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Sunday's talk at the Ethan Allen Homestead
went very well. Any number of interesting things happened. Two of them:PowerPoint Problem
. I arrived 30 minutes before my scheduled presentation, which was exactly when I was supposed to. That's not something that happens all the time with me, so yay! I was greeted by a little crew of museum people. Everyone was expecting me. Yay! Yay!
Then a museum staff member started getting my USB with my PowerPoint slides set up with her laptop. Her laptop was failing her. Panic time, you say? No, because I had my computer guy with me. He tried my laptop, which had the slides on it, too. They couldn't connect it to the projector. So he brought his laptop in. Yes, we travel with two laptops. He pushed this and that for a while, and, of course, I had slides ready to go in plenty of time.
I wasn't at all freaked out while this was going on, and not because Computer Guy is a computer guy. I knew he'd never worked with a PowerPoint projector, after all. No, I was confident because I also knew that the day before he'd fixed a family member's hearing aid by shoving something into it to clean the contacts. Yeah, he'd never done that before, either.
I am afraid to go anywhere without him now.Gail's On Film!
While Computer Guy and a very attractive young woman were huddled together over equipment at the back of the room, another guy was busily setting up a camera and talking about me using a microphone in a ridiculously small space. Reading between the lines, I worked out that I was going to be filmed. I did not say, "What? What? How did this happen? There must be some mistake! I have not prepared myself psychologically for this! I need another week!" Because, you know, that wouldn't be cool. Instead, I managed to psyche myself out enough to prevent a meltdown.
The whole world can watch my presentation on the Antihero of Ticonderoga
, given at the Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington, Vermont.
Tomorrow at 4:00 PM I'll be speaking at the Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington, Vermont. That's why I've been tweeting Ethan Allen articles lately.
This will not be my first visit to the Homestead. You can see me sitting in front of the reproduction of the home Allen shared with his trophy wife, Fanny. That was taken back in the '90s while I was working on The Hero of Ticonderoga. That book, and my spin on why Ethan Allen was such a wild man, will be the focus of my presentation. If my traveling companion is able to get a decent (by which I mean a flattering) picture on my cell phone, I'll post it at Facebook. I may also try to tweet it.
We're taking a long weekend in the Green Mountains, so I don't expect to be back at Original Content until Wednesday. I hope to be biking Monday and hitting relatives along Rte. 7 on our way south on Tuesday.
David Schwartz has entered the world of e-publishing with •The Hidden World of the Forest •The Hidden World of the Pond
• The Hidden World of the Meadow
These are close adaptations of print books with way cool interactive features including audio, slide shows, zoom, etc., Galloping Turtle Books.
Marfé Ferguson Delano, Explore My World: Butterflies, National Geographic, June
Marfé Ferguson Delano, Explore My World: Frogs, National Geographic, June
Sue Macy, Roller Derby Rivals, Holiday House, July April Pulley Sayre, Rah Rah, Radishes board book, Little Simon, July 15 Karen Romano Young, TRY THIS!, National Geographic Kids, August
Cheryl Harness, Flags Over America, A Star-Spangled Story, Albert Whitman, September
Sue Macy, Sally Ride: Life on a Mission, Aladdin, September
Steve Sheinkin and Jim Murphy have stories in Guys Read: True Stories,
Walden Pond Press, September
Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, Super Sniffers:
Dog Detectives on the Job,
Steve Jenkins, Creature Features, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October Elizabeth Rusch, Scientists in the Field: The Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of the Oceans, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October • Junior Library Guild selection Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, Decorated Houses, Charlesbridge, January 2015 April Pulley Sayre and Steve Jenkins, Woodpecker Wham, Holt, Spring 2015 April Pulley Sayre, Raindrops Roll, Beach Lane Books, Spring 2015 Steve Jenkins: 2014 Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor book for Nonfiction for The Animal Book
