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Deadline is tomorrow for entering your first page for critique with Agent Rachel Orr from The Prospect Literary Agency. Click here for the details. Many of you have been asking me for information about the June Conference in Princeton. Below is what I know so far:
The 2013 SCBWI Annual June Conference dates are now confirmed so mark your calendars!
June 7-9, 2013 – Princeton, NJ
Picture book illustrator/author Peter Brown (Children Make Terrible Pets, You Will Be My Friend, Creepy Carrots) and YA/MG author Lauren Oliver (Delirium, Pandemonium, Requiem, Before I Fall, The Spindlers), as this year’s keynote speakers. Both speakers will be giving an additional presentation at the conference, too, so this is not to be missed folks!
Same location new name: The Crowne Plaza-Holiday Inn Express (formerly the Wyndham Princeton Forrestal Hotel) features newly renovated guest rooms.
As we have done in the past, the intensives will be held Friday and the main conference will be held Saturday and Sunday.
We’ll keep you posted on the faculty line up, so if you are on the New Jersey SCBWI list, watch your inbox for more details soon! Registration will be open mid-to-late February.
CALL FOR CONFERENCE PROPOSALS
Deadline: Submit proposals no later than 5 p.m., January 30, 2013.
Do you have some inspiring wisdom to share with your peers? Can you motivate others with valuable insight, tips and tricks of the trade? Can you help others work on their craft of writing and illustrating children’s books?
We have some slots available for authors or illustrators to give workshops at the June conference this year. Experience in your field is preferable. Please read the proposal form including the terms carefully before submitting your proposal.
New Jersey SCBWI 2013 Conference
Workshop/Intensive Proposal Application
All potential workshop and intensive presenters must submit a written proposal. We are interested in a variety of types of workshops/intensives, both lecture and hands-on.
Submit a separate form for each workshop/intensive you are proposing.
Conference Dates: June 7-9, 2013 2013 Conference Location: Wyndham Princeton
Proposal Due Date: To be received no later than 5 p.m., January 30, 2013
We will strive to notify presenters by February 15, 2013
The compensation below does not apply to Keynote Speakers, Editors, Agents or Art Dirs.
1. All workshops will receive an honorarium of $80. So if you submit a proposal to do a workshop with other authors, the group will receive $80 to split.
2. Authors/illustrators who have a workshop scheduled on Saturday can come in for their workshop and stay to sell their books at the Saturday bookfair without paying for the conference. If your workshop is schedule before lunch, then you will be invited to join us. Please note: Last year, most author or illustrator workshops were scheduled in the afternoon on Saturday or Sunday.
3. Any solo presenter who conducts a workshop on Sunday only, can come in for their workshop and stay for the morning and attend lunch at the conference without paying admission. Monitory compensation the same as above.
4. Any author/illustrator doing a workshop and has paid to attend the conference will also be invited to the Faculty Dinner on Saturday night.
5. Anyone doing more than one solo workshop will receive free admission to the Mix and Mingle on Friday night.
6. Any solo presenter who does four or more workshops during the weekend and at least six critiques, will receive free admission into the conference, receive a $300 honorarium and will receive an invitation to the Faculty Dinner. Any author doing more than six critiques will have $25 added to their $300 honorarium for each additional critique.
7. If you are chosen to conduct a four-hour Intensive Workshop on Friday afternoon, you will receive $25 for each person who registers for your Intensive and also receive free admission to the Mix and Mingle. Conference is not included.
8. Payment will be mailed within two weeks of the conference.
On May 3rd, 2012 Victor R. Volkman and Tyler R. Tichelaar spoke with veteran radio host and media maven Cyrus Webb, President of Conversations Media Group. Cyrus been active in the arts for over a decade and has used his passion for engaging discussions to build his media brand. Through his radio show he has interviewed Pulitzer-Prize winners, celebrity musicians and actors as well as individuals with a powerful story to tell. Tonight, Cyrus Webb shared his inside information on how you can make yourself into a guest that radio interviewers can’t refuse! We touched on all aspects of guest appearances including:
What are some of the most important things for the author wanting to be interviewed to know about the host and the show?
