I met Tori years ago at one of the first events I put on as Regional Advisor of the New Jersey Chapter of the SCBWI. I got to see the effort that Tori put into her books and making sure her work was seen by editors and agents. She is represented by the Liza Royce Agency and was one of their first clients.
Tori’s interest in children’s books began when her daughter was born. She fell in love with picture books after spending countless hours at the library reading to her daughter. By the time her sons were born, she was inspired to write her own stories and quickly became hooked on writing. She also studied picture book illustration at the School of Visual Arts. Tori joined New Jersey SCBWI and attended writing conferences where she learned the ins and outs of the publishing industry. Writing and illustrating children’s books became an unexpected, exciting second career for her. She has expanded her writing for children of all ages and is currently working on a historical fiction novel.
Her debut picture book, What Will It Be, Penelope? hits the book shelves on June 4th.
You can meet Tori Corn (author)and Dannielle Ceccolini (illustrator) at The Corner Bookstore tonight to celebrate the publication of What Will It Be, Penelope?
Wednesday, May 22nd – 6:00 p.m.
RSVP: (212) 831-3554 or email@example.com
Here are a few questions I asked Tori that I thought you might be interested in reading:
Can you tell us about your journey with What Will It Be, Penelope?
Watching children try and decide what flavor ice cream they wanted is what inspired me to write the story. Sometimes my youngest son would hold up the line at the Mr. Softee ice cream truck! Of course there’s a bit of me in the story. I’ve been known to take forever to decide something silly like which soap to buy at Target! Penelope was the first picture book I wrote that wasn’t written in rhyme. I’m embarrassed to tell you how many versions there are!
How long ago did you write What’s Will It Be, Penelope?
It’s hard to say. I wrote the first version about seven years ago but I put it aside and didn’t look at it for years. It was way too long, around 850 words, which is a common mistake for picture book writers who are just learning their craft. It took me a while to figure out how to tell a story in only 500 to 600 words.
Did you do revisions?
Did I do revisions? All I did was revisions! And once I sold the manuscript, I still had to do more revisions!
What did it feel like to sign that first contract?
It was a really special day for me, especially since I’d been envisioning the moment for such a long time.
Can you tell us a little bit about Sky Pony Press?
Sky Pony is a wonderful publisher.(I’m not biased.) Launched in fall of 2011, it’s the children’s book imprint of Skyhorse Publishing. Their list includes picture books, middle grade, young adult, educational books and reissues of some well-loved classics. Since their first list in Fall 2011, Sky Pony now has over 100 books in print. I feel so blessed to have Penelope on that list. Next year, I’ll have another picture book called Dixie Wants an Allergy on the list too. What I love about Sky Pony is that they make decisions quickly and are capable of producing their books in record time. I signed my contract in Jan 2012 and I was holding a copy of my book in my hands in May 2013! Amazing.
Did you have any input into choosing the illustrator?
No I didn’t, but I’m glad that Sky Pony chose Danielle Ceccolini to do the illustrations for What Will It Be Penelope? In general, the publisher chooses the illustrator, not the author.
Do you ever think you will try your hand in illustrating one of your books?
Yes! I was an art major at SyracuseUniversity. I love to draw and paint! As a matter of fact, I illustrated the cover for my website. You can probably tell by looking at it that I was a textile designer because of the textures and the prints on my character’s clothing.
I took picture book illustration classes at The School of visual Arts and began working on a book dummy for my picture book called Sometimes I Wake in the Middle of the Night. Hopefully I’ll finish illustrating it someday. And you never know, maybe I’ll write and illustrate a story about the mice on my website! www.toricorn.com
Do you have any other books on the horizon?
I’ve written eight picture books and I’m currently working on a historical fiction novel.
What types of things have you done to help get prepared for your book launch?
Well, for one thing, I had a website developed. I’ve also purchased some cute Penelope giveaways to give to kids after I’ve read my book during school visits. I’m hoping the children will go home and ask their parents to buy my book and these items will help them remember the name of my book!
Do you have any words of wisdom to share that would help unpublished writers?