Dorothy Hinshaw Patent: The 2014 Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Pioneer Award For Exemplary Advocation of Biodiversity Through the Authorship of Children's Science Literature from the American Computer Museum
Dorothy Hinshaw Patent: Dogs on Duty: Soldiers’ Best Friend on the Battlefield and Beyond • ALA Notable Children’s Book • 2013 Best Children’s Books, Children’s Book Committee • 2013 IRA Teachers’ Choices Reading List • 2013-2014 Great Lakes Great Books (Michigan Reading Assoc.) • NYSRA 2014 Charlotte Award • Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award 2015 list (IL) • 2015 Bluestem Award list, Illinois School Library Media Association June 14 Sue Macy, Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum, Adams, Massachusetts, 3 p.m. June 20-22 Vicki Cobb and Dorothy Hinshaw Patent are presenting at the Children's Nonfiction Conference, New Paltz, NY. June 22 Susan E. Goodman, Picture Book Project Seminar, The Narrative Arc of the Nonfiction Picture Book, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA, 12:00-1:30 June 24-25 Deborah Heiligman: 2014 Children's Literature Conference, Shenandoah University June 24 Steve Jenkins: 2014 Children's Literature Conference, Shenandoah University June 28 Gretchen Woelfle: ALA Conference, Las Vegas, NV: signing Write on, Mercy! The Secret Life of Mercy Otis Warren at Boyds Mills booth, 11-12; Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence at Lerner booth, 2-3 June 30: Jan Greenberg: ALA Conference, Las Vegas, NV, ALSC Book and Media Awards Program, including Sibert Awards 8:30-10; signing The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius at Macmillan Booth 10:30-11:30.
School will be out soon. I hope we'll have plenty of lit happenings in Connecticut for the summer. To get started:
Friday, June 6, Len Flahos, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 6:00 PM
Saturday, June 7, Sarah Albee, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 3:00 PM
Saturday, June 7, Wendell Minor, The Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot 11:30 AM
Wednesday, June 11, Janet Lawler, Milford Public Library 375th anniversary, Milford 5 to 8 PM
Saturday, June 14, Janet Lawler, Farmington Public Library, Farmington 10:30 AM
Saturday, June 14, Jeff Cohen, Barnes & Noble, West Hartford 11:00 AM
June 21, Stephanie Brockway, Burgundy Books, Westbrook 1:00 PM Part of Summer Festival Fee for event
December is a slower month for author appearances than I recall it being last year. We do have two illustration exhibits continuing, though.
The Art of Picture Books: Creative Process In Visual Storytelling continues this month at the Arts Council of Greater New Haven's Sumner McKnight Crosby, Jr. Gallery, New Haven, Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM
The Maurice Sendak Memorial Exhibition continues at the New Britain Museum of American Art.
Thurs., Dec. 5, Peter Lerangis, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 4:00 PM
Sat., Dec. 7 Deborah Freedman, Byrd's Books, Bethel 2:00 PM
Tues., Dec. 10 Yevgeniya Yeretskaya, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, 10:30 AM Story Time
Fri., Dec. 13, Chris Grabenstein, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, 4:00 PM
Sun., Dec. 15, Adrienne Werle-Austermann, Byrd's Books, 1:00 PM
Author Lynda Mullaly Hunt will be speaking at the Barnes & Noble in Glastonbury this Sunday at 2:00 PM. Writing talk, raffles, and book signing are all on the agenda.
No witty intro this month because I'm huddled up on the couch with the remnants of a cold I've had since Thursday. Enjoy the calendar while I look for a bathrobe or quilt.
The Maurice Sendak exhibit continues at New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain
Ends Jan. 3, The Art of Picture Books: Creative Process In Visual Storytelling Exhibit, Arts Council of Greater New Haven's Sumner McKnight Crosby, Jr. Gallery, New Haven, Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM
Tues., Jan. 7, Steven Parlato, Tolland Public Library, 6:30 PM
Fri., Jan. 10 Bianca Turetsky, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 6:00 PM
Sat., Jan. 11 Marilyn Davis, Bank Square Books, Mystic, 1:00 PM
Sat., Jan. 11, Victoria Kahn, Westport Public Library, Westport 2:00 PM Part of Westport Reads. Registration required.
Tues., Jan. 14 Susan Hood, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 10:30 AM Story time
Sat., Jan. 18, Tony Abbott, Barnes and Noble, Westport 2:00 PM
We were hunting for an electrical outlet earlier this week when we found these presentation boards, which I'd stowed between a filing cabinet and a wall. They're from a workshop I led for the Connecticut Writing Project
, I believe back around 2000.
