Wednesday, August 31, 2011

465 Minutes (or But Who's Counting?)

Tip of the Day: Contact Kristina through our blog or her adorable website to schedule a FREE Skype visit with her if you use one of her novels for your school or library book club!

I did it! By the time you read this, I will have written at least 15-minutes-a-day for every day in August. Woo hoo! I owe the idea to the amazing writer Laurie Halse Anderson who made me see that it was pretty pathetic of me, someone who claims to be a writer, to not be able to hash out a mere 15 minutes per day.

No, those weren't Laurie's words, but her encouragement certainly made me look at how I spent my time a different way.

It also made me think about how when I am published, I'll have deadlines and I'll need to budget my time differently. I may even need to -- *gasp* -- write when I don't feel like writing! Sometimes people aren't "in the mood" to do their jobs, and if you are writing for money, it is your job.

Who knew? :)

I am heading for Europe next month (yay!), so I DO have a good excuse not to write every day -- BUT I am going to bring my journal and pen and scribble notes on the trains and any other time the urge sets in. I don't want to lose my momentum!

Oh -- and I did finish the draft of my WIP this month!

I encourage anyone who is a writer to write 15-minutes-per day, every day, for a month. You can do it! And you'll be so glad you did!

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Your old voice

Tip of the Day: check out this post at Literary Rambles. Not only are they a fan of "tips" as well, but this post has an interesting discussion of rewriting scenes from different character's perspectives to nail down the voice. Sounds like a good idea!

If you read agent and editor blogs at all, one of the most popular things they talk about looking for in a novel is the "voice" of the author.

We've talked about it a few times here. About what makes voice specifically. No one can seem to define it, but everyone has an idea of what it is. Basically it's how the author tells the story uniquely...using a combination of lots of tools from description, dialogue, character development, and everything in between.

I'm assuming some really smart person out there gave it the term "voice" very carefully. Because not only does it relate to how the author tells the story, but also just like your actual voice, when you age it seems to mature.

As I'm editing some old projects, I've found my voice has changed a bit. It's a bit more serious, a bit darker, and a lot deeper. And never one to enjoy a high-pitched voice, I guess that's a good thing!

But it is interesting to reread old material to see how your voice has matured. It still sounds like you...but yet it doesn't.

--Emily, Miss Finding Her Voice All Over Again

Picture found here at

Monday, August 29, 2011

Butt in Chair, Butt out of Chair, Repeat

Tip of the Day: I was very inspired by this piece, On Compactness, from the 2011 Write On Con by Weronika Janczuk. Wonderful reading!

I have this weird channel on my TV that broadcasts Pilates and yoga sessions. I'm a sucker for these things. (It's on TV! I have to do it now! Me and the DVR never clicked.)

Anyway, Pilates lady was saying that sitting in a chair all day tightens up the glute muscles. So if you sit for long periods of time, stretch out with leg lifts. This makes the gluteous muscles less tight and makes you feel better.

Since I type a lot, I learned during a bout with carpal tunnel to stretch out my wrists. Put your arms out, point your fingertips to the sky, and gently push your fingers back to open up the wrist muscles.

When should you see a doctor about carpal tunnel pain? When you feel it shooting to your elbow, stop messing around and go to the doctor. I didn't need surgery because I didn't put off correcting the problem with physical therapy.

I think yoga and Pilates work wonders for my posture. Despite sitting in a chair typing for most of the day, I probably have less back pain than most people I know. Yoga and coffee in the morning may sound like a strange combination, but it's my favorite way to wake up. I still need to lose weight, but fortunately autumn is the perfect season for bike riding.

What do you do to counteract the sedentary writers' lifestyle?

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fun Friday: Writing YA Fiction For Dummies?

If you're a YA fiction writer you'll get a giggle out of this site: Writing YA Fiction for Dummies. While the age range breakdown and word counts seem useful, some of the advice seems almost insulting. But that's just me. What do you guys think? Would you find something like this useful?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Come on Fall!

Tip of the Day: Get the pumpkin scented candles out.

I don't know about you but I'm totally ready for the fall. I'm ready for the kids to be in school and be adjusted to it. I'm ready for my old normal workout routine. I'm ready to get back to my writing routine. I'm ready to start writing something new and try to branch out in new directions. I'm ready to go on a writing retreat with some fab friends. And I'm ready to launch Just Your Average Princess and not be stressing out about if I'm doing enough promo or not. Last week I was holding onto summer for dear life and this week I'm very much let's move on to the next thing!

