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Such a treat! So I’m finally reading Steve Sheikin’s latest nonfiction work, Most Dangerous, and then out of the blue he sends me the latest in his “Walking and Talking” series. Dav Pilkey, Mr. Captain Underpants himself, is today’s subject. Fun Pilkey Fact You Never Knew: He has exquisite taste in cakes. True fact!
Thanks once again to Steve for allowing me to showcase his work. For previous entries in the “Walking and Talking” series, please be sure to check out the following:
But, here’s the thing. You can ONLY enter if you subscribe to the STACKS Blast Newsletter. So first, you sign up for the newsletter. Then you must wait until December 15 when Hooray! the STACKS Blast will arrive in your e-mail inbox. Hurry up and open it! Inside, you’ll see a special section for the STACKS Giveaway. That’s where you enter. OK? Don’t forget to sign up for the STACKS Blast Newsletter and enter the sweepstakes. Good luck!
Gogyohka (go-gee-yo-ka) is a verse form that was developed in Japan by Enta Kusakabe. It is meant to be a freer verse form than the tanka. A gogyohka is a five line poem in which each line is comprised of a single phrase.
Youth service librarians live and breathe the ALA marketing campaign of Libraries Transform. Childhood is the most epically transformative time for human beings. However, none of these thoughts were in my mind when the Nebraska Humane Society agreed to be part of a Cat Café event at our library. Instead, I was focused on how incredibly fun this community partnership would be.
It wasn’t until during the event, when I went into the room to get some video footage, that I fully comprehended that lives were going to change that day. This realization was triggered by seeing a woman sitting on the floor playing with one of the kittens while inquiring about the adoption process. I became emotional because families were going to be created or enlarged at this event.
Later, while looking through social media I came across an update to the Nebraska Humane Society’s Facebook post about the program. Christina Kadlec, the woman whom I had observed earlier, shared that she had adopted two of the kittens from that morning’s Kitty Café event; what she wrote had me in tears. I reached out to Christina and asked her to more fully tell her story, and she graciously agreed.
Over the past two years I lost both of my best friends: Bearcat who was with me for 17 years, and then 18 year-old Marbles. To say I was heartbroken would be a gross understatement. My cats had been comforting me through almost all of life’s challenges. Coming home to an empty apartment was a very hollow feeling.
The morning of the Kitty Café, I had been battling with myself as to whether or not I would visit the Humane Society that day. I saw the post for the event on Facebook and I was captivated by the fuzzy dilute tortie in the pictures. I decided I would head out to Gretna, if for no other reason, to play with the kittens and enjoy their antics.
Upon arriving at the Kitty Café, I hung back and let the kids enjoy the kittens for the most part. However, it so happened that the fuzzy gray tortie and I ended up playing together quite a bit. Her sister, a gray tabby, also made me smile with her outgoing, fearless sense of adventure. I talked to NHS staff at the event about adoptions and arranged to come see “the girls” after the event.
Needless to say, when I visited them later that day, it was love. We completed the adoption process late that afternoon.
I’m so happy to come home to my playful, lively kittens! They cannot replace my previous cat friends, but they provide a needed salve for the cracks of my broken heart. Every day we learn a little more about each other and everyday they become more a part of my home. I am so grateful to Nebraska Humane Society & Gretna Public Library for giving me the opportunity to find my girls, Abigail & Zoe.
After reading about the impact that this event has had on the lives of one woman and two kittens, please seriously consider creating your own Cat Café at your library. It’s a magical event that can transform the lives of both people and animals in your community.
Today’s guest blogger is Rebecca McCorkindale. Rebecca is Gretna Public Library’s Assistant Director/Creative Director, oversees the daily operations of the Children’s Library, and serves as the 2016 Chair of the School, Children’s, and Young People’s section of the Nebraska Library Association. For more information about Rebecca and her work, visit her blog hafuboti.com or email her at email@example.com.
Please note as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.
If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Designer Jessica Wilde joined Not on the High Street earlier this year and has been busy developing a range which includes cushions, art prints, notebooks, gift cards and handmade jewellery. Featuring bright botanicals and quirky creatures Jessica took her inspiration from rural Shropshire and her hometown of Shrewsbury where her studio is currently based. The products - including these
Because I enjoy eating and living indoors, I have a day job.