I don't do a lot of workshops. They're very labor intensive to plan, and then I don't get a chance to use the material again.
Last fall I came up with this idea to flip some workshops I've planned into essays/articles and try to publish them. I did get one started last month. And, now, look! I have more content!
Author Neal Shusterman will be making an appearance at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in West Hartford next Tuesday, March 25. 7:00 PM
April 1, Jacqueline Davies, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 4:00
Thurs., April 3, Janet Lawler, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford Literacy Coalition Book Fair, Barnes & Noble, West Hartford 3:30 to 5:00
Thurs., April 3, Annabel Monaghan, Westport Public Library, Westport 7:30-9:00
Sat., April 5, Janet Lawler, Granby Public Library, Granby 10:30
Sat., April 5, Katie L. Carroll, Bank Square Books, Mystic 2:00 to 4:00
Thurs. , April 10, Joan Verniero, Westport Public Library, Westport 10:00 to 11:00 (This sounds like a program for adults by a children's author)
Thurs., April 10, Jody Casella, Jennifer Castle, Kim Purcell, Phoebe North, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 6:00 PM
Sat., April 12, Gordon McClellan, Bank Square Books, Mystic 11:00 to 1:00
Sun., April 27, John Rocco, Bank Square Books, Mystic 2:00
The 8th Annual Literacy Essentials Conference will be held this Saturday, April 12, at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. Children's authors PadmaVenkatraman and Spring Herman will be signing books from 2:00 to 3:00. Both writers will also be presenters of breakout sessions. Venkatraman will be co-presenting For Better or Verse: Selecting and Using Stories in Verse to Implement Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Hermann will be presenting the session Using Non-fiction for Uniting Multi-racial Student Communities: A Dialogue Between Authors and Teachers.
This conference is directed toward educators and education students.
I've received a World Book Night announcement stating that Stephen Chbosky, author of Perks of Being a Wallflower, will be at the North Haven Barnes and Noble tomorrow night at 7:00 PM to meet local givers.This is a launch event. World Book Night is Wednesday.
Linda Crotta Brennan
's newest book,When Rivers Burned: The Earth Day Story
, will have its official book launch on Sunday, April 21, the day before Earth Day
. The event will be held at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island's Environmental Education Center
from 1 to 4 PM. There will be a book discussion, question and answer session, and book signing. A dollar from every purchase made that day will be donated to the Earth Day Network
I have a couple of outings coming up this month.
First off, next Wednesday I'll be at the Norwich Free Academy Book Expo in Norwich, Connecticut. This expo starts at 6:30 in the Norwich Free Academy's Edwin H. Land Library and will feature eleven NFA and Connecticut authors.
Then you may have noticed the World Book Night logo to your left. If you haven't, notice it now. I am a giver at this year's World Book Night on Tuesday, April 23. I'll be distributing copies of The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh to residents and staff at a skilled nursing facility. This book has been checked out at my library for weeks, so I had to buy my own copy today so I can read it before the big night.
I will report back on both events. I hope to have pictures.
On Wednesday night, I was a featured writer at the Norwich Free Academy Book Expo in Norwich, Connecticut. This was the first time I'd been invited to such an event since my books have been available only in eBook editions, and the first time since self-publishing Saving the Planet & Stuff as an eBook in February. As you may recall, I had plans:
"What I plan to do,"
I wrote back in March, "is show up with a laptop that will have a display of my four available books. I don't know if I can get Internet access there, so I'll have various pages from my website loaded onto the computer and available for viewing. And, of course, the Saving the Planet & Stuff trailer. This techie set-up, I've read, is how authors such as myself can make public appearances."
And that is what I did.
Because my four eBooks were published in paper and ink back in the day, I did have "books" people could see and handle, though they couldn't buy them. But additionally I had the laptop loaded with
the Saving the Planet & Stuff trailer The Saving the Planet & Stuff page
from my website
and the website, itself,
which I could maneuver through there on the hard drive, meaning I wasn't dependent upon the high school library where we were located having WiiFii. (Though it did.)
