Monday, August 30, 2010


The next step in publishing is the editing process. Late Friday, I received the edits for my Russell book from the editor at Pelican.

She used the tracking system on Microsoft Word. If you haven't used it, try it. Works great for editing or critiquing other's works. In Word 2007 it is found under "Review" and called "track changes." In older versions, it may be under tools or edit. The program draws a line through things to be deleted and color codes things to be added or moved. It was hard to follow in the edits but I managed. The editor suggested I send an email describing the placement of any revisions I suggested.

I thought I'd perfected the manuscript. Wrong! She moved things around, changed words and asks a lot of questions to clarify questions or information in the manuscript and description for the pictures. I liked what she'd done although there is still more to do with what I sent later this afternoon. My deadline was Sept. 3rd and I was determined to send it much earlier. Therefore, I hurried a little too much and missed some things. She wrote back and I finished late this afternoon.

That brings up another subject - commas and lists. Some grammar style books advocate the use of commas between lists until before the "and." They suggest you omit that comma. However, other manuals suggest still using that comma before "and." I've discovered it depends on the publisher. Unfortunately, I didn't realize Pelican requires a comma before "and." I could have saved the editor lots of work had I known their rules. I don't think that was mentioned in all the information I received. Perhaps they will include it for future authors.

Besides the edits, she informed me one of the picture's dpi was too low to use. When I'd downloaded the picture from the original CD, the computer couldn't handle 600 dpi so it downloaded at 96 dpi. Without realizing that, I sent the pictures. Today I sent the original CD with the 600 dpi. Hopefully, it won't get lost or I'll have to request another copy from the collector who sent it to me for free. That might be embarrassing. The moral of that story is check everything twice and even three times before sending it.

Another unrelated subject, I received my copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Book of Miracles this past week. My story is on page 62 even though it states the author as the person who told me the story. CS changed the way they list "as told to stories." I still receive the check and the ten books but am not listed as the author. Bummer!

I also received the rough draft of a press release Pelican plans to send out. Since my editor decided the Introduction should be written to the child readers (a move I wholeheartedly supported), I needed to inform the woman of changes needed in the press release All the staff of Pelican have been absolutely wonderful. I hope to maintain a good relationship with each.

It seems like "when it rains it pours." Today, I planned to dedicate the day to tweaking two articles for Rocky Mountain Senior and writing two others. "The best laid plans of mice and men.......!"

Monday, August 23, 2010

Writing Tips

The Women on Writing, or also known as WOW!, offers a wealth of writing tips. A friend, Kerrie Flanagan, director of the Northern Colorado Writers, contributes articles to their website often. In the July/August, 2010 issue, Kerrie writes on beginnings, middles and ends. Check it out. Log onto the website and read more of the editor's piece "Fiction Writer's Toolkit." She links each separate article so they are easy to access.

Besides beginning, middles and ends, articles include tips on settings and description; creating scenes; voice; pacing; avoiding plotholes; self-editing; agent interview answers 20 questions; flash fiction contests; dialogue tags; author interview with Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni; and writing groups. You might want to place this website in your favorites so you can return often.

Now I think I'll take a break from finishing my four-article assignment and this post and check out WOW! Perhaps I'll glean some tips to improve the assignments.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What to do now that the book is sold.

Pelican Publishing asked that I send pictures of any event in which I participated. This week I sent a picture taken at the Northern Colorado Writer's 1st Book Author Panel where I served as one of the presenters. That same day, Pelican posted it to their Facebook page. I'd done the same. Guess that's my first social media promotion. Hopefully, it went out to many people. Now I must concentrate on other Facebook promotions for the book.

One idea in "100 Ways to Market Your Children's Book" suggests getting to know the publisher's marketing team. I have to say, Pelican's team keeps me informed. Past blog posts covered ideas sent from the team. If they don't contact you, contact them with questions, ideas, pictures and a list of your book events. They will appreciate your promotion efforts.

While waiting for the book release, prepare a school presentation. I have permission from Amon Carter Museum to use the pictures from the book in educational programs. PowerPoint programs combine visuals with verbal comments. I don't want to give away the whole book in a presentation, but create enough interest that children will want the book. Even if yours is fiction, you can plan a reading and develop questions to discuss as well as suggestions of ways to use the book. Offer creating a script for a classroom play. Have children research something from the book, i.e., a time, place or event. They can create another place and write or tell a similar or new story. Take a character to the next level. Write a sequel. What did the character do after the end of the book?

On your website, create a teacher's guide. The above ideas form a beginning for your guide. In fact, I think I'll follow my own suggestion and add a few more ideas to my current website teacher's guide.

Most of all, keep writing. Start your own sequel. Most publishers want "right of first refusal" for anything you write after you sign their contract. Start a sequel, companion or new book. Get something to them.