I’m in the marketing and communications departments of a regional health system. Part of my job involves media relations. Most weeks, that means interacting with reporters from local television, radio and print media. Recently, we had calls from reporters Cosmo and the Huffington Post, but that was a weird week!
What does all this have to do with you, my little parfait? Well, because I arrange interviews, I also help to prepare the interviewees, many of whom are new to the experience and naturally nervous. Since there may be interviews in your future, I thought why not share these tips with you?
Practice with a friend. Video your interview. Look for what you’re doing
Doodle by Vicky Lorencen
well and do more of that!
Look at the interviewer, not the camera.
Bring a copy of your book with you. Don’t assume the interviewer will have one.
Don’t wear checks or stripes.
See tips for radio interviews.
Smile as you speak.
Be sure you know how long the interview will be, so you can pace yourself.
Ask if you can send questions ahead of time. The interviewer may really appreciate it, and you’ll know what to anticipate and how to prepare.
If you can’t send questions ahead, it’s absolutely okay to ask the interviewer the direction of the interview (is it more about your book, about you, about your writing journey, about advice, about your favorite panini–you just never know).
Prepare yourself a cheat sheet with answers to anticipated questions, but DO NOT write out every word. Make it more a “grocery list” of prompts. If you create a word for word script, you’ll be too tempted to just read it and you’ll come off sounding stiff even when we all know you are super cool.
Have a cup of water handy. (A bottle takes too much time to open.)
Thank the interviewer.
Use a landline, if available, so you don’t have to worry about your call being dropped mid conversation.
Try to be relaxed and conversational. Listeners will respond to your personality, not your perfect diction.
See tips for a radio interview.
For any type of interview
It’s easy to get flustered. Make yourself a cheat sheet with basic information so if your mind goes blank, all you have to do is read–
The title(s) of your book(s)
Web site name and address
How readers can can contact you
Where your books are available
Details about the event or signing you’re promoting (date, time, place, etc.)
And finally . . .
It’s not uncommon for an interviewer to wrap up an interview with a question like, “Is there anything else you’d like to say?”
Think about using this as an opportunity to promote someone else’s book. David Sedaris does this every time he goes on tour for his own newest book. Isn’t that a beautiful, generous gesture? It’s a delightful chance to pay it forward for an author or illustrator who has been especially supportive of you.
Now, if you have an agent, publicist or your publisher’s marketing team advising you, please listen to them and learn. Use my suggestions when/if they seem useful to you. Most of all, no matter how an interview turns out, remember you, my little blueberry scone, are still one of the coolest, most talented people on ten toes.
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Julie here! I am so excited to share the second part of a guest post from YA fantasy author Kathy MacMillan. Kathy’s debut novel, Sword and Verse, will be published by HarperTeen/HarperCollins in January 2016. Kathy also has lots of experience working with libraries, and she is back to share her insights with us! This is part two of two, so if you missed it, make sure you check out part one of Kathy’s tips for writers who want to work with libraries!
In part one, we looked at book signings and other programs. But how do you pitch your program to a library?
Showcases: Some state and regional library associations run performer showcases, where local authors and performers who wish to present in libraries can share a brief taste of their programs (usually 10-15 minutes). Participating in a showcase is a great way to put your presentation in front of lots of librarian eyeballs (and sometimes school contacts as well). You will likely be presenting alongside magicians, mad scientists, and naturalists with adorable fuzzy creatures, so share the liveliest parts of your presentation!
No showcases in your area? Consider creating your own! Join forces with other authors, illustrators, or children’s performers and propose a free showcase session for your state or regional library conference. This is a win-win: you get to promote yourself, and the conference gets a free program. And of course, don’t forget to hand out bookmarks, postcards, or brochures with your contact and booking information!