So how did all this work out? Well, there are two factors to consider.
. No sales have yet been generated as a result of this appearance. This isn't necessarily an indication of failure. Many authors with paper-and-ink books making public appearances will make no sales at all. Selling just a few books at an appearance is about as much as most writers can hope for. Years ago, I had a bookseller tell me that if he could get four sales from an in-store appearance, he was happy. I've attended many book fairs that generated long lines for the one or two big names who were invited to draw customers while the rest of the writers sat looking bored or embarrassed. This is a fact life.
2. Connecting with the reading public
. Here is where I saw a big difference between the NFA event and other events at which I've appeared. I definitely did more chatting and interacting than I've done in the past. I think this was due to two factors. A. Though there was a book sale going on, because I had eBooks, I did not expect to make any sales that evening. The only people who would be buying my self-published book, the one I was really promoting, would be people who owned a Kindle or a Nook, because those are the only two platforms we've published it to so far. In all likelihood they would make their purchase, if they were going to make one at all, at some other time, not right there. This took a big burden off my shoulders. There was no anxiety about whether I was going to "succeed" or "fail" with sales, because I went in there knowing there would be none right there on the spot. I was feeling kind of light-hearted. Jolly, even, which is not what anyone would call characteristic of me. B. Look at the next two pictures. Notice the difference between Gail with the laptop and without it?
Without the laptop, I am behind a table, as most authors are at festivals and book fairs. There's always something between the writers and the public. You sit and hope someone will come talk to you. There is a stilted conversation between the person on one side of the table, who is the "writer," and the person on the other side of the table, who "is not."
With the laptop, I had to be at least to the side of the table, so I could get to the front and operate the mouse, arrow keys, etc. There was no physical barrier between the person on one side of the table, who is the "writer" and the person on the other side of the table, who "is not." There was far more natural give and take. I talked with other writers far more than I have
at other events, because I was moving around and could. I got into a discussion with a couple of people about Goodreads
, one of whom had never heard of it. I wrote "Goodreads" on one of my business cards so she could remember it--and me, presumably. In fact, I gave out more business cards than I usually do. Which, okay, wasn't many. But it was still a different experience.
The connecting with the reading public part of an appearance is important. In the short-term, invitations to speaking engagements and school visits can (and, in my case, have) come about because of connections made with the public. In the long-term, meeting other writers, librarians, teachers, and booksellers and making new Facebook friends of all kinds can help out down-the-line in ways we can't foresee at the time of the meetings.
So I think there is a workable method that eBook writers can use for public appearances. A much bigger problem will be, I believe, finding opportunities for public appearances in the first place. Most festivals and book fairs are fundraisers for some group. (The one I attended this week was not.) The group sells the writers' books, just as a bookstore would, and the profit it makes is its fundraising. Groups aren't going to be able to sell an eBook, self-published or not. Kobo has an arrangement with independent bookstores
that enables participating stores to keep a percentage of the sale of eBooks sold from their websites. Will there one day be a similar arrangement for book fair and festival organizers, which will then welcome eBook authors? Until there is, I don't know how often writers like myself will be appearing at public events.
We're going to take a break from finding our story
to talk about learning from other writers. Yes, I am doing this because I want to talk some more about the book expo
I attended last week. But anyone beginning a new line of work or a new craft can learn from those who have more experience in their field. And new writers can find more experienced writers at book expos, festivals, store appearances...you name it. No, you don't go to get ideas for the public appearances you're going to make after you publish the book you haven't written yet. You go to hear what writers have to say during panel discussions and other kinds of presentations. You go to ask questions, if you have a chance.
At Wednesday night's expo you could have heard writers talking about outlines, writing groups, organic writing, and much more. Associating with writers can help a person new to the field feel more like a writer, too.
And now that I've finished that improving lecture, get a load of this:
On Wednesday evening, I met Esther Friesner
, a Nebula award winner who has written the Princesses of Myth
series. She's been writing science fiction and fantasy for a couple of decades. Among her works, she told us during our panel discussion, are two Star Trek novels.
