The goal is to have 30 ideas for picture books. Remember, these are IDEAS, not drafts of picture books, unlike NaNoWriMo, the goal is just to have a basic concept for what could be a picture book, drafting them at a later date. Learn more 

If you register by November 4th, 2013, you can enter in a drawing to win various prizes, including (But not limited to)-

Books signed and/or personalized by the author and/or illustrator

Picture Book Critiques by published authors


You must be a registered participant to win the prizes.

Click the link below to learn how to register-




Whether your a pre-published author, a teacher,  devout reader or all/any of the above, there’s a lot to love about PiBoIdMo, even if you choose not to take part in the challenge. 

Your literary rat’s taking part this year (Wish me luck!) and while picture books have never been my strength in terms of writing them, I know I have the ideas, and I’ve already come up with several on the first day alone! Not bad for my first official year.

If you’re participating in PiBoIdMo, let me know in the comments below, I wish everyone the best of luck.


Today is also the start of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)-

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Like PiBoIdMo, I’m taking part in this year, and while I’ve come up short my last four attempts, this year I will draft a book to the end, and with work on my debut novel GABRIEL slowing down as we near the end of 2013, I need something to aid the wait time….


But in addition to all the fun challenges going on in November, I’m pleased to announce our next spotlight project for “T.A.A. CARES”-



This is an initiative that started earlier this year to give support and awareness to various content creators whose projects need money and/or word of mouth to 

Our first spotlight was for FETCH, a picture book written by Adam Glendon Sidwell, who started a Kickstarter campaign to earn the needed funds to pay his illustrator and printing costs. After missing out on a project that didn’t meet it’s funding goals (You can read about that story here: http://talkinganimaladdicts.com/how-i-met-a-kindred-spirit-on-kickstarter), I HAD to do what I could to spread the word. So, in addition to making a donation, I also spread the word via Facebook and Twitter. 

That project met it’s funding goal is well on the way to publication. 


This time, our spotlight is on a book that while not as far along as FETCH yet, author Julie Hedlund (Founder and host of the 12×12 picture book challenge and contributor to CBI [Children’s Book Insider’s CBI Clubhouse]) is taking the plunge with crowdfunding her next picture book via Kickstarter, an eBay-like fund-sourcing social network that allows authors and other content creators a viable way to earn money needed to bring their projects out of the proverbial drawer and into the hands of the consumers. 


Her Kickstarter Campaign isn’t live yet, but you can share your support on her blog post linked below-




You can also buy her first published effort, the storybook app “A Troop is a Group of Monkeys” published by Little Bahalia Publishing. Now available in print too!


As Julie explains in her series of five videos (The first of which is found in the link above), while many authors long for a traditional publishing experience, and/or have a preference for print over ebooks and story apps, for many authors (Herself included) we sometimes need to take less traveled roads and take (Reasonable) risks to get there. 


For authors who just don’t have the money (On their own) needed to self-publish at the needed level of quality to be taken seriously by readers and potentially agents and/or publishers, crowdfunding projects via platforms like Kickstarter is one way for authors to get the needed funds to get a book out of the office, onto the presses, and into reader’s hands, physically and/or otherwise. 

But as Julie warns in the videos preceding the one linked above, this isn’t a shortcut to publication, but a way to earn funds for the things we as authors or author/illustrators can’t do alone, or need help to do, but that said-

At times, I do feel  people in general confuse “Lack of Money” with “Lack of Will” because there’s a difference between “Not able” and “I don’t want to!” Those of you who are parents and/or teachers, you get what I mean, it’s like when you need to teach kids that HOW you say something is just as important as what’s actually said.

“Can I PLEASE have a Cookie?” is more respectful than “I Want a cookie NOW!”

Whether or not you give the cookie, you’re more apt to at least give the first response more consideration and courtesy than response 2.

Authors who are successful on Kickstarter or other alternate roads to publication come to it from a “Not able” (i.e. Can I PLEASE have a cookie?) frame of mind. That mindset is critical. 

While authors do what we can to support each other, there’s a difference between asking for a critique of a query letter or manuscript, and money to fund a publishing venture, both require commitment and trust on the part of the donor and beneficiary, and let’s be honest, the current world economy doesn’t help make financial generosity easier, never mind any personal/professional reasons we may have.

For this reason alone, I won’t be doing a Kickstarter campaign anytime soon. I know it will be an option for me at some point, but not until I’ve done all I can on my own first, since projects on Kickstarter need to be approved, and you only get one shot to earn your funds, you don’t want to leave anything on your end to chance. 

In the meantime, I urge you to help me and T.A.A. CARES, support Julie as she soon embarks on her Kickstarter adventure, and if you missed out on supporting our first T.A.A. CARES spotlight, this is your chance to if not spare money, at least some time to spread the word to those who can, online and off.


Check back soon to learn more about Julie Hedlund, and since no one entered the FETCH grand giveaway, stayed tuned for how you can still win a personalized signed copy of FETCH and my debut novel GABRIEL in a new giveaway.

As always, I appreciate comments from my readers, don’t be shy, I’m trying to build a community, and your comments and feedback is appreciated. We’re on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, too!




Until next Time,

May the fantastical fauna be with you.

Taurean J. Watkins: Nickname: Taury Literary Rat/Founder of Talking Animal Addicts

Taurean J. Watkins: Nickname: Taury
Literary Rat/Founder of
Talking Animal Addicts



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  • I’ve never done PiBoIdMo. I can’t imagine coming up with that many ideas. My brain is on overload just thinking about it.

    This month, I’m swamped with client edits, so that’s what I’ll be up to. :)

    • Thanks for stopping by, Kelly.

      I thought as much. I was just curious because I know when we first (virtually) met years ago you did partake in challenges like this, and you’ve written more picture books than I have, and actually published some of them, and you’ve read way more of them than I have.

      This is a fun exercise for someone like me who has the ideas but lacks the skill the execute them. For now…

      I’m also taking part in Nanowrimo this year, and only because revisions with my editor on Gabriel have slowed down a bit, otherwise PiBoIdMo would be enough on top of revamping my site. BTW, what do you think of the new look? Your site looks a lot cleaner, though it took some getting used to at first.

      One thing I noticed is that on some of your older posts, the text for some reason looks like it bleeds in the motif of you old site’s look, like how red food coloring bleeds into a sea of whipped egg whites, making them a pastel pink.

      Just thought you might want to know. Someone told me how out of control my fonts looked on some posts and pages and I’ve been trying to address that a bit at a time when I get a spare moment.