What kind of program?: If you can tie your program into library initiatives, you will make it easier for librarians to say yes to booking you. Some major trends:
Early Literacy: This is not early reading – rather, it is the constellation of skills, such as print awareness, vocabulary knowledge, and the ability to apply real-world knowledge to a text, that prepares children for the tasks of reading and writing. Check out the American Library Association’s page on Early Literacy and Libraries for more information: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/literacy/earlyliteracy
A Word about Meeting Rooms: Library meeting rooms are often available for use by community groups. This can cause some confusion when writing organizations want to hold programs at the library. If you approach the library about “using the meeting room” for a program, you will likely be given the standard community group reservation policies, which often include a ban on selling anything during the program. However, if you approach the library requesting that it sponsor or co-sponsor a program, new doors are opened. When the library sponsors a program, book sales are usually allowed and the event will appear in the library’s publicity.
Partnering with Other Community Organizations: Bring extra value to your program by brainstorming ways to connect with schools, community groups, and local businesses. Erin Hagar, author of Julia Child: An Extraordinary Life in Words and Pictures (Duo Press) had a group of middle school students perform a skit about the famous chef at one of her signings. Find local businesses related to your book’s topic and ask them to help get the word out to their customers about your event, through print or social media. If you are traveling some distance for the event, offer a discount if the librarian helps connect you with local schools willing to host a presentation on the same day. Invite the local independent bookseller to sell books at your program. If you’re not sure where to start in contacting these local groups, ask your librarians – providing those resources is their job, after all!
Swag and Selling Books: The number of books you sell can vary wildly from library to library, and you can’t necessarily judge the effectiveness of the program by the number of books sold. Depending on the location, audience, and timing of your program, the audience may not be in the frame of mind to purchase a book. (Case in point: When my nonfiction book, Little Hands and Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together (Huron Street Press) came out, I did a mini-storytime featuring American Sign Language to promote it. In libraries where the program was scheduled in place of the regular weekly storytimes, I sold few books – often the parents would tell me that they hadn’t even brought their wallets, because they were in storytime-attendance mode.)
Make sure you have bookmarks or postcards to hand out to each attendee with information about your book and your website. That way, there is a chance that person may purchase the book later (or at least leave the bookmark on a restroom counter and someone else will see it!)
It’s important to clarify whether books can be sold during the event, and if so, who will be responsible for bringing and selling them. The Friends of the Library may be on hand to sell books, or the library may have a pre-existing relationship with a local independent bookseller.
If the library expects you to handle book sales, bring a friend or family member to handle sales so you can focus on signing, or contact a local bookseller yourself. Don’t forget to account for sales tax, and to report your direct sales as required by your state. The Small Business Association has a handy guide for collecting and reporting sales tax here: https://www.sba.gov/blogs/sales-tax-101-small-business-owners-and-online-retailers
Making the event go smoothly: Communication is key! Confirm the event in writing. If you set up the event with a central coordinator, then call the branch where you will be presenting a day or two before the program and find out who your in-person contact will be. Make sure that person knows when to expect you and has your cell phone number to contact you en route if necessary. This day-before call seems like a small thing, easy to overlook, but it is HUGE for creating rapport with your host and showing your professionalism.
During the event itself, be a good guest. Don’t be a diva, and communicate clearly about what you need for the program to go smoothly. Understand that your host may not be able to stay in the room the entire time because the library is short-staffed, or someone is vomiting in the children’s department, or there is a crisis at the circulation desk. (There’s always an adventure happening in a public library!)
Afterwards, send a thank you note to your host as well as to the contact person. Post pictures from the event on your website and social media and tag the library. (Do not post any photos that show faces of attendees unless you have their written permission!)
Keep a record of the staff you work with at each library, so that, when your next book comes out, you can send a personal note – and perhaps secure another invitation to present!
Other Ways to Connect With Public Libraries
Getting the library to carry your book: Most libraries have centralized Materials Selection specialists who develop the collection based on reviews, the library’s budget, and community needs. Even if your book is published by a major publisher and is reviewed in national journals, it’s a good idea to reach out to your local libraries and let them know that you live in the area.
If your book is published by a smaller press, or if you are self-published, then you may have a tougher time. Libraries rely on review sources such as Booklist, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly, and if you don’t have trade reviews to show them, they may not consider purchasing your book. Many libraries have established a process for local authors to submit one or more copies for the materials selectors to review.