Do interviewers prefer a hard copy of the book prior to the show or an electronic copy?
Can a book be too old, do you have to pitch it in a special way?
Give us the top 5 mistakes people who are new to the medium will make
Is there a difference in how to approach internet radio vs. AM talk radio or other segments?
What can fiction authors talk about?
How early should I arrive for an interview that is in person or how early should I call if over the phone?
After the interview is over should I contact the host or producer again to say thanks and ask for a review if one hasn’t been written?
On September 15th, 2011 Irene Watson and Victor R. Volkman spoke with children’s author, publisher, and marketing guru Barbara Techel. She is the award-winning author of the Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog book series. She has shared her story of hope and inspiration about her dachshund, Frankie, who is in a wheelchair, with thousands of children and adults since 2007. To date they have made over 300 appearances in Wisconsin and many more via Skype to classrooms across the US and Canada. Barbara is also a speaker and publisher. She appeared on our show to help all authors who may be having trouble getting started in speaking at schools and libraries some ideas and inspiration. A few topics we covered include:
What to include in your presentation.
Types of presentations
Ideas for what fiction authors can speak about
Pitfalls to avoid in pitching classroom appearances
Appropriate length for various ages
Managing the sales appropriately
Where to speak: In-person and via Skype
What to charge for classroom appearances
Marketing your message and appearances to schools
Barbara Techel (and Frankie)
Barbara and Frankie are avid volunteers as a therapy dog team. They routinely visit a local hospice community, hospital and senior assisted living facility, where they “walk their talk” about the inspirational nature of perseverance in the face of challenge.Since before her first book was published, Barbara has worked tirelessly to promote her books and the positive message they embody. She has garnered coverage for her story from local, regional and national media through these efforts, and continues to develop and refine her marketing message and approach. Class Act: Sell More Books Through School and Library Author Appearances is her first book about what she’s learned, but not likely her last.
Class Act: Sell More Books Through School and Library Author Appearances
I am VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS!!!!!! (so excited, I find myself pounding the caps lock and spitting out exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!)
It gets better.
I will be chatting with the One, the Only, Maureen Johnson, who is a great writer and quite possibly the funniest woman in the world.
This is a ticketed event, so you’ll want to buy your tickets as soon as possible. Bring your book club. Bring your mom. Dad. Bring the whole family!!!
Please bring some ibufrofen and bags of ice. And a few bananas. I wouldn’t mind a bagel, either.
Because that morning I will be running (i.e. shuffling with great purpose) the New York City Half-Marathon. So, no, I will not be demonstrating any tap dancing routines at Symphony Space. But come anyway. We’re going to have a blast.
Irene Watson and Victor R. Volkman spoke with author, entrepreneur, and marketing guru Alan E. Smith on how to line up and successfully execute media interviews on AM, FM, Satellite, and BlogTalk Radio stations. Alan is the author of How To UnBreak Your Health. Since the first edition of his book was published in late 2007 he’s been interviewed on more than 70 radio programs. He’s been on AM, FM, Internet and even satellite radio shows talking about his book about complementary and alternative medicine. Topics covered:
Why should authors use radio to promote their book?
Is one type of radio (AM, FM, Internet) better than another for generating book sales and visibility?
How do you find a radio show that might want to have you on?
How do you get on a radio show?
What’s the best way to prepare for a radio interview?
What do you do during an interview?
Is there anything you suggest doing after an interview?
How do you capitalize on an interview after it’s over?
We’ve even had Alan Guest Host a couple of Authors Access shows and I highly highly recommend you listen to our roundtable episode called “Podcasting For Authors” which has all the resources you need to start your very own podcast. Since his college education was in broadcast journalism he chose to make radio his primary marketing tool for his book, also because it was free.
