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1. On-The Verge Emerging Voices AWARD

SCBWI Grant and Award Logos

The SCBWI established the On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award in 2012 with funding from Martin and Sue Schmitt of the 455 Foundation. The grant was created to foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books.


Deadline: 

Applications accepted between September 15th and November 15th, 2014

Award:

Two writers or writer/illustrators will each receive:

  • An all-expense paid trip to the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles August 1-4, 2015 (transportation and hotel)
  • Tuition to the SCBWI Summer Conference
  • A manuscript consultation at the Summer Conference with an industry professional
  • An additional meeting with an industry professional
  • Tuition to the Summer Conference Writers or Illustrators Intensive
  • A press release

 

Eligibility:

Any writer or writer/illustrator from an ethnic and/or cultural background that is traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America. (American Indian, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander)

The manuscript must be an original work written in English for young readers and may not be under contract.  The applicant must be over 18, be unpublished, and should not yet have representation.

Guidelines: 

All applications will be accepted via email only between September 15th and November 15th at Voices@scbwi.org and must include the following:

In the body of the e-mail:

1. An autobiographical statement and career summary in less than 250 words.

2. Why your work will bring forward an underrepresented voice in less than 250 words.

3. A synopsis of your manuscript in less than 250 words.

Attached to the e-mail:

4. A PDF of your entire manuscript.  If the manuscript is not complete, it is not eligible.

The winners will be announced December 19, 2014 and the award presented at the 2015 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles, August 1-4.

When your work is published the author/illustrator should include in the acknowledgement “This book was made possible in part by a grant from SCBWI”

VIEW PAST WINNERS

Questions? voices@scbwi.org

Good Luck! Remember you can not win if you don’t submit.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, awards, Competition, Contest, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishing Industry Tagged: ethnic and/or cultural background, On-The Verge Emerging Voices AWARD, SCBWI, Two Awards

1 Comments on On-The Verge Emerging Voices AWARD, last added: 9/16/2014
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2. Looking for a Fantastic Critique Service?: Picture Book Critiques from Danielle Davis

Click The Logo For More Information.

Have you written a picture book story? Are you looking for a professional critique of your manuscript? Have you considered a critique service, but were reluctant to give it a try?

If you answered “yes” to the three questions above, then you’ve come to the right post. I have also hesitated to send my work to a critique service: What if I don’t agree with what they say? What if they think my story is awful? It costs money.

What you need is a person you can trust to offer suggestions based on her expertise in the picture book market, in a nonjudgmental, positive, and gentle way, and is worth every penny. You need Danielle Davis. 

I recently had a critique done by Danielle. I was more than pleased with her very comprehensive and detailed review of my latest picture book story, Cloud, The Monastery Dog. Not only did she go through my manuscript line by line, leaving comments and suggestions, she also wrote a personal letter with more feedback and advice.

I chose Danielle’s service because (and I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting her) she says, “It’s not about my style or preferences at all—it’s about making the work sing!” I really appreciate that and I would definitely use Danielle Davis’ Picture Book Critique service again.


4 Comments on Looking for a Fantastic Critique Service?: Picture Book Critiques from Danielle Davis, last added: 9/13/2014
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3. YA Authors are amoung the Top Earning Authors

LisaFieldsFallLeaves

This fun fall illustration was sent in and created by Lisa Fields.  She is an illustrator based out of New York City, who is represented by CATugeau Artist Agency.  She says she loves to focus on facial expression and color in her work.  LisaFields.com

Seventeen World’s Top-Earning Authors: Veronica Roth, John Green And Gillian Flynn New on List

Young adult author Veronica Roth‘s ranks 6th on account of her “Divergent” trilogy which sold a combined 6.7 million copies in 2013, earning her around $17 million from print and ebook sales between June 2013 and June 2014. She also benefited from the book’s 2014 film adaption, which grossed $270 million at the global box office. At just 26, Roth is the youngest newcomer on the ranking, and one of seven women on the 17-person list.

37-year-old newcomer John Green’s ”The Fault in Our Stars” propelled him to an estimated $9 million yearly paycheck before taxes and fees. The YA love story, which follows the trials of two cancer-stricken teens, has sold well over 1 million copies in the U.S. and spawned a weepy summer blockbuster.

Green is tied for 12th place with Gillian Flynn, who joins the rankings for the first time due to the continued success of 2012′s “Gone Girl.” While not a YA book, it is a New York Times bestseller that sold 1.2 million copies in 2013; a movie version starring Ben Affleck hits cinemas this year.

A 2012 Bowker Market Research study suggested 55% of YA books are bought by people 18 and older. Adults aged between 30 and 44 accounted for 28% of all YA sales, and the books are purchased for their own reading the vast majority of the time.

“The category has reached adult audiences and really become okay to read,” said Lori Benton, VP Group Publisher at Scholastic Trade Publishing. “Harry Potter was the very first one to reach that audience – it was quickly embraced by children, and just as quickly by adults.”

With $14 million in earnings, the original young adult tour de force, J.K. Rowling, ranks 8th on our list. She continues to earn from back sales of her iconic Harry Potter series, while Pottermore – a proprietary website she setup to sell Harry Potter ebooks – makes her a pretty penny. Unlike most authors, Rowling never signed over the digital rights to her books, so she sells directly to readers, earning far more from these digital sales than most authors do through ebooks.

READ FULL ARTICLE by Natlie Robehmed for Forbes:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/natalierobehmed/2014/09/08/the-worlds-top-earning-authors-veronica-roth-john-green-and-gillian-flynn-join-ranking/

JUNE 2013 – JUNE 2014 TOP SEVENTEEN BEST SELLING AUTHORS – SIX ARE YOUNG ADULT BOOKS (Bolded)

Here’s the List:

ALEX CROSS and MICHAEL BENNETT series: James Patterson 90,000 million. His books account for one out of every 17 hardcover novels purchased in the United States.

INFERNO: Dan Brown 28 million

JEWELS OF THE SUN: Nora Roberts 23 million due to paperback and e-book sales.

A PERFECT LIFE: Danielle Steel 22 million

POWER PLAY: Janet Evanovich 20 million

WIMPY KID: Jeff Kinney 17 million

DIVERGENT Series: Veronica Roth 17 million

SYCAMORE ROW: John Grisham 17 million

DOCTOR SLEEP: Stephen King 17 million

HUNGER GAMES: Suzanne Collins 16 million

HARRY POTTER: J.K. Rowling 14 million

GAME OF THRONES: George R.R. Martin 12 million

KING AND MAXWELL: David Baldacci 11 million

THE HEROS OF OLYMPUS: Rick Riordan 10 million

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY: E.L. James 10 million (Sold 29 million copies in 2012 the U.S. alone. Sales dropped off in 2013 to a combined 1.8 million, but an upcoming movie could boost 2015.