The most important advice I can give writers is to be thoughtful when deciding who to send their manuscripts to. This cuts down on the amount of (and type of ) reject letters you get. For instance, I only sent my manuscripts to editors and agents that I met at SCBWI conferences and I didn’t send them to everyone, only those whom I felt were seriously interested in my stories. That way, I only received encouraging reject letters! Most of them had excellent editorial comments so instead of feeling bad, I actually felt inspired to work harder to improve my manuscript.
My second piece of advice is for writers to envision their books getting published. That’s really important. Someone once told me to “Stay on the road and keep looking forward” which is what I did. I think it’s also important to join a writing group so you can have your manuscripts critiqued often and learn what other authors are doing right and wrong. And remember, if a few people are saying the same thing, you should listen. That said, always stay true to yourself.
Thank you Tori for sharing your experience with us. Best of luck with the book. Stop by www.toricorn.com to see Tori’s new website.
Filed under: Advice
, Book Tour
, Picture Book
Tagged: Danielle Ceccolini
, Liza Royce Literary Agency
, Tori Corn
, What Will It Be Penelope?
The 2013 Meltdown shall soon be upon us!
|My better half and me.|
It's hard to believe that this March 30th will be the 5th year for The River's Music Meltdown and Book Bash. Or, as it's known for short—MELTDOWN! When my wife Gina and I moved to the Pioneer Valley, we knew we wanted to get involved with our new community and we wasted no time doing so. We always loved the events that I had attended for Punk Farm, where music was incorporated into readings, and saw a big hole in our author-saturated town of Northampton: NO book festival! We floated the idea for a day where authors and kids' musicians would swap stage time to our new friends Bill Childs and Monte Belmonte, DJs at the local radio station. Next thing you knew, we were teaming up and the first Meltdown was staged in 2009!
Since its inception, we have brought Grace Lin, Jon Scieszka, Jeanne Birdsall, Jeff Mack, Jef Czekaj, Diane deGroat, Mo Willems, Timothy Basil Ering, Anna Alter, Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple, Scott Fischer, John Bemelmans Marciano, Eric Wight and Lisa Yee to the stage! We love that the kids in our neighborhood have had the opportunity to see all of these authors!
And now that we're in our 5th year, our oldest daughter is four and will truly enjoy this year's Meltdown! She was all of three months during the first staging of this event!
|Our girls helped us make a display for our local library!|
Much credit needs to go to WRSI The River. They do all of the heavy lifting to make Meltdown something that can happen. There are a lot of finances that go behind an event like this and their hard work allows Gina and I to program the author side without worrying about permits, etc.
So who do we have line up this year? Here's who you will see on Saturday, March 30th!
Please note that Meltdown is moving this year! We've outgrown our previous space and will now be at Smith Vocational High School, located at 80 Locust St!
We really had to pull some strings for this one. But seriously, we kind of did. My publisher will be releasing LL #9 a few weeks early exclusively for Meltdown 2013. So if you want to read LL and the Video Game Villain before the rest of the country, this is your chance!
Our copy of Ang's Say What? is already dog-eared. We can never read it just once, as the girls insist on repeated readings. Which is fine by us, this book ROCKS!
Matthew's books are a huge hit with our girls. (Do you see a theme here? Our daughters seem to be running the show...) Even Aliens Need Snacks is a sequel to Matt's equally hilarious Even Monsters Need Haircuts.
Skippyjon Jones, everyone's favorite kitty-boy who thinks he's a Chihuahua, will be represented at Meltdown 2013! These books are crazy popular, and crazy fun, as is Judy! Our daughter runs around the house dressed as Skippyjon. Esta un cabeza de loco. My Spanish is rusty. I need to go read more Sippyjon Jones books...
But wait! There's more DiTerlizzi to be had! Tony's books range from picture books (G is for One Gzonk gets our girls giggling) to chapter books (T's new WandLa series will keep you at the edge of your seats and inspire your imaginations!). We can't wait to see what T will conjure up on the Meltdown stage!
Not only do all of these authors write superlative books, but they also put on fantastic shows. That's a big part of what we look for in Meltdown authors—stage presence! You'll never be disappointed by who we invite to read, they're all stahs!
