Saturday, March 26, 2011

Marketing for Introverts

I have recently been pondering what life would be like if indeed I sold my MG novel and needed to promote it. When my child's teacher asked people to come in and speak for career day, I signed myself up as a writer (which I am) and was honest about the "for the assessment world" part. But I really signed up so I could practice talking about writing in front of kids. I think it will be quite different than doing it as their actual writing teacher, which is how I've experienced it before.

But I'm super excited because I just found (thanks to the awesome Nathan Bransford) this great site on marketing for introverts, called Shrinking Violets Promotions. I can't wait to dive into their site and see what they have to say. A quote posted on this site that I found very encouraging (and hilarious):
Just write your heart out. I promise you that's what matters. I would much, much rather find a great, unusual, distinctive book by a phobic writer covered in oozing sores who lives in a closet than a decent but not amazingly original book by the world’s best promoter. I could sell the former a lot better, too." Elizabeth Law, Publisher, Egmont USA

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Fun MG read: Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies

I have been reading more MG lately, since I recently drafted a MG manuscript and wanted to see where it might fit in the different levels of MG available. I noticed the title of this one, Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies, by Andrea Beaty, and had to see what it was about. It's super cute! The humor is quirky and clever.

Fore example, the first chapter begins, "Chapter 1. MEANWHILE, in space.... The flaming meteor hurtled through the endless black void. Remember this. It's important later." The writing style made me smile nearly the whole way through. The book also has some comics included here and there, as well as funny illustrations.

The story pokes fun at horror movies the way The Hitchhiker's Guide does to science fiction. In fact, admirers of Fluffy Bunnies will most likley one day graduate to Douglas Adams and be right at home. Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies is shelved in the juvenile section of the library and Amazon lists it for grades 3-5. If you are looking for a fast, fun read and especially if you love or appreciate the history of terrible, cheesy horror and science fiction movies like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, you'll really enjoy this, whether you are a kid or not!

Also, I found a line that I think is priceless. When describing a terrible stench, Ms. Beaty writes, "It was the kind of smell that had the power to make unicorns weep." Awesome!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I heard Kristi Holl speak today at a SCBWI meeting on Publishing 101. She covered a lot of great points inside that giant behemoth of a topic. One that really stuck with me was the reality of rejection in your writing. If you are publishing, you are also getting rejected. Somehow, in my head, I was imagining that once you sold your first book, things got easier and you had fewer rejections after that. Maybe you do get fewer. But you still get rejected.

In some ways, I guess hearing that could be depressing, but in others, it's pretty freeing. I can stop worrying about IF I'll get rejected and just prepare for different ways of dealing with it and not take it all so hard when I do. I've gotten rejections now and then with assessment work, but really, percentage-wise, it's a lot less than I might have thought. But writing for magazines and writing books is an entirely different world.

Several months ago, I made a 100's chart sort of like the one in the link, the kind kids use to learn math. I decided my goal would be to fill up that chart with rejections and I'd mark off one number for each rejection. I'm in the teens now, I think, and that includes magazine submissions and queries on books. Somehow, having a system in place in which I get to treat myself after I fill in a new row of rejections makes it less…abhorrent. I still am sad and hurt with each one-- and I'm beginning to accept that it's not because I'm a super sensitive person, but because I'm HUMAN. But…it also takes a bit of the sting off to know I'm working towards another goal. Because secretly, of course, my hope is that if I submit enough and KEEP AT IT, then maybe one day, my work will reach the right person! It surely won't be published if it's stays on my desk.

Kristi pointed out that everyone gets rejected, but not many people talk about it. At least not at the time. Stephen King tells about the giant stack of rejections he had staked to his wall, but given that he's, well, Stephen King, that's only moderately helpful for me to read. It helped a lot to hear that Kristi had something like 30 rejections before she sold her first article to a magazine. She's since published 39 books for children and makes her living as a writer, teacher and speaker. That's tough to do -- and she swears that persistence will trump talent every time when it comes to who gets published.

So…I'm going to be persistent. Even when I get rejected. I'll keep on writing. I encourage you to do the same!

PS-- Good timing on hearing this talk today: guess what I got in the mail? Yep, a rejection. Off to go mark off another X on my chart.