Anyone starting any exciting writing projects this fall?

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mock Printz (or Top Shelf Books)

Tip of the Day: If your local public library has to raise its fines/fees, please don't be rude to the library staff about it -- we agree with you that it stinks! Instead, take out your frustrations in a letter to the state budget cutters -- and library staff will thank you for your support.

One of my awesome teen volunteers this summer wants to do a Mock Printz Club with some of her friends. She asked me what some of my top reads of 2011 were. I went to my handy LJ book log and easily picked out these as "Printz worthy" out of the 116 books I've read this year (not that all would qualify for the award):

BLOOD RED ROAD by Moira Young
When Saba's twin brother Lugh is stolen by bandits, she resolves to get him back and travels through the sandstorm ridden wastelands to find him. This dystopian future novel doesn't spend any time explaining what happened to the world to cause the new landscape; it delved into the characters and plot, the heart and meat of the story, and felt like it was missing nothing. Saba is a fabulous narrator who fans of Katniss (HUNGER GAMES) will enjoy. The voice takes a little getting used to at the beginning of the novel, but is strong and real and carries the book through. Great adventure YA. (M. K. McElderry, 2011)
*This book stood out to me because in a glut of dystopian, BRR didn't dwell on the "catastrophic event" that made the world what it was; it just went forward with strong characters, visuals, and story.

RIVAL by Sara Bennett Wealer
Brooke and Kathryn became friends as juniors, but jealousy and misunderstandings tore them apart and one year later, they will be competing for a prestigious singing prize that may move them from rivals to enemies. This book is so well done for many reasons. First, because of the great alternating first-person pov that shows how neither girl is stereotypically bad, wrong, or evil, but that misunderstandings happen; second, because of the accurate portrayal of girls who are so similar in desires, thoughts, actions, and skills that those same things that make them bffs are the things that make them in competition with each other; and third, because of the relatable description of the confusing feelings/jealousies related to both points above. I loved this contemporary, realistic, relatable YA. (HarperCollins, 2011)
*This book stood out because of its on-point, realistic portrayal of teen girls who have lots in common without any added drama for drama's sake.

OKAY FOR NOW by Gary Schmidt
Doug moves to "stupid" Marysville with his sad but beautiful mom, angry dad, and pain in the butt brother, but when he discovers John Audubon's bird pictures, a love for drawing, and a pretty girl, even his injured oldest brother's return from Vietnam might make everything okay for now. I loved loved loved this book even more than GS's TROUBLE and WEDNESDAY WARS which I also loved. The combination of Audubon's birds with what was going on in Doug's life, the relationships between Doug and his family members and neighbors, and the way Doug wanted to be better than his abusive father made me love his character and fear for him when things went wrong. Reading this just pulled at pieces of me. Amazing upper MG to YA. (HMH, 2011)
*This book stood out because of its heart, its truth, its worrisomeness that will resonate with many, its hope, the way it still gives me chills to think about the main character.

When she was 14-years-old, Chloe tried to swim across the resevoir that buried an old town when her older sister boasted she could do it, but instead she discovered a dead girl; two years later, Chloe's sister claims she has fixed everything and they can be together forever, but Chloe knows she's hiding something. I should've been revising my own novel but I couldn't put down this book or skip over any words. This atmospheric tale of magical realism was captivating, sweet, and sad, but most of all addicting. Great YA. (Dutton, 2011)
*This stood out because of its atmosphere and hinted mystery and lovely magical realism, all of which made me *need* to keep reading.

What books do you think are Printz worthy so far this year? What makes a book really stand out to you among all the YA novels to choose from?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Revision--oh my!

Tip of the Day: mojitos can be your friend. Especially on revision days.

REVISION--the dreaded eight letter word.

Sometimes we welcome the thought of it; other times we want to poke our eyes out in the hopes we won't have to look at our book anymore.

Recently I've decided to revise some old books with the attempt to bring new life to them. And what I've found out is that when everyone tells you to let a novel "rest" they are 100 percent correct.

I thought I was doing this before: waiting two, three, or even four months before going back to a project. But there's nothing like waiting three, four, or even five years to give you perspective. Because if you are anything like me, you can hardly remember what you wore on Monday, let alone significant details from that many years ago. And reading your novel with completely fresh eyes gives you much needed objectivity.

