Monday, August 21, 2017

Smart Dummies Critique Groups!

This year things will be a bit different for critique groups. If you want to join a critique group please click the link below and fill out a quick survey. Deadline to complete this survey is September 3rd. After that you will have to find your own critique partners.

Joining a critique group is not required to win Smart Dummies. A critique group, however, will help you achieve this goal. You can find your own critique groups if you'd like instead. You can also use this to add people to your established critique group. Sarah LuAnn Perkins ( and I (Dani Duck) will be putting you into critique groups. If you have any questions please let us know! You can also post questions on the Facebook Group if you think the information will benefit everyone!

Below is a guide for critique group etiquette. The guide and the bulk of the survey above was created by Leila A. Nabih. (So be sure to thank her below!) You can check out Leila's website here:

Critique Group Guide

• Introduce yourself ( name, country or city, writing style, illustration level, age of preferred
target audience, published or unpublished and anything else you think of

• Explain what you hope to achieve with the Smart Dummies Challenge.

• What is your manuscript about ?( Synopsis in 50 words or less)

• Assign an admin for the group: That is someone that will make sure everyone gets
to submit their work in equal number or turns, someone that will be reminding
everyone to post their critiques, and that will make sure everyone remains polite
and constructive throughout the process. It’s usually best if someone volunteers to
take on this extra responsibility. Otherwise, we would recommend that this “facilitator”
person be someone with previous critique group experience.

• Critique Schedule: When you will critique? (everyday so that everyone can get a turn
more often, twice a week, only on the weekends…)

• What you will critique? ( writing or illustration or both)

• How you will share your work? ( in the group as attachments or files or photographs,
or by email , or any other means… )


• A good critique is constructive.

• Be sensitive towards other people’s work.

• The purpose of joining a critique group is to receive not only praise, but also feedback
that will make your work greater than it already is.

• Different perspectives from different people is usually a good way for you to find
out what would represent you and what wouldn’t, whilst challenging you to keep
an open mind about other possible alternatives you might not have thought about.
You don’t have to take everyone’s opinion on board, just listen to what is being
said, and say thank you.

• If you feel like you cannot offer any constructive critique elements, then don’t.

• If someone is being rude or mean or a bully, warn them once, then if they pursue
with their behaviour, remove them from the group ( that would also be the admin’s

• You can leave the group if you don’t feel like you are a match with the other members.

This is an experience that is supposed to be instructive and fun.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Couple Brief Announcements

Just a few things today:

I'll put up a post tomorrow or Monday about critique groups. There will be a survey to help you find the best critique group for you! I just need to iron out a couple of details.

Prize update!

Elizabeth Rose Stanton will be giving copies of Henny and Peddles, one each, signed (and will throw in a copy of Bub, too, if the winner is willing to wait until January).

Ben Clanton  - blank book from and copy of Narwhal

Mira Reisberg will be giving out a free Photoshop course and a separate prize of a Hero's Art Journey course!

I'm going to check my email again this weekend to see if there are any missing prizes. Thank you to everyone who donated!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Registration for Smart Dummies 2017 IS OPEN!

I opened up registration yesterday for Smart Dummies 2017 and just remembered to create a post!
Follow the link below if you want to sign up for Smart Dummies 2017. Replying to this post will NOT register you for Smart Dummies:

There will be a few changes this year for Smart Dummies:

1. Smart Dummies is not limited to Picture Book Dummies this year. Anyone creating a dummy for any kidlit is welcome to join. This includes anything (Board Books-YA). The rules are still 24 pages, so if your book isn't long enough then you'll need more than one!

2. I will no longer be randomly putting people in critique groups. This year we are going to try a survey. I'm thinking up questions for it now so it will be posted in a few days.

3. Depending on what happens it may be required to send in your dummies to win (or win certain prizes). This is not guaranteed. We'll see what happens!

4. I've changed the Rafflecopter giveaway this year! I don't know if Amazon is the best person to send business to, so I'm going to open it up to other booksellers/art supply places (winner's choice). You are welcome to choose Amazon if you'd like. Because I've gotten such great help from people donating to Smart Dummies I'm going to use that money in the Rafflecopter this year and up it to $30!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keep coming back for more updates!