And of course, Bill Childs has another fantastic line up of musicians. Be sure to check the official Meltdown page for more info! www.rivermeltdown.com
Today, I have a few things to share with you about Finding My Place: One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg: a story about my recent “book tour” , a story from someone who bought the book, and a quick lesson on VOICE, one of the 6 + 1 traits of writing–so let’s go!
Speaking to the COSMO group in Columbia, MO
Going On a Book Tour
Last week, my good friend, who is just like a mother-in-law to me (that’s a story for another post!), Pamela Anderson from Columbia, MO invited me to stay at her house with my two-year-old and speak to her COSMO group (diabetes research) and Pachyderms (the first club ever in the U.S.) and then organized a breakfast for me of old friends–all to promote my book. My husband came, too, and the trip was a huge success! I was worried about my talk because I was used to speaking to either groups of writers, teachers, or kids; but I tied the story of taking 11 years for my book to be published (FIVE after I signed the contract) to never giving up and following your dreams. People seemed to really relate to it, even if they weren’t writers because when I finished talking, there was actually a line to buy a copy of my book! I met the most interesting and nice people–one woman was almost 90-years-old and had been researching her family on the Trail of Tears for over 30 years. Her determination and spirit made my trip. The breakfast with old friends was so great, and my two-year-old came to that–I was a little worried about this, as she is not in the “patient” stage. But even she was so good and ATE, too. (You mothers of toddlers know what an accomplishment this is.)
I am so thankful to Pamela Anderson (the retired air traffic controller, not the actress) for organizing AND my husband Rick and my good, good friend Michelle Pfeiffer (I swear–I have a friend named Pamela Anderson and Michelle Pfeiffer–both married last names!) for helping me with KB!
A Cool, Heartwarming Story
My mom’s friend, Bobette, bought a book for her grandson, Gavin. He is in fifth grade. My mom and Bobette have been friends for longer than I’ve been alive (not telling you how long that is!); and I’ve met Gavin before, but he lives in a different state–so I don’t know him well. Anyway, as the sweet kid that he is, he took my book to his fifth grade teacher and said that he HAD to read if for independent reading because this was written by a family friend. The teacher was reluctant–this is understandable because she has NO IDEA who I am–but agreed to read the book to see what she thought. (What an awesome teacher!) After she finished reading it, she agreed Gavin could read it, and even better–she put my book on her reading list. WOW! Thank you!
A Lesson in Voice: 6 + 1 Traits of Writing
This is a quick lesson you can do with ANY book, not just Finding My Place. But it works better with novel length books.
1. Once you and your students have read at least half of the book, they should be familiar with the main characters’ voices. For example, in Finding My Place, students should be able to recognize Anna, Sara, James, Mrs. Franklin, and possibly Dr. Franklin and Stuart, too.
2. Review what VOICE is. This is such a hard concept for children to understand–there is an overall voice to the book, which is Anna’s in FMP, but then each character also has their own voice. Voice is the way the words sound together, and authors have their own distinct voice. For example, you can easily tell the difference between my book and one written by Mark Twain! (HA!)
3. Each student should have a piece of paper, numbered 1-10. You, the teacher (or students can take turns doing it to) or parent, read a line or two from FMP–it could be Anna’s narrative or dialogue OR dialogue from one of the main characters. Then ask students to write down whose VOICE they think that is.
4. After revealing the correct answers, discuss with students how they knew that Mrs. Franklin said what she did or that it was Anna speaking–what is different about the VOICE?
Late Breaking News
Memorial Honors Frank Sifuentes, QEPD
Tempus fugit que no?
Frank's long-time friend, Jesus Treviño, has compiled a memorial including messages from all five of Frank's friends, and a video. Click the links to Frank's spoken word recordings at the USC digital library and Nuestrafamilia.http://latinopia.com/latino-history/latinopia-hero-frank-sifuentes/
Over there, across a couple of blinded-by-the-light grey roofs and assorted HVAC ducts, underneath the canopy, all old and faded. Behold the remains of América Tropical
, a mural painted on a Los Angeles wall by David Alfaro Siqueiros 80 years ago and whitewashed shortly thereafter.