GONE GIRL: Gillian Flynn 9 million

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS: John Green 9 million

You too can join the list. All you need to do is write a great book, get a great Agent, how finds a great publisher, make all the Best Book Lists, sell it to a Hollywood Studio who brings it to the big screen then becomes a blockbuster hit and repeat year after year. So keep writing, because you don’t have a chance to make that happen any other way.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 


Filed under: Hollywood, inspiration, list, News, Publishing Industry, success, Young Adult Novel Tagged: CaTugeau, Lisa Fields, Six YA authors in top selling Book list, Top Earning Authors

1 Comments on YA Authors are amoung the Top Earning Authors, last added: 9/12/2014
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4. August Kudos

jenniferReinherzcropped260It seems like I’ve been hearing from a lot of readers of this blog with good news. Some I can report now, Like Jennifer Reinharz who sent me this news:

The 83rd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition notified me last week that my blog post, “A Pleasant Passover” was awarded 5th place in the Inspirational Writing category. 

She said, “If it wasn’t for your blog, I wouldn’t have entered the contest!”

You can read it on Jennifer’s blog: http://redsaidwhat.com/2014/05/01/128/

karen fortunati260Then I heard from Karen Fortunati. She told me after seeing my post about the SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant, she submitted her Contemporary YA novel, The D-Day List, and WON!

Here’s a blurb about her book:

For seventeen-year-old Catherine Pulaski, life is intolerable with bipolar disorder and depression. There’s only one way out but before she can kill herself, she’s got to accomplish the one item on her D-Day List. And if she does, it may change everything.

I have a feeling I missed someone, so if I missed you please email me again. Thanks!

Here are some other industry changes. Many of you know the lovely Allison Wortche and Katherine Harrison. I was so happy to hear their news.

At Knopf Children’s, Allison Wortche has been promoted to senior editor while Katherine Harrison moves up to associate editor.

Phaidon has hired Cecily Kaiser as publishing director, Children’s Books and Meagan Bennett as art director for the division, both reporting to Deb Aaronson out of the company’s New York offices.

Jonathan Jao will join Harper on September 8 as vp, executive editor, reporting to Jonathan Burnham. Previously he was a senior editor at Random House.

Lauren Scobell has joined Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group as director, Swoon Reads.

You should get out your Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market by Chuck Sambuchino and make the changes.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Editors, Kudos, need to know, News, Publishing Industry Tagged: Jennifer Reinharz, Karen Fortunati, SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant, The D-Day List, The Pleasant Passover, Writer's Digest Annual Contest

7 Comments on August Kudos, last added: 8/14/2014
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5. Why I don't want to self-publish again

(Kate Wilson of the wonderful Nosy Crow asked me to write a guest post for her on my experiences of self-publishing as a published author. For your info, she didn't know what those experiences were, so there was no direction or expectation. I have re-posted it here, with permission. Note that this is personal experience, not advice.)

Many writers, previously published or not, talk excitedly about why they enjoy self-publishing. Let me tell you why I don’t.

I’ve self-published (only as ebooks) three of my previously published YA novels and three adult non-fiction titles which hadn’t been published before. From these books I make a welcome income of around £250 a month – a figure that is remarkably constant. So, why have I not enjoyed it and why won’t I do it again?

It’s damned hard to sell fiction! (Over 90% of that £250 is from the non-fiction titles.) Publishers know this. They also know that high sales are not always about “quality”, which is precisely why very good novels can be rejected over and over. Non-fiction is easier because it’s easy to find your readers and for them to find your book. Take my book about writing a synopsis, for example; anyone looking for a book on writing a synopsis will Google “books on writing a synopsis” and, hey presto, Write a Great Synopsis appears. But if someone wants a novel, the chances of finding mine out of the available eleventy million are slim. This despite the fact that they had fab reviews and a few awards from their former lives.

But some novels do sell well. So why don’t mine? Because I do absolutely nothing to sell them. Why not? Well, this is the point. Several points.

First, time. I am too busy with other writing and public-speaking but, even if I weren’t, the necessary marketing takes far too long (for me) and goes on for too long after publication: the very time when I want to be writing another one. This is precisely why publishers tend only to work on publicity for a short while after publication: they have other books to work on. We may moan but it has to be like that – unless a book does phenomenally well at first, you have to keep working at selling it.

Second, I dislike the stuff I’d have to do to sell more books. Now, this is where you start leaping up and down saying, “But published authors have to do that, too!” Yes, and I do, but it’s different. When a publisher has invested money because they believe in your book, you obviously want to help them sell it. But when the only person who has actually committed any money is you, the selling part feels different. It’s a case of “I love my book so much that I published it – now you need to believe in me enough to buy it.” I can’t do it. Maybe I don’t believe in myself enough. Fine. I think books need more than the author believing in them. The author might be right and the book be fabulous, but I tend to be distrustful of strangers telling me they are wonderful so why should I expect others to believe me if I say I am? And I don’t want to spend time on forums just to sell more books.

Third, I love being part of a team. Yes, I’ve had my share of frustrating experiences in the course of 100 or so published books, but I enjoy the teamwork – even though I’m an introvert who loves working alone in a shed; I love the fact that other people put money and time and passion into selling my book. It gives me confidence and support. They won’t make money if they don’t sell my book and I still like and trust that model.

And I especially love that once I’ve written it and done my bit for the publicity machine and done the best I can for my book, I can let it go and write another.

See, I’m a writer, not a publisher. I may love control – the usual reason given for self-publishing – but I mostly want control over my words, not the rest. (That control, by the way, is never lost to a good editor, and I’ve been lucky with genius editors.) So, yes, I am pleased with the money I’ve earned from self-publishing and I love what I’ve learnt about the whole process, but now I’m going back to where I am happy to do battle for real control: my keyboard.

It’s all I want to do.

Nicola Morgan has written about 100 books, with half a dozen "traditional" publishers of various sizes from tiny to huge. She is a former chair of the Society of Authors in Scotland and advises hard-working writers on becoming and staying published, and on the marketing/publicity/events/behaviour that goes along with that.

She has also just created BRAIN STICKS, an original and huuuuuuge set of teaching resources about the brain and mental health.


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6. Kudos

image9k

Congratulations to everyone in this post. I am sure all of you are doing somersaults like Luther in this new illustration sent in my Amalia Hoffman. http://www.amaliahoffman.com

kirkus_500x95

Kirkus published a great review for Darlene Beck-Jacobson ‘s new book WHEELS OF CHANGE which is coming out in September. I read an advanced copy and wrote a review that is up on Goodreads.