Patrons can also request that the library carry certain books, and the more requests the library gets, the more likely it is to purchase the material. Enlist the aid of your supporters to make these requests at their local libraries.
Public libraries can be an author’s best friend! I hope these tips have given you some ideas on how to start connecting with libraries far and near.
Got more tips for working with libraries? Share them in the comments!
KATHY MACMILLAN is a writer, American Sign Language interpreter, librarian, founder of The Sweet Sixteens (www.thesweetsixteens.com) and avowed Hufflepuff. Her debut young adult novel, Sword and Verse, is an epic fantasy that explores questions of power and prejudice. Find her at www.kathymacmillan.com and on Twitter at @kathys_quill.
Another French publication gets in on the 'books of the year'-game, with Le Point announcing Notre palmarès des 25 livres de l'année 2015
It's largely made up of the predictable usual suspects: Sansal's 2084 (which will surely be on absolutely every one of these lists), the Houellebecq, prize-winners by Binet, Énard, and de Vigan, etc.
Okay, there's that Boris Johnson, too -- didn't see that coming .....
Read the rest of this post
At first glance, it’s a simple walk through the woods, but as you slow down and look closely, using a set of special lenses which come packaged with the book, all sorts of hidden stories are revealed. Animals and plants magically appear where there were none before. Gentle prompts on each page draw in readers / listeners / viewers to look again and let themselves be surprised and enchanted by the magic.
Bestard’s illustrative technique makes use of the fact that different coloured lenses filter out different colours printed on the page, disguising some, allowing others to suddenly appear clearly. This approach makes for stylish images also when viewed without any lenses; her limited palette, her highly decorative use of patterns and the clarity of her line all add up to fresh and eye-catching illustrations.
The experience of reading the book is also very interesting. It becomes something slower and more deliberate, not a race to the end, but rather an invitation to look, and look and look again. Such close observation is sometimes hard to encourage, but here it comes naturally and is hugely enjoyable. My kids both kept checking that they’d not missed any small detail and were truly fascinated by how something so simple as the lenses changed everything.
We just had to explore the technique used by Bestard ourselves and so we set up a creation station, with lots of different shades of red, yellow, blue and green markers, plus homemade acetate visors in each of the colours. The visors (made from acetate sheets rather than cellophane because acetate is a bit thicker and sturdier) meant that the kids could put them on and draw hands-free (so to say) i.e. without having to hold the magic lenses from the book in one hand.
There was a real frisson of excitement in the air as we saw how our drawings appeared to reveal hidden secrets as we viewed them through different coloured filters. I’ve tried to show how it looked to us by making this short animation:
Whilst making our own magic images we listened to:
Going for a walk in some nearby woods and seeing what you can spot (with or without magic glasses). For folk in the the UK, The Woodland Trust has a great site with lots of resources and tips for getting out into a forest near you and having a great time. Perhaps you could join in with their ancient tree hunt? Did you know that you can use the HUG method to identify ancient trees?
These flyers have come in from design studio Pomelo & Pomelo who will be at Blue Print II which runs from this Wednesday to Friday, December 2-4 in New York. Following their success from the first Blue Print in May, owner Abby Zweifel set straight to work on new collections to present at the December Blue Print show. Using her signature bright colors and intricate line work, Abby has created
Friday, we drove down to Santa Fe, like we do so many years, getting into the square as the sun was going down and the town was getting ready to light the plaza, and welcome Santa...
We ate New Mexican food coming down from Colorado, at the Chaco Grill, at the Phillips 66 gas station in Cuba. Then once in town, we ate at Maria's Kitchen, a locals favorite for about 40 years and Robert Redford's when he comes to Santa Fe...
Then Saturday morning we went to the Farmer's Market in the Railyard and ate some more- apple epinadas, breakfast burritos, samples of fresh apples and cider. But we were mainly there to get more New Mexico red chili powder from our suppliers in Chimayo, who bring it in green lidded rubbermaid tubs and sell it in ziploc bags, 1 pound for $18 dollars. Down in the plaza, small bags sell for $25 in posh stores.
There were other good finds from the vendors outside and the holiday mercado on the other side of the tracks...
