Monday, March 14, 2016

New Book? How do you get reviews?

by Susan J Berger.

Last week a second edition of Earthquake was published. Earthquake 2nd Edition has new material, new factoids, updated emergency supplies list,  and a tactile exercise to find the meaning of the numbers on the Richter Scale. Earthquake Second Edition is also available as a PDF for your eReader from Guardian Angel Publishing. Price is $5.00
The original edition was published in 2009. It got honorable mention in the Green Book Awards, and some very nice comments from FEMA and the USGS.  In seven years things changed. FEMA's delightful kid's page no longer exists. We've had some big earthquakes. Cell phones became a way of life. The book was revised. New material added. The Earthquake Book website has been updated..

 Next step get reviews and publicize it. What is available to an indie author?

SCBWI Book Launch Party? Nope. Not till September or October. When it reopens, it will be available for all books published this year. Sounds like a great resource.

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. SCBWI has a booth and is offering signing opportunities for PAL authors. I booked a fifty minute slot for Saturday April 9th from noon to 12:50. Come see me. Will I make money? Festival goers mostly come for the swag and the chance to meet major authors.Unlikely. But it's a good opportunity to get it out there.
  Classroom visits?  Alexis O'Neill is the Queen of Classroom Visits. Her page is an excellent resource. I would love to be her intern and follow her around.

How about reviews?

I Googled  Reviewers? Where can an author get a non fiction children's picture book reviewed?
 Midwest Book Review?
There is a charge of 50.00 for reviewing eBooks, but I think print books may be free. I could send either. I will query them.
Kirkus Book Reviews? Don't think so. Cost starts at $425.
Publisher's Weekly Yes. I submitted a PDF for review.
Booklist online.  This looks possible. I will follow up.

Blogger tours? Pricy and probably for a non fiction picture book,  not helpful.


I suggest you read this wonderful post by MJ Rose on the difference between publicity and marketing.
M. J Rose founded AuthorBuzz which includes KidsBuzz. Marketing plans vary in price. Lowest price I saw was $495. Is it worth it? If you are planning to write more books and make a career in the writing business, yes. In case you did not feel like clicking the link to M.J. Roses post, I will quote from it.
5. What to spend? The advice I give everyone, and follow myself, is to keep your day job or a freelance job and spend as much as you can on selling your book. I’ve worked with authors who spend $985 and others who, between my services and other efforts, spend $250,000. One way to decide: if you are going to look back and regret spending the money, don’t do it. But if you are going to look back and say, “If only I had tried maybe the book would have succeeded,” then do it. Nora Roberts said you should spend 10% of your advance. For years, James Patterson spent all of his on advertising and kept his job.

How about you? If you have an indie book out, where have you gone for reviews? Are you planning any marketing?
 Oh and if any of you would like to review Earthquake, 2nd Edition, I would be happy to send you a PDF. Just leave your contact information in a comment.
Write on!

Reminder: This Thursday, March 17th is PITMAD. Here a post on the Art of the Pitch Tweet. If you use Tweetdeck or Buffer, you can set your pitch up ahead of time.

I just found this: SCBWI 
Summer Reading List

We are putting together our 1st ever SCBWI 
Summer Reading List to promote our published authors. You are invited to feature one of your 
books on our premiere list. 

All you have to do is select one book of yours to be on the list. Send us the title, author (you!), and a book description of 25 words or less. Separately, indicate the rough grade level, genre, and your state/country of residence. (Choose from one of these genres: Adventure/Mystery, Humorous, Realistic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, Non Fiction, Poetry, Picture Book, Series Book) 

We will assemble the lists by region (same regions as used 
for Crystal Kites) and organize all the books by grade level 
and genre. 

All the SUMMER READING LISTS will be made available to schools, libraries, bookstores, and consumers via digital download and hard copy distribution. We will promote the lists and support them with a robust marketing plan (more to come on this!). 

DON'T MISS THIS FREE SCBWI OPPORTUNITY TO GET YOUR BOOKS INTO THE HANDS OF THOUSANDS OF READERS THIS SUMMER! It's another way SCBWI is supporting your work and spreading the word about excellent books for children and young people. 

E-mail your information to by 
April 1, 2016. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Dispatch #49: The Grief Scale

by Lupe Fernandez

I read a memoir called The Still Point of the Turning World by Emily Rapp. She chronicles her grief over the diagnosis of her son Ronan from Tay-Sachs disease. I was struck by her concept of grief hierarchy. Are some personal losses more important than others? My grief is deeper than yours and therefore more deserving of sympathy, empathy, etc…? The flip side, she writes, is that your grief isn’t worthy of tears and rage so get over it.

I’m walking from home Burbank Elementary school and my watercolor painting in my hand flies off. I chase after it. The paper tumbles on the sidewalk, almost within my grasp, but the wind hurtles the painting into the street. I’m not supposed to go into the street; I lost the painting and I’m sad.

I’m in the sixth grade and standing in line on the black top for something important – I don’t remember what – and Christine Hills cuts in front of me. I protest. She punches me and I cry. My best Ramon Vasquez asks if I’m crying. No, I got dirt in my eye. Sure, he doesn’t believe.

Loss and humiliation. Where do these do these feelings place on the grief scale?

1 is Amusing Laugh

10 is Psychiatric Hospital Admission

Not the same as terminal illness.

My brothers and I were playing softball on the front lawn. Somebody – I’m not naming names – hit the ball and shattered my parent’s bedroom window. We knew our father would be furious. Trouble was a cannonball in my stomach. I cowered against my dresser, tasting tears and snot rolling across my lips. Or my teen years when I never knew what mood my alcoholic father would be in when I came from school.

Where am I on the scale?

I limit these recollections to childhood and adolescence as I middle grade and young adult fiction.

Nobody close to me died – my father left his mortal coil during my first quarter at UCLA, thus falls out of the purview of Children’s Literature.

In my stories, characters suffer emotional trauma and some of them die. Their grief never happened in this world, so why would the reader care? It’s not memoir.

But writing fiction – aside from being a part of my depression management – allows some characters fall in love, participate in great adventures and become better people.

And they get to grief however the hell they want.