"In a way, the whitewashing preserved it," one docent avers, pointing to the richer coloring at the right, a section that had been whitewashed earlier by disillusioned patrons whose vision of tropical America included lovely colorful people and happy native dancing girls.
What America got from el maestro is an undulating jungle surrounding a native nailed to a double cross upon whose crown perches a fierce eagle. ¡Ajua!
The mural also signals the benefits of painting on wall substrates. Nelson Rockefeller jackhammered a Diego Rivera fresco off the walls of that arts patron's building in Manhattan. In El Lay, where easy solutions prevail, city powers tagged the wall with their own gang color.
The mural, the only publicly accessible Siqueiros mural in the United States, is conserved. Numerous visitors ask about preservation, or repainting. The mural, whitewashed and exposed to ample ultaviolence by its south-facing wall, has faded past the point of ever being more than what it is.
A Getty-led conservation team has managed to remove the obscuring layer of paint and some tar stains, and has protected what remains from further degradation now that it once again finds the sun and elements. Black and white fotos exist of the mural, making impossible any ill-conceived wild hair notion to repaint.
Visitors to the observation platform must simply marvel at what that wall once said in its own voice. Downstairs, in the interpretive center, a trio of Siqueiros' muralist descendants--Barbara Carrasco, Wayne Healy, John Valadez--recreate America Tropical
in grand scale, reproducing those B&W frames taken back in 1932.
Opening day packed the space shoulder-to-shoulder. Such heavy demand must account for the elevator being out of service on my second visit. Access to the viewing deck, without that elevator, is restricted to able-bodied gente.
The spectacular corn mural in the stairwell is the compensation for stressed knees. Below, Angelica Garcia, a principal in a Fontana tax firm
, takes a breather for a snapshot with her daughter.
adds an important cultural dimension to school field trips to the birthplace of Los Angeles. I visited in 4th grade around '54. The place remains largely unchanged, a single file of curio and dulces-selling puestos down a cobbled pasillo flanked by restaurants, mid-scale boutiques, and recuerdos. ATIC fills a space midway down the street, next door where my primos' shop, Casa de Sousa, used to sell quality artifacts and espresso.
Thelma Reyna Reviews Pat Mora's Borders
La Bloga friend and guest columnist Thelma Reyna continues with her exploration of classic works
by Chicanas, a project Thelma's engaged in conjunction with Latinopia. The multifaceted Latinopia features historical and historic video features picked from filmmaker Jesus Treviños exhaustive archive of the movimiento, along with coverage of art, food, music, literature; la cultura en general.
Among the beauties of reassessing classic works is the likelihood of introducing readers new to these seminal expressions, to foundation literature that has influenced what they read today. Beginning at the beginning helps develop an informed critical understanding of everything read.
Among the classics Dr. Reyna has reviewed are House on Mango Street, Nilda, Loving In the War Years
. Latinopia currently features Thelma's appreciation of Pat Mora's poetry collection, Borders.
Her book goes on to evoke and explore borders large and small, known and unknown, old and new, faint and glaring. The poet draws on her lifetime of living on and near borders, beginning with her birth in El Paso, Texas, her home for most of her life before moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, Mora has straddled the border between cultures and languages, has navigated the “like” and “unlike” for her entire life. As her book depicts, borders can be cruel or innocuous, but they ultimately reveal us to ourselves.
Cruel Borders of Hardship
Her book is filled with snapshots of people from all walks of life, people identifiable for their hardships as much as for their triumphs. Mora starts with the famous pioneering author and university leader, Tomás Rivera, whose hands “knew about the harvest,/ tasted the laborer’s sweat” but also “gathered books at city dumps
You can read Thelma Reyna's full review at Latinopia here.
The classics series also features polymath Luis Torres
, who reviews male writers, with Thelma Reyna covering women writers. La Bloga encourages gente to visit Latinopia's literary cornucopia.
Count on La Bloga to continue our de vez en cuando reviews of the old stuff
, too. You can join in as a reader, or a guest columnist
. For comments and questions, click the Comments link below, and be sure to subscribe to your comment to receive reader comments.
