Tuesday, February 19, 2008

JacketFlap: Connecting Authors, Illustrators, Teachers and Students

Sally Lodge, writing in Publisher's Weekly, gets us up-to-date on the huge success of JacketFlap, a social networking site for those involved with children's and young adult (YA) literature. Receiving over 200,000 hits a month, JacketFlap features over 1600 author and illustrator profiles:
In addition to offering online chatting opportunities -- the site offers a "Blog Reader" that aggregates posts from more than 650 children's book-related blogs -- JacketFlap also features a searchable database of almost 900,000 children's books, 200,000 published individuals and 20,000 publishers.
And JacketFlap has reached this level of success in just 2 years. Tracy Grand, the founder of Word of Net, a developer of Internet marketing research and measurement tools, started JacketFlap in 2006 because of a love for children's literature. She saw that the site had potential beyond her original purpose of linking children's and YA authors and illustrators to each other:
"I soon realized that there was a real need for online networking in the children's and YA book community and for a central information resource," Grand says. JacketFlap quickly became a social networking site, she adds, giving writers and illustrators “the opportunity to promote their work and publishers a chance to promote their authors’ books."
Author Cynthia Leitich Smith, whose book Tantalize was published by Candlewick Press last year, calls JacketFlap "our place on the Web—a social-professional network in which youth literature writers, illustrators, teachers, librarians, publishers and publicists can step out of our various boxes and interact. It facilitates greater understanding and camaraderie, inspires and educates newcomers and keeps us all up to date."

Most important for schools, the site offers online chatting opportunities with authors and illustrators, contact information for authors and publishers, and the blog reader that can keep teachers, librarians and students up-to-date on their favorite authors and new releases. It's free to register and a great tool for middle school librarians and language arts teachers.

SOURCE: "JacketFlap on the Rise" 02/14/08
photo courtesy of Windy Angels, used under this Creative Commons license

1 comment:

Steve O'Keefe said...

Dedra, I spent quite a bit of time rummaging through the JacketFlap site and I don't see any chats.

There are lots of blogs syndicated there, but I couldn't find any announcements for live chats, or transcripts of past chats, or even any mention of chatting opportunities.

I would love to hear from anyone who has participated in JacketFlap chats. Did you find them rewarding?