UnBreak Your Health(TM) offers proven healing techniques from the most modern innovations to ancient healing therapies. With 339 new and updated listings in 150 different categories this is the most complete book ever published on complementary and alternative therapies (no diets or supplements). This updated edition again focuses on therapies, systems and devices in the field of complementary, alternative and integrative medicine. Many topics also have accompanying podcast interviews with leaders and innovators in the field
On November 4th, 2010 Alan E. Smith and Tyler R. Tichelaar spoke with author, blackbelt, and media access guru Jim Bouchard, about how to develop yourself into a successful personality sought by the media. Jim Bouchard has spoken to numerous companies and organizations including theCEO Club of Boston, the University of New England, , the Association for Consulting Expertise, , and the Boy Scouts of America, to name but a few. He appears regularly on radio, TV and in person sharing his message of excellence, discipline, focus and opportunity. He spoke on a wide range of aspects including:
What does it mean to Think Like a Black Belt?]
What are some of the key characteristics of Black Belt Mindset?
Why is Black Belt Mindset so important in today’s world?
How do you apply Black Belt Mindset to business or personal life?
What exactly is success? Can anyone become successful?
Is this just another “positive thinking” philosophy or “secret?”
What’s wrong with positive thinking?
Do you need to be a martial artist to Think Like a Black Belt?
Martial arts transformed Jim Bouchard’s self-perception from that of drug abuser, college drop-out and failure to success as a professional martial artist and Black Belt. Today Jim tours nationally to teach his Black Belt Mindset philosophy. His second book, Think Like a Black Belt was released in May, 2010. This first book is Dynamic Components of Personal Power.
Thought you would find these observations from Verla Kay a help when planning your school visits.
1. Kindergartener and PreSchool children won’t sit for longer than 15 minutes without getting restless. When I talk to this age group, I teach them a simple “activity” song that they act out after about 15 minutes. They have to stand and sit as they sing different words in the song. It’s a song from long ago, so it “fits” into the historic theme of my books and it works out the wiggles in them and leaves them laughing, exercised and happy for the remainder of my presentation.
2. First through Third graders can sit for 30 to 45 minutes, as long as you keep the talk focused around things that interest this age group. Telling very short, interesting stories about your writing, your characters, or yourself will usually keep their attention from wandering.
3. Fourth through eighth graders can handle presentations that are 45 minutes to an hour-long. They can go as long as an hour and half if it’s a hands-on workshop session where they are writing their own stories with your guidance.
4. High school kids and adults can have all day sessions, as long as you have a lot of personal interaction and hands-on workshop sessions.
Making sure you are prepared to fill the proper amount of time for each age group can give you great peace of mind before and during your school visits.
Kids of all ages (and adults, too) love to see photos of authors as babies and children. If you can manage to show some of these to the kids throughout your presentation, it’s a great way to keep their attention focused on you and your talk. If the photos you show are humorous, it’s a fantastic way for authors who aren’t comedians to get some laughter and joy into their presentations. Let the photos tell the jokes for you. Laughter keeps your audience’s attention and makes them remember you fondly after you have gone home.
After Hillary Clinton lost to Barack Obama in Iowa, the London Times columnist David Aaronovitch suggested that part of Mrs. Clinton’s problem might lie in our contradictory attitudes to women’s public speech. If their style is assertive they are labeled “shrill” and “strident”; if it is softer and more conciliatory, that casts doubt on their ability to lead. However she speaks, it seems a woman cannot win. (more…)
An Article First Published in Buzzwords Magazine in 2007
Preaching to the Not-Necessarily Converted
By Sally Murphy
Most children’s authors know the importance of self-promotion, and most are equally aware of the value of speaking engagements as a self-promotion tool. Most of these engagements involve speaking to the converted: those who have a ready interest in children’s books, including
My husband came home from work today very frustrated and restless. He went to a meeting comprised of approximately 60 business people. There was a microphone for attendees to speak into when they asked or answered a question. Dozens of the 60 attendees did NOT speak loud enough to be heard. Speakers were asked repeatedly to repeat what they had said, louder and more directly into the microphone. How irritating is that?