The Closet of Discarded Dreams Book Tour Makes Pasadena Stop
Author Rudy Garcia joined a handful of guests--writers and artists--in Pasadena to talk books, science fiction fantasy writing, Rudy's novel, and the upcoming Latino Book & Family Festival.
|Hugo Garcia tells J. Michael Walker and |
Alfredo Lascano about La Dolce Vita.
One aspiring novelist arrived early, expressly to quiz Rudy on the mechanics of getting his first book published.
Garcia replied with the classic question, "what's your book about, in 25 words or less?"
Rudy stopped the novice around the 800th word. The lessons from pro to beginner: know your own stuff and get it written, then worry about the rights.
Rudy Garcia noted the rarity of Chicana Chicano science fiction and fantasy titles, making The Closet of Discarded Dreams
a pleasingly unique opportunity for scifi readership, but uniqueness an obstacle to publisher decision-making.
Discussion ranged widely across writers, titles, and story lines, then divagated to revolutionary new waves in film, and authenticity in historical fiction, and other genres.
Discussion segued into an ideal moment for Rudy to take the floor and read two passages he selected that illustrate his book's surreal exposition and the author's ability to write funny.
Short story writer and poet Angel Guerrero basks in the ambiente of good friends, new friends, good reading and listening. Then cracks up at one of Rudy's funny passages.
, J. Michael Walker absorbs the performance from his artist's eye.
Novelist Sandra Ramos O'Briant observes as Jesus Treviño documents Rudy Garcia's reading in this living room setting. Treviño will showcase the reading in a future Latinopia
Beyond the reading at Casa Sedano, Rudy appeared at Tia Chucha's Open Mic on Friday, the LB&FF, then a reading at Tia Chucha's Sunday afternoon. The Closet of Discarded Dreams
heads to a science fiction writers conference in Colorado then San Antonio.Banned Book Update
No big news out of Tucson. Vote like Freedom depends on it, because it does. Give Obama a Democratic Congress and let the nation see the return of bipartisanship to government. Give the GOP power and they will ban more books, just as a beginning.On-Line Floricanto Mid-October 2012
Avotcja, Sharon Elliott, Tara Evonne Trudell, Andrea Mauk, Tom Sheldon
ALGO DE TI, Avotcja
The Fence, Sharon Elliott
Dual Citizenship, Tara Evonne Trudell
Second Story, Andrea Mauk
Columbus through tiny eyes, Tom Sheldon ALGO DE TIby Avotcja
Abrazando su propia negrura
Como el color de medianoche en la manígua
Un cuento vestido en sabiduría anciana
Una sabiduría agridulce
Sabiduría con sabor a colores de miles de flores
Bestial y arrogante
Una seda desenvoltura
A la vez inmóvil, pero misteriosa
Y como la noche de luna
Esclava de nadie
Eternamente libre como el viento
Siempre hay otoño,
Riendo, llorando, y bailando
En la negrura de tus ojos Indios
Tus ojos sabios
Tus ojos orgullosos
Tus pies ya caminaron por unos miles de siglos
En las tierras de tres continentes
Por los sueños de los afortunados
Por las pesadillas de los que nos engañan
Y porque tu eres quien eres tu,
Crecen las flores donde caminaste
Los Dioses me dicen
Que tu piel tiene el sabor de miel salvaje
Mientras que el viento canta tu nombre
Como yo ..… como yo
Y tu eres el color de amor
El color Moreno
El color prieto
El color Indio
El color de mi felicidad
El color de amor ….. eres tuSOMETHING ABOUT YOUby Avotcja
Embracing its own blackness
Like the color of a jungle midnight
A story dressed in ancient wisdom
A bittersweet wisdom
Tastes like the colors of thousands of flowers
Arrogant & wild
A smooth flowing freedom
That's at the same time stubborn, but mysterious
And like the moonlight
A slave of nobody
Infinitely free just like the wind
Autumn is always laughing, crying & dancing
In the blackness of your Indian eyes
Your wise eyes
Your proud eyes
Your feet have walked
Through thousands of centuries
On the lands of three continents
Through the dreams of the fortunate
Through the nightmares of those who deceive us
And because you are who you are,
Wherever you’ve walked flowers grow
The Gods tell me,
That your skin tastes like wild honey
While even the wind sings your name
And so do I ….. so do I
And you are the color of love
The color brown
Very dark brown
A dark red Indian brown
The color of my happiness
You ….. are the color of love!The Fenceby Sharon Elliott
Germany pulled theirs down
artifact of Nazis
pieces of brick
now inhabit the globe
of tyranny overcome
construct new fences
of wire and steel
to keep out ciudadanos
los que son
dueños de esta tierra
quienes que nos dieron
una bienvenida de corazón
nos regalaron una cama para acostarnos
con maíz y amor compartido
y que hicimos nosotros?
