Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tips on getting published

If you want to write children's books, here is what you need to do:
  1. Join Why?
    • Because it is an organization of writers, illustrators, editors, agents and others involved in the business.
    • They provide training, workshops, and how-tos
    • The website is a great resource
    • Networking, networking, networking. I am attending a workshop this weekend. 11 of the authors who have attended had book deals by the networking
  2. Do your homework. Why?
    • Editors do not like it when people do not read the guidelines
    • You won't make it out of the slush pile if an editor feels disrespected
    • Some houses like to work with new authors.
    • If you write about animals, and a publishing company says "no animals", well, you just lost credibility. Some of them will remember your name
  3. Join a critique group. Why?
    • Because no matter how good you think it is, your first draft sucks. Often we are soo excited by our words, our judgment clouds reality.
    • Others will catch what we miss, point out inconsistencies, bad word choices, under-character development, etc.
    • Networking
    • A good story will be rewritten, rewritten, and rewritten.
  4. Be prepared for rejection. Why?
    • It's part of the process, don't take it personally
    • Look at the manuscript after each round, rework, reevaluate, rewrite.
    • Don't take it personally
  5. Don't jump into self-publishing (unless you want it for a specific reason and don't care about reviews). There are reasons to do this, but I would not make it my first avenue.
    • Most publishers will not take a book after it has been self-published. It's already out there, been bought, and is not a first edition. To get their attention, it has to sell a ton, thousands, of copies
    • Name recognition. If you don't already have a reputation as an author (Stephen King could self-publish and still have a best seller), it makes it hard to get your book out there.
    • Reviews. Reviews are important to getting a book sold.
    • Editing! This is one thing that makes me cringe. So many self-publish and don't have it properly edited. I was looking through some books the other day, and saw so many minor mistakes.      Note: Editing does not mean asking your spouse, sister, or best friend to look at it.
    • For picture books, the art and words need to be designed to catch attention. This often gets missed and you have what looks like something a grade school class published.
    • Cost. A few of the books I looked at shot themselves out of the marketplace. I won't pay $22 for a picture book from an unknown author who has mistakes.
    • If you go this route, spend time researching any house you go with.
Good luck! You can do it. I did. :-)


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My cover!

Here is the cover for my picture book coming out in Fall 2011!

It is fun to see what an illustrator will do with your work. Sarah brought in a horse and a bird to help move the story forward, and give a subplot!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Authors and their pets....

I am signing up for SCBWI-Iowa's conference, and have been studying the sessions and bios. I'm really excited to get to jump into some learning, and meet other writers across the state and area.

One thing that stood out to me is the mention of pets. I'm totally guilty. I have 2 boys, 2 cats, 2 birds (though we are going to donate them to a sanctuary), and 1 dog. They all just fall in line.. the kids and the pets seem to blur.

I think we like the pets because they will sit and listen to us read aloud, over and over... or maybe that is just me. My dog is at my feet during the day, and cuddles next to me at night. My husband is there, somewhere. :-)

Anyway, just thought I'd share my latest aha moment.

Until next time,