I realize that some people are not comfortable speaking in public, but this was not a one person presentation. (Obviously I am not shy or I would not be a children’s book author who travels around to schools and uses ridiculous cartoon voices in my presentations in front of hundreds of kids and adults.) But as adults, shouldn’t we be able to literally speak loud enough to be heard? I don’t get it.
I have always been outgoing and used to pray when I was a kid that I could be shy. It never worked. I admire shy people for keeping quiet when I cannot. I always used to think shy people thought I was an idiot for talking too much. But I have had several people explain to me that introverts like to be around extroverts so they don’t have to do the talking themselves. Should I be offended by that?
I am getting off subject here a bit. The bottom line is that if you have something to say, say it loud enough so everyone who is listening can hear it. If you cannot speak up, perhaps it is better to not speak. That seems like a shame to me, since everyone knows something about something and can make the world a better place by sharing that with someone. Are you getting some of this some of the time?
There are organizations that help people get over their fear of speaking like Toastmasters. I have heard a lot of good things about that organization bringing people out of their shells. Check it out if you are one who sweats bullets or get stomach cramps at the thought of speaking into a microphone in front of strangers. If not for yourself than do it for your children. You don’t want them to not be able to be heard, and you’ll be setting a good example.
I’m just back from Illinois where last weekend, I taught a Novel Revision retreat to a fantastic group of writers. One of the humorous things that happened: One writer had a chapter in which a character wrote about a condominium, but the character couldn’t spell, so wrote, “. . . the condom. . .” When the author later decided to cut the whole chapter, it became a password for the retreat: Cut the Condom Chapter!
Then, I did a school visit at a local school yesterday.
Today, I’m trying today to prioritize what needs to be done.
Speaking. I’ve been asked for proposals to speak at two upcoming events and those must be done today.
Planning Fall Retreat. I’m still the director of the Arkansas SCBWI Fall Retreat. (The dates are September 25-27 — hold the dates and look for details soon!) Today, I will be talking to the editor we’ve invited to iron out details.
Writing. Well, I’m still just a couple chapters away from finishing my WIP! And I have plans for another novel mss that I’m anxious to get to. Plus, there’s the odd picture book thrown in here and there. And a structured approach to finding ideas.
Publicity. The paperback version of The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman comes out in May and I need to do several hours work on publicity for that.
Life. Oh, yes, I have a life! Besides grocery shopping, cleaning house, etc. there’s also the looming tax deadline of April 15, my daughter’s wedding in May, and my son’s graduation in May.
How do we juggle all this? And people ask me, what do you do all day, since you don’t work?
I suspect that every person has voices in their head that constantly throw out their opinion on everything. When you think you’re the one deciding what to wear, it’s actually the voices of conflict that live just under the level of your consciousness:
“Really? That shirt? The one with the spot you think nobody sees?”
“You look so awesome in that shirt, that spot ain’t gettin’ the attention, if you know what I mean.”
In my case, I have my two grandmas who have passed on but continue to advise me on all matters from shoe choice to freeway exits.
Grandma Dolores is the “Everything you do is art” voice.
Grandma Kernik is the “Are you sure you won’t get trampled by elephants?” voice.
They are pleased to meet you, I’m sure. In fact, rather than dialing down the volume on their voices, I’ve decided they should weigh in regularly on the blog. Okay, maybe it was they who decided to go public.
Get used to it. I’ve had to.
Some Stuff Happening in May
For me, May is shaping up to be massively busy and simply awesome.
One thing that’s keeping my beehive mind occupied lately is a guest speaking engagement. Here’s the announcement I posted in the May member newsletter I sent out last week:
SCWBI Oregon Spring Conference: May 17-19
I’ll be appearing as a Special Guest Speaker for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Oregon chapter Spring conference.
Wow. Say that five times fast. Or once. Slow.
I’m so excited to start sharing my digital illustration secrets with a live audience. I’m also giving every member of the audience a gift. I’m actually giving away the best digital illustration tool that technology has ever provided to every single person in attendance. Nope, no kidding.