Here are the links:

http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/darlene-beck-jacobson/wheels-of-change-jacobson/

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1023025140vesperrodeen-announce

Vesper Stamper proves that winning a contest can get you noticed and sometimes that is all you need to make things happen. Vesper won the NJSCBWI Illustrator Showcase at the end of June and six weeks later, that win landed her representation with Lori Kilkelly at Rodeen agency.

Yvonne Ventresca was featured in the August NJSCBWI Author Spotlight. Here is the link: http://newjersey.scbwi.org/author-spotlight/author-spotlight-yvonne-ventresca/

carly-watters-p-s-literary-agencyAt P.S. Literary Agency, Carly Watters has been promoted to vp, senior literary agent.

Julia Maguire has joined Knopf Children’s as editor. Previously she was an associate editor at Simon & Schuster Children’s.

Orion Children’s Books editorial director Amber Caraveo is leaving the publisher to become an agent, creating Skylark Literary along with Joanna Moult, officially launching in November. The agency will focus on YA and children’s authors.

The Simon Pulse imprint has promoted Liesa Abrams to vp, editorial director of Simon Pulse and associate editorial director of Aladdin. Plus, Michael Strother is being promoted to associate editor of Simon Pulse.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Editor & Agent Info, inspiration, Kudos, Publishers and Agencies, Publishing Industry Tagged: Amalia Hoffman, Carly Watters, Darlene Beck-Jacobson, Vesper Stamper

3 Comments on Kudos, last added: 8/28/2014
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7. Three years on. By C.J. Busby


I have just had the second book of my second series for children published. It feels like a bit of a milestone.


It's called Dragon Amber, and it's part of a multiple worlds adventure trilogy that started with Deep Amber last March. The cover's lovely, as all of them have been (thanks to David Wyatt), and there's nothing quite like holding the physical copy of your new book in your hands (or even clutching it to yourself as you do a little dance...!!) But it being the second book of the second series made me stop and think. It's my sixth book to be published. While I'm far from being 'established' (whatever that means), it certainly means I'm no longer a total newbie.

Which feels ever so slightly weird, as I still think of myself as a novice, pretending to be an author.

This business of feeling as if you're pretending seems to be something quite a few children's authors suffer from. (It may be related to the fact that very few of us are actually making enough money to feel writing is a 'proper' job, but that's another story...)

Anyway, I thought I'd take this opportunity - as someone who can no longer consider herself a novice - to try and sum up what I have learnt over the last three years of being part of the world of children's publishing.

1. First and foremost: other children's authors - whether well known, just published or still hopeful - are almost all lovely, warm, friendly and modest (and there are not many professions you'd be able to say that of.) Getting together with them, at festivals, conferences, retreats or book launches is a wonderfully affirming thing to do - and helps quite a lot with that feeling of being a bit of a fraud (I AM a children's writer - because I am accepted by all those other lovely children's writers!!)



2. I have almost no control over whether my books do well or not - so I should just relax and maybe cross my fingers occasionally! Being open to opportunities like school visit invites or festivals is fun and part of getting to know the publishing business - tweeting and face booking have been similarly good for getting to know other writer friends. And sometimes opportunities have come from that. But none of it has turned my book into a best-seller, and I don't think there's any magic way of doing so!



3. If I don't want to become mad and bitter, I have to try not to compare my book sales/prize nominations and festival invites with others - and must remember NOT to check the Amazon ranking of my books more than  once a week! There is a great deal of luck and randomness in this business and then there are the unfathomable whims of publishers, reviewers and the reading public (Fifty Shades of Grey, anyone?). Generally (but not always: see aforementioned Fifty Shades) it's Very Good Books that get attention and prizes - equally there are thousands of Very Good Books that don't, and which category mine end up in (even  if they were to be considered Very Good!) is mostly down to serendipity.

Oh - and marketing spend.

Which brings me to no. 4.

4. Publishers put serious time, energy and money behind only a select few of the books they publish. These books are plastered all over websites, magazines, 'hot new trends' lists, twitter, reviews, front window billing at Waterstones and W.H. Smiths.


In the absence of this push, you are lucky if your book ends up in a select few Waterstones branches, or garners an online review from a kind blogger. This is no reflection on the quality of your book - I've met too many other brilliant people with fabulous books who can't get them noticed to think it's entirely a meritocracy. Publishers are scrabbling to find the next Wimpy Kid or Hunger Games, and even they don't know what will trigger that response. Often it's something they have all roundly rejected as too dire to waste ink on (cough, Fifty Shades...) So they put money behind a few, and publish a hundred others in a kind of scattergun approach, in case any of them builds a following by chance. I've learned to treat having a book out as a bit like having bought a lottery ticket - whether it does well or not is as random as whether I win the jackpot or a £10 prize for three numbers.


5. So, finally, after a few years of trying to find the 'magic key' to making a go of this publishing lark, I've learned to just enjoy the moment: to hold my new book in my hands, and do a little jig at having pulled it off one more time. In the book I'm currently reading (The Blade Itself, by Joe Abercrombie) one of the characters is a Northman, hard, battle-scarred, always getting into more impossible fights. At the end of each one, he repeats, as a kind of mantra: 'Still alive, still alive...' I think I feel a bit like that about writing - 'Still there, still there...'


C.J. Busby writes funny fantasy adventures for ages 7 upwards. Her first book, Frogspell, was a Richard and Judy Children's Book Cub choice for 2012. The series is published in Canada by Scholastic and the UK by Templar and has been translated into German and Turkish. Deep Amber, the first of a new trilogy, was published in March 2014. The second instalment, Dragon Amber, came out on 1st September.



"A rift-hopping romp with great charm, wit and pace" Frances Hardinge.

Nominated for the Stockton Book Award 2015.

www. cjbusby.co.uk

@ceciliabusby


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8. Laurie Wallmark – Writing Books for Children

princetonlogo

Do you have an idea for a children’s book? Would you like to share your story with children around the world? Well, Laurie Wallmark is teaching
WRITING BOOKS FOR CHILDREN at Princeton Adult School.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThurs 7:00-9:00pm

October 2 – November 6

In this course you’ll explore: the many joys of writing for children; types of children’s books; elements of a great story; tips to make your writing sparkle; traditional vs. self-publishing; printed books and e-books; avoiding scams, and much more.

Here is the link to sign up.

Share it with your friends who may be starting out on their path to publishing.

Most of you already know Laurie, she was a wonderful Assistant Regional Advisor while I was Regional Advisor for the New Jersey SCBWI.

Here is a little bit about Laurie you might not know:

Laurie is pursuing an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has written numerous articles and stories in children’s magazines (Highlights, Spider, Cricket, and others). Her debut picture book, Ada, will be published by Creston Books in 2016.

