Peg366's Blog

Mike Shoulders’, We Know What We Are but Not What We May Become.

Posted on: May 10, 2010

I am getting to the point in my writing career where school visits/presentations are soon going to be happening. In this presentation, I was looking for the how-to-do a  school visit aspect and what I got was a lot of fun. I found myself laughing at Speaker Mike Shoulders as I took in the info.

From personally assisting with a magic trick, to viewing pictures of Mike as a child, to clapping and rapping with my fellow attending writers, Mike Shoulders drew me in. His enthusiasm was contagious.  With a wink of the eye,  he asked questions of the crowd and used volunteers with props.

During his presentation, Mike talked his books and how they were published.

Micheal shared that he was once told that he would never be an author and that was 12 books ago. His entire presentation was based on the principle of continuing to have hope and not giving up. He explained that the journey for each author is different and that is what makes us all special.

If you want to be an author, Mike says, develop some goals, learn all you can about writing, work with a critique group and/or editor and then, realize the power of your words. Read, read, and read some more. Then, write, write and write some more. Get familiar with the works of those authors that are your idols. Go through their works and find the things that you like and use those techniques in your writing. Go to  conferences and workshops. If you see something that you like it is okay to use the technique but not the entire presentation.

Mike’s suggestions include: Use the uniqueness of your personality. Being pro-active. Blog. Guest blog on other’s blogs. Read blogs from people you admire. He added that while some people use mail-outs to solicit opportunities to do school visits, he feels that word of mouth is the biggest way that he gets a school visit.

During a conversation with Mike during a break, he talked about positioning himself around the room to make a contact with all the different people. He explained that a wink and a smile make each person in the room feel like that he is speaking directly to them. Kids and adults alike respond to that personal touch. (I can attest to that.) He said he uses props with kids, like a magic coloring book, to keep their attention. He spoke to me about the use of his voice tone to keep his audience listening. He varies the pitch, tone and voice level.

When I asked him one piece of advice he would want to give to us writers, he said,  “Believe in yourself.”

Thanks Mike, I plan on using that advice.


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I am an aspiring picturebook writer with some magazine credits just no picture book contract yet. I know it is coming and I am more than willing to work for it.

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July 2009

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I love the children's movies Wizard of Oz and the Neverending Story. Both movies make me feel the lesson that hope is alive and well. After seeing UP this past week, it just might have a chance at being added to this list.

I love the cool colors of blues and purples.Those colors are peaceful for me.

I love The Velveteen Rabbit. Even as an adult, I still feel the urge to cry when he becomes real. I know, silly, but a good book can make me laugh and cry as it takes me on a magical journey.

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Authors, Author/Illustrator, Illustrators that I know and/or Like.


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Favorite Blogs:

• ShelfTalker: A Children’s Bookseller’s Blog
• Alice’s CWIM Blog
• A Fuse #8 Production
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• Writing for children and teens

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