If you’ll be in Portland May 17-19 and have an interest in children’s publishing, you can register for the conference here: http://scbwior.com
Am I crazy? I mean, seriously.
First, I’m presenting to a large audience of illustrators. It will either be twenty minutes of madcap fun where I educate talented artists on digital technique…
… or it will totally suck and I’ll be escorted out by security.
Okay, so I’ve done this before with my digital animation techniques in Los Angeles and Chicago. It went over well, no hissing or tomato tossing. So why am I worried now? This should be old hat, right?
Truth is, it’s never old and the Big Fear never ceases to lock my bowels in a tight-fisted grip as I wait in the wings. Is there a toilet off stage?
Second, I’m giving away stuff.
I’ve never given anything away before on this level. Yet here I go. One marvelous piece of technological gadgetry to every person in attendance.
The Grandmas weigh in:
Grandma K: Do you want some 7-Up? That will keep you from vomiting on the front row. You don’t want to do that, do you?
Grandma D: I’m sure you’ll be wonderful. You know, I remember when you gave that presentation a while back. You were so entertaining.
Me: Grandma, that was Thanksgiving 1974. I was putting tupperware on my head and pretending to be an astronaut.
Grandma K: I’ve heard that plastic absorbed through the scalp causes premature baldness. Do you think that’s what happened?
Grandma D: Well, I think you look very distinguished with that shaved head. Like a teacher.
Grandma K: Are you really just giving away those things to all those people? That sounds expensive. Can you afford it?
Like it or not, the grandmas will be at the conference. I hope they don’t embarrass me.
I’m just back from a Novel Revision Retreat in San Rafael, CA. What a great time. I always learn so much from other writers.
My suite-mate wasn’t taking my class, but I watched her hunker down for a weekend of writing and learned that sometimes solitude is just as helpful as working in a group.
I learned all over again, that critique groups can be more honest and more helpful than anyone expects.
I learned that continuing a group after a retreat like this means commitment to common goals. We talked about how to extend those goals by creating rituals (For example, a Friday check-in to see how you did that week, as the Summer Revision Smackdown has done.)
I learned that it is San Ra-FELL, not San RA-fey-ELL. And that is in ma-WREN County, not MARE-in County.
I learned that young men liked to read Tom Sawyer because they fell in love with Becky Thatcher. (Thanks, Howie, for a great laugh!)
I learned that we all need to do a better job of sharing information about advances. If you’ve sold a picture book in the last five years, I urge you to fill out Barbara’s Kanninen’s survey. If you do, she will send you a copy of the most recent results of that survey.
On September 3rd, 2009 Irene Watson and Victor R. Volkman spoke with image consultant and business coach Deborah Reynolds. She is the author of Getting You Noticed Known and Remembered: Building Your Business Image From the Inside Out, which will be released in 2009. Deborah specializes in working with entrepreneurs and executives, helping to redefine, repair, create and build the image and reputation of individuals and companies, giving them a competitive edge in the marketplace so they will be Noticed, Known, and Remembered. Deborah informed us on key aspects of how your personal integrity and presentation can drive your success in
Stage Presence when an author is speaking
Language used when speaking
Connecting with the audience
Deborah Reynolds worked for fifteen years in law enforcement before taking an “about face”. Her service with the Correctional Service of Canada included “life on the installment plan” working in an “all male” federal prison. Her reputation with international law enforcement personnel was gained as a tenacious Immigration Investigator. The highlights of her law enforcement career were the capture of one of “America’s Most Wanted” and the “Second Most Wanted in Germany”. Deborah brings the same passion and drive to her business and is a sought after International Motivational Speaker, Business Consultant and Image Expert on such topics as leadership, change management, values and character, and team communication and performance strategies. She says, “It’s important to create a good first impression, but it’s essential to create a great lasting impression.” www.AboutFaceImage.com
On January 8th, 2010, we convened a roundtable discussion on Podcasting for Authors with Victor R. Volkman, Irene Watson, and Alan E. Smith. Each of the principals invited has been recording and distributing podcasts for several years through Authors Airwaves,Inside Scoop Live, and UnBreak Your Health, and podcast programs respectively. Our discussion ranged through a wide variety of subjects from production to promotion to book tie-ins and of course, getting started.1. How did you get into podcasting?