Visit Laurie’s blog entitled “All News, No Schmooze: News and Notes for Busy Children’s Book Writers” at http://www.lauriewallmark.blogspot.com.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Author, children writing, How to, need to know, opportunity, Process, Publishing Industry, Self-publishing Tagged: Laurie Wallmark, Princeton Adult School, Writing Boooks for Children

4 Comments on Laurie Wallmark – Writing Books for Children, last added: 9/7/2014
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9. 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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10. Genres: Trends From Editors/Agents Survey

artshowAngela Padron NJ SCBWI art show FINAL

The NJSCBWI Art Show Continues: I think you will enjoy this cute little sea monster in this illustration by Angela Padron. Angela was born and raised in Freehold, NJ but moved to Florida in 2002. For over 15 years, Angela taught bilingual, ESL, Spanish, and Art in public schools before becoming a freelance writer and illustrator. Now she writes and illustrates children’s books, including board books, picture books, chapter books, and middle grade novels.

Below is the slide I made up after tallying the answers to the survey I sent to a total of 38 editors and agents. I asked each whether they thought the genres below where increasing, decreasing, or staying the same and if they expected this to continue for the next year.

GenreTrends

Check back tomorrow for more details.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Conferences and Workshops, Editors, inspiration, need to know, Publishing Industry Tagged: 2014 NJSCBWI Conference, Angela Padron, State of the Market Report

5 Comments on Genres: Trends From Editors/Agents Survey, last added: 7/14/2014
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11. TRENDS: Editor and Agent Market Survey Answers

artshow colleenscbwi entry 2_6
The Artist Showcase from the NJSCBWI Conference continues with this wonderful illustration of the sand and the surf in Cape May, NJ by illustrator Colleen Rowan Kosinski. Colleen is an author/illustrator that has worked as a fine artist for over fifteen years and has artwork hanging in homes across the country. She is a member of the SCBWI and, along with writing and illustrating picture books, she writes MG and YA novels. She is a graduate of Rutgers University. Website: www.colleenrowankosinski.com

MY STATE OF THE MARKET REPORT and AGENT/EDITOR SURVEY CONTINUES BELOW:

agent trends
editors trending

Check back tomorrow for more from answers to question asked in the 2014 State of the Market Report I gave at the NJSCBWI Conference the other week.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Conferences and Workshops, Editors, need to know, Publishing Industry Tagged: 2014 NJSCBWI Conference, 2014 State of the Market Report, Colleen Rowan Kosinski, kathy temean, Presentation

2 Comments on TRENDS: Editor and Agent Market Survey Answers, last added: 7/14/2014
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12. Ebook influences on Book Sales

art show falkenstern_scbwi

The art show that took place at the NJSCBWI Conference continues with this evening illustration done by Lisa Falkenstern.
ebookinfluences


Filed under: illustrating, inspiration, need to know, Publishing Industry Tagged: 2014 State of the Market Report, ebooks fluences on book sales, Kathy Temean's State of the Market, Lisa Falkenstern

1 Comments on Ebook influences on Book Sales, last added: 7/15/2014
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13. Ebook Sales and Who is Reading YA

art showAngie Kidd ShinozakiFrog on a Log

Angie Kidd Shinozaki entered this cute summer frog in the NJSCBWI Artist Showcase.

ebooksales
whoreadsya

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: illustrating, need to know, Publishing Industry, Young Adult Novel Tagged: 2014 NJSCBWI Conference, 2014 State of the Market Report, Angie Kidd Shinozaki, Ebook Sales and Growth, Kathy Temean's State of the Market, Who'es Reading YA?

8 Comments on Ebook Sales and Who is Reading YA, last added: 7/16/2014
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14. Free Fall Friday – KUDOS

artshowvesperdowntheshore-sat

Two awards forVESPER STAMPER for her fun beach illustration. She was the Winner of Published illustrator AND Member’s Choice Awards for Down the Shore … Girl w. Umbrella piece she submitted for the NJSCBWI Artist Showcase.

Colleen Brand submitted a book to Schoolwide.com when she saw the info here and let me know that  they just accepted MY MOTHER’S DAUGHTER (a picture book) for their digital education library.

Lisa Yoskowitz will join Little, Brown Books for Young Readers as executive editor on July 21. Previously she was senior editor at Disney-Hyperion.

At Chronicle Books,Kelli Chipponeri has been promoted to editorial director, children’s.

Paul Whitlatch is joining the Hachette Books imprint as senior editor, starting July 21.

At Harlequin, Erika Imranyi has been promoted to executive editor, Mira.

Leon Husock joins L. Perkins Agency as an associate agent specializing in speculative fiction, as well as young adult and middle grade novels. He was an associate agent at Anderson Literary Management. Rachel Brooks will be joining the agency as a junior agent handling romance, young adult and new adult fiction and select picture books.

Lee Harris will join the Tor.com novella and ebook imprint as senior editor in “late summer.”

Pam van Hylckama Vlieg has left Foreword Literary Agency and joined D4EO Literary Agency, where she will continue to build her list.

Congratulations, everyone!

Remember, Agent Jenny Bent is doing four of our first page critiques this month. Below are the guidelines:

Here are the submission guidelines for submitting a First Page in July:

Please “July First Page Critique” in the subject line. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

Please attach your first page submission using one inch margins and 12 point font – double spaced, no more than 23 lines to an e-mail and send it to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail and then also attach it in a Word document to the email.

DEADLINE: July 24th.

RESULTS: August 1st.

Use inch margins – double space your text – 12 pt. New Times Roman font – no more than 23 lines – paste into body of the email

You can only send in one first page each month. It can be the same first page each month or a different one, but if you sent it to me last month and it didn’t get chosen, you need to send it again using the July’s directions. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the same submission.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Editor & Agent Info, Kudos, Publishing Industry, success Tagged: Colleen Brand, Free Fall Friday, Lisa Yoskowitz, Vesper Stamper

2 Comments on Free Fall Friday – KUDOS, last added: 7/18/2014
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15. YA Digital Book Publishers

Here is a list of publishers who look to publish digital books. I thought you might like to keep this list for future reference, a good list to research. Note: The number of deals are only the ones reported to Publishers Marketplace.

yadigitalpublishersyadigitalpublishers2a
yadigitalpublishers3

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: list, Places to sumit, publishers, Publishing Industry, reference, Young Adult Novel Tagged: 2014 State of the Market Report, YA Digital Publishers

3 Comments on YA Digital Book Publishers, last added: 7/22/2014
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16. Swooning Over Swag (or Christmas in July)

I count myself lucky to know some really terrific people. And one such person is my colleague and friend Brian Abbott. Brian is the coworker who went to the ALA (American Library Association) Midwinter Conference back in January and brought me back several ARCs. (Read more about that by clicking Here.) A few weeks ago, he attended the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas and he came back bearing swag, and lots of it! From posters, to prints, to magnets, and even CDs, they were giving it all away at ALA. And Brian gave a bunch to me! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But his generosity didn’t end there. He waited in line and managed to grab me a signed copy, yes, a signed copy of Caldecott Medal winner Brian Floca’s book Locomotive! (Read my review of Locomotive Here.) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, that’s definitely sweet, but the most unique item Brian brought back was a seven-page, full-color booklet that was given out to attendees of the Newbery Caldecott Awards Banquet. Brian was invited to attend! (Okay, push down the author envy.) The booklet is so cool; it even has a pop-up in it! Swoon.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Brian, you’re awesome! To learn more about adult mystery novelist Brian Abbott, check out his site, The Poisoned Martini, and look for his debut novel Death On Stoneridge, coming soon.


