Last year, when the Writers’ Loft posted the call for submissions for the anthology FRIENDS AND ANEMONES: Ocean Poems for Children, I knew right away that I wanted to participate. I was brand new at the Loft when their previous anthology AN ASSORTMENT OF ANIMALS was in the planning stages, and I missed the submission window. Once AN ASSORTMENT OF ANIMALS launched, my social media was filled with exciting group book events and library visits.
That was the experience I wanted. I needed to learn about the book making process, marketing, organizing book events, and presenting to an audience. How perfect for an introvert like me to learn with other authors and illustrators by my side.
This year I obviously didn’t get the book launch experience I had wanted when FRIENDS AND ANEMONES launched virtually in November. Nor are we having book store events, school visits or library story-times, yet. However, I gained so much more than I had bargained for when I’d first decided to participate:
One of the biggest gains for me was meeting the talented Leanne Leutkemeyer and Jodie Apeseche, who illustrated my words. I absolutely love their illustrations, and getting to know these artists on a more personal level was really meaningful to me. I always love learning from artists about their process and techniques, and as an extra bonus, I got to pick the brains of a slew of illustrators while doing guest blogs and cover reveals for 24 Carrot Writing.
The benefit of participating in a collaborative project like the anthology, is that it strengthens community. Our connections grow, names become friends, and we see more deeply the rich talent of the people within our community. Making new connections, and strengthening existing ones with fellow Lofters, are great advantages of the anthology. And we will continue to celebrate one another’s talents and future successes.
Even though we didn’t have a live launch, we did have a fantastic online launch, sponsored by The Blue Bunny Bookstore, and expertly presented by Kristen Wixted, Heather Kelly, and Bob Thibeault. No, I didn’t get the learning experience I expected, but I did learn a lot about virtual book events – something that might very well be here to stay.
Being part of this anthology, also made me think more about the protection of our oceans. I have always been a proponent of buying sustainable products. Learning about our partner, the Rozalia project and the environmental work they do, reignited in me the desire to be a more conscientious consumer. What a privilege to be part of a bigger goal, and to help show children, in a fun way, how small changes could make a big impact towards ocean protection.
To order FRIENDS AND ANEMONES click here, or at the Blue Bunny, or on Amazon. The first month’s proceeds will be donated to the Rozalia project.