After all this time, what am I finding:
  • I really like boys that fight for no reason. Hhmmm...not sure what that says about me.
  • I was quite fond of heavy dialogue and no description.
  • My character's had some growth, but it was not really as much as they could have. And with four years more life experience and more growth as a writer, it's much easier to spot that out now. Kind of like when you are 18, you think you are completely grown up and know everything about the world, and then when you turn 28 you realize what an idiot you were. that.
  • That I'm decent at writing, but just need to kick it up a notch.

So that's what I've been doing lately is trying to kick it up a notch. But first I'm still rereading everything and trying to figure out how to get across what I really meant. Which is the fun part. Everything up ahead will soon become the "wanting to poke my eyes out" part. Oh the joys of being a writer :)

--Emily, Miss Trying to Figure out How to Revise Again

* make sure to check out all the other comics at Too funny!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Whoosh, Summer's Gone

Tip of the Day: Invent a corral for stick drives (or jump drives or whatever you kids are calling it these days). Mine keep wandering off in search of a freer life.

Part of me feels like this about my kids going back to school:

Part of me knows that life will get busier, although I'm so looking forward to peace and quiet during the day. But there will be piano lessons, communion classes, choir concerts, and ice skating. Evenings will be overscheduled and it will get dark earlier. And part of me is wondering if spent enough time this summer reading on a sunny porch. (Can you ever spend enough time doing that?)

So remember summer in your writing: the sound of cicadas, the feel of stinging sunburns, the taste of homemade ice cream, the smell of Coppertone and chlorine. And now let's move on to autumn, when I never feel obligated to do anything on Sundays but type on my PC while my husband and I watch the Buffalo Bills lose. Yay autumn!

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Need Your Help...Again!

Tip of the Day: The kids are almost back in school. They're ALMOST BACK IN SCHOOL! Hang on, hang on, hang on. You can do it! (So maybe this is more of a tip to myself...).

It's getting close to the release of my third book, JUST YOUR AVERAGE PRINCESS (10/11/11), and you know what I'm fretting about now? How to sign it!

You may recall me talking about this in the past on A2A. I like to sign something cute with my name instead of just my name. With The Espressologist I asked you guys how to sign the book and you gave me the great suggestion, "Love & Lattes!" I always use that when I sign them. For My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours someone suggested "Keep it Real!" and I've used it ever since. But now? I'm stumped. Here's a bit about the book. Do you guys have any suggestions for me?

Just Your Average Princess

Jamie Edwards has loved growing up on her family’s pumpkin patch in Average, IL, and she’s always dreamed of one day being the town’s Pumpkin Princess at the annual Pumpkin Festival. But when her rich and famous cousin, Milan Woods, comes to town and changes everything, Jamie knows she has to expose Milan for who she really is and teach her that life’s not all pumpkins and apple butter at the patch.

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Feel Good About Summer Reading! (or Three Things I Believe)

Tip of the Day: If your kids participated in Summer Reading Programs at your local libraries, check in with your progress! At my library we are handing out prizes galore!

Today I had a feel-good moment. I went to a local family care center to celebrate the 400 books that 57 kids and teens had read this summer. They also all signed up for my library's Summer Reading Program.

The kids had beaten the goal set for them to read 375 books, so their principal had his head shaved in front of them at an assembly this afternoon. So much fun to see these kids and teens excited about reading, and proud of their accomplishments!

It is for reasons and events like this that I believe in the following:

1) Libraries where kids and teens from all different backgrounds and life events can find something to read that speaks to them. New York State's funding for public libraries has dropped down to 1993 levels. We cannot continue to offer avenues of hope and success to kids at places like this institution if funding continues to decrease.
2) Teachers, administrators, and aides who love working with kids from all types of backgrounds, and who introduce them to a lifelong love of books.
3) Realistic contemporary fiction for kids and teens, because sometimes when you are having a "life sucks" moment, you want to know that other people are having -- or have had -- that moment too, and have found a way through it. Without the help of magic or a vampire or pyschic powers.

I hope all three things in this list contine to be supported for the benefit of each other.

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Can you ever really get away from your day job?

Tip of the Day: if you are having children over to your house and aren't used to it, try to get as much sleep as possible ahead of time :)

Coming from an advertising background I think I approach all my stories from the view point of how they will be pitched to the reader in the end. As such there are a few things I like to do before, during, and after I've written a book.