2 Comments on Swooning Over Swag (or Christmas in July), last added: 7/25/2014
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17. The Future of the Independent Book Store

One of the questions I asked Editors and Agents was about the Indy Book Stores. Over the last year, I’ve heard so many writers and illustrators voice their concern about the stores future. We’ve seen some of our favorite book stores shut their doors and every publishing professional knows how lost we would be without them out there to help promote our books, so I had to ask.

First slide responses from editors:
indyeditors
Second slide shows agent responses.
indyagents

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Book Stores, Editors, Publishing Industry, stats Tagged: 2014 NJSCBWI Conference, Agent Responses, Editor Responses, From State of the Market Report, Future of Indy Book Stores

3 Comments on The Future of the Independent Book Store, last added: 7/27/2014
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18. Amazon Ranking vs. Daily Book Sales

Thought you might be interested in the information I presented at the “How to Sell More Books” Workshop I gave at the NJSCBWI Conference in June. You might want to use it as a general rule of thumb when checking out your book (on other books) on Amazon.
amazon rank

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Book, demystify, How to, list, need to know, Publishing Industry, reference Tagged: 2014 NJSCBWI Conference, Amazon Ranking vs. Daily Book Sales, How to Sell More Books

4 Comments on Amazon Ranking vs. Daily Book Sales, last added: 8/2/2014
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19. No Fee Mystery Novel Competition

Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition

— No Entry Fee
Prize: $10,000.00. Entry fee: $0.00. Deadline: 10-15-2014
Minotaur Books and Malice Domestic, imprints of St. Martin’s Press, is inviting mystery fiction writers to enter this year’s Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition. The judges will award a $10,000 standard publishing contract to the author who has written the best book-length story in the mystery genre.Submission guidelines:
1. Submit one manuscript of over 65K words written in English.

2. The manuscript must be original, unpublished, and the work of the author.

3. The author must not have had a mystery book previously published.

4. Murder, mystery, and/or crime should be the core elements of the story.

5. The characters, both the innocent and the presumed guilty, should know one another. The suspects should display valid intentions and logical possibility to have executed the crime. The protagonist must be the “detective” who solves the crime.

The $10,000 prize is offered as an advance against royalty payments.

 

Official Rules for the 2015 Minotaur Books/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

Void where prohibited.

Sponsored by Minotaur Books and Malice Domestic

1. The Competition is open to any writer, regardless of nationality, aged 18 or older, who has never been the author of any Published Mystery Novel (including self-published works and ebooks), as defined by the guidelines below, and is not under contract with a publisher for publication of a mystery novel. Employees, and members of their immediate families living in the same household, of Minotaur Books or Malice Domestic (or a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of either of them) are not eligible to enter. Only one manuscript entry (the “Manuscript”) is permitted per writer. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Please read all of the rules and guidelines before submitting your entry. If you have questions or need further clarification after reading the following rules and guidelines, you may contact us at MB-MaliceDomesticCompetition@StMartins.com.

2. To enter, you must complete an online entry form and upload an electronic file of your Manuscript. The entry form will allow you to upload one electronic file. Only electronic submissions, uploaded through the online entry form, will be considered; do not mail or e-mail your manuscript submissions to Minotaur Books.

To be considered for the 2015 competition, all submissions must be received by 11:59pm EST on October 15, 2014.

a) Manuscripts must be submitted as Microsoft Word documents. All manuscripts must be double-spaced, with pages numbered consecutively from beginning to end. All manuscripts must be saved as “Manuscript Title – Entrant Name.”

b) Each entrant should keep a copy of the Manuscript for his or her own protection.

c) Because of the great volume of submissions we receive and the fact that our judges are volunteers with full-time responsibilities elsewhere, it is important that you submit your Manuscript as early as possible. Submissions will get a more careful reading if the judge does not have to contend with a flood of last-minute entries.

The entry form is available HERE.

3. Entrants must have a valid e-mail address. In case of dispute as to identity of an entrant, entry will be declared made by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address provided to Minotaur Books. “Authorized Account Holder” is defined as a natural person who is assigned an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) responsible for assigning e-mail addresses or the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address. Minotaur Books and Malice Domestic are not responsible for technical, hardware, software, telephone or other communications malfunctions, errors or failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, website, Internet, or ISP unavailability, unauthorized human intervention, traffic congestion, incomplete or inaccurate capture of entry information (regardless of cause) or failed, incomplete, or delayed computer transmissions which may limit one’s ability to enter this Competition, including any injury or damage to any computer relating to or resulting from downloading any materials in this Competition.

4. All Manuscripts submitted:

a) must be original works of book length (no less than approximately 65,000 words) written in the English language;

b) must be written solely by the entrant, who may not be the author of any previously published mystery;

c) must not violate any right of any third party or be libelous, and d) must generally follow the Guidelines below.

GUIDELINES

a. Murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the story. Whatever violence is necessarily involved should be neither excessive nor gratuitously detailed, nor is there to be explicit sex. The suspects and the victims should know each other. There are a limited number of suspects, each of whom has a credible motive and reasonable opportunity to have committed the crime. The person who solves the crime is the central character. The “detective” is an amateur, or, if a professional (private investigator, police officer) is not hardboiled and is as fully developed as the other characters. The detective may find him or herself in serious peril, but he or she does not get beaten up to any serious extent. All of the cast represent themselves as individuals, rather than large impersonal institutions like a national government, the mafia, the CIA, etc.

b. WHAT CONSTITUTES A PUBLISHED NOVEL: For the purpose of this Competition, a “Published Novel” means a work of fiction of at least 40,000 words in length that has been published or distributed, in part or whole, in paper or electronic format or in any other medium. This does not include a chapter excerpt on an author’s website, subject to the conditions that: (i) the excerpt is the only text that exists for public viewing; (ii) the excerpt is not for sale to the public, and (iii) the number of words in the excerpt does not exceed 10% of the total number of words in the work as a whole. (The decision of the Competition’s judges as to whether or not an entrant or a Manuscript qualifies will be final.)

