July 26, 2013

Teaming up for Revision

When fiction is submitted to the Kid’s Imagination Train magazine, word count is the first thing that is checked.  If the piece is within our word range, the submission is eagerly read. If it exceeds word count, the submission is still read, but it may be rejected because shorter pieces are preferred.

Next, the piece must appeal to children.  Lastly, the submission should have the potential to be easily illustrated.  That’s the beauty of KIT.  Children have the opportunity to illustrate their favorite features. 

If the story meets word count, appeals to children and can be illustrated, but tells instead of shows, is negative, or portrays an unlikable character, a revision is required.  Some editors would reject a story at this point.  But if the piece has promise, I contact the author about editing the manuscript.

When revising submissions for KIT, I work with the authors and allow them to participate in the editing process.  We may focus on creating a kid-friendly character, finding better word choices, or strengthening dialogue.  Upon receiving my suggestions which aim at keeping the plot intact, the author may wish to use all of the ideas or use some of them, or totally rewrite the story.  Then the author sends me her revision. This goes on like a tennis match sometimes, batting ideas back and forth until we are both satisfied.

In my experience, very few submissions are instantly ready for publication.  Revision is part of the writing process.  Having a second reader can be beneficial in getting feedback about the manuscript.  But ultimately, the piece must pass the editor's standards.  Working with an editor helps writers to understand what is expected.  They learn specifically how to identify and then rectify the problematic parts of their story. During the process, patience and dedication is required.  But in the end, revision pays off.  When editor and writer work together, they give a manuscript the loving attention it rightfully deserves.    

July 22, 2013

Thank you

Two simple words—thank you—carry a lot of weight.  Writers should use them often. How often do you thank someone? 

Here are some (and of course there are many more) occasions in which writers can put those two words to work:    

*when a friend agrees to critique your work
*when people tell you they like your blog or writing
*when a publisher sends you a complementary copy
*when a writer guest blogs for you   
*when a follower leaves a comment for your blog
*when an expert offers to review your work
*when an expert agrees to an interview 
*when an editor has accepted a piece for publication
*when an editor has rejected a piece, but has offered ways to revise
*when an agent provides feedback on a manuscript

These two simple words cost nothing, I repeat, nothing.  So use them sincerely and often. Know that when you say “thanks,” you have brightened someone else’s day.

Image courtesy: Clipart

July 15, 2013

Hiring a Publicist

Last week, I blogged about publicists.  And it's got you thinking.  You want to create buzz about your book, but you're still unsure about hiring a publicist.  

In an article in the Huffington Post, Fauzia Burke, the founder and president of the publicity and marketing firm FSB Associates says, "Most authors know that a public relations effort for their book is essential for their success.  In order to have a campaign to promote their book comprehensively, many look to augment their publisher's efforts by hiring a PR agency." 

If you're interested in hiring a publicist, Burke says authors need to do five things:

* identify goals---what do you want to achieve?
* get referrals from other authors---get names and compare and contrast agencies
* check on prices, timeline, and availability---find out more about their area of expertise
* call the publicist to ask questions---get a preliminary proposal
* research the agency online---check past and current projects and their social media   connections

Some publicists plan and implement entire publicity campaigns, organize appearances on big blogs with a high number of followers, and arrange radio and television interviews to showcase your product to a large number of potential customers.  They find ways to put your book on the NY Times Bestseller list and set up magazine write-ups, book reviews, and book club readings. 

According to Burke, a good PR agency should give you valuable information for building your brand and to amplify the exposure you are getting.  Burke advises, "In the end, it is all about the collaboration—so pick your team carefully."  

For more on the article by Fauzia Burke, check out this link:

July 7, 2013

What a Publicist Can Do for You

You’ve written a great book.  Let’s suppose an editor likes it so much that she wants to publish it.  What’s next after signing the contract?  You’ll need to market your book.  Say what?  Isn’t that what the publishing house is supposed to do?  Yes, to some degree.  Each publishing house has their own marketing strategy, but the author is expected to do marketing as well.  This task can be daunting; therefore, you may want to consider hiring a publicist.

Publicists can help you create your platform before your title is released to help you get noticed.  Successful launching of a book requires pre-promotion.  This may take up to a year before your title is released. 

Gail Kearns, President, Project Editor, and Production Coordinator of To Press and Beyond says, "Promoting a book takes a  lot of time and dedication, not to mention perseverance. As a book publicist, one of the first initiatives I like to tackle is the Big Idea, or how to position the book to get optimum results in garnering reviews, interviews, and features." 

"Another responsibility of the book publicist is to create marketing materials, such as press releases, author bios, questions for media, and talking points," says Kearns. "I don't suggest authors do this themselves, even if they think they can. Writing press materials is far different from writing a book. Veteran publicists have a lot of experience in crafting marketing materials that are more likely to bring results, whether it be a pitch to a radio host or to the event coordinator at a bookstore."

Kearns believes that bloggers are the new reviewers. She says that publicists are blog researchers and they have databases of media contacts and bloggers. Publicists worth their salt have established relationships with many of them.  "Hiring a publicist saves the author hours and hours of time building a list of media and bloggers, making contact, pitching, and following up. Hiring a publicist lends credibility to an author's promotional efforts," says Kearns.

Publicists can provide branding, trade and niche marketing, press kit development, and website development.  More, publicists step in to navigate the complex world of social media and present you with smart opportunities to help get the word out about your book.

For more information check out:  To Press & Beyond is a full-service book shepherding agency. For more information on their services, visit www.topressandbeyond.com or email gail@topressandbeyond.com