RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 18 Editor Emma D. Dryden & Author Karma Wilson

Happy Monday!

Can you believe this is our last week together?

It has gone by so fast!

fireworks 3

Week 3 Prize Winners

Monday-Day 12  Debbie McCue won an autographed copy of HAVE YOU SEEN MY NEW BLUE SOCKS? by Eve Bunting, Donated by Linda Sue Park

Tuesday-Day 13 Charlotte Dixon won an autographed copy of YOU NEST HERE WITH ME by Heidi Stemple

Wednesday-Day 14 Mary Lee Flannigan won an autographed copy of TINY RABBIT’S BIG WISH by Margarita Engle

Thursday-Day 15 David McMullin won a PB Manuscript Critique by Randi Sonenshine

Friday-Day 16 Stuart Carruthers won the RPB Revolution Conference Recording

Prize winners, please email (Angie.karcher@yahoo.com) or message me on Facebook with your contact information. Typically, the books will be mailed directly from the author, so please allow a few weeks. If you haven’t received your prize by the end of April, please let me know. 


Bear Snores On Hare

This is a blog post I have been looking forward to reading for many months! 

BEAR SNORES ON is the picture book I read to my own children over and over! I truly believe it is the book that brought me to writing rhyming manuscripts! The language is so rich and the rhythm frolics through the cave where the bear is sleeping. I actually brewed black tea after I read it! Seriously! LOL If you don’t own this book you MUST buy it! It is a gem that you too will read out loud over and over again. You will want to “pop white corn and brew black tea” too…Trust me! 

Bear Snores On - My Copy

This is the ragged copy of BEAR SNORES ON that I read to my own children over and over. Karma kindly signed it for me when we were together last December. It is very special to me!

I am blessed to know the two talented ladies who are guest blogging today. Both have been huge supporters of RhyPiBoMo and myself! I met Emma last summer at the LA SCBWI Conference. At Karma’s suggestion, I found Emma and asked her advice about planning our RPB Revolution Conference in New York City. She was so helpful with great suggestions and spent several hours chatting with me in the hotel lobby, as we paused frequently, for greetings and hugs from many in our industry who love and respect her as much as I do.  She generously donated a one hour phone consultation to our RhyPiBoMo 2016 auction. Thank you Emma! The other guest blogger today has been the number one supporter of RhyPiBoMo and she agreed to speak at our conference even before it was planned. She generously donated boxes of autographed books to sell in our auction to support the event. She is now a mentor and a friend. Thank you Karma! 

Bear Says Thanks

Gorgeous illustrations by Jane Chapman


The one thing I’ve learned through this process of planning events and networking is…

Don’t be afraid to ask!

If people can help, they generally will and if they can’t, they will graciously decline. People in the children’s literature business are very supportive and you must put yourself out there and connect to make things happen. Network with other writers in on-line writing groups, in person and on-line critique groups and meet authors, agents and editors at conferences – ALL IMPORTANT!

Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself, shake their hand, hand them your business card and get to know someone. This person may be the person that helps you succeed or teaches you something you didn’t know or connects you with your agent. Attending conferences is the best gift you can give yourself for these reasons. But, you need to make connections while you’re there. Both of these ladies have been supportive and genuinely wanted to help…fortunately, I wasn’t afraid to ask! 

Emma Dryden (credit Sonya Sones) 6

Editor Emma D. Dryden

  Photo credit ~ Sonya Sones


KarmaHeadshot (1)Author Karma Wilson

  Photo credit ~ Scott Wilson



THE RHYME AND REASON OF BEAR SNORES ON: An Author/Editor Collaboration

by Karma Wilson (Bear Snores On author) & Emma D. Dryden (editor)


KW: Selling Bear Snores On was one of the most exciting moments of my life! For one thing, my washing machine was broken and I had to somehow provide clean clothes for three small children on a very small family income. ACK! So when the call came in that my agent had sold the book I SCREAMED! And I cried. And I danced. And I asked him when I could buy a new washing machine. Ha-ha! I was very nervous because I’d never worked with a real editor before! But Emma was so very kind and encouraging…and most importantly enthusiastic. I can’t overstate how important that is to a new author. It gives them energy to write new things! And then the editing process began. Okay, Emma, your turn!