Monday, August 16, 2010

More Promotion Ideas

My out-of-town company left this morning so it is time to get back on schedule.

Promotion ideas fill my mind and time at this point. Even though the book hasn't been released as yet, I want to be prepared ahead of time. I suggested to the publisher that I make bookmarks with the book cover as well as a few buttons (like political buttons) that I and/or friends can wear. Bookmarks I'll pass out at schools and anyplace else I frequent. Even my hairdresser has my business cards on her counter.

The publisher gave permission to put the book cover on the two items I've mentioned as long as they are given away and not sold. Be aware of such rules before you go to any expense. Postcards printed with the book cover work well for mailings.

Some of the "100 Ways to Market Your Children's Book" article named in the last post included making marketing idea suggestions in your query letter. In other words, don't wait until you have a contract to think about promotion. Publishers today expect authors to promote almost as much as the publishing house. My publisher is small and I understand they may do more for authors than a big house. I'm hoping so.

Others suggestions:

1. Research what other authors have done. Most of my ideas came from Debbie Dadey and a friend who acted as her publicist when Debbie lived in Fort Collins. Since my book is nonfiction, Debbie recently suggested I post a teacher's guide on my website. I've completed that even though the book is not out yet. The activities relate to any art works a teacher might use in her classroom.

2. Keep in close contact with the publishing house's publicist. Find out what in-house promotions they do as well as any social networks postings.

3. Have someone take photos at your appearances related to writing. Then post them online at websites, blogs or social media.

4. Participate in list serves. I belong to a couple of list serves and might research others that fit my needs.

These ideas offer a beginning for your research on promotion. If you know of something that works, perhaps you'd share it with the readers here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

How to Impress Booksellers and more Promotion

My publisher's school sales manager suggested a blog in her newsletter - Breaking Through by Doug Solter. His post, How to Impress Booksellers, is the result of reading tweets on Twitter. You don't have to belong to Twitter to read the tweets; he summarized them for us. Many are common sense, but others offer sound advice.

Another interesting read is an article by Kevin Smokler on publicity with several other links to check out.

The SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) Bulletin offered an article on 100 Ways to Market your Children's Book. To access it, click the link and then click NEW next to the title for it to come up in your Word document. The second article on that page is the one that actually appeared in the bulletin.

One suggestion to market your books is to write a teacher's guide. Debbie Dadey suggested that to me some time ago. My website now boasts a teacher's guide for HOW THE WEST WAS DRAWN: COWBOY CHARLIE'S ART even though the book hasn't actually gone to print yet. Many of the suggestions can be applied to other paintings as well as those of Charles Russell.

Another idea says to have pictures taken at appearances and post them in your social networks or website. Look soon on my website for a picture of the 1st author panel where I served recently.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Promotion and Platform

The more I read, the more I learn about promotion and platform and how important they are. Short-handed publishers after many layoffs in the business depend more and more on the author to promote his/her book.

The Promotion Director for Pelican Publishing offered some links to ideas for authors. After the manuscript is a San Francisco Book Review blog which covers many subjects dealing with promotion as well as platform. Building your author platform gives a definition of platform and steps to build your own. Many other articles on the blog will be of interest. Check it out.

I am amazed at the wealth of information Pelican sends its authors. I received another newsletter today from the school sales manager. Both staff members send newsletters which help lead authors down the path to good promotion.

Perhaps you follow a blog on these two subjects that you can recommend for the readers of this blog. Add you comments.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Promotion and Pelican Publishing

I received a long email today from the Promotion Director of my publisher, Pelican Publishing. The newsletter is called Promotion with Pelican. I discovered the more I learn about the publishing house, the more I like them. I feel fortunate they chose to purchase my book on Charles Russell.

Information included links on how to start tweeting on Twitter. I need to get into that social network program and you probably do also. I understand it is very successful for writers. Once I learn more about it, perhaps I'll figure out more about Facebook and LinkedIn.

Twitter information starts with frequently asked questions. Next came Seven tips for marketing through Twitter. For more ideas, check out this quick reference from website Traffic Expert Nick Stewart: How I will Add 1,000 Twitter followers this year.

Other suggestions included:
1. Make one of your book characters a Twitter user name.

2. Make use of hash tags (the # symbol). The symbol identifies searchable terms on Twitter. It makes searching for news about whatever the symbol represents easy. I first have to learn more about Twitter symbols and how to use them. I'm hoping I discover that in the above links.

3. Participate in Follow Friday. Click on this link for an article on Follow Friday from Mashable (whatever that is!).

4. Include a profile photo. Some people believe users will trust a person more if they see how they look. Be sure to smile.

5. Use the bio box! People like to know with whom they speak. You might even include a link to your web page.

Her best recommendation is to start tweeting, shart reading other's tweets and start responding. I'd add sign up for Twitter if you haven't already.

Next post will include more links to her suggested articles on promotion.