2013: A Year in Review

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that 2014 is off to a wonderful start for each and every one of you.

As we start this new year, the Nerdy Chicks wanted to take a moment and reflect on 2013. This past year was a great year for Nerdy Chicks Rule. We covered so many topics near and dear to our hearts — and we had a lot of fun, too.

We reflected on life, on education, and on mothers.

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We discussed college, art, and losing.


We interviewed women we admire. We quoted women we respect.

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We blogged about gardening, gifts, and gratitude.


We covered reading, writing, and arithmetic. And a whole lot of other things that don’t fall into cutesy category headings!


Like I said, it was a great year, and these are just a few examples of the kinds of posts we featured. If you missed any, take a moment to browse through and tell us what you think.

We are really looking forward to having you all join us for this coming year. Things are only going to get better.

Five Authors Give Back-to-School Advice

As of today, almost every kid in the nation has gone back to school. In honor of this annual event, we thought it’d be fun to highlight some advice from some of the amazing authors we’ve interviewed in the past. We usually ask this question:

If you could give your high school or middle school self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Here are their answers:

amy reevesAmy Carol Reeves:

Don’t worry about so much!  I was very Type A and so much of what I worried about didn’t really matter in the long run.  (Oh, and to my middle school self—puffed bangs were REALLY not cool! What were you thinking?)

katie davis

Katie Davis:

Do not, I repeat, do not get that short haircut and subsequent perm in ninth grade, in the year 197(mumbles something incoherent).



Shannon W

Shannon Wiersbitzky:

Ditch the long hair sooner! (grin)

Actually, I’d sit my younger self down and say, “Never doubt your abilities. EVER.” I’ve spoken to lots of women, of all ages, and it seems we all have this annoying voice in our heads that says, “Maybe you’re not ______ enough.” Just fill in the blank….smart, thin, talented, driven, creative, loud, beautiful. We’ve all heard it, no matter where we are in our life or our career. When we don’t quiet that voice, it can cause us to miss the most wonderful opportunities. I try to remind myself that all the time, and then I remind other women as well. A little bit of encouragement can go a long way.


Barbara Johansen Newman:

I could pretend my seventh grade self would listen if I told her not to worry about what her peers were thinking, but I am sure she would roll her eyes and let me go in one ear and out the other. I certainly could not tell her that none of the people around her would matter much in ten years because I ended up marrying one of those seventh graders in my own section and here we still are almost fifty years later  

Kathryn ErskineKathy Erskine:

Who cares what the other kids say — be yourself and be proud of it.  Hey, that sounds like the advice Kara would give in THE BOY PROJECT!  She is one smart, nerdy chick! (Thanks Kathy!)

I can’t help but notice that this advice falls mostly into two camps. Camp One: Don’t worry. Camp Two: You will live to regret (and even laugh about) that bad hair style. So pass the wisdom of these ladies on to a student you love, and assure them that they are not alone. We’ll highlight more back-to-school advice soon. In the meantime, just click on the author’s name to see their original interviews and to learn about their books. Have a great weekend!

Katie Davis: Author. Illustrator. Writerpreneur.

katie davisI first heard the name Katie Davis years ago when I  started pursuing a career in children’s literature. Back then, I read an article about the success of her book, WHO HOPS. So I was thrilled to meet Katie this year at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference in New England.

Katie has a few more books to her credit now, is creating even more, and has developed several books and courses to help other writers achieve their dreams. One of these is How to Promote Your Children’s Book: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets to Create a Bestseller. Additionally, Katie does private one-on-one marketing consulting.

One of her newest ventures started when she saw a need for authors to have a video presence in today’s internet world.  She developed Video Idiot Boot Camp, a program to teach people (like me) who might be a little wary of getting in front of the camera, the skills needed to make videos.  (I should add here that one of Katie’s  videos won a School Library Journal Trailee Award. It’s adorable, and you can watch it below.)  We are excited to be able to share words of wisdom from the super smart and super talented Katie Davis with you today.

We know that one of your new passions is creating videos, and helping authors create videos. Why do you think this is important? Making them isn’t a new passion; teaching others to make them is new. When I saw how video brought people to my site and connected my visitors to me and subsequently, to my work,  my business changed. Then I got crazy over video as a way of life. I see how it gets the word out on my books, my site, and what I do.

So should people in other occupations be making videos too? I can’t think of a business or organization that couldn’t use video to grow interest. There are so many kinds of videos to create – and so many places to find free or incredibly cheap content for them! And they don’t have to take a lot of time – because frankly who has time for yet another black hole time suck project? But the one thing at least every site should have a welcome video, which is why I have my students make one in Boot Camp!

What are some important things authors and illustrators can do to help their careers?  Obviously, aside from actually writing the books 😎 I think Pinterest is great because it doesn’t take a lot of time, it takes advantage of the natural visual medium that is internet, and what’s even better is that it’s wonderful for people who aren’t illustrators. One product I have is a digital Pinterest course.

An important thing to remember, if you’re one of the many people I speak to who are afraid of the word “marketing,” is to instead call it “meeting people and making friends.” My social media course could help you do that.

What one work-habit helps you most with your career?  Ignoring the haters, prioritizing, and realizing there is nothing wrong with earning a living doing something I love. A lot of writers,  particularly women and particular kidlitters, have a hard time asking to be paid for their work. It’s because what we do is connected to noble things: children and literacy. But saving lives is noble too, yet we don’t expect our pediatric doctors to perform free heart surgery, do we?

Valuing what I do has helped me enormously. I’ve taken my business and grown it to more than writing and illustrating, which is great because my books don’t always pay the bills. I have streams of income as a writerpreneur through products, consulting other writers, Video Idiot Boot Camp, and various other things I’m doing. It’s fun, exciting, and keeps me in children’s publishing while working on my books.

Very good points!  I know you write across several genres. What exciting project are you working on now? Funny you should ask, because I have one from almost every level with my who hopsagent right now! I have an intense young adult novel, a very funny third grade-ish yiddishkeit re-telling of a Korean folktale, and a picture book  for which I’m not the right illustrator!

Wow! It’s great that you have so many varied projects moving forward! Now can you tell us about a time when nerdiness turned out to be an advantage. I’ve used my Nerdy Chickiness to cover for not knowing something on live TV – which resulted in a very funny moment! Just admitting to not being on the front lines of coolness can allow one to both save face and make you look even cooler because you’re willing to admit how uncool you actually are. Try it sometime!

So true… And we ask everyone this last question.  If you could give your middle school or high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?  Do not, I repeat, do not get that short haircut and subsequent perm in ninth grade, in the year 197(mumbles something incoherent).

Remember that award winning video I mentioned above? You can watch it right here! I love it. And it’s not just because of the chick tie-in! If for some reason you can’t see the video below, click HERE to watch.

Subscribe to Katie’s YouTube Channel and keep up with her other awesome videos by clicking on the link below.


You can find out more about Katie by visiting her WEBSITE. And you’ll be seeing her influence more around here soon, because after going to Katie’s presentation at the conference, I signed up for her Video Idiot Boot Camp, and am now officially a vidiot! I’m going through the process of making my first video now.

Thanks Katie for joining us today! (Make sure to read the comment below that Katie left about her early bird special, and hint at something more to come!)