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  • SJ Winkler

Book News: 2022 Report Card

This yearly report chronicles my activities as "SJ Winkler" within the publishing industry.

2022 was a wild ride in the best way. I'm most grateful for developing relationships with groups of professionals who enjoy process improvement and craft as much as I do.


The Quick Stats for 2022 are:

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Role --------------------------- # & Project Format

Illustrator -------------------- 2 Picture Books

Author Illustrator --------- 8 (varied formats)

Book Designer ----------- 1 Picture Book

Typographer -------------- 1 Picture Book

Editor-in-Chief ------------ 2 Newsletters

Content Dev. -------------- 3 Story Bibles

Guest Appearances ---- 4 (varied formats)

Contest Wins -------------- 3 out of 7 attempts

Workshops ----------------- 11 (varied formats)

Critique Groups ---------- 72 (approximated)


Genres and Topics I worked on this year include: #STEM #STEAM #PB #F #NF #MG #culture #Christmas #adoption #fantasy #animals #CreativeWriting #weather #adventure #novelty #humor #DIY #spooky #KidComics #GN #StoryBibles #screenwriting #CharacterDesign #ConceptArt #Illustration


The popular perception that the publishing industry moves very slowly is a struggle for many of the writers and illustrators within my network. Keeping track of all the projects I work on throughout the year helps me to stay grounded and focused on the aspects of publishing I can be proactive about: craft improvement, furthering education, cross-discipline-training, networking, marketing, finding mentors, etc.

These records also help me see where I need more improvement/focus.

One of my favorite author illustrator projects this year was THE PINK SPHINX METHOD. It's an ideal project because of the large target audience, the ability to produce more content, and the options for marketing workshops and courses around this creative method. So far, the feedback from sample workshop groups has been overwhelmingly positive. For 2023 - to grow my audience for Pink Sphinx workshops - free Pink Sphinx exercises will be available at Soul Sushi Magazine once a month. These exercises are exclusive web content that are separate from the material within my book proposals for this project.


September 20, 2022 is the first Book Birthday for Katie Otey's debut picture book Every Other Christmas! Working on the illustrations for this sweet story published by Sky Pony Press was my first experience with a traditional publishing contract. The experience has greatly streamlined my storyboarding and layout process.


As a long-time member of the SCBWI, it feels particularly good to finally become a PAL Member. Many thanks to the SCBWI for approving Every Other Christmas for their December 2022 Recommended Reading List!


Since we're still crawling our way out of the pandemic era, opportunities for physical visits to promote Every Other Christmas were limited, but I learned enough to improve strategies for 2023's holiday sales season.

Flyers from some of 2022's guest appearances

For the first time in a few years, I participated in writing and illustration contests. I was pleasantly surprised by how much better my results were in 2022 compared to other years.




Even the short stories that didn't win in 2022's contests still provide valuable skill practice as well as content for my adventures in Soul Sushi Magazine:




My personal observation is that workshops, conferences, and critique groups are crucial for growing the skills, relationships, and network needed to blossom in the publishing industry.


Though navigating the wide variety of experiences from other writers and illustrators can feel overwhelming at times, a certain amount of discomfort is healthy (and possibly necessary) for my personal improvement.







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