5. Nominees will be selected by judges chosen by the editorial staff of Minotaur Books, and the winner will be chosen by Minotaur Books editors on the basis of the originality, creativity and writing skill of the submission. The decision of the editors as to the winner of the Competition will be final. Minotaur Books reserves the right to cancel or modify the competition if, in the sole opinion of the editors, an insufficient number of qualified Manuscripts are received.

6. An attempt will be made to notify the Competition winner, if any, by telephone or U.S. mail no later than April 1, 2015. If the winner cannot be contacted, an alternate winner may be selected.

7. If a winner is selected, Minotaur Books will offer to enter into its standard form author’s agreement with the entrant for publication of the winning Manuscript. After execution of the standard form author’s agreement by both parties, the winner will receive an advance against future royalties of $10,000. On the condition that the selected winner accepts and executes the publishing contract proposed by Minotaur Books, the winner will then be recognized at the Malice Domestic Convention in Bethesda, Maryland in May 2014.

THE WINNER WILL NOT RECEIVE ANY OTHER PRIZE AND WILL NOT RECEIVE ANY PART OF THE ADVANCE UNTIL THE STANDARD FORM AUTHOR’S AGREEMENT HAS BEEN EXECUTED BY BOTH PARTIES. Those terms of the offer not specified in the printed text of the Minotaur Books standard form author’s agreement will be determined by Minotaur Books at its sole discretion. The entrant may request reasonable changes in the offered terms, but Minotaur Books shall not be obligated to agree to any such changes. Minotaur Books may, but will not be required to, consider for publication Manuscripts submitted by other entrants.

8. No critical evaluation or commentary will be offered by the judges or the editorial staff of Minotaur Books unless, in the sole opinion of the editorial staff, evaluation or commentary is appropriate in the case of a Manuscript being considered for publication.

9. General: No cash substitution, transfers or assignments of prize allowed. All expenses, including taxes, relating to the winner’s publishing contract, are the sole responsibility of the winner. By accepting a prize, the winner releases Minotaur Books and Malice Domestic, and the parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, suppliers and agents of each of them from any and all liability for any loss, harm, damages, cost or expense, including without limitation property damages, personal injury and/or death, arising out of participation in this Competition or the acceptance of the publishing contract. If, for any reason, (including unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other cause beyond the control of Minotaur Books which corrupts or affects the administration, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Competition), the Competition is not capable of being conducted as described in these rules, Minotaur Books and Malice Domestic shall have the right, in their sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Competition.

Good luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Competition, Contest, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Publishing Industry, submissions Tagged: Minotaur Books, Mystery Novel Competition, No Entry Fee, St. Martin's Press

1 Comments on No Fee Mystery Novel Competition, last added: 8/3/2014
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20. Amazon Strategies: Look Inside

amazonlook inside

blondeops

Let’s take a look at another feature that Amazon offers anyone who sells their books on their site.

Don’t miss out on using this feature. This is another reason why it is important to make sure your first chapter sings.

Personally for me to buy, I look over five things:

Price: I buy lots of ebooks that are offered at $1.99 or less, without having read anything about them.

Cover: I don’t buy books where I don’t like the cover, unless someone else said they were good. I guess I believe in first impressions.

Reviews: I read what book is about and a couple reviews. A few bad reviews don’t stop me from buying, since I’ve read many top-seller books that I thought were great that received a few terrible reviews.

Publisher: I check out who published the book. If it is from a well-known publisher, that could seal the deal right there.

Look inside: If I have not clicked the button to buy, I will “Look inside”. That’s when I put on my editor/agent hat and only give five minutes to the author to grab me before I make my decision. Sometimes the problem is that the book really grabs you and then you have to read the whole thing, even when the desk is piled with work and the kitchen needs to be clean. Many of those books have been self-published, so don’t stick your nose up at them or else you might missed something really good.

Here are some tips on using the “Look inside” feature.  

1. Keep front matter to a minimum. You want to make sure the reader can get to the meat of the story quickly. This is also important to do this with the full ebook.

2. Amazon Reviews. Work hard to get as many as you can when you launch the book. This will help raise your ranking and buyers who have read the first pages will look at this, especially if you are self-published.

3. At the end of your book you should ask the reader to write a review. Stats show that this helps you increase your sales numbers.

4. Hot New Releases List on Amazon should be in the forefront of your mind when planning a launch. Talk to your publisher to see if they have planned your novels launch based on other similar books coming out. If there are too many it will hurt your chances of making the list. The list is only good for the first 30 days of a books release.

5. Making sure your blog followers know about your book and doing book tours can help get the word out. It’s nice to get the buzz going, but you need to make sure you keep the big guns for the launch date.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, article, authors and illustrators, Internet, Marketing a book, Process, Publishing Industry, Tips Tagged: Amazon Look Inside, Amazon Strategies, How to Sell More Books, How to Sell More Books Workshop

7 Comments on Amazon Strategies: Look Inside, last added: 8/7/2014
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21. Amazon Strategies: Sales Page

amazonsalespage

If your book is up on Amazon, you can have an Author Page. This is another opportunity for you, so use it. Here are a few tips:

1. Think of your book’s Amazon.com page as a ¼ page ad in a glossy magazine. You want to build excitement, hype, and the urge to buy rather than dutifully explaining your product.

2. Watch out for typos and grammar, so you put your best foot forward. Make sure what is written makes sense. If you can’t write a good Author Page, most people will think you can’t write a good novel, either.

3. Include review quotes. You want to draw someone into buying your book.

4. Put up book trailers, interviews, and videos on your Amazon page.

5. You can show recent blog posts and twitter entries.

6. List places your events and the dates.

7. Another thing you can do is to encourage a discussion with your fans on this page.

Let’s take a look at Yvonne Ventresca’s Author Page:

yvonneauthorpage

Yvonne has included a lot of the tips on the above list, but I’d like to see her add a few quotes from reviews of Pandemic, a book trailer, and to work on getting a video interview she can put up on the page. Adding these things will maximize the free space Amazon has given her and help increase the sales of her new book.

Good job, Yvonne!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, Book, list, Marketing a book, Publishing Industry, Tips Tagged: Amazon Sales Page, Maximize Book Sales, Pandemic, Yvonne Ventresca

2 Comments on Amazon Strategies: Sales Page, last added: 8/6/2014
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22. Why I Self-Published & What Works by Tabitha Grace Smith

If you are curious about self publishing, then you will find author Tabitha Grace Smith’s article fascinating. She has some excellent advice for authors who are considering self publishing. She also explains why she chose the self-publishing path over traditional publishing, what’s involved, and how she makes it work.