  • A one sentence pitch is a must! Trying to sum up your entire book into one sentence is hard. Really hard. But it can be done, and knowing it upfront will help you stay on topic while you are writing the book.
  • The synopsis can be your friend! I have to have a synopsis (or close to one). Everything can change, but it's nice to get a start of something written. It helps me narrow down my thoughts and get to the meat of the story and what to focus on, and expands the one sentence pitch to something more workable. Otherwise my mind wants the story to go every which way and it's much more work in the end to focus it.
  • Cover images! Last week I mentioned I like to make cover art. Every good advertising piece has amazing art work. And when I design stuff the picture is what I find first. Every time. Then my concept is centered around it. It's amazing what a little picture can do to impact a story in your mind.
That's it. Does your day job impact how you approach your book writing at all? Especially in weird ways.

What would happen if you are an exterminator, a plumber, or even a teacher. Interesting how you might approach a book project then :)


Monday, August 15, 2011

What Would Be Your Pen Name?

Tip of the Day: Have you checked out the Free Book Friday site yet? It's a great way to learn about new books and maybe even win one.

So let's say you were doing some writing under an alias. Maybe business writing, maybe something that pays less that the rate you would normally accept, or maybe something you want to keep anonymous for personal reasons. How would you pick out a pen name?

I know female authors sometimes use their initials on books targeted to males to make them sound less, I don't know, girly? That's not really a pen name, though. And some people keep their maiden names on their books even when they change to their husband's name in real life, usually because the name they started writing with has some momentum or recognition.

If you decide to pick a totally different name, make sure you Google it first. I also Google my characters' names. You don't want to pick the name of an infamous porn star by accident or find out you reinvented the name of the main character of a soap opera.

My recycled character names work for me. They're easy to remember. It's almost like picking the name of one of your imaginary friends.

When I was in high school, my girlfriends and I had code names. When we met boys we were unsure about and didn't want to give them our real names, we became Bridget, Kris, and Marissa. I was Bridget. I still think of that as my secret alias. It would've been my son's name if he were a girl, so now it just floats there in midair, something that might have been used but wasn't.

Speaking of recycled names, did you ever notice that after a while, you and your critique partners tend to use each other's minor character names? It's like we're building up a stock of characters. For some reason, I have this thing about the name Greg. Whenever I need a minor goon or snotty boy, he becomes Greg. I like the name and I like the Gregs I know, so I have no idea why Greg is my fallback position for henchmen. Poor Greg.

Are you willing to divulge your secret names? What about your shorthand ones?

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fun Friday: Fun Contest!

Here's a creative contest with the chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Check out YA Fantasy Author Megg Jensen's contest for her newest book, Sleepers.

You can color the picture below and post somewhere. Or take a pic of you holding a sign that says, "It's time to wake up. Sleepers, by Megg Jensen." Or even make a video of you waking someone up and telling them about her book. How fun! Check it out!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Awesome Recent YA Releases

I'm always looking for the next good book to read. This week I'm quickly reading The Help before seeing the movie. So far, so good! Here's some hot YA releases that came out in the last month.

Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker


Small Town Sinners is the story of Lacey Anne, daughter of the pastor and perennial good girl, who is eligible for a lead role in the season’s Hell House production—a role she’s been coveting for years. But when Ty moves to town as casting begins, a new perspective is added to Lacey Anne’s world and she starts to see her tight-knit, Evangelical community in a different light. With the help of her two best friends Starla Joy and Dean, and her potential first love Ty, Lacey Anne begins exploring her own thoughts and feelings about her religion, her community, and her place within both. While this novel deals with provocative issues like religion, teen pregnancy and underage drinking, it is not an “issue” book; the topics are masterfully interwoven into this story of friendship and family.

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

About the Book:

We all want to be remembered. Charlotte’s destiny is to be Forgotten…

Charlotte's best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she's cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what's really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become—her mark on this earth, her very existence—is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny—no matter how dark the consequences?

Love Story by Jennifer Echols

About the Book:

A provocative and powerful story of teen romance, set against the bustling world of a New York City university.

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions – it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a local coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter… so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter… except this story could come true.

What recent releases can you not wait to get your hands on?

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Copying Kate (or How 15 Minutes a Day Changed My August)

Tip of the Day: Write the next novel. Work on the next book. Don't stp writing.

Kate's Monday post is exactly right. Laurie Halse Anderson is brilliant. And realistic. And motivating. Her Write 15-Minutes a Day in August Challenge is just too simple to pass up -- but the proof is in the writing. I've written pages and pages and pages of my YA wip this way! Often I'll get so into my new words that I write for longer than 15 minutes and I'm at the climax of my book this week!

