Kidlit411 is exactly what it sounds like; a high quality site with all the information you would ever want as a kidlit writer or illustrator. Elaine Kiely Kearns and Sylvia Liu, my fellow 12x12ers, launched Kitlit411 in January 2014 and received over 11,400 page views the first month.
With author and illustrator spotlights of people like PB author-illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi, and graphic novel artist Janet Lee, Kidlit411 fills our insatiable need for knowledge. Kidlit411 features interviews of agents like Jodell Sadler, and #1 New York Times Bestseller Drew Daywalt, Michael Ian Black, and Will Terry.
The first time I read Kidlit411, I knew it filled a need for kidlit writers everywhere. I’m thrilled to get the inside scoop from Elaine and Sylvia.
Kirsti Call: Hi Elaine and Sylvia. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of interviewing you! What was the impetus for starting Kidlit411?
Elaine Kiely Kearns: 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 12×12 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 would return to again and again, to share with my online critique group. Then I thought that perhaps other friends in the kid lit community would enjoy the information too. Sylvia offered a fantastic template for us to use, and KidLit411 was born!
Sylvia Liu: Elaine started the site, but I knew it was a winner as soon as she told our critique group about her idea. We helped her brainstorm what the site might look like and I helped her set it up with our Pinterest-style front page.
KC: How do you decide what to include on the site?
EKK: Every link that is posted on our site has been vetted. We make sure that the content has some type of significance for a writer of kid lit. The people that we recommend for critiques, we have either personally used or a member of the team has recommended them. We strive to post the cream of the crop, even though it is very time consuming! We want to give our readers the best of the best and firmly believe that you can only do that with due diligence.
SL: We add links for articles that we would want to read and learn from. We’re in many kidlit groups and people are always sharing great resources, so we never run out of good material.
KC: Can people contact you to share resources that they think you might want to include?
EKK & SL: Absolutely! People can contact us and send links to firstname.lastname@example.org. We also love to connect with authors and illustrators. We encourage people to join our Facebook group, where we share conversation and resources. We also send a WEEKLY 411 email where you get a condensed version of all of the new links and information that has been posted for that week. The Weekly is the ONLY place where we include ‘NEW AGENT” information, so be sure to sign up! www.KidLit411.com
KC: You’re sharing a wonderful resource for the kidtlit community. Have you made connections through this endeavor?
EKK: The writing community is wonderfully giving and generous! We are very grateful to all of the wonderful authors and illustrators who have donated their time by sharing their craft with us!
SL: I am so happy that people have responded so well to this site. The kidlit community is unfailingly generous and supportive, and I’ve met even more of this wonderful tribe through our Facebook group.
It’s also been a great way to meet authors and illustrators I admire. The large majority of people we have interviewed in our weekly spotlight are people we already knew through our existing networks. Now that we have a good library of interviews, we have found that it is not hard to ask authors and illustrators we didn’t know previously to agree to be featured.
KC: Thanks Elaine and Sylvia! And to all you children’s writers out there who haven’t yet checked out kidlit411, go here, NOW. You won’t regret it.