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In a previous post, one commenter said, “I’d love to know how to get on listservs or good blogs to connect to more librarians.” How do you find places to plug-in online?
No one can give YOU a specific list of places, because there are too many variables. Your book, your interests, your career goals–these will determine where you should plug in. But there are some general ideas that might help.
Subject Specific Listservs or Forums. You can start by looking up listservs or forums that specifically focus on the topic of your book. Let’s use two examples: an elementary nonfiction about birds, and a YA problem novel about alcoholism. Start with the obvious: Audubon Society and Al-Anon. These national organizations may have listservs that discuss topics of interest; or they may have magazines you could write for. But also look for local/regional listservs. On search engines, look for listserv and then “birds,” “Ornithology,” and so on. Also, look for trade or professional organizations to see if they have listservs. You may have to join the National Science Teachers Association, but if you’re writing science books for kids, you should do that anyway!
Audience Specific Listservs or Forums. Likewise, if the most important thing about your writing is the audience you serve–you only write YA books–then look for listservs discussing YAs. Here, you are putting the emphasis on the fact that your teen novel about alcoholism is written for teens. The issue of alcohol is secondary, so you’re not looking for AAA or Al-Anon groups. In the short run, you might be tempted to join these groups for a while after a book is published, but the question is how long can you keep it up? Will your next book also be right for AAA or Al-Anon? If not, then it makes sense to join the YA group instead. Build relationships for the future,not around periphery issues that you can’t sustain over the long haul.
Genre Specific Listservs or Forums. Finally, you might look for listservs and forums that focus on a certain genre: fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, historical fiction, nonfiction, etc.
I joined a state-wide birding listserv for a while, but ultimately, that wasn’t where my heart was. Now, I am on local and national librarians listservs, a better place for me with my long-term goals. Where should you be, considering your long term goals? How can you participate in this community in a meaningful way (NOT just with promos)?
Good practices for Participating in a Listserv
What do you do once you’ve located a few appropriate listservs? First, familiarize yourself with any special guidelines this listserv has.
- Know the group’s guidelines. Know what this particular listserv considers polite or rude. Some require you to use your whole name, location and job description in a signature, while others are more informal. When you join, you should receive guidelines, so read them and obey them.
- Use a Sig. Make sure you load up your email signature with goodies. Here’s my current sig:
BOOKS: DESERT BATHS (Sylvan Dell)
NSTA-Outstanding Science Trade Books 2013 list
“intriguing combination of biology and earth science” KIRKUS reviews
“will hold children’s interest on many levels” SLJ reviews
Spanish version: LAS DUCHAS EN EL DESIERTO
WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS “. . .a bird bio that’s easy to distinguish from the flock.”
Elizabeth Bird, Fuse#8 Blog, SLJ
- Post only when it is appropriate. When you go to a cocktail party, you don’t collar every person and shove a book in their face. Same here. Take a month to see where conversations go and think about how you can join in (and let your sig do the promo work for you) with helpful information or interesting comments.
- Set to DIGEST. Most listservs use a common set of commands that let you control your subscription. I always set my subscriptions to DIGEST, so they collect a bunch of messages and send them as one. At the top of a DIGEST is usually a Table of Contents. When I get a message (and one listserv I am on sends out a dozen Digests per day), I scan the TOC for anything of interest. Nothing there? I delete. About once or twice a week, there is a post about something that I can answer and I’ll send a private message to that person. About once a month or so, I’ll post a message to the whole group, making sure that it is NOT just a promo about my book(s), but it’s something interesting and helpful to the group at large. In other words, I try to participate in the community in a helpful way.
What do you think about listservs and forums? Are you a member of a couple and does it help promote your books over all?
Posted on 5/23/2011
My next Mixed-Up Files post goes up on Wednesday, and I can't wait to share part two of Ruth McNally Barshaw's interview. You can check out the first one here. She included a writing and illustrating exercise that many of you loved...and she has another wonderful writing and illustrating exercise ready for Wednesday and a list of books that helped inspire her to become an author/illustrator! Plus, Ruth has an extra-special giveaway planned. She'll randomly choose two winners to receive a personalized copy of Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen Will Travel, which has a brand new paperback reissue coming out tomorrow that includes sketch lessons and other extra goodies on the back pages. Ruth will sketch in each book--and the first name chosen will also receive an incredibly special original sketch! I'll give you the details on Wednesday (both here and on the Mixed-Up Files blog).