But we didn't get cheese and you need cheese to go with the glorious bread we also purchase, so then it was off to Whole Foods, where allergic to dairy, all I could was watch others delight in the cheese choices and then go off and find some hummus and salami
After our bread and cheese picnic, we headed back down to the plaza and pursued shops and museums....
including Design Warehouse, a staple for Santa Fe's infamous lit paper stars.
Then we ate at the Burrito Company, not that we were hungry yet....
but, who can resist handmade tortillas, chicken fajita tacos with Spanish rice and black beans, burritos and nachos?
So then we walked it off, the others going to more museums and me, well, I strolled up Canyon Roads, spending as much time as I liked in the many art galleries..... ahhhhhhhh!
Where even the old adobe buildings themselves are a beautiful thing to ponder, with uneven floors and narrow doors.
Then back together we went to a movie, ate popcorn, cause how can you not eat popcorn watching Daniel Craig, well, be James Bond...
Also how can you love it when Jame Bond saves the girl, at the same time hate it James Bond has to save the girl?
Well, that pondering is for another post, but after the movie we did go back to the Railyard and eat at the Second Street Brewery, where I partook of hard cider this time and Jon proved he can distinguish the subtle woody, fruity or hoppy flavors of several micro brews, presented to him in one sip taster glasses. Daughter #2 did do the driving back to the hotel. Garrett's Desert Inn, which is cheap in comparison to the other hotels down town right off the plaza.
Of course, Sunday, stuffed or not, we walked over to our and everybody else in the knows, place to go for breakfast, Pascals. Part of the fun is the waiting outside and people watching and listening to the conversations, I confess.
Inside, it is their Mexican hot chocolate drinks, cornmill blueberry pancakes, huevos rancheros, and breakfast plates that make the wait forth it....
Then we headed back to Colorado, but did stop in Cuba at the Phillip 66, at the grill, about 2 hours later for beans and onions wrapped in some more fresh made tortilla.
Ah, what a lovely long holiday weekend it has been! Thanksgiving on Thursday was decadent and delicious. Bookman started the day off by making us a pancake breakfast. These weren’t just any pancakes though. No sirree. These pancakes are actually supposed to be waffles but they stick to our waffle iron so badly they have become pancakes. Brownie pancakes. Walnuts and chocolate and drizzled with a cashew cream. My blood sugar is generally pretty low in the morning and let me tell you, these things pumped it up pretty darn fast! Combined with some very strong coffee, they kept us going into the middle of the afternoon when we decided it was time to have pumpkin pie.
As you can tell, we live by the motto, “dessert first” at our house.
The enchiladas at dinner were delicious as always and provided two days of leftovers. Normal eating will now resume until Winter Solstice.
To compensate for all the food, I rode 75 miles/121 km on my bike trainer on Saturday and burned close to 1800 calories. It was a fun ride. There were a lot of people riding in Zwift that day because there were several group rides going on for charity that were being led by professional cyclists. I don’t really follow professional cycling but even I recognized some of the names. I did not join any rides but I did occasionally get caught up in a group especially on the uphill sections of the course where everyone slows down and the pack gets strung out along the virtual mountain.
Also, note to self, just because Astrid is on a trainer doesn’t mean I don’t have to regularly check the tire pressure. My cadence and trainer feed kept skipping off and on and I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. The computer was working and all the tech seemed fine. Then Bookman noticed my back tire that sits against the trainer wheel thingy was looking a little flat. He set the trainer tighter against the wheel and problem solved. Today I got out the pump to discover I had only about 70 psi in the tire and there is supposed to be 120 psi! Oops.
Thursday it snowed all day. We only got about an inch/2.5 cm but it is amazing how just that little bit of snow has changed the landscape so much. October weather lasted far into November and really, we only had about a week of November blah. November here is usually a cold, gray month. Everything has been killed by frost, all the leaves have dropped and it is drab and dull. But the leaves hung on through the first part of the month and I still had a few flowers and plants in the garden until a little over a week ago. And now we have snow. We will be getting more snow tomorrow, enough that we will have to shovel. Time to get out the winter coat and find my snowboots.