Now this was of great interest to me because here at Chez Gauthier we have, as a rough estimate, between two and three hundred Star Trek novels. So when I had a chance, I went up to Esther and said, "Hey, Esther, were either of your Star Trek books for Classic Star Trek or Next Generation?" Well, it turns out she wrote for Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.
Come on. Somebody has to know what I'm talking about.
Well, the next day, someone who has actually read those two to three hundred books, went through the stash and found that we do have in our house Esther's book, To Storm Heaven
I have appeared with a Nebula winner and have her book in my house.
This May is not a busy month in Connecticut as far as children's/YA author appearances are concerned. Is this due to a seasonal variation related to the school year winding down? Are authors focusing on next weekend's sold-out NESCBWI Conference?
At any rate, here's what I have for you:
Mon., May 6, Alex Morgan, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, 4:00 PM
Tues., May 14, Sara Zarr, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, 6:00 PM
Wed., May 15, Paul Ferrante, Westport Public Library, Westport, 7:30 PM
Thurs., May 23, Jane O'Connor R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, 4:00 PM
Wed., May 29, Gregory Galloway, Westport Public Library, Westport, 7:30 PM
Fri., May 31, Lincoln Peirce, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, 4:00 PM
It's a big month for children's and YA literature in Connecticut, due in part to The Barnes and Noble chain, which is hosting more authors than usual.
Tues., Oct. 1, Jason Odell Williams, Westport Public Library, Westport 7:30
Wed., Oct. 2, J.C. Phillipps, Oliver Wolcott Library, Litchfield 7 PM to 8 PM Presentation on writing and publishing books
Wed., Oct. 2, Christine Pakkala, Barnes and Noble, Westport 7:00
Sat., Oct. 5, Dawn Metcalf, Costco, Enfield Noon-2:00 PM Signing
Wed., Oct. 9 Brandon Mull, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 4:00 PM
Thurs., Oct. 10, Deborah Freedman, R. J. Julia Booksellers 10:30 AM
Thurs., Oct. 10, Neal Shusterman, Barnes and Noble, West Hartford 7:00 PM
Thurs., Oct. 10, Brandon Mull, Barnes and Noble, Enfield 5:30 PM
Tues., Oct. 15, Dawn Metcalf, East Granby Public Library, East Granby 6:30 PM-8:00 PM Teen Writing Workshop
Wed., Oct. 16, David Adler, Barnes and Noble, Westport 7:00 PM
Thurs., Oct. 17, Kate DiCamillo, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 4:00 PM
Mon., Oct. 21, Adam Gidwitz, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 4:00 PM
Tues., Oct. 22, Judy Schachner, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 4:00 PM
Wed., Oct. 23, Mark Tatulli, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 4:00 PM
Thurs., Oct. 24, Janet Lawler, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 10:30 AM
Thurs., Oct. 24, John Lithgow, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 4:00 PM
Sat., Oct. 26, Dawn Metcalf, Barnes and Noble, Enfield Noon-2:00 PM
Sat., Oct. 26, Sara Levine, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 3:00 PM
Sat., Oct. 26, Carol Aebersold, Barnes and Noble, Westport 2:00 PM
Sun., Oct. 27, Carol Aebersold, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 3:00 PM
Sun., Oct. 27, Chanda Bell, Barnes and Noble, North Haven 1:00 PM
Tues., Oct. 29, Dawn Metcalf
, Tolland Public Library
, Tolland 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM Writers' workshop
Wed., Oct. 30, Stacy DeKeyser
and Lynda Mullaly Hunt
, Welles-Turner Memorial Library
, Glastonbury 7 PM to 9 PM Workshop for writers submitting to the Tassy Walden Awards
It looks as if it's been a couple of months since I've done a round-up of Gail sitings from around the Internet. So here is where you could (and still can) find me late summer and early fall:
On August 15th, my guest post, Providing Children With Environmental Reading Experiences, was published at Dude, Sustainable!
On August 24th, I was one of the Indie Authors for Indie Author Spotlight Week at Little Hyuts.
I'm included in September's Carnival of the Indies.
I just linked up with the Kid Lit Blog Hop at Mother Daughter + Son Book Reviews.