I had so much fun interviewing Ruth, and want to wish her a happy birthday today...and happy book birthday tomorrow. :)
As most of you probably know, I'm proud to call Joyce Sweeney my mentor and friend. I feel so lucky to be in her weekly workshop/critique group. My writing has improved so much with her guidance, and she's helped many writers break into this business--which resulted in 32 bean ceremonies. If you're not sure what that is, check out this awesome interview that Cynthia Leitich Smith posted of Joyce in Cynsations!
Here's a picture of Joyce signing my copy of The Guardian.I heard about Joyce's incredible critique group at my first FL SCBWI conference, and couldn't believe that some writers drove way over an hour to attend her group...until I met Joyce at a conference critique. Her feedback has always been spot on, and has helped me dig deeper than I ever thought possible. She's helped me find my strengths and improve my weaknesses, and has encouraged me every step of the way. Thank you super-mentor Joyce, for everything you've done to help me and so many others!
I recently ran Joyce's Success Story in the FL SCBWI listserv, and would love to share it with all of you! You'll notice that she said she has given away 30 beans so far...that's because two of her peeps have sold their manuscripts since she wrote this!
Florida SCBWI Success Story!
My success story is going to be long, because I've been a writer for a long time -- since 1984! During that time, my career path has taken some interesting twists and turns. I wanted to be a writer when I was eight years old and I remember taking this aptitude test in the second grade that made me really mad. It said I would be happier as a teacher! I remember tearing it up, thinking that piece of paper would actually stand in the way of my writing dreams.&nbs
Posted on 4/27/2011
When I attended my first SCBWI conference in 2005, I instantly became a conference addict. It's amazing to spend time with others who love children's books as much as I do! I always leave with so much information and inspiration--and I have to say that everyone is always so friendly and supportive. I love being part of such a wonderful community!
We have an amazing SCBWI FL Mid-Year Workshop in Orlando on June 25th, with incredible intensives on June 24th. The hotel is on Disney property, so it's the perfect excuse for a vacation! Here's a link to more info about our Orlando Workshop at the Coronado Springs hotel, and you can also read the faculty bios.
Intensives--Friday, June 24th
Picture Book Intensive
Alexandra Penfold: editor at Paula Wiseman, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Lisa Wheeler: author with over thirty titles on library shelves including picture books in prose and rhyme, an easy reader series, three books of poems, and creative nonfiction for the very young
Michelle Burke: editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers
Kathleen Duey: award winning author who has published over 70 books for readers K-YA
Marjetta Geerling: author of FANCY WHITE TRASH and another novel scheduled for release in 2012
Lucy Cummins: associate art director with Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Priscilla Garcia Burris: author and illustrator, SCBWI National Illustrator Coordinator & Advisor
Linda Shute: illustrator or author/illustrator of 13 picture books and our FL SCBWI Illustrators’ Coordinator
Posted on 1/29/2011
Here's part two of the listserv I sent out yesterday. Good luck to all of you who will be participating in the contests or picture book challenge!
Congrats, everyone. :)
BOOK CONTRACTS, RELEASES, AND SIGNINGS:
I’m hoping to put at least one success story in every listserv. What are you waiting for? Let me know your great news so we can all celebrate.
For this issue, the success stories are all up above in the tribute to Linda. And like I said when I introduced the agent panel…I have a feeling that after listening to the secrets that Erin Murphy, Michael Bourret, and Sarah Davies shared with us and attending the FL SCBWI Miami Conference, a lot of you will be sending me great news soon—and I can’t wait to celebrate with you!
AWARDS AND CONTESTS:
Greg Neri just won a Coretta Scott King Book Award Honor for Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty! Greg’s book was illustrated by Randy DuBurke and published by Lee & Low Books Inc. Huge congrats, Greg! We all cheered for you at the conference and are sending more congrats your way now.
The 2011 Picture Book Marathon starts on February 1st—sign up by January 30th for this fun challenge that will have you writing twenty-six picture book manuscripts next month. Of course, they’ll probably be really rough drafts…but think of all the fun you’ll have choosing which ones to revise instead of staring at a blank page, wishing you could find the time and inspiration to start a new picture book manuscript. Bruce Hale talked about finding ways to make more time to write, and this could be the jumpstart you need!
SCBWI Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards Competition.
January 31st is the deadline to enter any 2010 publication in the all-new SCBWI Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards Competition. Any first-run book for young readers published by a PAL publisher in the 2010 calendar year is eligible for the award.
How to Enter
All you need to do is log in to your SCBWI Member Profile, enter your book information on the "Publications" tab, and make sure that you've clicked the box that reads "Yes, I would like to submit this publication for Crystal Kite Awards nomination."