The best parts of the challenge:
--a bunch of us CPs are doing it together, so we have group motivation
--by writing just 15-mins a day, my wip stays in my head every day and it is easier to get started during my writing sessions
--I use any 15-min block of time I have, and that means most of my writing this month has been done by pen in a small notebook of lined paper, which has changed my tendency to spend most of my writing time going back and editing already written pages
--writing longhand also means that when I copy it over to Word later, it'll be edited once already
--I could easily add another month to this challenge and feel I could succeed

I'm convinced: a draft of a kidlit novel can totally be written in a couple of months this way.

So what are you waiting for? Try this challenge -- there's no excuse NOT to come up with 15 minutes a day!

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Having a good core

Tip of the Day: if you are thinking about getting a dog, get prepared. It's much harder to get everything situated after you have the dog.

Being the type of kid who generally got in trouble for doodling in my text books without realizing it or in my notebooks while I should be paying attention in class, it's no wonder I've grown up to be a very visual adult. As such I love to involve pictures in many stages of my book writing process. From making a collage of images representing the book, to finding pictures that represent characters, and more.

But lately, I've taken it a bit further and started making book covers for my books. Before they are even written. Or to inspire ideas.

Not only is it fun, but it helps give me an idea of how it might be pitched and helps me focus the story around an image or a concept.

The cover can change (obviously, since you usually don't get control over the book cover), but it's still a nice exercise in focusing your novel to it's very core and the tone you want it to set. Because having to use one image to sum up an entire story makes you focus your thoughts and have a strong foundation.

And once you have your core, it's much easier to build on. Probably exactly like my husband keeps telling me that if your core muscles are stronger than it's much easier to do any exercise you want and helps everything in your body run smoother (you'd think that would help with wanting to strengthen the core, but alas, it hasn't).

Even making book covers for non-existent books helps generate ideas. Pictures are a huge inspiration to me. I could spend hours at just searching for random images to spark a book idea.

If I like one, I might put a title on it in Photoshop (though Word would work just as fine) just to see if it fits as a book and as a novel I might want to write. Or if it helps focus an idea I'm working on. And then if I really like it, I might buy the photo to print so I can look at it often.

Just look at some of these images and feel all the ideas that could be sparked. And the fun book covers that could be created.

All images can be purchased on for relatively cheap if you want to actually do anything with them, besides look at them on your computer.

Anyone like to make book covers for your books?


Monday, August 8, 2011

The FMD Challenge!

Tip of the Day: Stuck on your project? Write a query letter for it. It will focus you on your theme and might inspire you.

Deena and I and our local critique partners are participating in Laurie Halse Anderson's challenge to write for 15 minutes a day. I obviously can't put it better than Laurie Halse Anderson, so here's her blog entry about the challenge: Write Fifteen Minutes a Day Challenge.

I can't tell you how well this is working out for me. It's easy for me to let other types of writing and responsibilities take precedence over my fiction writing. I decided to devote the 15 minutes a day to my sci fi WIP. I've been making it easier on myself by stopping my daily writing in the middle of a sentence, so I know where to pick up the next day. If things are going good, I can write about a page and a half in 15 minutes.

Who knows? At this rate, I might finish this novel in 15 minutes a day!

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fun Friday: Talking Back to Kirkus

Any author who has ever been burned by a Kirkus Review will get a giggle from Lara Zielin's latest you tube video:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Promo Talk: Postcards

Tip of the Day: Curious how a (fairly new) indie pub YA author is doing in sales? Check out Katie Klein's blog where she details her sales. She's sold 10,000 ebooks since March!

I find promotion to be one of the hardest parts of being an author. As you guys know, authors do a bulk of their book promoting on their own. But being that we're not experts in it, it's hard to know what works and what doesn't. Should you host a contest on your launch date? Maybe. Maybe not. I've put together big prize packages in the past and then only got 4 or 5 entries. So it's not always the best idea. If you have a huge following of people it might be worthwhile. Should you give away copies of your book? I think it's a good idea but think about where you're giving them away. If you give it away on your blog you might have 20-50 entries for it. If you give it away on Goodreads you'll likely have 1000+ entries.

I think the first few years of being an author is sort of a feeling around period of time to see what works and what doesn't. Contests didn't work for me so I probably won't do more. At least not big ones unless I'm being hosted on a bigger site. I tried a facebook ad back when The Espressologist came out in paperback (Jan 2011). I put it up for the week of Valentine's Day. It cost, if I remember correctly, about $125. I asked my agent to check my sales for that week to see if the ad had an effect. Nada. I literally had the same sales the week before. So I'm not likely to try that again.