2. Is it hard to do, do I have to learn a lot of stuff?
3. Should I use blogtalkradio or do-it-myself?
4. How do I get guests, what do I talk about?
5. How do I promote the podcast?
6. What is RSS.XML and stuff like that
7. How can I tie my book into the podcast without making it an endless infomercial?
8. Can I integrate or interweave my book and podcast content?
9. How do I measure success?
10. What about audio quality? tips
Alan E. Smith
Victor Volkman specializes in the audio engineering aspects and has done audio editing for quality control on more than 200 podcasts, including all 102 podcasts of Authors Access. The chief problems that he works on involve noise reduction, balancing the levels, integrating background music and commercials, fixing speech problems, and maintaining quality and continuity. His audio editing suite is Goldwave Version 5. Irene Watson is the owner of Reader Views, a full-service book marketing and publicity firm with a wide range of services from reviews to interviews to book editing and agenting. In 2005, she created Inside Scoop Live which has produced nearly 400 shows which is now primarily hosted by Juanita Watson. Inside Scoop Live is a global internet-based broadcast specializing in interviewing published authors about their current books and areas of expertise. Her preferred recording platform is Audio Acrobat dot com” Alan E. Smith is the author of Unbreak Your Health: The complete guide to complementary and alternative therapies. Alan has produced 55 podcasts since 2008 with a variety of guests from bestselling authors such as Bruce Lipton, PhD, who wrote “The Biology of Belief” which was a major influence of the infamous “What the Bleep” movie and also the creators, deans, and master teachers of many techniques such as Naturopathy, Chiropracty, Energy Medicine, Therapeutic Touch, and dozens of others.
I'm in Key West, Florida this week on a scouting mission for a possible event and I'm also going to be speaking tonight (Wednesday) night, January 27th at 6:30 p.m. at the Monroe County Public Library.
Yesterday, after an authentic Cheeseburger in Paradise at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville...
...where I *did* find my lost shaker of salt...
...we took a stroll down Duval Street and cut over to Whitehead Street to the Ernest Hemingway house.
Now, this place isn't just the former residence of one of America's greatest writers, but it's also home to forty-three polydactyl kitty cats who call the grounds of the museum home.
As you can see here, Miss Marlene Dietrech apparently can't read the "Do Not Sit on Furniture" sign. LOL!!
What was soooooo amazing about this place wasn't just that Hemingway loved his six-toed cats that are the fur-fathers of the cats at the museum today, but this was his haven and writing place for several many of his masterpieces. In fact, in the house, they have first edition copies of A FAREWELL TO ARMS, FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS, and TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT to name a few. Check it out...
As a writer, I was blown away by my surroundings and seeing Hemingway's writing studio with his pencils and typewriter. I can certainly understand how the man was inspired living there.
And, of course, in Hemingway's bedroom, on the very pillow he used to sleep on, now rests Archibald Leach (the orange kitty) and Miss Francis (a seven-toed girl). It's a hard life, but someone has to do it, right?
So...I'm wondering...if in 40-50 years...will my apartment be on a tour? Will other Buzz Girls' houses be featured with their writing rooms and pictures of their pets? Who knows...but I'd love to go on those tours! LOL!!
At Simon & Schuster Children’s Alexandra Penfold has been promoted to editor, and Julia Maguire, Navah Wolfe (who we just had out on April 20th) and Lydia Frost have all moved up to assistant editor, while Kimberly Boyer is now assistant editor of Little Simon and Jessica Echeverria is assistant editor at Simon Spotlight.