As the snow fell outside I was inside reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. It just so happens the chapter was called “Winter.” I had an extra happy moment of recognition when I read this:
I bloom indoors in the winter like a forced forsythia; I come in to come out. At night I read and write, and things I have never understood become clear; I reap the harvest of the rest of the year’s planting.
When the weather is warm spring and summer and fall I am outdoors doing, doing, doing. There is not much time to stop and think because those flowers need to be staked, the beans need to be picked, The rose needs to be deadheaded and everything needs to be weeded. There is laundry on the line and long bike rides to far away parks and lakes, and even when I do stop and look and be still it is a very active sort of stillness. Now, indoors with snow on the ground, there isn’t as much to do and time feels thick and sticky like molasses and things get done when they get done. There is much more staring off into space and gazing out of windows giving thoughts plenty of room to cavort.
During one of my window gazings the other day I spied a big fat squirrel. This squirrel was so big and fat that I did not immediately recognize it as being a squirrel. My eyes landed on it and I thought, there is a woodchuck in the yard, how strange. And I blinked and the woodchuck became a squirrel. The fattest squirrel I have ever seen. It is well provisioned for the winter!
Waldo and Dickens are wearing their winter fur now too. They were both so very happy these last few days. I got out a quilt and put it on my reading chaise and spent many hours reading. There is just enough room for the three of use to curl up together. And when I get stiff from sitting and need to get up, Waldo glares at me in such a way that I am glad he is a small housecat. He is so good at these threatening looks that I think he may be a reincarnated gangster who regularly sighs, what fresh hell is this? All three of us will be very sad when I have to go back to work on Monday morning.
However, there is a long vacation ahead. Three weeks and then I get a two-week vacation. I have no travel plans. It is the busiest time of year at work for Bookman. I will be left mostly to my own devices. Quilt, chaise, cats, a big pile of books. I can hardly wait!
My Crazy Inventions Sketchbook: 50 Awesome Drawing Activities for Young Inventors by Andrew Rae and Lisa Regan is GENIUS! Rae has worked for many clients worldwide in advertising, print, publishing and animation and Regan is an accomplished author of children's non-fiction with over 300 titles to her name. The beauty of My Crazy Inventions Sketchbook is that it is more than a doodle book that will appeal to kids who may have never even considered inventing or designing something. This book is so engaging and inviting that readers will step outside the box or be inspired to step even further out, if they are already creatively inclined. Regan and Rae detail and bring to life a wide array of inventions from hundreds of years ago, like Leonardo daVinci's 1485 design for wings for humans to 21st century craziness like the man in Brazil who built a machine that changes from a van to a robot and back again in about two minutes.
My Crazy Inventions Sketchbook is a great gift for a kid who is a tinkerer, doodler or both, but it is also a gentle guide for kids who might really feel a passion for invention. The "Getting Started" page takes this seriously and tells junior inventors to keep a notebook, always make sure you are not inventing something that already exists and to "learn to let go" when you are the only one who thinks your inventions is a winner.
My Crazy Invention Sketchbook introduces kids to actual inventions, from the useful to the life changing to the ridiculous then invites them to think up their own inventions along the same lines or principals or adapt and improve something that already exists. Inventors can invent something to help them practice their favorite sport, a faster method of long distance travel or ways to make a boat fly. They are invited to invent a toilet, a toy, a brand new candy and a better bed. They are also asked to customize a bike and accessorize a car. Leaning into the less than possible (but hey, who am I to say?) kids are also asked to design a shrinking machine and a device that would help you do your homework.
The final pages of My Crazy Invention Sketchbook introduces readers to the concept of patents and has a two page "Application for Patent of My Crazy Invention" that, while far from the real thing, is a great place for young inventors to organize their thoughts and get them on the page. Finally, a very cool certificate of patent makes up the last page of the book. My Crazy Invention Sketchbook is guaranteed to spark ideas and inspire creativity in any one, of any age, who opens the covers and starts turning pages!
Every year I help organise the highlight of my writing year: the SCBWI Conference for children's writers and illustrators in Winchester.
The irony of course is that I don't actually attend the conference. By being one of the organisers, my experience of the conference is that of sorting out the website, hustling behind the scenes, contributing to the programming, supporting the rest of the team, preparing panels, meeting and greeting on the day. But I get a huge kick out of watching something that was just a bunch of ideas turn into a successful reality.