Posted on 1/29/2011
I had an amazing time at the 10th annual SCBWI Florida Regional Conference in Miami. I'm lucky to live in an area with such a wonderful SCBWI group, filled with incredibly supportive and talented authors and illustrators. Here's a special tribute that I included in the FL SCBWI listserv that I'd love to share with all of you, and hope you'll be able to join us for a future conference. The January conference in Miami is a great excuse to escape the snow for a weekend, and our June conference is on Disney property, so you can easily turn it into a family vacation.
I'll paste the tribute part of the listserv below, and will add the rest in a second post--it includes some wonderful market info (including contests and a fun picture book challenge with deadlines in the next two days).
Hi everyone. I want to thank our amazing RA, Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld, wonderful new ARA, Marcea Ustler, and all the fabulous volunteers for making the FL SCBWI conference in Miami an absolutely incredible experience for us. I can’t rave enough about the speakers. And thank all of you for making our 10th anniversary such a special event.
One of my favorite parts of the weekend was when Linda was given a beautiful necklace, a celebration cake, and several of our successful authors told her how much all her hard work and dedication helped their dreams come true. Surprise again, Linda—because I contacted everyone and now you’ll have it in writing. Any time you’re running around trying to replace a faculty member who can’t come last minute or any of the other issues that come up, you’ll remember how many people you’re helping…and how grateful we all are to you.
Author of fourteen novels and one book of poetry.
She has twenty-nine students published and is now also directing plays.
I remember Linda contacting me about creating a possible SCBWI chapter...I told her, I'll do anything to help you make that happen. We had that little conference at the elementary school and the next year, Linda had found a hotel and rounded up Judy Blume. I knew that with SCBWI helping me I could go from a small time mentor to an Uber-mentor...and it happened. SCBWI was not only an amazing place for me to find talented writers, but also to meet agents and editors to whom I still make referrals. I have 29 people published from my workshops alone and I think the total number of people published in these past ten years from all of SCBWI Florida is about 40 people. We have incredible success stories like Alex Flinn who has a feature film coming out of her novel Beastly. Or Christina Gonzalez, whose book has gone into multiple printings. And other, quieter careers that are equally fullfilling. Linda is a true fairy godmother to us all and she's also a wonderful writer. I know you'll all agree it's her turn to get some of that fairy dust!
Posted on 7/9/2010
I reached the end of one of the most intense and exciting rounds of revision the other day. Yay! I'm still happy dancing, even though I'm already digging into a few full rounds of tweaking, streamlining, and polishing so I can send it to a few wonderful crit buddies before I e-mail the requested revision to an agent. I've learned so much about my characters, as well as my own writing strengths from brainstorming with Amazing Agent. I've received many compliments about my voice, dialogue, and humor...but hadn't realized that Super Average Girl didn't have a big enough hook. I ended up adding a new goal and am amazed at how much it ups the conflict and pushes the action forward throughout the entire novel. Double yay! Especially since I already thought of a way to up the hook in one of my older manuscripts, and am brainstorming ways to do the same in others.
My MG was 30,000 words when I first sent it to Amazing Agent, and when I finished this round it was over 48,600 words! Wow...especially since there are some MG novels that are as long as my 18,600 word increase. But don't worry, it won't stay that high for long. Yesterday and today I knocked off almost 600 words and am keeping my eye out for areas I can streamline. I've already killed off a few scenes from the original version that I loved, but don't feel as necessary now. I saved them in an Orphan File...in case I ever want to visit them again.
Back to my revision! I hope you're all having a great writing/revising day. I'll paste in the last FL SCBWI listserv that I sent--there's some great market info in there. Enjoy. :)
Hi everyone. Our 10th Annual SCBWI Florida Regional Conference will be held on January 14-16, 2011 at the Wyndham Miami Airport Hotel. We have a fantastic faculty lined up (and might just surprise you by adding another speaker or two...so keep your eyes open for updates).
¬ Author Bruce Hale--The Chet Gecko Series, Prince of Underwhere Series
¬ Author Cinda Williams Chima—The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir, The Dragon Heir, The Demon King
¬ Author Lauren Myracle—Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Bliss, TTYL
¬ Editor-in-Chief Bonnie Bader—Grosset and Dunlap and Price Stern Sloan
¬ Editor Kate Jacobs—Roaring Brook Press
Posted on 6/18/2010
Wow, this has been the most incredible and intense round of revisions ever. I've received such fantastic advice and feedback from an amazing agent, and it really has helped me dig deeper than I ever thought possible. I'm almost finished working two new goals into my middle-grade novel, and then I'll go back to the beginning and work in more of the great suggestions I received from an editor who critiqued it at the Orlando Workshop. And I have more character interviews to do. (Yes, I keep gushing about Kathleen Duey's interview exercise--I'm still in awe of the way my characters spill their secrets, hopes, and fears when I sit back and let them talk).