Why I Self-Published & What Works
by Tabitha Grace Smith

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was 9 years old. I chose my college, my career (I work in social media marketing), and my hobbies because of this passion for writing. Mostly I had a desire to write adult novels, but when my first niece was born I desperately wanted to write kid’s books. Books had a huge impact on me and I wanted to share that with my nieces (who are now 6 and 7). The idea for my first book came from my cats, who seemed to love sitting on the edge of my bathtub, but never wanted to go in. I wrote Jack the Kitten is Very Brave, a book about a cat who loved being a pirate, but was afraid of water.

I read a lot about the book publishing industry. From my research I knew that picture books are incredibly hard to break into as a first-time writer. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time trying to get published and miss the years where my book would be perfect for my nieces. That sense of a deadline was a huge deciding factor in self-publishing.

Self-publishing has become less of a stigma in the past couple years, but there still is a stigma and anyone who wants to self-publish needs to understand that. I had a lot of questions when I first went about publishing Jack the Kitten is Very Brave and several people immediately assumed that it wouldn’t be a good book if I did it myself.

When it came to choosing how to self-publish I did a lot of research. I wanted a POD (Print on Demand) service so I didn’t get stuck with boxes and boxes of books. I also have a lot of friends who live all over the world so I wanted a service where they could order without paying a TON of money. CreateSpace (which is part of Amazon) wound up being the perfect solution. Just a note here: you shouldn’t need to shell out thousands of dollars to a self-print book service. Beware, there are a lot of scams out there. You’ll never make that money back.

There are four HUGE skills you need to self-publish:
1. Design Skills
2. Art Skills
3. Editing Skills
4. Marketing Skills

Design Skills. Thankfully, I have some design skills. My first job was doing graphics and layout. A big part of doing a book yourself is understanding how to format and set up a layout. You’ll need to understand things like pixels, dpi, how to create a multi-page PDF, page bleeds, etc. If you don’t know these things there are a ton of free classes online to get the skills. Another option is to hire someone. Please make sure to pay for the service. Formatting and layout for a book is a lot of work and it takes a good amount of time.

Art Skills. I have zero art skills. I can draw some pretty awesome stick figures, but that is not good enough for most picture books (Okay, one of my books I drew myself, but it’s pretty doodle-y). For the artwork I had a dear friend, Mindy Lou Hagan, who I had seen a ton of art from. I loved her style and we worked together on the layout and images. I have to be completely honest here, a lot of the unsuccessful self-published children’s books I’ve seen have terrible artwork. Do yourself a favor and search for a good artist. If you have no artistic talent yourself or you have no artistic friends, search sites like Deviantart.com. Again, pay your artist. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine when artists don’t get paid. Artwork is at least 50% of the selling point of a children’s book. Mindy and I agreed on payment before we started the project. Have that all in writing.

Editing Skills. Picture books need as much (if not more) editing as a novel. Have as many people as you can read your book before you publish it. I found out early on that people will catch different things, so multiple editors really helps. Also, try and have at least a couple friends who will be 100% honest with you (i.e. don’t just have your mom read it). Have the editors edit the text, have them edit the text placement, and have them edit the story. Read the story out loud to kids and check their enthusiasm level (if you have no kids, ask a local school librarian if you can come in and read your book). Edit. Edit. Edit. A lot of first-time writers are way too attached to their writing. As a result, they’re not open to edits and changes. Don’t be that person. Listen to what your editors say and take it to heart if they’re right.

Marketing Skills. So you have a book. It’s uploaded. Fantastic! No one is going to buy it. This is the huge con for self-publishing. There are no sales without your marketing. Absolutely none. There are thousands of books out there that someone can buy for their child. If they don’t know about your book, they will not buy it. You’re going to need to sharpen your marketing skills. Learn how to use social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) effectively, learn how to publicize without being spammy (check the authors that you love and see how they do it), offer a print copy of your book to some bloggers (check to see how much interaction they have on their blog), pitch yourself to local schools and offer a free author visit, ask folks for help to get the word out, and find places you can sell your book (local fairs, garage sales, charity events, etc.). Cross-promotion with other blogs and authors is your big friend here. I think 90% of the time people usually buy self-published books because they love the author.

There are a couple other things you need to learn like self-employment taxes, keeping track of expenses, etc. Find a tax accountant who can help you with that if you start making some good money off your book.

{From Tabitha Grace Smith’s book Machu the Cat is Very Hungry}

Another option for publishing and getting the funds you need to publish is crowdfunding. My latest book, Jack the Kitten is Very Sleepy, I am funding through Kickstarter. This is a great way to get fans in on helping make the book and pay for the artwork. If you’d like to check it out, it’s here: bit.ly/SleepyJack. If you like pirates and cats, it may be the perfect book for you!

Kickstarter is a huge commitment; I often tell people it’s like a full-time job. So if you’re thinking about crowdfunding, I really suggest backing a couple projects first to see what works and what doesn’t.

I’ve been very happy with how well my books have done so far. I’m no Stephen King of picture books, but I’ve sold a good amount. Copies of my books are all over the world. I get awesome letters from kids who have read my books. Best of all, my nieces love my books and I get to read them to them whenever I visit. School visits are probably my favorite. Once, I was walking the hall of one school as the kids were going home, one of the little first graders got all excited when she saw me and waved like mad and said, “Hi, Author!”. It was a really fun feeling.

My big take away from the whole experience is that self-publishing and doing it well is a lot of work, but it’s a ton of fun too. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and give help to others whenever you can. Another thing that really helped me was giving my book away. A lot. Ultimately, I wanted kids to read it, not to become rich. One time I was at a car wash fundraiser and I saw a very sad little boy. I happened to have copies of my book in my bag and I gave him one. His face lit up like it was Christmas. That was well worth buying the book myself and giving it away. After all, what good is a book if no one reads it?

Well said, Tabitha!

Tabitha Grace Smith is a professional geek, blogger, writer, web designer, podcaster, social media expert, and strategist. She holds a B.A. in Communications from Moody Bible Institute and an M.A. and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She’s written five children’s books including, Jack the Kitten is Very Brave and Machu the Cat is Very Hungry, which were based on her real life cats. You can find them on Amazon or over at MachuandJack.com. She also wrote a book for reluctant readers called Mary Lou Wants to Be A Big Star and a book about dealing with bullies called Everyone’s Mean, Except When They’re Not. Both are available on Amazon. Her latest book, Jack the Kitten is Very Sleepy is currently being funded through a Kickstarter campaign.

Find her on Goodreads or online at tabithagracesmith.com.

{The real Jack and Machu with their books}

{Tabitha Grace Smith's latest picture book}

{Tabitha Grace Smith’s latest picture book}


4 Comments on Why I Self-Published & What Works by Tabitha Grace Smith, last added: 6/27/2014
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23. Second thoughts on the value of reading in childhood - Clémentine Beauvais


After the let’s-call-it fruitful debate a few months ago on this blog on the value of reading, I was left uneasy. I felt that the question I was truly interested in hadn’t been addressed; instead, the discussion revolved around ‘trash’ and ‘quality’ literature, which wasn’t what I felt to be central to my post.