EDD: I had just been promoted to Editorial Director of McElderry Books when Karma’s manuscript Bear Snores On was submitted to the publisher of Simon & Schuster Children’s Books. She and I were in her apartment to strategize about the direction McElderry Books needed to take to meet new financial goals and she showed me Bear Snores On. I started immediately to read it aloud, and I ended up reading it aloud about five times! I fell in love. The rhyming verse was so polished—more polished and well-crafted than any manuscript I’d seen in a long time—and I wanted to know more about this author Karma Wilson. I also could immediately see the potential for Bear Snores On to be the start of something bigger than the one manuscript. When verse works well, when it feels flawless and comes lightly off the tongue, it has the potential to become a classic. We all respond well to rhymes and verse when they work so well you don’t even think about it. The rhythms, cadence, and musical flow of beautifully-crafted rhymes and verse help put a story deeply into our heads and memories—and when a story is imbedded in a reader like that, that’s when we know it’s a keeper.

I don’t know how many drafts Karma wrote of Bear Snores On before the draft that was submitted (how many drafts DID you write, Karma??) but I saw little in Karma’s manuscript that I felt needed to be changed or edited. I called Karma and left her a message telling her how much I loved the manuscript! That was one of the most fun phone calls I’ve ever made!

When editing began, I remember there wasn’t much actual editing to do But we talked about the cast of characters, and being absolutely certain that the dialogue was true to each character—and from there we tweaked words and phrases just enough to feel confident Hare sounded different from Mouse who sounded different from the narrator, and so on. And we talked about the importance of the essential change in rhythm that comes a bit past half-way through the story and the essential twist at the end of the story. All the while paying attention to syllables, meter, and beats, to be sure the manuscript would always pass the read-aloud test. What do you remember about the editing process, Karma?

KW: My memory is very similar to yours—for Bear Wants More (the second book in what was to become the Bear Snores On series) which required more extensive editing. For Bear Snores On I actually thought you edited the grammar only. Maybe I’m off on that! Maybe it’s a “fish story” of writing. However, the manuscript itself for Bear Snores On was edited beforehand by some of the top people in the industry today—at the time we were all new or barely published authors struggling along in a critique group. Bear Snores On owes some major thanks to the critique partners who helped me and I will forever be grateful. Good critique groups are very hard to come by, but at the time I was in one of the best one in the world. Dori Chaconas and Lisa Wheeler were in it, to name a few! The manuscript took two weeks to weeks to write from start to finish and was sent to a critique group two times if I remember correctly. Maybe three? It’s been some years! Ha-ha. I can’t say the draft count because I never save my first drafts (I know, I know) and edit and save as I go. But revision for me is an ongoing process. I write, read to myself, read aloud to check meter consistency, and then make tweaks. Wash, rinse, repeat about 5,000 times for each book! I do remember you, Emma, being the most encouraging, wonderful, amazing editor and feeling so lucky and happy to have a mentor who trusted my ability as a writer and respected me as a person. I was a bird taking her first flight, and Emma was the mother, pushing me gently and encouraging me to fly. It was amazing!!! (Emma, I know you would absolutely edit out two of those exclamation points.)

EDD: You’re right, Karma. I would edit out those extra exclamation points because less is more. I think what worked so well for us—starting with Bear Snores On and then through at least ten more books together—is the mutual respect we have not only for one another, but for poetry and rhyme and story. We also have a mutual respect for the creative process and the revision process. We always had fun with the work while also taking it very seriously. We trust ourselves and we trust in what we were doing together. That’s important for any manuscript, but especially so for poetry and particularly rhyming poetry. Rhyme needs to be precise and sharp while feeling casual and fluid—it’s hard to pull off. And when a master like Karma pulls it off, that’s how classics are made!

Watch Karma read BEAR SNORES ON thanks to KidLitTV!

Karma Read Aloud


Emma Dryden (credit Sonya Sones) 6     BIO

Emma D Dryden is the founder of the premier children’s book editorial and publishing consulting firm, drydenbks, through which she provides editorial and consultancy support to authors, illustrators, agents, foreign and domestic publishers, and eBook and app publishers. Her long children’s publishing career began at Viking and Random House, followed by a position with Margaret K. McElderry Books. After McElderry retired, Emma became VP, Editorial Director of McElderry Books, and then VP, Publisher of Atheneum Books for Young Readers and Margaret K. McElderry Books, imprints of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

            Throughout her career, Emma has edited hundreds of books for children, ranging from board books and picture books to poetry, novelties, non-fiction, MG, and YA fiction and fantasy.  As publisher, she oversaw the annual publication of over one-hundred hardcover and paperback titles. Authors and illustrators whom Emma has edited include Karma Wilson, Ellen Hopkins, Cornelia Funke, Susan Cooper, Alan Katz, Raul Colon, Lee Bennett Hopkins, David Diaz, E. B. Lewis, and Paul Zelinsky.