I'll post about the Picture Book Track at the FL SCBWI Mid-Year Workshop soon. :)
Check out some of the conference, market, and good news info I included in my most recent FL SCBWI listserv post (if you love children's literature and want to receive the full posts by e-mail, you can sign up using this link: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FloridaSCBWI/).
Hi everyone. Wow, the 2010 FL SCBWI Mid-Year Workshop was a huge success—with 200 attendees! That says so much about our amazing Florida events. Thanks Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld (Regional Advisor), Michelle Delisle (Assistant Regional Advisor), Adrienne Sylver (Critique Coordinator), Flora Doone (for multiple duties, including updating our website), the incredible faculty, and all our wonderful volunteers who worked the registration desk, picked faculty up at the airport, loaned us Power Point projectors, and went out of their way to make this event so incredible.
Here are a few things people said after the 2010 Mid-Year Workshop:
I just got back from my first SCBWI workshop in Orlando. I had a great time, met many nice people, and learned a lot. After the first page critiques, my heart swelled to be among so many talented writers. --Susan Banghart.
I was SO impressed with the SCBWI Florida Mid-Year Workshop. It was truly one of the best conferences I've attended. The Novel Intensive was AMAZING. Everyone was so friendly and gave the writers/illustrators so many gems of information. –Karen Strong
I'm thrilled I attended! The event was a superb learning experience and wonderful place to develop new friendships. In the Middle Grade Workshop, Kathleen Duey and Alvina Ling provided invaluable insight to the development, refinement and submission processes. But more inspiring were the many 1st Page readings presented: I was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of talent I was amid... I was also getting seriously petrified that my work would be put to shame by these other works. But, based upon the enthusiastic response by both panelists, I have regained my confidence to submit my tweaked manuscript. -- Curtis Sponsler
Here are more great comments we received:
I just had to write you and say thanks for putting together such an awesome conference! I was in the MG series track and I learned SO much.
It was a successful gathering - extra energy this time, I think. Tammi and Dan did a super job on the picture book workshop. Dan, especially, gave me stimulating new info (making a trailer in iMovie and more) and I usually feel I have heard it all.
From one of the speakers:
I had a fabulous time; it’s clear Florida got the lion’s share in talented writers.
JOIN US IN MIAMI FOR OUR NEXT AMAZING CONFERENCE!
Our 10th Annual SCBWI Florida Regional Conference will be held on January 14-16, 2011. We have a fantastic faculty lined up. I'll fill you in on the details in my next listserv, but so far, we have five agents and editors coming. Here's another reason not to miss this event—one of the agents is closed to submissions...unless you see her at a conference.
Congrats, everyone. :)
BOOK CONTRACTS, RELEASE
Posted on 5/28/2010
I can't wait to go to the Orlando Workshop. I'm taking the Novel Intensive a week from today with Kathleen Duey, Stephanie Owens Lurie (Disney-Hyperion), and Alvina Ling (Little, Brown). I know it will be an amazing day. Kathleen did such a fantastic job leading our last Novel Intensive, and gave me so many great writing tips. I can't wait to see what gems she'll share this time!
On Saturday, I'm taking the Picture Book Track with Tammi Sauer, Dan Santat, and Alexandra Cooper (Simon and Schuster). Alexandra Cooper did an amazing job with the 2009 Novel Intensive in Miami, and I know that Tammi and Dan will have so many wonderful tips for us.
I had a great time at Adrienne Sylver's signing for her fun picture book Hot Diggity Dog. Who knew that some people eat peanut butter hot dogs? Here's a photo of Adrienne signing a book for Becca. Check out Adrienne's t-shirt and cool hot dog pen!
Here's a bit of info from the second listserv post I sent to FL SCBWI.
We still need two more Power Point projectors for Saturday, June 5. Please let us know if you can lend us one (or more). It would be a huge help!
MID-YEAR WORKSHOP UPDATE:
Frances Gilbert had to pull out of the Mid-Year Workshop for personal reasons. Alexandra Cooper (from Simon and Schuster) is thrilled to fly in to lead the Picture Book Intensive with Lisa McCourt and work with Tammi Sauer and Dan Santat in the Picture Book Track on Saturday. She's also taking over all of Frances Gilbert's critiques. Now that this is all set, everyone should receive an e-mail with critique matches soon!
