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Results 26 - 50 of 2,300
26. Call for Submissions: 2016 Writer's Market and 2016 Poet's Market

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: 2016 WRITER'S MARKET

Until 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, Georgia time) on October 20, 2014, I'll be accepting pitches for articles in the 2016 Writer's Market. Sometime in the end of October, I'll start making assignments. If you're interested in pitching an article idea or three, read on.

What I Like
So, what do I prefer? The best way to figure that out is to read a recent edition or two of Writer's Market. (Order the 2015 Writer's Market here). Anyone familiar with the book will know that I'm looking for articles that will help freelancers find more success from a business perspective.

Previous articles have tackled queries, book proposals, taxes, record keeping, business management, and more. If you're an experienced source and can interview other sources, that is ideal. However, I'm unlikely to assign featured interviews with writers (as I tend to tackle those myself).

I'm also not interested in articles on the craft of writing. While I think those pieces are extremely valuable, they're just not a good fit for Writer's Market. If you're in doubt, go ahead and pitch it. Read the full guidelines to learn how.


CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: 2016 POET'S MARKET

 
Running until 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, Georgia time) on October 15, 2014, I'll be accepting pitches for articles and original poems in the 2016 Poet's Market. Sometime in the end of October, I'll start making assignments. If you're interested in pitching an article idea or three-or submitting original poems, read on.

What I Like
As with Writer's Market, the best way to figure out why I like is to read a recent edition or two of Poet's Market. (Order the 2015 Poet's Market here). Anyone familiar with the book will know that I'm looking for articles that will help poets find more success, including articles on business, promotion, and the craft of poetry-which is one major difference between the two books.

Here's another major difference: I'm seeking previously unpublished poems! Yes, I want article pitches, but I also want poems. I will choose between 10 and 20 to publish.

So get together your article ideas, dust off your previously unpublished poems, and start submitting. But first, read the full guidelines to learn how.

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27. An Agent’s Top Ten Thoughts

Industry Life

 

by Joanna Volpe

We’ve all seen the “day in the life of…” posts.  In fact, the awesome Jordan Hamessley London of Pub Crawl has posted one, too–one of most popular posts on our blog.

What I’d like to do is take that idea a step further and invite you into my brain.  It’s fascinating to see what someone does, externally, on the daily.  But what are they thinking while they do it?  Well, below is what I’m thinking these days.  Of course this shifts and morphs based on external situations and forces.  For example, a few weeks ago I was thinking “Is summer almost over?  How did that happen?  I need to go on vacation, quick!”  and about 6 months ago I was on the red carpet at the Divergent premiere and thinking “Theo James looks rather dashing in his suit!”  But now that I’m back into the the swing of things for work, that’s on my mind most.  So come on over and take a peek and what’s in this crazy thing I call a brain.  These are not in order of priority.  Thoughts don’t work that way!

1.  What do I need to print to take home with me today?  It’s Friday, and that means the weekend provides some serious reading time.  I’ve been more cognizant of having a work/life balance, so I won’t take home 3 full manuscripts this weekend because it’s unrealistic and I will forget what my husband’s face looks like. I’m going to go for: 1 contract for review, 1.5 manuscripts (both which do not need line edits), and a synopsis that I’ve been working on.  And yes, I still print my manuscripts.  What’s it to you?

2. Where are we with XX contracts?  These days contracts are taking longer and longer to negotiate with publishers.  With all of the industry upheaval, each side is trying to look into their crystal ball and figure out the new and vitally important things we need to ensure are in the contracts to cover our needs.  In my case, the needs are the needs of my authors.  Right now I have 7 outstanding contracts on my personal list that I wake up thinking about almost every day, even if it’s just for a minute or two.  Of course I have a badass contracts person handling them, but we go over them together weekly.

3. Damn. B&N didn’t take any (or very little) copies of title X. What can we do to help the book get the exposure it needs for readers to find it?  I can only speak for my agency, though I know colleagues at other companies have the same worries about this.  In this ever-changing industry, it’s getting harder and harder for new voices to be discovered.  We’ve cultivated a Client Care program that focuses on: publicity & marketing (both traditional as well as school & library) as well as educating authors/illustrators to give them the tools they need in today’s publishing world.

4. This work is just not at the level it needs to be for me to take it on submission.  This happens more frequently than I think people talk about, and not just with queried project.  Even with clients I’ve worked with for a long time.  We can both do a ton of work on it, but it Just. Isn’t. There.  And I have to be the one to break that news.  But I wouldn’t be doing my job if I was sending out work that wasn’t up to snuff with the competitive market.  It would be doing a disservice.

5. This manuscript is amazing!  Where am I going to submit? This is always, always going on in the back of my head as I start to approach submission time for a project.  It’s like I’ll be reading and email and suddenly think “ya know who would be perfect for project X….” and I jot it down.  This goes on over and over until submission time comes, and then I’ll sometimes share my sublist with the team to see if they have any thoughts or ideas to add.  I love this part of the process.  It’s all about sharing a great story with the right person.

6. I should tweet/FB/pin/post about that.  “That” is referring to whatever awesome thing one of our clients is doing.  But of course, I don’t want to be just a self-promoter online, so I also try to balance it with enough social media that’s simply for funsies.  It’s a lot of work to be mindful of that balance!

7. What is the next big industry thing to happen?  Of course I don’t always have a prediction here, but sometimes I do.  And in either case, we’re always touching on the big items in our weekly meetings (at the very least) and how they affect our clients.  Right now, it’s the Amazon-Hachette business.  We have Hachette authors, and this whole ordeal has really affected their sales.  This is the kind of thought that will lead me back to thought #3! And of course we’re discussing who is going to be the next publisher that will be in this situation.