what did we do?
we accepted their gracious gifts
then stole their land
pushed them off
and their children
treated them as interlopers
in their own home
now we build fences
to keep them away
from what is rightly theirs
what hardened our hearts
blinded our eyes
withered our souls
money is a simple answer
privilege and power
foundation of those fences
bears more scrutiny
es una pobreza de alma
corazones sin sangre
como podemos vivir así
sin lo que alimenta a uno o el otro
tear those fences down
stand in our humanity
y en un solo golpe
tear those fences down
until we do
we will not be whole
we will continue to be ghosts
and afraidDual Citizenshipby Tara Evonne Trudell
when their truths
don't add up
who's in control
Americans hanging on
to every word
taking their minds
of righteous law
playing ping pong
of manifest destiny
running the game
people backed up
to our earth
erasing their borders
before we stand
their make believe
their misleading debate
loudly continues on
in a world
do not belong.Second Storyby Andrea Mauk
No matter where you live,
you exist on top of a
failed, conquered civilization.
You walk upon footsteps of buried wisdom,
upon people who understood
the whispers of the winds,
the nutritional medicinal value of
each plant and
the reason to respect each animal,
upon 'pagan' engineers, architects and astronomers
who learned the formulas taught
by the sun and moon and stars.
You walk on the skulls of those
sacrificed in ceremonies
we will never fully understand,
you guffaw at their Gods and
their nectars and their dances
as you marvel at the
modern technology that
distracts you away from the fact
that our planet, our earth,
our way of life is spinning out of control,
and you are standing on top of
land grabbed without regard to
the wisdom of civilizations
who may have understood
than we.Columbus through tiny eyesby Tom Sheldon
sister Marie taught us about an Italian sailor
who shaved every day and carried a bible
he brought us pork n beans
warm blankets n fry bread
he brought farmers and soldiers
and discovered us
bringing Original sin and horses n dogs too
all on ships sent to aid the white man’s domination of Mother earth...
Is it entirely appropriate that this most auspicious day, be a day of mourning, ashes and weeping. bios
ALGO DE TI by Avotcja
The Fence by Sharon Elliott
Dual Citizenship by Tara Evonne Trudell
Second Story by Andrea Mauk
Columbus through tiny eyes by Tom Sheldon
Avotcja (pronounced Avacha) is a card carrying New York born Music fanatic/sound junkie & popular Bay Area Radio DeeJay & member of the award winning group Avotcja & Modúpue. She’s a lifelong Musician/Writer/Educator/Storyteller & is on a shamelessly Spirit driven melodic mission to heal herself. Avotcja talks to the Trees & listens to the Wind against the concrete & when they answer it usually winds up in a Poem or Short Story.
Born and raised in Seattle, Sharon Elliott has written since childhood. Four years in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua and Ecuador laid the foundation for her activism. As an initiated Lukumi priest, she has learned about her ancestral Scottish history, reinforcing her belief that borders are created by men, enforcing them is simply wrong.LaVerdadMusical@yahoo.com
Andrea García Mauk grew up in Arizona, where both the immense beauty and harsh realities of living in the desert shaped her artistic soul. She calls Los Angeles home, but has also lived in Chicago, New York and Boston. She has worked in the music industry, and on various film and television productions. She writes short fiction, poetry, original screenplays and adaptations, and is currently finishing two novels. Her writing and artwork has been published and viewed in a variety of places such as on The Late, Late Show with Tom Snyder; The Journal of School Psychologists and Victorian Homes Magazine. Both her poetry and artwork have won awards. Several of her poems and a memoir are included in the 2011 anthology, Our Spirit, Our Reality, and her poetry is featured in the 2012 Mujeres de Maiz “‘Zine.” She is also a moderator of Diving Deeper, an online workshop for writers, and has written extensively about music, especially jazz, while working in the entertainment industry. Her production company, Dancing Horse Media Group, is currently in pre-production of her independent film, “Beautiful Dreamer,” based on her original screenplay and manuscript, and along with her partners, is producing a unique cookbook that blends healthful recipes with poetry and prose.