I'm sorry that Frances Gilbert won't be able to join us, but I took an intensive with Alexandra Cooper before, and she's fantastic! We're all really lucky that she was able to come last minute. And we're also lucky that our conferences are so well organized, that past faculty tend to jump at the chance to work with us again. Yay for Linda and everyone else who helped give FL SCBWI such a great reputation!
The Novel Intensive and Picture Book Intensive are full, but there's still room in the Illustrators' Intensive and workshop tracks. We'd love to have you join us! Don't forget to look at the schedules—some of the tracks have homework. http://www.scbwiflorida.com/agendas.htm. I already sent the homework for the Series Track. If you're taking that track and didn't receive my e-mail, please let me know!
Janeen Mason's latest picture book, John Denver's FOR BABY (FOR BOBBIE) won the silver medal on May 24th, when the Independent Publishers Association announced their Ben Franklin Award winners at the Roosevelt Hotel in NYC.
I mentioned in my last listserv post that Emily van Beek was about to move to Folio Literary Management. Well, she's in her new home now, and has some great info about who she is and what she is looking for on the site: http://www.foliolit.com/s-emily.php
Sarah LaPolla at Curtis Brown is seeking: literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, science fiction, literary horror, and young adult fiction. She loves complex characters, coming-of-age stories, and strong narrators. E-query: sl(at)cbltd(dot)com. Query; also, include a synopsis (for fiction), a sample chapter and brief writing history. Responds within 8 weeks.
Agent Nathan Bransford blogs about voice: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/05/how-to-craft-great-voice.html
Through the Tollbooth has an interview with agent Marietta Zacker about series. h
Posted on 5/15/2010
I'm really excited to be the new listserv editor for FL SCBWI! I owe SCBWI so much for all the wonderful conferences, workshops, support, and connections over the years, and am thrilled to give back. Florida is bursting with great news right now, and I'd like to share some of it with all of you (plus, I have some great market info, too).
But first...I want to congratulate Christina Diaz Gonzalez (cdgred_umbrella) on her amazing launch for her debut novel, THE RED UMBRELLA. It was standing room only! There were well over 300 people there, and she sold more than 300 books at her first signing. No wonder her wonderful book went into a second printing before the official release date! Here are a couple of photos:
Here are a few things from my first listserv post (I had to make a few changes because some events listed have passed already, and I added one piece of market news that will be in my next post).
Don't forget to sign up for the amazing Mid-Year Workshop. The Novel Intensive and Picture Book Intensive are full, but there's still room in the Illustrator's Intensive and all the workshop tracks. Check out the amazing line up on our website, and join us in Orlando (the hotel is on Disney property, so it's a great excuse to take a family vacation)! http://www.scbwiflorida.com/details.htm Hop on over to our website and look at the schedules (I believe a couple haven't been posted yet...but keep checking, because they should be up soon). Don't forget to look, because some of the tracks have homework. http://www.scbwiflorida.com/agendas.htm
GOOD NEWS! Congrats, everyone. :)
BOOK RELEASES AND SIGNINGS:
Happy book birthday, Adrienne Sylver! Her non-fiction picture book, HOT DIGGITY DOG - THE HISTORY OF THE HOT DOG, illustrated by Elwood Smith, was just released on May 13. She'll be signing during her launch party on May 22 – 11 a.m. at Books & Books (265 Aragon Ave. Coral Gables, FL). Join her for a fun day of crafts, books and free hot dogs! Check out her website for more details about her picture book and additional signing dates. http://www.adriennesylver.com/home.html
Christina Diaz Gonzalez's debut novel, THE RED UMBRELLA, already went into a second printing before its recent release! Join her on May 21-23 at Cuba Nostalgia (Miami-Dade Youth Fairgrounds, Miami, FL). Check out her website for more details about her novel, additional signing dates, and a great book trailer. http://www.christinagonzalez.com/home.html
Donna Gephart's debut novel, AS IF BEING 12-3/4 ISN'T BAD ENOUGH, MY MOTHER IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT! won the Sid Fleischman Humor Award. 5th and 6th graders and EVERYONE else . . . come meet Hammy the Hamster and Donna Gephart at a fun event at Books & Books to celebrate her new book -- HOW TO SURVIVE MIDDLE SCHOOL! Sunday, May 16 from 3:00pm - 4:00pm at Books & Books (265 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables, FL). http://www.booksandbooks.com/Donna_Gephart. That's tomorrow! I know it's sh