8. I can’t make the email stop; make it stop!  Yes, I actually have this thought.  Sometimes the sheer volume of email becomes so heavy that all I can think is “stop!”  At that point I usually take a walk, have a coffee, come back and plow through.  But with it being so easy to stay connected these days, the workload has shifted with a heavy emphasis on email.

9. I wonder if there’s a book in this?  I’ll be reading an article, having a discussion, reading a script, a web comic, watching a youtube video…whatever!  And usually somewhere in the back of my mind there is something connecting dots and thinking about book potential.  If I’m still thinking about it a week later, that’s usually when I’ll bring it up in our weekly meeting.

10. I need to follow up with X person on Y thing.  There is a lovely app called Mailbox, and without it, I would go crazy.  It will pop something back into my inbox when it’s time for me to follow up, based on a pre-determined date/time that I set.  I don’t even remember what I did pre-Mailbox. I think I always had 10 or so To-do lists going at a time (I still do this a little).  Either way, there is ALWAYS things to follow up on.  Where are our cover comps?  What’s the eta on the publicity and marketing materials?  Where is our payment?  Did you lock in that date with the venue?  Have you had a chance to review our contract notes? How are revisions going?  etc, etc.  A lot of the work I do is about keeping things moving.  I don’t want anything to slip through the cracks for our clients.  And also, I have an amazing, godsend of an assistant who takes over most of this follow-up so I can focus on bigger picture items.  Like “how many books are selling for title X?”  And yes, I just snuck in an 11th thought to this top ten list!

There you have it.  And that’s just the Top Ten (11)!  I’d love to hear about what goes through your mind on the daily, too.  Please share in the comments!

Joanna Volpe

Joanna Volpe is a literary agent who represents all brands of fiction, from picture books to adult. When she’s not reading, she’s either cooking, playing video games, or hanging out with her husband and chihuahua.

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28. Ronald Miskoff & Liz Fuerst Collaborate On ’9/11 Stories: The Children’

911 Student Journalism ProjectRonald Miskoff and Liz Fuerst, two professors from the Rutgers University Department of Journalism & Media Studies, have compiled a digital anthology entitled 9/11 Stories: The Children.

The stories were sourced from the 9/11 Student Journalism Project. The participating student reporters spoke with 20 children who lost a parent and 1 parent who lost a child from the September 11th attacks.

The book itself contains original interviews, photographs, and videos. The funds generated by book sales will be donated to a 9/11 educational foundation under the direction of the North Jersey Media Group.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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29. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Hires Rick Wolff to Lead New Business Book Line

2bf32fcHoughton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) has hired book editor Rick Wolff to launch a line of business books. In his new role as Senior Executive Editor, Wolff will develop and edit about 10-15 titles a year. He starts in HMH’s New York office on September 15th.

Wolff comes to HMH from Hachette Book Group where he has spent 23 years publishing business books. In his tenure, Wolff has served as the Editor-in-chief/publisher of Warner Business Books and Grand Central’s Business Plus imprint. He has been instrumental in editing and publishing many bestsellers including Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad.

“I have long wanted to expand our business publishing here at HMH, and Rick is the perfect person to lead that effort.  His experience is unparalleled, and his track record speaks for itself,” stated Bruce Nichols, Senior Vice President and Publisher at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

 

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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30. 5 Lessons I Learned In the Decade It Took to Publish a Second Novel

BDAVIS14_medBY BRIDGETT M. DAVIS

Perhaps you’ve heard the one about a journalist who arrived at Joyce Carol Oates’ home to interview her? “I’m sorry,” said her assistant. “But she’s working on her new novel right now.” “That’s okay,” said the journalist. “I’ll wait.”

With over 40 novels written — averaging two a year — Oates makes us all look bad.

While there’s no average time for writing a novel, a decade certainly sounds like a long time. And it feels like it too. Throughout the nine years I worked on my latest novel, I worried that I’d never reach the finish line, and even if I did, readers would  no longer be there to cheer me on. I was convinced that when it came to publishing, slow and steady won no races.

What gave me hope was keeping in mind some great role models: Donna Tartt published her second and third novels eleven years apart. Loorie Moore spent fifteen years between novels; and my favorite example comes from one of my all-time favorite writers: Marilynne Robinson spent twenty-four years between her acclaimed first novel Housekeeping and her second novel, Gilead.

“Maybe it’s a question of discipline, maybe temperament, who knows? I wish I could have made myself do more,” said Robinson in a 2008 Paris Review interview. “I wouldn’t mind having written fifteen books.”

“Even if many of them were mediocre?” asked the interviewer.

“Well, no,” said Robinson.

Exactly. Once I accepted the fact that ultimately what matters most is writing the book I wanted to write — a book I would love to read — I calmed down and learned to respect my own, deliberate process. Following are some lessons I learned that helped me get there:

 

1)    It takes the time it takes.  A novel takes as long as it needs to take to say the things you need to say in the way you need to say them. Worrying about arbitrary deadlines does not influence the creative process. Nor should you be concerned about “timeliness” or literary trends, which are completely unpredictable elements. My novel is set in Detroit and Lagos, Nigeria — both are places in the news now. Who could’ve planned for that?

2)    Gifts from the Universe will appear: The longer you work on a novel, the more happenings in the world that can enhance your plot. For example, the Afro-beat musician Fela Kuti figures prominently in my novel. Just as I was writing a final draft, I learned that Fela had performed in Detroit in the exact year my story takes place, and that the long-lost “live” recording of that concert had just been released on CD. That information fit beautifully into my plot — a gift that would’ve been lost had I published the book sooner.