Thank you to everyone who hosted me.
I haven't been able to finish posting about Wednesday night's UConn event Gendered Publishing, and I've already been over-stimulated by another terrific program, the NESCBWI's New Media Day: Making Sense of the Evolving Digital Landscape. And I'm not just saying that because I was on the afternoon's panel with Mary Jane Begin and Emilie Boon.
This was another of the NESCBWI programs run by children's science writer Melissa Stewart for the Published and Listed Program. The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators has a large membership of prepublished writers that it serves very well. In recent years it's been making an effort to provide programs for members who have been traditionally published. Melissa has been in charge of the New England divisions PAL programs and has creating creative short-term experiences like today's.
When I've had a chance to finish my account of last week's UConn panel, rest assured that I will give you a rundown on everything that happened today. In the meantime, enjoy this photo of my panel mates and our moderator having lunch. Hey, folks, this is the kind of insider, backroom information you don't get at just any blog.
And, yes, it's proof that I was in the insider backroom.
I know the wait for me to discuss last Saturday's NESCBWI event New Media Day: Making Sense of the Evolving Digital Landscape has been long and painful. Well, folks, it is over. I am ready to begin.
The overall feeling of the day was that the move to digital reading isn't something to fight and fear. For one thing, it's here. For another, it can work for you.
James McQuivey on Digital Disruptions James McQuivey
tracks how digital disruptions affect traditional businesses, like publishing. McQuivey describes a world of consumers who are so disrupted in the way that they receive products that any company that doesn't conform to this new method of obtaining product will become irrelevant. Companies must, as he said, follow the consumer. For publishing, what we're describing as a digital disruption is the move to, or at least the inclusion of, eBooks. The more rapidly publishers can embrace digital publication, the sooner they'll be able to give the millions of digital consumers already in existence what they want.
McQuivey made a really interesting historical point. We have experienced technical disruptions in the past. (Wasn't the entire Industrial Revolution a technical disruption?) But those disruptions were slow and expensive. It took a lot of time and money to build mills or develop jet engines. The digital disruption we're experiencing now is far cheaper and faster. More people can become involved, more people can bring ideas to the market.
This is a good thing.
Rubin Pfeffer On Specifics Of Digital Publishing In The Children's FieldRubin Pfeffer of East West Literary Agency
spoke about specifics both digitally and with self-publishing, since many self-published writers go the digital route. According to Pfeffer:
- The numbers of traditional vs. self-published titles are very close to being the same, near the 400,000 mark for each.
- In addition, eBook sales are expected to surpass print books at some point. (Keep in mind that many eBook sales figures include free books.)
- YA is the dominant children's genre in self-publishing and is significant with eBooks since younger children are less likely to have e-readers, the visual components of picture books can be more difficult to create digitally, and e-readers give adults who read YA and don't want anyone to know it some privacy.
- We are witnessing the rise of independent eBook publishers
- Technology creates new content, eBooks, enhanced eBooks, and apps all being cases in point
Begin, Boon, and Gauthier On Bringing Books Back To Life
Author-illustrators Mary Jane Begin
, Emilie Boon
, and I took part in a panel discussion moderated by NESCBWI Assistant Regional Advisor and author/editor/historian J. L. Bell
. We got even more specific on the subject of digital publishing by answering questions about how we republished out-of-print work as eBooks. We all covered how we determined which of our books to take digital, where we went for technical assistance, and the general difficulties we experienced.
Both Mary Jane and Emilie used eBook publishers for their work, which, since they are illustrators, would have been heavy with artwork. Hearing this coming so soon after hearing Rubin Pfeffer's presentation, which included a list of independent eBook publishers and a description of services they offer, made me decide to refer to my eBook edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff
as an artisan book, because my computer guy and I did it ourselves, not realizing until we were well into the project that we had any other option.
When we got to the point of discussing sales, my co-panelists and I had to be the bearers of the most difficult news of the day. We were in agreement that sales have been modest to dreadful. And we were also in agreement as to why that was the case--searchability, or, the term I prefer, discoverability. In a literary world in which nearly 800,000 books are published a year, it's extremely difficult for any one book to be noticed. There's pretty much a pile on and most titles will be buried.