But I fully understand why. My original post was unnecessarily vociferous and talked about ‘trash’ without definition. I knew very well that it would be a controversial post, but I wrote it too fast and I should have anticipated that this particular aspect would dominate the discussion.

What I was really interested in was the following question: ‘Who benefits most from the notion that any reading is preferable to no reading (or to encounters with other media such as films and video games) in childhood?’

My original blog post failed in part because I was not assertive enough in expressing why there may be an issue with the valorisation of (‘just any’) reading in childhood. I tentatively said things like ‘There are problematic ideological and economic reasons why…’, but didn’t spell them out. I would like to go back to this point because I do think it’s important to have a discussion about it.

Of course, I see reading as essential – and not just because verbal literacy is an important skill. Like all of us on this blog, I do believe that there is something about reading that sets it apart from other types of artistic or fictional encounters, and I love nothing more than seeing children who enjoy reading.

However, I think we have to admit that that somethingis very hard to pin down, and I am unconvinced by the unspoken hierarchy which puts reading ‘above’ film-watching, video-game-playing etc. in the minds of adults who care about and look after children.

(Therefore I completely agree with all the commenters who said that there should be no hierarchy between ‘classic’ novels and comics, for instance. I said this in a comment that got buried somewhere: I am NOT a 'genre' or 'media snob': I do not classify 'low' and 'high' quality literature in terms of genres or media. On the contrary; I think such distinctions can only exist within genres and media. This is between brackets because I don’t wish to get into another conversation about ‘trash’ and ‘quality’, but go ahead if you really want to…)

I’m unconvinced by this hierarchy, but moreover I am worried about who and what it serves. Of course, it uncontroversially serves children. Having motivated and passionate mediators, teachers, librarians, parents who value reading makes children from all backgrounds more likely to encounter books and to enjoy reading.

However, the undebated claim that any reading is good is also highly profitable to the publishing industry as a whole, indiscriminately. And here I'm uncomfortable. As authors, we don’t want to criticise the publishing industry; we want to support it. Publishing is in a state of unprecedented crisis, so we don’t want to make distinctions as to which parts of the industry to support and which parts to criticise, especially on such elusive grounds as ‘quality’.

Furthermore, authors are under pressure (implicit or explicit) not to express negative opinions they may have about the publishing industry. Mid-list authors, especially, can’t afford to talk about requests they get to make books more commercial, more gendered or less political. The problem doesn’t come from individual editors of course; very often they are distraught to be making such requests. They are themselves under pressure from other departments.

Regardless; in the Anglo-Saxon market, children’s publishers profit to a very large extent from the consensus that any readingis better than no reading when it comes to children.  We should talk about this fact much more than we currently do, because it is problematic. The publishing industry has a very strong financial incentive in maintaining this consensus – and currently, I think that we (authors, mediators, teachers, librarians= 'child people') are maintaining it for them, for free.  

When we say that ‘it’s good’ that children are reading, whateverthey may be reading, we are not just supporting ‘reading for pleasure’ (though I accept that we are in part). The sincere desire to be on the side of children is not met by an equally sincere wish on the part of the publishing industry, too many aspects of which are utterly unburdened by such considerations as artistic worth, child development or the value and pleasures of reading. And yes, I know, #NotAllPublishers.

Like several other commenters, I think the dichotomy between ‘reading for pleasure’ and ‘serious’ or ‘quality’ reading is hugely problematic. This dichotomy happens to profit, very conveniently, contemporary children’s publishing in its most undesirable aspects.

By ‘most undesirable aspects’ I mean extreme commercialism, market imperatives superseding or driving editorial work, reliance on formulae and ‘what sells to TV or cinema’, etc. And often, this leads to the production of books which are ideologically problematic (resting on lazy sexist, racist, classist, etc., clichés).

There is always the argument, of course, that those profit-driven aspects of the publishing industry serve to fund the more niche, quality books. This argument may be valid in part, but it’s too neat a defence to convince me fully.

I’m not naïve – I know very well that ‘publishing isn’t a charity’ (that’s something we hear a lot as writers - another mantra we gradually internalise.) I don’t think there is an easy solution to these problems. Other countries do things differently, privileging quality and accepting very niche books, but writers earn much less money than we do here (yes, it’s possible…) and there’s virtually no way of scraping a living out of writing.

I do believe that a quiet way of making a small difference could be to stop condoning the indiscriminate statement that any reading is a good thing (which doesn’t mean ripping books out of children’s hands – just saying this in case someone is tempted to pull the ‘censorship alert’ cord).

A not-so-quiet way is to have this kind of debate, politely but firmly, on a public forum such as this one. 
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Clementine Beauvais writes children's books in both French and English. She blogs here about children's literature and academia and is on Twitter @blueclementine

0 Comments on Second thoughts on the value of reading in childhood - Clémentine Beauvais as of 6/28/2014 4:17:00 AM
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24. State of the Children’s Publishing Market

The New Jersey SCBWI Conference was this past weekend and it was a roaring success. I open up Sunday with a State of the Market Report and as promised, here is the first installment.  I included the top six publishers from June 2013 – June 2014 vs. June 2012 – June 2013, with their industry ranking and amount of contracts comparisons in YA – MG – PB. The most interesting thing to me was the fact that Sky Pony Press was ranked number 6 in the list of Top Publishers. I think this is quite a feat, considering they opened their door less than 3 years ago. I’m impressed.

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Check back tomorrow to see the next three slides. If you attended the conference, I hope we had time to say “Hello.” It really was a great conference and it was wonderful to see all my old friends and meet new friends who I hope to see again next year.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Middle Grade Novels, picture books, publishers, Publishing Industry, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Contracts cateogries broken down, last year vs. June 2012-2013, State of the Market Report, Top 15 Children's Publishers, Who's Growing Who's Not

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25. State of the Market Part Two

DiLorenzo_SummerPainting

Every year there is an art exhibit with a theme during the NJSCBWI Conference. This year it was Summer. I planned to collect them and post all of them together, but I changed my mind and decided to use with posts as they come in. This wonderful illustration was painted by Barbara DiLorenzo. You can visit Barbar’s website at: www.barbaradilornezo.com.  

This is the continuation of yesterday’s post.smrslide7a
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Check back tomorrow for Part three. If you had something in the art show, please send me a .jpg so I can show it off.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Conferences and Workshops, Middle Grade Novels, picture books, publishers, Publishing Industry, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Analysis of Children's Book Publishers, Number of Contracts Signed, Publisher Books Who and What is Growing, State of the Market Report

2 Comments on State of the Market Part Two, last added: 7/1/2014
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