3)    The story gets to marinate. Fresh ideas and plot twists will come that only time and a deep familiarity with the material can bring. With more time you get to do more research, receive more feedback, do more revising, read more widely for inspiration. Most importantly, you get to let the work sit for a while. When you return to your story with fresh eyes, you can be more ambitious with its structure or themes. Here’s a line from my journal on the eve of my eighth year working on the novel: “It’s so me, this book. And yet it’s ambitious in a way it took me a long, slow way to be.” As all cooks know, marinades deepen flavor.

4)    You will not be forgotten. No one loves you less as a writer because your book is taking several years to finish; In fact, anticipation breeds excitement. On the eve of Into The Go-Slow’s publication, I am both awed and humbled by the many friends and strangers who’ve reached out to say, “I enjoyed your first book, and I can’t wait to read your new one!”

5)    Time breeds confidence. Because my new novel was so lovingly (and painstakingly!) crafted, I know who I am now as a writer. Here’s another quote from my journal in 2012: ” For the ninth-year anniversary of writing this story, do this: Don’t let up. Be relentless. Let your maturity show in the form of bravery on every page. Use all this living hence to imbue the work with wisdom.” The evolving years between novels have allowed me to become a fearless storyteller.

A final thought: Think of the long-term work spent on a novel as a personal playground in which you get to slowly work through concepts — themes and characters and POV and descriptions of place, and context. That kind of free play can yield wondrous surprises. Slow-burn writing is also a great way to learn how to balance personal-life demands and the desire to just write.

Know this: no time is ever wasted. Every year you spend on your work is another opportunity to document your creative journey, and grow as a writer. Now why would anyone impose a time limit on that?


Into_the_Go-SlowBridgett M. Davis is the author of Into The Go-Slow, released September 9, 2014 by Feminist Press, and the debut novel Shifting Through Neutral, a finalist for the 2005 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.

Touted by Time Out as one of “10 New York Authors to Read Right Now,” Davis is Books Editor for Bold As Love Magazine, a black culture site; her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Essence, O, The Oprah Magazine, and TheRoot.com.

She is a professor at Baruch College, CIty University of New York, where she directs the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence Program. She is also curator for the Brooklyn reading series, Sundays @…..

For more information, visit bridgettdavis.com.

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31. Indie vs. Self: What's the Difference

By Julie Daines

There's a lot of confusion out there about indie publishers and self-publishers. Let just get straight to the point. Here is this:

From Judith Brileson AuthorU.org (June 2014)

Don’t Confuse Independent Publishing with Self-Publishing

Indie, Independent and Small Press Publishing Are So, Soooooo Different from Self-Publishing, Vanity Presses and Pay-to-Publish “Publishing”  
I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a zillion times: yes, dear author-to-be (and those already published), there is a difference between self-publishing, vanity presses, pay-to-publish, a small press, and independent publishing. Don’t mix them up. Don’t get confused.
She quotes Wikipedia: 
The majority of small presses are independent or indie publishers, thismeans that they are separate from the handful of major publishing house conglomerates, such as Random House or Hachette. The term ‘indie publisher’ should not be confused with ‘self-publisher’, which is where the author publishes only their own books.
  Defined this way, these presses make up approximately half of the market share of the book publishing industry.
This is a great article if you're confused about any of these terms. Go and check it out.
Unfortunately, I feel the term independent publishing (Indie) is going the same way so many words have already gone--Verbicide. It is used so frequently in the wrong sense that it's original meaning is becoming lost.

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32. How to Launch a Magazine in this Digital Age

Bespoke print magazines are undergoing something of a quiet-but-steady resurgence. At least, that’s the way it looks to me, admiring the works of such magazines as Cereal, Another Escape, and Smith Journal, and a few in between from afar. (I mean, if you haven’t been following what’s happening with Bristol Independent Publishers (BIP), you’re missing […]

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33. Diversity Defined

Diversity is a really hot topic in the Kid Lit world these days. At the recent SCBWI International Conference in LA, hundreds of people attended a panel about diversity and a chat afterward. You hear the word being tossed around all over the place, and sometimes I wonder if everyone is talking about the same thing.

Blame it on my days in high school debate, but I always like to define our terms when talking about something that could mean many things. When I think about children's books/literature, I think of diversity coming in three ways.

First, there is a diversity in authors and illustrators. From what I've seen, the Kid Litverse is full of a diverse cross section of authors and illustrators. Dozens of various ethnic and racial origins are represented. Just off the top of my head I can think of Asian, Hispanic, African-American, Native American artists in every age level of our industry. I know many LBGTQ authors and illustrators, men and women. I know some of almost any religious affiliation. Sure it could always be a higher number, which is I think where the discussion starts. It's not that publishers don't want diverse authors and illustrators, nor do they discriminate. Talent is talent. It seems to me the challenge is encouraging, mentoring, and training more people, letting them know their voices are necessary and welcomed. There are many ways we could do this--scholarships for under-represented groups to attend conferences/schools/events, mentoring programs, and contests. SCBWI is on the forefront of this, offering a wide variety of opportunities for everyone, and some special programs for under-represented groups.

Second, there's diversity in the publishing industry. As we all know, the publishing industry does not always embrace change very fast. But there are publishers out there--Lee and Low comes immediately to mind--that particularly focus on diversity in their publishing program. Plus, with the rise of self-publishing, access is there for anyone of any age, gender, ethnic or religious background. The discussion continues into the blogosphere, where there are numerous blogs and other resources where diversity in literature is the frequent topic.