We managed to bring things back up, though, by pointing out that that sales situation could change. Any one of us on the panel could publish something in the future that would make our back list more valuable, and then our eBooks will be available because they don't go out of print. In addition, self-publishing is an exciting, artistic project. Even though it was Mary Jane who said that, not me, I agree that the two years of publishing and marketing my eBook have been a mental kick.
Our Conclusion Is Still To Come
The day ended with an interview with author-illustrator Ruth Sanderson
. I'll be giving that its own post later this week.
Thanks to Facebook friend Hazel Mitchell
for the panel picture. The final group photo was taken by Joanie Druris of the NESCBWI.
Last Saturday's NESCBWI's New Media Day
concluded with an interview with author illustrator Ruth Sanderson
conducted by Melissa Stewart
. Melissa opened with the observation that it is common for people who have been in children's publishing for a long time to do a number of things, a point that tied Ruth to the rest of the day's program, which was all about children's authors moving into something new, digital publishing. She began her career doing artwork for filmstrips (that was techie once) and two years ago she reformatted her version of Cinderella
In between those two career events, Ruth did textbook illustrations and the covers for book series, including the first Black Stallion paperbacks. She moved into writing with a series of fairy tale retellings that she also illustrated. In addition to what might be called traditional illustration work, Ruth creates licensed products such as cards, puzzles, and flags. She considers herself a commercial artist who shifts with the book and product markets.
She also teaches summers at Hollins University's children's literature program
and has applied to Vermont College's MFA program.
Ruth's description of her career made me think of Roxie Munro
, who spoke last year at UConn
. She also described a career in art and illustration that involved a lot of movement among different types of work and that progressed into new media.
What we may be seeing here is a work model, one that is becoming more visible because of the evolving digital landscape. Illustrators and writers don't do one thing over and over again but move along with market demands and take advantage of new technologies. This is probably nothing new, but the attention digital publishing is receiving is bringing new attention to the changes in how creative people like Ruth Sanderson work.
November is Connecticut Children's Book Fair month in Connecticut. This year there's another big children's literature event that same weekend. A picture book exhibit also starts that Friday, but it runs for two months, giving viewers plenty of opportunities to get to it.
Sat., Nov. 2, Tommy Greenwald, Barnes & Noble, Westport 2 PM
Sat. Nov. 2, Matt Davies, Westport Public Library, Westport 3 to 4 PM National Novel Writing Month event for children.
Wednes., Nov. 6, Leigh Ann Tyson, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 10:30 AM Story hour
Thurs. Nov. 7, Doe Boyle
, Frank W. Dormer
, Deborah Freedman
, Lynn Reiser
, Sanna Stanley
, Marcela Staudenmaier
, Jennifer Thermes
, Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
, Opening Reception and Book Signing for The Art of Picture Books: Creative Process In Visual Storytelling
Exhibit, Arts Council of Greater New Haven
's Sumner McKnight Crosby, Jr. Gallery, New Haven 5 to 7 PM
Fri., Nov. 8 through Jan. 3, 2014, The Art of Picture Books: Creative Process In Visual Storytelling
Exhibit, Arts Council of Greater New Haven's Sumner McKnight Crosby, Jr. Gallery, New Haven, Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM
Sat., Nov. 9 Tony Abbott
, Jennifer Berne
, Bryan Collier
, Bruce Degen
, Deborah Freedman
, Patricia Reilly Giff
, Susan Hood
, Ann Haywood Leal
, Barbara Mariconda
, Marc Tyler Nobleman
, Michael Rex
, R. L. Stine
, Laura Toffler-Corrie
, Dan Yaccarino
, Pequot Library Children's Book Festival
, Southport, 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Sat., Nov. 9, Judi Barrett
, The Hickory Stick Bookshop
, Washington Depot, 2 PM
Sat. Nov 9 thru Sun. Nov. 10 Jonathan Bean
, Aaron Becker
, Nicholas Blechman
, Nick Bruel
, Diane deGroat
, Robert L. Forbes
, David Johnson
, Ann M. Martin
, Shelley Rotner
, Phoebe Stone
, Tui T. Sutherland
, Mark Teague
, Elise Broach
, P.W. Catanese
, Elisha Cooper
, Etienne Delessert
, Tomie dePaola
, Elizabeth Eulberg
, Robie Harris
, Jeff Hirsch
, Alaya Dawn Johnson
, Steven Kellogg
, Jarrett Krosoczka
, Michaela MacColl
, Rita Marshall
, Michael Northrup
, David M. Schwartz
, The Connecticut Children's Book Fair
, University of Connecticut, Storrs 10 AM to 5 PM
Fri, Nov. 15, Matthew Cody
, R. J. Julia Booksellers
, Madison 4:00 PM
Mon., Nov. 26, Carol Aebesold
, R. J. Julia Booksellers
, Madison 6:00 PM
Thurs., Nov. 29, Bob Shea
, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 4:00 PM
I missed this event while pulling together this month's Connecticut Children's Lit Calendar. This post should turn up when accessed through the Connecticut Children's Lit Calendar link to your left.