This year, the title of the conference was: 'New Readers Ahoy! Creating Stories to Treasure' -- but I have to say, whatever name we give the conference, year after year, embedded under whatever we choose for the conference theme, is our true objective: How To Be Discovered.
We are all hoping to be discovered.
The unpublished are hoping to find the inspiration and information that would lead to their first book deal. Even people who have been discovered, already been published, are continuously on the lookout for ways to stand out from all the other books out there. They want to be discovered by new publishers, by people who invite authors to festivals, by journalists, by teachers who might invite them to visit schools. Self-published folk are looking for the same thing but must struggle against bias and access to distribution.
What's the good of creating stories to treasure if nobody can find our work?
Here are a few take-aways from the conference on how to be discovered plus some of my own tips:
1. Know the game. Attending a conference will bring home to you the enormity of the journey ahead of you. You will realise that you've got to raise your game. You will meet vast numbers of aspiring authors, just as talented as you, who are also waiting to be discovered. Should you quit or carry on?
2. Discover each other. If you decide not to quit, seize the opportunity to enjoy the company of these like-minded people. No, don't just socialise. Discover each other. The friends I have made at every conference are the ones who have held me up when I've been low and cheered me on whenever I've had a success.
3. Meet gatekeepers face to face. There are many ways to draw attention to yourself on social media. You can participate in hashtags, tag famous people into interacting with you, retweet, link etc. Unfortunately there are a gazillion other people doing the same thing. So there's nothing like meeting someone face to face. Finding opportunities to meet people in real time teaches you how to conduct yourself in a professional way. You also very quickly discover that agents, publishers and editors are human beings. Seeing people as human is always a good strategy.
4. You've probably already got a platform. How do I build a platform? That's what everyone is asking - whether published, unpublished, self-published. You've probably already got one. Take a sheet of paper and make a list. You have a platform in your immediate family and friends. These are guaranteed sales. You probably have other platforms you haven't thought about before. Professional circles, perhaps. Friends around a special interest. The question is: how do you get these friends and acquaintances to not only buy your book but to persuade others to do so?
5. Know your influencers. Should I build a platform from scratch? Don't. You have better things to do with your time -- like, for example, write another book. Rather than knocking on the doors of strangers (this is what it feels like for non-bloggers who are forced to start a blog so that they can 'build a platform'), it is better to focus on influencers -- in children's books, these are librarians, teachers, booksellers. Can you get influencers to love your book? Can you get them to persuade others to read it?
6.You're not a salesman, you're an author. Promoting your book must be a lot more subtle than shouting 'BUY MY BOOK!' on social media. You're an author. You're shinier than a salesman. What a turn off if Meryl Streep turned up at your door saying, 'Watch my movie!' Don't be that kind of self-promoter. You are about STORY so craft your story ... the story you are going to tell in radio interviews, newspaper articles, festivals, school events. Read my piece Being Human is the Best Kind of Marketing.
7. Engage with communities. Communities are groups driven by shared interests. If your book has a theme or focus that drives a community, this can be a chance to engage in with interested people in a meaningful way. The quality of your participation may lead them to your book. Book promoter Tim Grahl advises authors to be "relentlessly helpful". People respond when they are rewarded with things they want. So. What do people in your communities want?
8. Make a plan. Quoting Grahl again: "Successful (book) launches are not random events. Authors don’t throw together a few Facebook updates and blog posts the night before, then watch their rankings skyrocket the next day." Think things through. Don't just set up a blog tour without understanding how these things work because your publisher told you to. Ask yourself, why am I doing this? What is my pay off? Can I measure it? How sustainable is this plan?
8. Be findable. It still surprises me to discover authors who haven't set up websites or at least got a presence on social media. Yes, the internet and social media can be all pervasive and time-sucking. But we are LUCKY to live in a world where we have the power to put ourselves into the public eye without depending on the vagaries of fame. Are you findable? Maintaining your own presence on the web means you control your story. If you don't have a website or run your own social media accounts, you are in danger of handing your story to others to tell. And you will have no control over what they say.