Third, we're talking about diversity in the characters portrayed in children's books, and this is where the discussion can get heated, but I also find it the most interesting. White, middle-class characters have dominated children's literature for decades. But, as we all know, kids come from all sorts of diverse backgrounds, skin colors, religions, genders, sexual identities, and economic status. In the last few decades, we've seen a few more characters of color, particularly in picture books, which is terrific. And in the last decade, we seem to be getting more ethnic backgrounds represented in novels, too. I think we need more LBGTQ characters.  I'd love to see more characters with metal illness, handicaps, autism spectrum syndrome, ADHD. More characters from around the world. Not just Americans with different colors of skin, but different cultures from all over.

Here's where I think things get challenging when we talk about diversity. Who's writing or illustrating these characters? Some people feel strongly that the author/illustrator come from an authentic place in presenting these characters, by which they mean, I think, that only a Native American can authentically write or illustrate a Native American character, for example. I would love to see more people writing characters from their authentic experience, but I also don't think we need to limit ourselves.

Writers and illustrators have always portrayed characters outside of our own experience. We write about historical figures, when we never lived in that time period. We write fantasy, when we've never fought a dragon. It is possible to write characters that are outside your own personal realm of experience. That's why research is so useful and important. I am currently writing a book set during WWII in which one of the main characters is a Japanese American girl. I am Caucasian, so how can my character be authentic? Lots and lots of research. I have another WIP that includes a Native American character. I may not be Native American, but I grew up in a town just outside one of the nation's poorest reservations, and I had daily interactions with Indians both on and off the reservation, so I think I have a fairly authentic grasp of their struggles and issues, even though they are not my personal struggles and issues. I am a female, but one of my latest books is in first person from the point of view of a teenage boy. Again, I live with my teenage son, so I have a pretty good picture of his male voice and viewpoint. I have written gay characters, lesbian characters, and more. Because, basically, I think there are some universalities about our human experience that allow us to imagine and put ourselves into the shoes of people who might be different from ourselves by focusing on what unites us.

To me, this stance isn't a cop out. It's an acknowledgement that an African-American author, for example, is in the best position to authentically portray an African-American character. However, if that author wants to write about a white, middle-class character, I have no problem with that. If he is a good writer, he should be able to manage it. And I think if I do my homework, I can manage to portray an African-American character if I want to. And I want to portray diverse characters. I hope we all do.

I'd love to hear what others think about this.

For more information about diversity in children's literature, check out the We Need Diverse Books campaign, which just recently announced its inception as a 501-c3 non-profit organization.

And look for our Boise SCBWI conference next April, where we plan to focus on diversity in children's literature.


by Neysa CM Jensen
Boise, Idaho

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34. The Brave New World of Publishing

Technology(This is a re-post from one year ago.)

Here’s the deal: I don’t like the fact that you have to “build a platform” these days, any more than you do. But I get weary of writers complaining about it. I get frustrated by hearing that publishers are “abandoning writers” and “bringing nothing to the table.” I know it’s hard to market your books — I feel your pain — and yet I dislike it that people saying that publishers are shirking their duties by “leaving it all up to the author.”

REALITY CHECK:

Publishers did not create this brave new techno-world we live in.

It is not the publishing industry that has created this society of ubiquitous electronics, Internet noise, YouTube, X-Box, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, and the decline of reading. It is not the publishing industry who put a computer in more than half of all American households, allowing millions of folks just like yourself to write books they want to sell.

It is not the publishers who brought our society to a place where it’s no longer possible to “market” books the old-fashioned way. It’s not the publishers’ fault that average human beings everywhere are being bombarded with literally thousands of pieces of information every day, making it more challenging than ever to draw a person’s attention to one little book.

The fact is, publishers are doing everything they can dream up, and everything they can afford, when it comes to marketing books. They have the same limitations you do: Time and Money. But they’re coming up with new ideas and innovations all the time.

Publishing is an “old world” industry, figuring out, day by day, how to thrive in this “new world.” We all face these challenges together. We all have to figure out how to get people to want to read our words… to want to PAY to read our words. We all have to figure out how to get our books to rise above the “clutter” and get the attention of readers who are willing to pay for them.

Those of you who find yourself bemoaning that “writers are expected to do everything” and concluding “we might as well self-publish” — perhaps the self-publishing route will work out better for you. For certain kinds of books and certain authors, it’s working out great. Give it a try!

But I want to point out that publishers are still in business because of the value they bring to the table — not just in marketing but in every aspect of the editing, production, and selling of books. It is harder these days to sell books than ever before, yes, but publishers are more than just a business selling widgets, they’re entities who take seriously the responsibility of preserving and disseminating the written word. And so publishing persists, despite the challenges, despite our changing world.

Part of the value publishers bring is a sense of history, a sense of tradition and permanence. Many authors still want to be a part of that. It’s about great stories and important thoughts. It’s about legacy. It’s about a dream. People in publishing still see this dream as worth it. They’re willing to swim against the tide because publishing isn’t just a business, it’s a life, it’s a calling, it’s a passion.

To all writers who believe in the dream, who have the passion, who feel called to the legacy — I’m right there with you, and so is everyone else who has staked their livelihood on this crazy, unpredictable, totally unrealistic business called publishing. Thanks for being here, and hanging on for the ride. To those who are frustrated by the ways it seems publishing can’t meet your expectations, I commiserate with you and I apologize that things aren’t the way we wish they could be.

To each and every author, I sincerely wish the very best for you as you seek your own way of getting your book to its intended audience. I am doing my best to be a positive and helpful part of this process.