Nov. 16, 1:30 to 3:30, Not Your Mother's Road to Publication: Hear a panel of authors discuss the traditional and non-traditional routes they took to get published. Moderator Laura Toffler-Corrie, author of The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz and the newly released, My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush, will discuss traditional publishing and obtaining an agent. Sari Bodi, author of The Ghost in Allie’s Pool, will talk about working with a small press. Mary Beth Bass, author of Everything You Know, will discuss publishing an e-book. Elizabeth Yu-Gesualdi, author of Broken Road, will talk about the self-publication process. For teens and adults.
Event will take place at the Harry Bennett Library in Stamford
As it turns out, I met Sari Bodi years ago at the Rabbit Hill Festival. That was back when there still was a Rabbit Hill Festival. Sari is part of the ever increasing pool of people with whom I've had lunch.
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I was only able to get to the Connecticut Children's Book Fair
for one hour yesterday afternoon, but I had a particularly good time. I wasn't able to attend any author or illustrator presentations, but I did get around the room meeting people.
My first stop was with Tui T. Sutherland
, author of the Wings of Fire
series. I heard on Twitter just this past week that Wings of Fire
made the NYTimes
series bestseller list. Tui also writes under other names
, meaning she is producing a lot of work. And yet she doesn't look worn out or exhausted.
Then I talked with Jonathan Bean
. Jonathan has won awards for both his writing and his illustrations. I've been seeing his newest book, Big Snow
, mentioned all over the place.
Terri Goldrich, co-chair for the fair and curator of the Northeast Children's Literature Collection
, for which the Connecticut Children's Book Fair provides support, happened by when I reached Aaron Becker
and offered to take a picture of us together. Don't know how he felt about that, but I jumped right into the frame and forgot all about getting a photograph of him by himself. I had a copy of Aaron's book, Journey
, at home. Another book and author/illustrator who happen to be getting a lot of attention right this minute.
I hustled across the room to meet Ann M. Martin
because I heard some people talking about her around one of the book tables. Ann created The Babysitter's Club
and continued writing the series for years. She's also the author of stand alone novels. Particularly interesting moment when I was with Ann--my first picture of her included a woman who was assisting her with signing stock. She was there from Ann's publisher. That is the big time.
The man to my right is David Johnson
. He's going to get his own Original Content
post later this week because we got into a discussion of something that I want to go on about for a while. It's also something that will make a good Picture Book Month post. One of the books he was signing yesterday was The Boy Who Drew Cats.
author of The Romeo and Juliet Code
and eight other books for young people, including a Romeo and Juliet Code
sequel was the reason I got myself to the fair yesterday. Phoebe and I attended the same high school
, though at different times. I knew her younger sister, Abigail Stone
, also a writer, when we were in either eighth or ninth grade. Phoebe now lives in a town in Vermont that borders my hometown. In fact, my father was born there.
When I was growing up and wanting to be a writer (without having a clue what writing meant), I thought Vermont was the end of the Earth. Wanting to be a writer was like wanting to be an astronaut or president. And here is, Phoebe, someone from the same place who is doing the same thing. I can't help but be amazed by this.