With Valentine’s Day coming up next week. I thought I would remind you of Betsy Synder’s new book, I HAIKU YOU and give you a chance to win a copy of her book. It is simple. Just Tweet and link to this post and leave a comment letting me know. All names will be placed in a box and a name announced on Feb. 14th. Random House will send the winner I HAIKU BABY directly to your address.
Betsy is and author and illustrator, who was featured on Illustrator Saturday December 1st. You can click her to see her books and illustrations, but today I have asked Betsy some questions about I HAIKU YOU and the road the book has taken her down.
Back in December Betsy told us that all four of the books she has written so far have been with Random House. She had the idea for “Haiku Baby” floating around in her head for quite a while when her agent told her of an opportunity at Random House. She jumped on that opportunity and took the time she needed to get it on paper and sent it to an editor at Random House. She worked up some additional book ideas at the same time, which turned her first writing venture into a 3-book (now 5-book) contract with Random House.
What did you do to help launch I Haiku You when it came out on December 26th?
Books that are marketed for Valentine’s Day come out right after Christmas so stores can start promoting them right away. I shared news of the Dec. 26 book release with Twitter, Facebook and blog followers, but most people aren’t ready to think about Valentine’s Day in late December. For this reason, it worked better to time “I Haiku you” book launch events closer to Valentine’s Day. The big push has just begun for my promotion efforts and will continue through mid-February.
Did you make a plan for how to market the book before it hit the book shelves?
Yes, I worked with my publicist at Random House to determine what our joint efforts would be. One thing we decided on was a week-long blog tour in early February. My publicist helped coordinate all the blog stops and arrange a schedule for me. And since “I Haiku You” is a good book for any time of year, not JUST Valentine’s Day, we’re also planning to do another wave of promotion in April for poetry month. Stay tuned!
What types of things have you done since?
For my local book launch party, I teamed up with my friend Susan Reagan, who has a new Valentine’s book out called “Tweet Hearts” (also Random House). We held a special “Valentine Story Time” for both our books at a friend’s flower and gift shop called the Urban Orchid. We had fun crafts and sweet treats—I even made my own haiku fortune cookies as party favors! Susan and I will also be signing books together at a Cleveland-area boutique called Banyon Tree for the Tremont Art Walk this Fri., Feb. 8. And all this week I’m doing a multi-stop blog tour with all kinds of Q/A’s, guest posts and even some book giveaways—this is my second stop on the tour route!
I see you have a book trailer. How did you come up with how the trailer would be laid out?
Fortunately my husband is a motion graphics artist, so he was able to help. Jeff and I brainstormed ideas together and discussed the best approach. I chose the music and prepared the art files, and Jeff did the animation. My niece Ava even did the “Who do YOU haiku?” voice-over at the end. It was a true family effort!
What other blogs are on your book tour?
www.mrschureads.blogspot.com (Watch. Connect. Read.)
(sorry if I’m leaving anyone out, but that’s the most current list I have)
Have you set up any school visits to help promote the book? If so, how did you start and plan this process?
I do have a school visit this May that is part of a special book event called Claire’s Day. You can read all about it at www.clairesday.org. I initially made a contact for this event while I was a presenter at an annual SCBWI conference (Northern Ohio).
Balancing time for making new books with promoting my existing titles is always a challenge, so I haven’t been able to organize more school visits yet. But that is something I would love to find more time for in the future. Connecting with kids, teachers and parents is one of the best parts of my job—I learn so much with every experience.
Do you have any stats on how the book is selling?
I’ve been having so much fun promoting the new book that I haven’t even checked yet!
Betsy, wishing you the best of luck with your new book and thanks for making it so much fun by letting me give-a-way a book.
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Tagged: Betsy Snyder
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