Are you in it for the legacy? Or something else?

Comment below or by clicking: HERE.

 

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The post The Brave New World of Publishing appeared first on Rachelle Gardner.

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35. Molotov Cocktail features “You Need My Shit”

The Molotov Cocktail is self-described as “A Projectile for Incendiary Flash Fiction.” Understand I don’t usually write flash fiction, but something about the magazine: the look, the content, the attitude … I had to be part of it.

The perfect opportunity arrived when we had a garage sale two weeks ago, and I realized I hate garage sales. While sitting there, watching people dig through my belongings, I wrote an essay with only Molotov Cocktail in mind. Blessing of blessings, they accepted it.

For your deviant enjoyment, The Molotov Cocktail presents “You Need My Shit.” (Oh, you really do.)

You Need My Shit
by Sara Dobie Bauer

My husband suggested I keep my revolver in a little box during our garage sale just in case. It never occurred to me to be worried about people robbing my African statue that looks like it’s taking a shit.

Seven AM in Phoenix feels like living in a stove set to three-fifty. People show up and dig through piles of clothes I used to wear. Strange the things you remember, like how I once posed for a female friend’s camera in that corset with the red skull on the front.

There’s this one guy who shows up in a suit and tie. He laughs when I tell him he’s overdressed. He’s too friendly. I think about my revolver in the little shoebox at my side. Then, he goes into his Jehovah’s Witness spiel, and I think about the gun even more.

(So do I really get to shoot anyone? Read on at Molotov Cocktail‘s website, Volume 5, Issue 11.)

Photo credit: Boise Daily Photo

Photo credit: Boise Daily Photo


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36. Find Me Online

Books & SuchI blog every Wednesday at our agency site, Books & Such. To read my posts and participate in the comments, click HERE.

I have an agent page on Facebook. You can follow me on Twitter. Check out my Pinterest boards. Or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Scroll down for the latest posts here at my blog.

 

 

The post Find Me Online appeared first on Rachelle Gardner.

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37. WELCOME HUMPHREY!: BK Launch!

We at CAT agency are so happy to help Launch the wonderfully friendly new series about the Hamster Humphrey and his Tiny Tales from Penguin Putnam!  See his first two books here, and a little video about how he is created by our artist PRISCILLA BURRIS         https://vimeo.com/104481200

Humphrey1 (3)

Humphrey2 (3)


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38. Author Spotlight on: Laurisa White Reyes

Today I’m really excited to welcome Laurisa White Reyes to the blog. I met Laurisa a few years back at a writing retreat, soon after her first novel, The Rock of Ivanore, had been picked up for publication by Tanglewood Press. Of course she was pulsing with excitement and we all wanted to sit next […]

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39. Guest Post: Writing books or working pub?

Industry Life

by

Kerrie Byrne McCreadie

Kerrie McCreadie“But what are you going to do?”

Majoring in English always seemed to be a very puzzling thing for those around me. It took me five and a half years to finish my undergraduate degree, and I probably couldn’t count the number of times this question came up. I also couldn’t count the number of ways I’ve responded. Writer. Editor. Book publicist. Agent. Designer. All noble causes, all professions inhabited by creative and brilliant people. But somewhere, in answering that penetrating question—with all its strength of will in making me feel like my degree would be ultimately useless—I got lost in the possible options and forgot to think about the most important thing: what did I want to do in the first place?

You learn early that being a writer isn’t considered a “realistic” career. Going into editing, that can work. But writing, being an author, not so much. I’m still fairly certain that the Grade 11 Careers class I was forced to take (a Canadian rite of passage) existed just to tell me that my dream jobs (at the time: writer, musical theatre performer, etc.) were impractical, and that I was unreasonable.

I can still see my teacher rolling her eyes.

What they don’t tell you in Careers class is that it’s probably not that much more impossible to become a writer than it is to become an editor in this economic climate. Becoming a writer who creates a six-figure novel? Not so likely. But becoming a writer at all? It’s hard, it takes passion and dedication—but it does happen. And it isn’t really less possible than being an editor. But we’re told it is. We’re told as young writers that the publishing industry is the smarter, easier choice. Not only is that not necessarily true, but it also belittles the work done by the incredible, driven people in the industry. There are publishers who spend their entire lives making sure other peoples’ books do well. People who work in the industry are often ambitious and passionate and…well. Practically superhuman, in some cases.

But still, I really wanted to be an editor; and, admittedly, it wasn’t just because of Careers. I love editing, I love being the person who gets to polish something beautiful into something perfect. At this point I have a little more than year of experience in the Toronto publishing world. Not a lot. I’m a baby, and I know it—but it’s enough to get a peek. I worked as an intern at a small publisher, sorting through submissions and slush. At the same small publisher, I worked as a typesetter and graphic designer. This past summer I have been working as an assistant for the president of a literary agency. These have all been really rewarding experiences and I’ve learned a lot. Publishing is hard. There’s a lot on the line for everyone emotionally, mentally, and financially. Doing design on a fast-paced publishing schedule is one of the most challenging jobs I’ve had so far, and seeing how agents function while they work is awe-inspiring. So many people in this industry work 17-18 hour days with hardly any weekends, just because they love it so much.

As I’m starting to grow into a publishing toddler, this experience has given me a pretty startling realization. I knew going into these internships that I wanted to write, that I always have wanted to write. But somewhere along the way I started letting my Careers teacher’s voice whisper in my ear. I am dedicated to continuing to educate myself on how to edit more thoroughly and how to design more beautifully. I’m just starting to get good enough to freelance reliably. But what I really want to focus on  at the moment is my writing.