9. Be useful. The truth is people are just interested in themselves and in their own needs. They're not particularly interested in you (unless you are famous, and then they want to know everything about you - but that's for their own entertainment not so you can sell more books). People only find you if they need something from you. If you're a children's author, you will have child readers trawling your website if you can help them with their homework. Teachers will be looking for teaching resources. Librarians might be looking for reading lists. If people find you, will they get what they're looking for? Be useful.
10. Be amazing. Ultimately of course, you've got to make something amazing to be discovered. Something people really really want. Nobody was ever discovered that did nothing. So make sure you do that. Write the best book you can. Be the best author you can be. Be amazing.
Well, I've had some RA novels on my iPad for a while now, and what with having just downloaded the prequel, I thought it might be time to finish the last of the original books. I'm now reading TheEmperor of Nihon-Ja, then I will read The Lost Tales. After finishing some Brotherband books(spinoff series) and reading a reference to something that happened in Lost Tales, I thought it was definitely time!
I love these books. They aren't just exciting adventures, they're funny. The author has a lot of fun poking his tongue out at some of the tropes of fantasy. And strictly speaking, there isn't any fantasy in these books, apart from the fact that they're set in a universe other than ours. There's no magic! Forget it. If a bunch of guys and girls who have adventures and use their brains isn't good enough for you, perhaps better to go and find a real fantasy series. The rest of us will continue to read and laugh and cheer for our favourite characters.
Silly Sunday is also a great place to come for weekly laughs and it is a great opportunity to meet other bloggers. Here's how it works: Laugh and link up!
I. Post a joke 2. Link up with the URL to your joke in the Mister Linky's tools widget. 3. Read my joke. :) 4. Visit a few other bloggers in the Mister Linky's tool widget. 5. Be sure to visit Sandee's blog linked above, read her joke, and get the Silly Sunday's Code for your blog.
The annual Christmas party for employees was at the office on the last working day of the week each year. Although, it was supposed to begin at the end of the day the party began in the morning and everyone went home early to begin their holiday festivities.
At the end of the party, one man asked another how his family was planning to celebrate the holiday and he said, "Oh, I'm not sure, but unlike you guys I don't drink, cuss, or smoke, so after I leave I will go straight home for Christmas dinner."
The other two men looked at each other, and one replied,
"Are you implying that we do not spend Christmas with our families?"
"No," the man replied, then suddenly, he began to fidget around his desk in an irritable manner.
One of the two men asked,
"Is something wrong? Are you looking for something?"
"Yes, the man said, as he ran his hands down his pants and over his suit pocket.
"I left my damn cigarettes at the bar."
"Hat tip" My Father.
Thank you, Sandee of Comedy Plus. Visit Comedy Plus and link up for laughs and friends.
And thank you for visiting A Nice Place In The Sun.
Yes, Julia Jarman and I have been campaigning to get Kangaroo's CanCan Cafe back in print (Julia has done most of the work to be fair), and the great news is, we succeeded!
Hachette have done a print run of 1000 copies - not many, but if they sell, they have promised more. So, to help keep the cancan alive, you know what you have to do!
Our book was originally published by Orchard Books, but this new edition is being put out by Hodder, publishers of Class Two at the Zoo, Class Three all at Sea and the new Class One Farmyard Fun, which I am working on right now. Both Orchard and Hodder are part of the bigger Hachette and it seemed more streamlined to have all our books under the same umbrella.
I am delighted to have this one back. It's always been one of my favourites for reading aloud in schools. I shall get my feather bower out again and dust off my cancan CD. Let the dancing begin!
As November draws to a close it's hard to believe the final month of 2015 begins tomorrow! There are a lot of fantastic books releasing this month, including NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST, ALL WE LEFT BEHIND, and VIRTUALLY IN LOVE, of which we are giving away a copy each.
Last year, I was hospitalized from September until March and was unable to bring you this wonderful Christmas book from Bob Raczka and Chuck Groenink (Carolrhoda). I love this picture book and its illustrations of life at the North Pole–the simplified, down-to-earth version–and Santa’s poems, one haiku for each day, from December 1st to 24th. I am …