A highly sought-after speaker about craft and the digital landscape, Emma is on the Society of Children’s Writers & Illustrators Board of Advisors. Her blog “Our Stories, Ourselves” explores the intertwined themes of life and writing and she encourages connection in the social network on Twitter (@drydenbks),  Facebook, and Pinterest

drydenbks - logo - JPEG


KarmaHeadshot (1)    Bio

Karma Wilson is an author making her home in beautiful NW Montana, where good coffee and bears are in abundance, which both spur her creativity. She’s been writing for 20 years and a published author for 16 years, which means it took her over three years of writing to sell her first book. That book was Bear Snores On which grew into the very successful Bear Books Series, published by Margaret K. McElderry. In addition to the Bear books, she’s published dozens of other titles and had 5 titles on the NYTs best sellers list. Several of Karma’s books have gone on to win prestigious national and state book awards, including the Oppenheim award, ALA Notable Book Award, Charlotte Picture Book honor award, and many more.

Aside from writing Karma enjoys cooking, enjoying nature, reading (duh), spending time with her family, and eating Moose Tracks ice cream (which inspired the title of her picture book, Moose Tracks and at least part of the need for new jeans).

You can learn more about Karma on her website,  or find her on Facebook (she’s also on Twitter @KarmaWilson and Instagram, which logs into like once a year).

Thank You Emma and Karma!

PLEASE like our guest bloggers on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, go to their websites and express your appreciation for their time and wisdom! Many have generously donated multiple prizes and this event would not be successful without their support, so please support them! Oh…and buy their books too!!


To be eligible for today’s prize drawing by Random.org you must comment at the bottom of the page where it says “Leave A Reply” AND add your FIRST and LAST name in the comment. If I don’t have your name or how to contact you via email, you can’t win.

You must be a member of the RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group and if you haven’t officially registered, you are not eligible to win.

Please follow the pledge rules daily to get the most out of this challenge!


The drawings for this final week will be announced on Wednesday, May 4th of next week as I will be out of town next weekend.





80 thoughts on “RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 18 Editor Emma D. Dryden & Author Karma Wilson

  1. Charlotte Dixon

    Terrific post about the positivity of teamwork, connecting, and bringing a book full circle. BEAR SNORES ON is a delight in my house and it was fun hearing Karma read it. Thank you, Emma and Karma, for a look behind the scenes.

  2. Thank you Karma and Emma. What an insightful interpersonal post on the process of book to publishing.

    Karma-you were spectacular at RPB conference. One of the biggest highlights of the weekend.
    Thank you for all you did.

    Aimee Haburjak

  3. Laura Renauld –
    What an inspiring story! Thanks for sharing the essential collaboration between author and editor. It is such a treat to read Bear Snores On.

  4. So interesting!! You both covered so many important details…ie., emphasis on the change in rhyme at the three stages of a book. I have started to read and re-read aloud and now that I’m 60, I find I’m always talking to myself anyway!
    The neighbors just smile and wave!! I appreciate your comment Karma about finding good critique groups. Did I hear you right?? One of your critique partners was Lisa Wheeler??? Thank you both for your comments on revision…one of my favorite things to do (NEVER). Finally, that (Wash, Rinse, Repeat about 5000 times for each book) needs to be on a poster!

  5. NATALIE LYNN TANNER: Hi Emma and Karma! I ABSOLUTELY ADORE Bear Snores On!!! (I am giving you THREE exclamation marks because it’s A MUST; even though Emma would edit them away! TOO BAD!!! THEY ARE MUCH DESERVED!!!!) I LOVE the form of this post, showing both the writer’s and editor’s POV. I learned SO MUCH! I especially appreciate the advice to be “absolutely certain that the dialogue was true to each character.” That really comes through for each of the characters in the book; even though it is short, the characters are each unique and well-established. I think this is missing in a lot of books, so I appreciate the reminder! THANK YOU!!!!

  6. Melanie Ellsworth – It’s enlightening to read about the editing process before a book gets published – thank you, Emma and Karma. BEAR SNORES ON has been a favorite read in my household for several years now!

  7. ~Suzy Leopold
    Thank you for featuring BEAR SNORES ON by Karma Wilson. Such a delightful book. I enjoyed reading this post about the collaboration and communication between author and editor, Emma D. Dryden.

  8. Chris Clayson – Karma Wilson, What an inspiring statement. And you are out where Bears are actually snoring. Your rhyming books are awesome! You are truly a gem!

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