It’s not to say that some people can’t balance both. I know some wonderful ladies and gents who pull off doing both with style. There is definitely value in being both a writer and involved in the industry, whether it gives you a greater understanding of what’s required of you to get yourself published or whether it lends you empathy towards your clients. But that life is only suited to some very specific people. I’ve met some ex-agents-turned-writers who realized that they loved their own work more than working on other peoples’, even if they ultimately loved doing both. And I know plenty of once-writers who seem to be leaning towards becoming editors.

Me? Somehow, coming out of all of this has ended a five-year novel writing block, and I’m happily typing away at a new project every spare moment I have. My industry experience helped me make some major life decisions, like moving on to grad school instead of going on to a publishing certificate without a single doubt. Doing this work now means I got the experience while I had as many doors open as possible. I’m able to acknowledge that just because I’m interested in industry work doesn’t mean I have to commit to it 100% now when I’m only 23. Even if my career advisor told me I should.

Besides, there are so many other things I can do with my English degree.

(Like getting a PhD!)

Kerrie Byrne McCreadie has dipped her toes/feet/shins/waist into the publishing world in various ways over the past few years, and thinks the whole industry is pretty fascinating. You can follow her on twitter, or find her on her brand new blog. She is currently writing a rather depressing fairy tale contemporary, and will thank anyone for holding her hand as she starts her PhD applications this fall.

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40. Eckhart Tolle Launches New Imprint at New World Library

World-renowned writer Eckhart Tolle (pictured, via) will launch the Eckhart Tolle Editions imprint at New World Library.

The executives behind this imprint have been working on two books: Susan Stiffelman’s Parenting with Presence and Steve Taylor’s The Calm Center: Spiritual Reflections and Meditations. Both titles are slated for a Spring 2015 release.

Here’s more from the press release: “Tolle will work to identify and develop titles for the line, most of them written by other teachers and authors he has encountered over his past two decades of teaching. He will write a foreword for each title in the imprint and use his formidable social media presence — 1.2 million Facebook fans, 345,000 Twitter followers, and 120,000 YouTube subscribers — to promote them. Eckhart Tolle Editions aims to reach a broad audience of spiritual seekers.”

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41. A Ramble: Ferguson, President Obama, Diverse Books, Time and Space

Earlier in this week of awful news out of Ferguson, in my home state of Missouri, my friend and colleague Rebecca Sherman commented on Twitter:


I do too. That speech remains the best speech I've ever heard a politician give in my lifetime, both honest and inspiring, both personal and national in its implications. It acknowledged the complexities of Mr. Obama's candidacy, of his relationship with the Reverend Wright, and indeed of the whole history of race in America after slavery. Rereading it now, I was astonished to see these lines:
We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.  
Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students. Legalized discrimination — where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments — meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.  
A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families — a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods — parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement — all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.  
. . . What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them. But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it — those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations — those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways.
This anticipates nearly everything in Ta-Nehisi Coates's brilliant article "The Case for Reparations" in The Atlantic earlier this summer -- except, of course, Mr. Coates's conclusion, which is that Congress should investigate the idea of reparations for African-Americans. Rather, Mr. Obama describes this legacy of pain as an opportunity for all Americans to come together, first to listen to and acknowledge each other's sufferings across racial lines, and then to work to address that suffering:  the lost jobs, the lack of health care, the poverty and poor education that afflicts the 99% (to draw on another political metaphor). The speech received near-universal acclaim, and while politics, being politics, quickly reverted to the usual game of sound bites and wins and losses, it did create a quiet moment in the hullaballoo of that 2008 campaign, a moment when most people heard what Mr. Obama said, and glimpsed that opportunity, even if we did not take it . . .

Like Rebecca, I wish very much that Mr. Obama had the time and courage and clarity and political daring to make another speech like this in the wake of events in Ferguson -- to be our storyteller-in-chief of sorts, to help one part of America listen to and understand the anger and fear of another, and to point the way toward dialogue among and a shared mission for all our citizens. I am sorry that he doesn't make this a priority, because I think perhaps he could do some good. But in his absence, we have to do that work.

I am moderating a panel this Tuesday for Scholastic's Teacher Week -- a conversation with Varian Johnson (The Great Greene Heist), Lisa Yee (Millicent Min, Girl Genius), Sonia Manzano (The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano), and Sharon Robinson (Under the Same Sun) about diversity in children's literature and the need for all children to see themselves in books. There are a lot of dimensions to the diversity conversation, but the moral use of such books (and the moral necessity of publishing them) is fairly straightforward:  More than any other media, a book allows a creator to control and tell their own story, to reveal the world they see in all its joys and sorrows, complexities and nuances, and to have that story be heard. For readers, books provide that opportunity to step into someone else's story and hear it -- to be affirmed by the story if some part of it speaks to your own experiences, emotionally or racially or religiously or emotionally, to know that you are not the first to go through this; to learn from it, both intellectually and emotionally, if it does not match your experience; to be challenged by and grow from it all around. (I wrote more about this, and the moral and sociological necessity for diverse books, in the opening of this talk.)

And I can't help thinking:  How different might Ferguson have been if all the policemen had read Walter Dean Myers's Monster? Or Fallen Angels or Sunrise Over Fallujah, for something closer to their own quasi-military experience? Or Ta-Nehisi Coates's article, or The Beautiful Struggle? Or even listened to the "This American Life" stories on Harper High School -- about a very different place than suburban St. Louis, certainly, but unforgettable in showing some of the pressures on young black men? Or best of all, if the policemen had heard the stories of the people of Ferguson as individuals? If they had shared their own?