In other promotions at Simon & Schuster, Catharine Sotzing is now associate marketing manager, education & library; Michael McCartney and Nick Sciacca both moved up to senior designer; and Cara Petrus was promoted to associate art director.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Powerhouse agent Emily Van Beek has agreed to join us at the NJSCBWI June Conference. More over the weekend about Emily. So if anyone who is attending would like to add on a critique with Emily, please let me know ASAP, since 4 of her spot are already taken.
Thought you might like to see the schedule for the upcoming conference. Below is the general schedule, but this could be tweaked, if I find something doesn’t work.
This year we are having sit down lunches, so help optomize the time at lunch with the faculty members assigned to your table. Anyone who has dietary restrictions should notify Hallee Adleman (I’ll be sending out a letter to attends with her e-mail). Please no dietary surprises when you arrive at the conference. Here it is:
FRIDAY SCHEDULE – JUNE 4, 2010
HYATT REGENCY HOTEL – PRINCETON, NJ
8:00 – 8:50 Breakfast and Intensive Registration
8:50 – 11:55 Intensives
10:00am – 11:45am - General Registration
10:45 – 11:50 First Timers’ Workshop
11:30 – 12:00 Faculty meeting
12:00 – 1:40 Lunch and Keynote – David L Harrison
1:45 – 2:40 Book Signing
2:40 – 3:20 Workshop Session 1
a. Agents Panel – Discussion
b. Illustrator Track: Leeza Hernandez
c. Simone Kaplan– Picture Book Checklist
d. Editors Answer Questions
e. First Page Workshop Sessions
3:30 – 4:10 Workshop Session 2
a. Scott Treimel – Money Matters.
b. Steve Meltzer – Sure It’s Cute, But Will It Sell?
c. Egmont-Author, Editor, Agent – Working together
d. Illustrator Track: Lisa Falkenstern – Book Making
e. First Page Workshop Sessions
4:20 – 5:00 Workshop Session 3
a. Kathy Temean – Social Media
b. Anita Nolan – Learn to Love Synopses
c. Kristin Venuti – Yikes! I Sold My Book. Now What?
The Importance of Making Public Appearances (sales, marketing, buzz)
Alternatives to Public Appearances (reviews)
Obtaining Public Appearances (libraries, schools and colleges, museums, bookstores)
Charging Fees (why, when and how much)
Becoming a great speaker(tips and tricks)
Jonathan Maxwell is an Atlanta-based writer, editor, and critic. He holds a BA in English from Berry College in Rome, Ga., as well as a psychology minor. He also holds a paralegal certificate. Murderous Intellectuals: German Elites and the Nazi SS is his first book. Released in November 2009, the work has since received considerable critical acclaim. Maxwell’s next book- Piltdown Man and Other Hoaxes- will be released late this year. This book is a lighthearted examination of scientific frauds through the centuries. In addition to book-writing, he has composed op/ed pieces in newspapers great and small, penned reviews for literary journals, and has written chapters for history textbooks. As a freelance editor, he was worked for the publishing giants Harcourt and Pearson.
“No one visits bookstores anymore.” Someone said that to me during a recent book signing(a dreadfully sad little book signing)and I had to admit that for many people that’s true. As the author of one book with two more in the offing I have to ask myself, “If not bookstores—where?” Where do I go with my stacks of books, bookmarks, and black felt tip pen?
Think outside the box, they say. (Don’t they annoy you sometimes with their know-it-all attitude?) Well, I wasn’t exactly thinking outside the box recently—it was more like accidentally stumbling outside with a push from my daughter.
This spring for her college newspaper she wrote a story about the “Senior College” at her university The Institute for Lifelong Learning is a free event held for members of the local community that included workshops, speakers, etc. When she covered the event they had an author as a speaker so naturally she encouraged me to send the organizer an email. I wasn’t optimistic. I wasn’t a college professor, a well-known author, or even a local resident. But she was persistent so I sent off the email and forgot it—until last week.
Not only did they want me to speak, they wanted me to be the wrap up speaker at the end of the program which runs until April. There would be a lunch. There would be any technical equipment I needed(please, I get nervous around microphones). There would be a modest honorarium(which I considered generous for one hour’s work and the most I’d ever made for a speaking engagement). There would be an opportunity to sell my book afterwards. It would be held in the auditorium.
