If you are a children’s writer or illustrator, Kidlit411.com is one of the best resources on the web and it is totally free!
Kidlit411.com was launched recently and I had the pleasure of interviewing the founder of the site, Elaine Kiely Kearns. Luckily she was able to snatch away a few precious minutes from her hectic schedule, because not only is she a children’s writer, but she is also a teacher, married (to a fireman no less) with two beautiful daughters.
I ‘met’ Elaine last year through Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 picture book writing challenge. When a call came up for people wanting to join an online critique group we both accepted the challenge. It has been amazing year of writing, creativity and friendship.
Here is the interview:
Who is Kidlit411 for?
KIDLIT411 is for everyone who is trying to write a children's book, whether they are just starting out on the journey or are already published. It is a place for everyone!
The site has topics from Challenges, Contests & Awards, to Diversity in Kidlit, Query Letters and Social Media. This is only a short list, you really need to have a look at yourself to get an idea of the scope of the site. The topics link you to the latest, quality and useful websites and resources.
How did you come up with the idea for Kidlit411?
KidLit411 came about from my need to pool resources from the internet. There are so many great sites out there and the kid lit community LOVES to share information! The amount of resources shared in Julie Hedlund's 12x12 was so fantastic that I couldn't keep up and needed a place to put it. So, I started making a list of the sites that I loved the most and would return to again and again to share with my online critique group. Then I started thinking that perhaps other friends would enjoy the information too , and eventually the idea just morphed into an entire online site.
Some of my critique partners, Teresa Robeson, Yvonne Mes, and Alayne Kay Christian also work on the KidLit411 site, Sarah Maynard updates the site regularly with the latest contest dates. Sylvia Liu is also my partner, keeping the site running, adding links, and overseeing the illustrations.
What are some of Kidlit411 features?
KL411 features a weekly ILLUSTRATORS SPOTLIGHT, where Sylvia Liu, interviews an illustrator about their craft and showcases their art and a weekly AUTHOR'S SPOTLIGHT where I interview an author and find out what helps them be successful in the industry.
We also send a WEEKLY 411 email (sign up here! http://www.kidlit411.com )where you get a condensed version of all of the new links and information that has been posted for that week. This is also the ONLY place where we include 'NEW AGENT information, so be sure to sign up!
How is Kidlit411 different from other websites for children’s writers and illustrators?
KL411 is different because it is more of an online link library than a blog. We aren't talking about kid lit or the industry, but rather we are a hub, a gathering place for all the really great online information that we find.
We've weeded out the bad stuff, and only left you with the best. You can pretty much bet that if it's listed on our site, it's worth a look.
How can people get involved with Kidlit411?
We welcome suggestions for quality links that are relevant to children's writing and illustrating, you can email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in being featured in any of our main pages or would like to be featured in the Illustrator or Author Spotlights you can email the above address as well.
To the right is a screen shot taken from Kidlit411, I love how all the topics are grouped and displayed. Each topic features art from children's illustrators and are changed on a weekly basis to showcase as many illustrators as possible.
If you are an illustrator you can send your own art in for consideration.
Not only is Kidlit411 an amazing resources it also supports upcoming and established writers and illustrators.
What is next for Kidlit411?
We have so many awesome ideas for KIDLIT411! Time will bring more great things to the site, that's for sure. Stay tuned!
(As I write this, Elaine has just added a classified/ wanted topic where writers and illustrators can look for critique partners, illustrators etc.)
Who do you look for for inspiration?
That is a really hard question to answer, I try to surround myself with people who inspire me! I guess those that I admire the most are all of those who don't give up or give in, those who are kind and helpful, those who help, even when the "helping" is hard. True people with a good heart and soul. Oh, and anyone who makes me laugh. I love to laugh. (But not in a creepy unnatural way) :-)
And one final question:
Which children's writer, past and/or present do you admire?
I have way to many favorites to choose just one!
Elaine Kiely Kearns is a picture book writer from NY, a second grade elementary school teacher and a mother of two, who lives on coffee, chocolate and humor.
You can find out more about Elaine, by checking out her website.
Children's Writer and Illustrator