Perhaps nothing would be different. These can be seen as highly naive and facile questions, given the money and history and societal factors that went into the making of this as-yet-ongoing tragedy, and I acknowledge my highly privileged role in asking them. But I also believe that books, stories, do what not-yet-President Obama did with his "More Perfect Union" speech:  They reveal the complexities, allow us to see things as both individual and universal, make other people real, open up space for dialogue -- if we'll take the time to listen and talk and learn. I wish we could find more of that time and space.


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42. German Art Book Publisher Gestalten to Bring Children’s Books to U.S. Market

Gestalten, a German-based book publisher that specializes in titles on art, architecture, design and photography for adults, is launching a new imprint in the U.S. catering to children.

Back in April, the company launched its first line of children’s books under the name Kleine Gestalten. The Little Gestalten imprint will bring English-language versions of the publisher’s kids books to small readers in the U.S. market.

Publishers Weekly has the scoop: “Little Gestalten’s kickoff titles reflect the eclectic nature of the imprint, which will also include non-book sidelines. Debut releases include Elsa and the Night by Jöns Mellgren, a bedtime story about a girl who hides the night in her cookie jar; The Zoo’s Grand Opening: An ABC and Counting Book by Judith Drews, which introduces an alphabetical menagerie of zoo animals; andIssun Bôshi: The One-Inch Boy by Icinori, a Japanese fairytale.”

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43. The New Phone Book’s Here

In the immortal words of Navin R. Johnson:

image

Things are going to start happening to me now!

Yes, due to life, it took a long time to arrive, but that lovable scamp Virgil Creech is back in Virgil Creech Sings for His Supper.

 Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00063]

 

 

Even the idyllic little town of Portsong isn’t immune to the coming depression. What will our favorite family of eleven do when their chief bread-winner is left without a job? Enter the youngest son, Virgil Creech, who discovers an unlikely talent that may just keep the family afloat.

Meanwhile, half the world away, town grocer Harland Gentry discovers the truth of the ancient proverb, Pride goes before a fall. On the vacation of a lifetime, Harland decides to reinvent himself as a man of means, hoping to leave the small town behind. But he is not prepared for what he discovers on his unpredictable African adventure.

Of course, Virgil Creech Sings for His Supper contains a healthy dose of the lovable Colonel Clarence Birdwhistle, as he and Henry begin to rebuild the Lee family farm. All of these stories come together for another delightful romp through Portsong, the southern town halfway between Savannah and heaven.

 

From the back of the book, here is our new friend, Harland Gentry as drawn by Aprilily.

image

It is always rewarding to have someone read one of my books. But I was particularly excited to get a Five Bookworm Review on the first book in the series because it came from a kid, which is my target audience.  He is also not a family member!

You can read his take here.

 

If you haven’t had a chance to read Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption, the ebook version is going to go free for a week sometime soon as publicity for the sequel. Of course, I’ll announce it here.

I wrote the final piece of the Portsong Series last year hope to release it fairly soon. I am now working on my first piece of adult humor and would love to put it out in 2015. We shall see if life gets in the way of that one as well.


Filed under: From the Writer

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44. Building a Portfolio Website

If you are an illustrator, I highly recommend having a simple portfolio website that you can use to display your work. When you’re querying, instead of attaching images (most editors and agents don’t accept attachments anyway), you can just send a link to your collection. Add new things, change out images in your rotation, and keep it clean, simple, and maintained. That’s about it. And if you’re not tech savvy, you may be able to hire someone via Elance (a freelance marketplace I’ve used to find web designers, or contractors in any arena, in the past) or in your circle of friends to put your image files (scans or digital creations) online. Just make sure that if you use scans, they are of high quality and taken under good lighting that’s true to your intended color scheme.

Two sites that I see a lot of illustrators gravitating to are Wix and SquareSpace. They are built to be user friendly and easy on the wallet. You can use templates provided or get someone to customize your site. These options are modern, work well across multiple platforms, and are easy to link to your other online efforts. I haven’t used either but I’m coming up on a project in my personal life and seriously considering SquareSpace because I like the design and functionality of their sites. I’ve been on WordPress for years and years, so maybe it’s time to try something new, minimal, and graphics-focused!

If all of this is very scary to you, you can just start a free Flickr account and make a gallery of your images. This is the bare minimum, and allows you to host your image and a description (I would opt for one if you can). Send links to the entire gallery in your query so that visitors can click through the whole thing instead of landing on just one image.

Many people overthink this sort of stuff because sometimes computers can be scary and the demands of building a platform seem overwhelming. Don’t let that stop you from putting up a portfolio. Hosting one online has become quite necessary these days, and agents and editors except to see several examples of your work, with different composition, subject matter, tone, palette, etc. (if possible), before they can decide if they’re interested or not.

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45. Alloy Entertainment Launches New Digital Imprint

Alloy Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. Television Group, has partnered with Amazon Publishing to launch a digital-first imprint that will publish young adult and new adult novels, as well as commercial fiction.

The new imprint is called Alloy Entertainment. The imprint launches with three new titles: YA title Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand; coming-of-age story Every Ugly Word by Aimee Salter and sci-fi fantasy adventure Rebel Wing by Tracy Banghart.

Alloy Entertainment will be part of Amazon Publishing’s Powered by Amazon program, meaning that it will use Amazon’s marketing and distribution tools to reach readers.

 

 

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46. My Summer Blog Tour plus…. meet the family in The Little Kid's Table!

Wow summer is almost done and it seems I've been everywhere but on my blog. To start here's a few guest posts and interviews I did over the summer:

I was profiled on Kid Lit 411. Ya'll this is a terrific site for readers, creators, and lovers of children's literature. I was interviewed by the talented Sylvia Liu, who curates the illustrator's sections.