What? The auditorium is where they hold the university plays. Where they herd all the freshman parents during summer visitation to give them advice about shipping off your baby to school. It has a stage, red velvet curtains, a sound system that could boom my voice to every corner of the space. I had thought we would be in one of the small meeting rooms or maybe the library. The auditorium. Why?
We get 100+ attendees to our events the organizer told me. I acted cool but inside I was yelling OMG. That has to be three times larger than the biggest audience at any of my speaking engagements. One hundred people, all in one spot, hopefully talking about my book. Wow.
I had never considered the university’s Senior College as a speaking venue. Truthfully, I never even knew it existed. Visiting school websites, I’ve learned that Senior Programs are a regular event at many colleges and universities. I can’t even count the number of schools within an hour’s drive of my home. How about you?
Children’s book authors have been hitting the elementary school circuit for years. It’s time for those of us who write for adults to follow in their footsteps. Contact a college or university near you!
I was too busy to make it out to LA for the SCBWI Conference, but Publishers Weekly reports that Rubin Pfeffer from East West Literary Agency stunned the audience in his keynote speech at the SCBWI conference last weekend. He urged the organization to transform itself into an ebook publisher as it approaches its 40th year.
Pfeffer, an industry veteran whose career has spanned long terms at Macmillan, Harcourt, Pearson, and Simon & Schuster, is now a partner in the East West Literary Agency. His speech, which focused on the concept of a “Community of Children’s Content Creators” in the digital publishing world, started off by clarifying that while his talk was a call to action, “This is not instead of, but in addition to.”
Pfeffer then posed the question, “What does it mean to be relevant in the digital age?” Publishers have been forced to reorganize in ways no one could have imagined when the SCBWI was founded in 1971, he said; today’s challenges include high advances, and the costs of shipping, warehousing inventory, and returns. Every area of publishing has been affected by the new technologies, but especially the retail component, in his opinion. The chains are scrambling to stay alive, Amazon and other e-retailers are now among the most successful accounts for publishers, ebooks are outselling print hardcovers “and trending toward outselling paperbacks,” he said, “and the answers now lie in the hands of booksellers and readers.”
As for e-readers, Pfeffer was even more forceful. “Device manufacturers are becoming e-publishers with original, exclusive material published just for the Kindle, Nook, and iPad,” he said. Pfeffer cited the economics that authors may anticipate today amid ever-changing contractual agreements. Using a $10 paperback and an ebook of equal price as examples, he explained that an author represented by an agent receives 80 cents per book in paperback royalties and $1.75 for an ebook edition. When rights are held by the author in partnership with an ebook publisher, the royalties—on the low side—are $3.50. Pfeffer, who is dubious about self-publishing because of the inherent risk of lackluster editing, copyediting, design, and production, told the audience, “We should applaud publishers for their new strategies, and embrace alternate publishing options for greater opportunities and possibilities.”
Pfeffer did state that none of this designates the end of the book, and that “digital is an additional option, not a replacement for a printed book.” Quoting Michael Edwards, CEO of Borders, he told the audience that “it’s important to understand what’s driving the rise of ebooks in the first place is the strong-as-ever desire of consumers to read books, in one form or another. After all, what’s a device without content? As [they] make it easier for consumers to enjoy books, they’ll buy more titles, and read them more quickly.”
Turning to directly address Lin Oliver and Stephen Mooser of the SCBWI, Pfeffer delivered what seemed to be the key point of his speech. “At a time like this, perhaps SCBWI should become an e-publisher. Let us stay relevant and seize opportunities within the changing industries that flow all around us.” Emphasizing the ability of digital technology to “teach, show, demonstrate, move information and deliver it in the most effective manner,” he urged SCBWI members to “be innovative in creating great quality content that can exploit the visual opportunities. Look at the iPad as a dry sponge, thirsty for great content to exercise its multimedia capabilities.” In conclusion, he recommended that the org
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