Smart Dummies Extra Links:

Smart Dummies Facebook Group:


Monday, August 7, 2017

Smart Dummies 2017 Participant Badge!

Here is the Smart Dummies 2017 Participant Badge! If you need any customization done on this please let me know. I know that one size does not always fit all. Also I welcome any suggestions!

Please link this to:

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Picture Book Summit 2017!

I keep forgetting to put this up. This is the official press release for the Picture Book Summit 2017! There are great guests and a lot to learn. The best part? You can attend in your pajamas!


Beloved Children's Lit Icon Joins Adam Rex, Carole Boston Weatherford Plus Array of Authors, Editors & Agents for Biggest Online Picture Book Writing Conference Ever 

The lineup for the 3rd annual Picture Book Summit online writing conference, set to take place Saturday, October 7, has been announced. Early Bird registration is now open.

Headlining the event is Tomie dePaola, author of Strega Nona and more than 200 additional children's books. The 2011 recipient of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for lifetime contribution to American children's literature will appear live to provide the opening keynote address.

The live online writing conference, reaching working and aspiring picture book writers across the globe, will feature a full day of keynotes, workshops and panels featuring top authors, editors and agents.

Also providing keynote addresses will be superstar picture book authors Carole Boston Weatherford (multiple Caldecott honoree, author of Freedom in Congo Square, Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom and more than 50 additional books for children) and Adam Rex (New York Times bestsellers Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and School’s First Day of School).

Attendees will also enjoy workshops from author Steve Swinburne (Sea Turtle Scientist and Safe in a Storm), Julie Hedlund (My Love for You is the Sun), Greenburger Associates Literary Agent Brenda Bowen and Laura Backes, publisher and founder of Children's Book Insider, the Children's Writing Monthly.

Panel discussions will include a selection of children's publishing's top editors and agents. There will also be networking and submission opportunities for attendees.

The full day's lineup, along with registration information, can be found at

# # # 

Picture Book Summit was founded in 2015 as a collaborative project by the founders of Just Write Children's Books, 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge, Institute of Children's Literature and Children's Book Insider, the Children's Writing Monthly.

A portion of the proceeds from this year's event will help restock the library shelves of two disadvantaged schools in Oregon and Connecticut.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

(The Somewhat Unofficial) Smart Dummies Prizes!

List of Smart Dummies Prizes. The final list may vary slightly from this. It was pointed out to me that I made a bit of a mistake on my last post. Those listed under "providing prizes" are people who will be donating a prize, but not posting for the event. There are more than just 3 prizes! The final list of prizes will appear on the sign-up page & hopefully in an updated post. Some prizes aren't identified because I forgot to ask about the details -- sorry!

Arree Chung - Book

Sharon Chriscoe - An Autographed Copy of "Race Car Dreams" and Swag

Bryony Supper - Book

Mark Mitchell -  1 Year Subscription to Guest Group Critiques

Teresa Robeson - Scripta Note Book  (Ruled and Blank Pages) and Fiber Castell Pitt Artist Pen

Becky Fyfe A Copy of "Teapot Tales"

Emmeline Forestal - Portfolio Review

Jennifer Adams - Books "My Little Cities London" and "My Little Cities NY"

Ben Clanton  - Prize

Yvonne Mes - Picture Book Critique

Evelyn  B. Christensen Any of Evelyn's Books from the Teachers Pay Teachers Resource Site

Sophia from Rate Your Story - A Free Speed Pass (1 Time Submission)

Chieu Ahn Urban - A Couple of Signed Books

Jennifer Thermes - "Charles Darwin Around the World" book

Leila Nabih An Adaptation of "Little Red Riding Hood"

Susan Eaddy "My Love for you is the Sun", by Julie Hedlund and illustrated by Susan Eaddy and "Poppy’s Best Paper", written by Susan Eaddy and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet

There may be a few more to come. I will be posting badges in the next couple of days!