In May and June I contributed my regular columns to Once Upon A Sketch.com and Word Disco.com:
Both Once Upon a Sketch columns focused on best practices for illustrators. In May I discussed how to deal with a difficult client. In June I wrote about the difference between sampling for a client or working on spec. These are both issues that aspiring illustrators will encounter.

While Once Upon A Sketch is about hardcore, practical advise for illustrators, Word Disco is my fun dance floor. In July I wrote about my summer reading list.

Finally last week, I kicked off Telaina Muir's DOT Drawing Challenge with this post about art, love and fear.

So go catch up on reading and come back when you want to see my characters for The Little Kid's Table….

What's that? Let's see them now? Ok you twisted my arm… BUT I'm going to introduce them in batches. First here's the family portrait:




The family members are Grandma Mable, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, Aunt Nancy and Uncle Bob, Uncle Fred, cousins, Little Brother, Daisy the dog and MC (main character.) Whew, this is a lot of people to keep up with but I decided to create my own backstories for all of them. And because most modern families are colorful these days, The Little Kid's Table has a lot of diversity around it. Here's some more family groups.

Grandma Mable is bringing out the pie… and the real fun is going to start

This is a proposed page layout for one of the final spreads:

Kind of like casting for a movie, determining who each character is as a person helped me illustrate how they would react in a different scene. In this book most of the action takes place in one area - the dining room at Grandma Mable's house. The drama had to be heightened through the characters' personalities. Next week I'll post about building their individual personalities and backstories. 

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47. E-Book Sales Statistics Every Author Needs to Know Before Signing a Book Deal

This month I read one of the best reports on e-publishi […]

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48. Kensington Publishing Spent 1.5 Years Negotiating 1 Year Amazon Contract

Hachette and Amazon have spent months trying to negotiate a deal, which still seems to be miles away. How long will the negotiations be going on? It could be a while yet.

The Wall Street Journal revealed that the small publishing house Kensington Publishing spent 18 months battling Amazon to forge a one-year deal.

Check it out: “Steven Zacharius, president and chief executive of Kensington, said the deal took so long to resolve partly because ‘each person got entrenched and didn’t want to budge. But at a certain point there has to be compromise.’ Both sides gradually made concessions, he said, enabling them to reach agreement. Mr. Zacharius declined to discuss specifics of why it took so long to negotiate a new pact. Such contracts typically include the size of the discount that the publisher allows the retailer off its list prices, payment terms, and promotional funding. However, he characterized the final agreement as ‘a fair deal for both parties.’”

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49. Staying Power

by

Rachel Seigel

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Roald Dahl’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and it continues to be beloved by children around the globe. Several other children’s classics such as Amelia Bedelia, Where the Wild Things Are and The Giving Tree all recently celebrated milestone anniversaries, it got me considering the question of what gives a book staying power.

The Hunger Games trilogy and the Divergent trilogy for example continue to experience tremendous popularity- thanks in part to successful movie franchises. Now imagine you have a crystal ball that allows you see which of today’s popular books are still popular twenty-five years from now. Will either of these series still be considered must-reads, or will they be one of those series their parents’ remember reading but no longer sit on bookstore shelves?

In my years as a bookseller I’ve seen first hand the often short shelf-life of books. And while I’m sure every author hopes to experience the same longevity as Roald Dahl, realistically, we know that most books will be popular for a while, and then make way for the next big thing to hit the shelves.

Harry Potter was first published nearly a generation ago. The kids who grew alongside Harry Potter are now adults, (as is Harry Potter) some of whom may be starting to have children of their own. And yet, seldom does a day go by without some reference to the books, the movies or the author, and even the hint of something Potter related sends the world into a frenzy.

So what is it about these books that keeps them popular and relevant over generations of readers? Excellent writing would be one of the reasons I’d speculate. Not to demean the skill or talent of any writer of popular fiction (YA or otherwise), if you can achieve the perfect combination of excellent writing with an audience-pleasing plot, it definitely has the potential to rise to the top.

Classic themes would be another possibility. Whether it was written in the 60′s or the 90′s or yesterday, certain themes tend to transcend time, and if readers will still be able to relate to the themes in a decade or a century, then readers will continue to find it.

A third suggestion that I came across, and one that I particularly like is “the expression of the human experience”. No matter how society changes over time, books like Eleanor and Park and Wonder speak to and will continue to speak to everyone.

Now I turn the question over to you- what do you think gives a book its staying power, and of today’s most popular books, (adult, kids or teen) which do you think will still be around a generation from now?

Rachel Seigel is the Sales and Selection Strategist for EduReference Publisher’s Direct Inc. in Ontario. She also maintains a personal blog at http://readingtimbits.blogspot.com and can be found on Twitter as @rachelnseigel.

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50. Former Aide Pens ‘Nixon’s Secrets’ Book

Roger Stone, a writer and former aide to President Richard Nixon, has penned a new book entitled Nixon’s Secrets.

Stone (pictured, via) gave this statement in the press release: “Richard Nixon has been the subject of curiosity and public debate for six and a half decades. Since the time I served in his 1968 campaign, I have held a deep fascination with our 37th President and, as his friend, I had the rare opportunity to witness firsthand much of the history, key decision making, and people—both good and bad—that made for his complex and personae.”

The book features stories about the Watergate Scandal, an explanation for the 18.5 minute gap in the infamous White House tapes, and more. Skyhorse Publishing plans to release it on August 11, 2014. That date was selected to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation from office.

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