A Reason to Say Thanks

Although most writers write alone, there are a plethora of others who contribute to a writer’s success. Editors, publishers, critique groups, family, and friends all play a vital role in the writing process. But are you remembering to say, “Thank you!”

Sometimes we get caught up in our busy and hectic schedules that we forget to acknowledge the prayers, the hugs, the supportive phone calls, the suggestions, and the encouragements we get. I know my career wouldn’t be on the path it is now if weren’t for the nudges and prayers of my best friend, the “I’m so proud of you” comments from immediate family members, the encouragement, support, and mentoring from my critique group members, and the receptiveness and opportunities from my editors.

So for this Thanksgiving week I want to extend a very warm THANK YOU to all those who have brightened my day, challenged my skills, and had faith and hope in me!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Road to Marketability

This whole process of being an official author is very brand new to me. It’s exciting, and honestly, a little bit scary. Although my book, The Declaration of Independence from A to Z, from Pelican Publishing, won’t be out until the Spring of 2010, I know I need to work hard now to make myself and my book appealing and marketable for the future.

One of the things I want to do, especially since the book is non-fiction for children, is to provide a Teacher’s guide. I’ve already sent for the publisher’s instructions. Teachers are always looking for good understandable materials, so a Teacher’s guide would be instrumental on such an important document as the Declaration.

Another way I’m trying to promote myself is being part of an author’s debut website called Authorsnow! It will be a brand new site for first time authors whose books are coming out in the next few years. It will launch shortly.

Your work as an author is not over with the signed contract. In many ways it’s only beginning. Keep in mind that you need to make your work marketable. What are you doing as you travel the road to marketability?

Subscription Renewal

My subscription for “Children’s Writer” is about to expire. I need to send in my renewal payment if I wish to continue with uninterrupted issues. For those of you unfamiliar with this newsletter, I would encourage you to become a subscriber. It contains great articles on writing for children, and it includes current publisher needs that are invaluable when looking for new assignments and contacts. This newsletter is a must for any children’s writer. For more information, visit them at www.ChildrensWriter.com.

Perfect Pitch

My writer’s group met today. One of the projects we decided to work on was developing a pitch for our individual stories. A pitch is a one- or two-line blurb that presents your manuscript in a concise form. The main goal is to deliver these pitches to editors or publishers at a conference with the hope of one of them saying, “Sounds interesting. Tell me more.”

Pitches are hard work. Trying to shrink your whole manuscript down to one or two sentences is tough, but the results are worth it since it could lead to getting your manuscript read. One of our group had read an article about pitches using the technique of presenting character, setting/genre, conflict, and goal. This technique could apply to any format, from picture book to indepth novel.

I gave an impromptu pitch at the SCBWI Editor’s Day conference last month. I had prepared ahead of time with a small blurb “just in case,” but when it came time to actually deliver my pitch when asked, I was a bit nervous. Would I forget what I had prepared? Had I worded it correctly? Did I sound sure of myself and my story? Was it the best pitch I could present? These thoughts swirled in my head within seconds.

The pitch didn’t result in any requests for more. I’m sure there was room for improvement. At least I had an opportunity to try and I gained valuable insights on just how it could effectively be done. I also learned that it is important to have something ready for the next time.

Developing a perfect pitch is a must if you plan to attend a conference to promote your manuscripts. Try working on some pitches now while you have time. Work on them in your critique group like I did today. You never know when your efforts could bring future rewards.