But it's all a learning process, to see what works and what doesn't. My next book, JUST YOUR AVERAGE PRINCESS, comes out October 11th. I want to try something different with this book and something enjoyable so this time I'm going to try and reach out to book clubs. The times I've had at in-person and skype visits with book clubs that have read my books have been really fun. So I ordered a ton of postcards and I'm mailing them to libraries all across the country (I'll probably cap this off at 100). To libraries within 10-15 miles of me I'm offering a free visit with their book club if they read one of my books. To the rest I'm offering a free skype visit. I'm not sure how my little experiment will work but I'll let you all know!

Do you want to share any promo ideas you've tried that worked or were a bust?

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Library Tweets (or Dithering about Twittering)

Tip of the Day: Border's is going out of business. :( Buy out their inventory at reduced prices so that they don't have many returns to publishers!

A couple years ago, two fellow librarians at BML and I thought it would be a good idea to have library Twitter accounts to post about our programs.

Two years later, I still use the account (@bmlkidsteens), but have never heard of a patron who came to a program because they saw a tweet about it. In fact, most of the first people who followed my account were from Brighton, England (I'm in Brighton, NY). Now some authors, illustrators, and other publishing pros follow the account because I follow them, which is fun and makes BML seem like a hot library! :)

I do have fun tweeting about books I love, and those are the ones I get responses on.

So my question is: If you don't already have a "fan base" on Twitter, can you build one there? If so, I know it takes time (retweeting, replying to tweets, etc.), but how much time per week do you think needs to be invested? *I am thinking about this as an author.*

And finally, is there any situation that would make you follow a local library's Twitter account and actually come to advertised events? What would you like your local library to tweet about? *I am thinking about this as a librarian.*

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

eBooks are a good, good thing

Tip of the Day: enjoy your last days of summer!

Several authors I know are taking to self publishing eBooks lately, and I'm starting to think more about it. Most of the ones I know about have already published traditionally and have decided to self publish eBooks in between sales to give their fans something to read or because they are finding the type of books they write tough sales in this market.

So they've turned to eBooks.

And you know what?

Most of them are having much more success in eBooks than they imagined.

Which makes me excited so many people are being YA eBooks. Contemporary ones too.

At my library we are doing a push of eBooks right now, since we just switched our eBook provider. More and more people seem to be coming in with eReaders. Even people who have trouble using a computer are finding them fun and easy to use.

I know it's a ways off that everything in the book world goes electronic, but it seems to me that even in the last few months eBooks are taking off in a big way.

So what do you think...would you consider self publishing eBooks? Even if you'd never considered self publishing before?


Monday, August 1, 2011

How Do You Spell Success?

Tip of the Day: Come to the online party to celebrate my critique partner Christina Farley, who is now agented at Jennifer Lyons Lit! The giveaway contest is at Christina's blog, Chocolate for Inspiration.

Okay, so let me start off by saying Congratulations Christy! I've been reading Christina Farley's work for a while now, and she is an excellent YA writer with a great ear for romantic dialogue and a love of tense action scenes. Christy signed with Jeff Ourvan at Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency, and best wishes for a successful partnership.

Many of my writing friends and critique partners are meeting their goals this year, and the year is only half over. Huzzah!

Perhaps it's time for a goals check-in for myself. I don't set New Year's Resolutions; I pick a word and work on it all year. My word for 2011 is Self-Confidence. Now here is the problem with picking one word for the year: you will be challenged on that word. It turns out that working on something doesn't actually mean just thinking nice, vague thoughts about it, a principle I wish I could explain to my kids in regards to cleaning their rooms.

So instead of thinking sweet thoughts about how I'm good enough, smart enough, and goshdarnit, people like me, I got laid off from my day job. Hey, look at all the time I'll have to write now!

Well, sort of. Like take today. My dog has an "upset stomach." Nah, you don't want to know what that means, but as soon as he gets off the floor, I slam that leash on him and run out of the house. Not conducive to getting a lot accomplished. And every day I don't get any writing done, the self-confidence meter drops.

BUT. Just thinking vague thoughts about something is not the same as working on it. I think that will be my slogan from now on. I'll put it on a t-shirt! And for me, I have to work on untying my self-esteem from how many things I checked off on my imaginary to-do lists.

Hey, you know what helps my self-confidence? Knowing an awesome writer like Christina Farley likes my work and trades manuscripts with me! Thanks Christy!

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages