Saturday, August 31, 2013

Another way scammers are taking money from aspiring writers

Check out this new way a so-called publisher is taking advantage of people on the Let's Get Visible blog.

A word to the wise -- a true publisher will NOT charge you to come sign at a book fair or convention.  They might not pay your expenses, but they will offer you a free time to sign.

Considering that renting a table at book fairs is usually $1,000, charging their "authors" almost $4,000 just for the right to sit there for an hour is outrageous.  The author would have done better to have rented the table themselves.

Sometimes writer's organizations will rent a table at these events - or even at national librarian events and will charge their members about $100 to offset the expense of the table.  Now, these events are worth this charge -- a small charge compared to the huge amount that scam "publishers" are making off of their poor, deluded captive writers.

Do the math, people.  There's no way you'll make a profit paying the publisher huge sums of money.
Remember the writer's motto -- Money flows to the writer from the publisher / NOT from the writer to the publisher.

Will I be signing at book fairs and librarian conventions for my next book?  Certainly I will.  AND the only expense I'll be paying will be travel expense.  The publisher will pay my entrance fee as well as theirs ,and will rent the table, and will supply the copies of my books for me to sign.

Do your research and don't get involved with these scam/ so-called-publishers.  They're out to get YOUR money.   (Do read the comments of this article as well.)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

First day of school

Today was the first day of school for the Middle Schoolers in the San Dieguito School District of San Diego, CA.
Such a change from last year, when my 7th grader was new to California. Now she's beginning 8th grade, her last year in middle school.

-- She not only set her alarm, but SHE GOT UP. (granted, it was after the second alarm -- she sets four alarms -- but she did get up.)
-- She had set out her clothing the night before and, although she couldn't find her favorite cardigan sweater, it was a great outfit. Her hair looked good, too.
-- Ate breakfast and took her vitamins.
-- Yelled at me to get going because she wanted to be there by 7:45.  (Actually, school begins at 8:30, but she was planning to meet friends and pick up their registration materials together and...)
-- So we took off for school.
-- Naturally being this early, the traffic up the school hill flowed nicely and we were able to find a parking place.  I needed to take her inhaler plus permissions to take medicine in school to the nurse, so we got out of the car, together.
-- Which was the last time we did anything together.  Although we could see her group of friends waiting in front of the school, she kissed me good-bye and took off in another direction, reaching the sidewalk in front of the school about 20 feet from her friends so that their heads were turned toward her as she came up and greeted them, and NOT toward me.  Ah.  This independent soul was making sure that there was no way she would be embarrassed by a parent walking her to school. Much squealing and screaming as they hugged and greeted each other. (as if they hadn't seen each other all summer, instead of the actual fact that they'd been together all last week and weekend.)
--They were completely oblivious as I passed behind them and entered the school office.

First Day of School off to a successful start.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Exhibit of Golden Books at Smithsonian

Are you a fan of Golden Books?
Yes, those inexpensive books with the 'golden' spine -- the spine that has NO title listed on it, which makes it difficult for adults to find The Pokey Little Puppy or the Golden Egg Book on the bookshelf when the kids want you to read it to them, again. (and again, and again)

Evidently, there's an exhibit about them at the Smithsonian right now, and you can get a peek at it by clicking on the link.

Seeing all those familiar titles of Golden books made me rush downstairs to see how many of my husband’s collection actually made it to our new home in California.  His parents had bought them for him as a child; we read them to our children; and now our grandchildren are enjoying them.

Ah, Here’s my very favorite Little Golden Book – The Saggy Baggy Elephant.
And my granddaughter’s favorite – Tootle (the train engine who would NOT stay on the tracks.  And Bunny’s New Shoes, and Time for Bed, and Frosty the Snowman. (and many more.)  I have a new copy of The Golden Egg book that I got when Marcus spoke at the American Library Association about Golden’s 50 year celebration.

I remember my husband telling us how thrilled he was when he discovered the bandaids that came with his Dr. Dan the Bandage Man book.

In addition, when I retired from being a children’s librarian in a public library system in Maryland, the Children’s Librarian’s group gave me Leonard Marcus’s book about the history of Golden Books – Golden Legacy, How Golden Books Won Children’s Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became an American Icon Along the Way. Leafing through it is like a trip back in time.

So, What's your favorite Golden Book?
Tell us about it in the comments below.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What is Talent?

If you're a writer or want to be a writer, you've gotta bookmark author and writing instructor, Marion Dane Bauer's blog.

Today she talks about talent -- what is it? Who has it? Who doesn't? And can it be developed if you work at it?

Ah -- Author Janni Simner also talks about talent on her blog, Desert Dispatches, today.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Is a small press worth your time?

Interesting article over at r/YA writers about small presses called RANT: It's not a scam...but it's not good, either.
This article is talking about tiny, tiny presses who probably won't do a good job with your book.  So bad that it would have been better to have self-published. (and you know I'm not an advocate of self-publishing.)
Something to ponder as you think about where to submit your book manuscript.

Oh, and on another note -- Here's one person's expense when she self-published, just to give you and idea of the money you have to provide when you take that route. (I don't see her name on this post, sorry.  And I know nothing about this website, so I'm not recommending it, just pointing out these statistics.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Even more letters from an editor

Perhaps I should just call this series of posts -- Ursula Nordstrom 1, and 2, and 3, and etc.

I agree with several comments I've had on Face book -- that we'd love to have had an editor like that. Such letters of encouragement.  Such letters begging the authors and illustrators to work harder/ send her more, more, more.  Even letters asking them to come visit her.

Any editor I've suggested visiting, simply because I'm a visual person and wanted to be able to visualize the building they worked in, quickly told me that they'd be out of town the days I'd be in town. Ooo-Kay.

These days, we get NO answers/ No letters from editors, because editors read our submissions on their eReaders and simply delete and go on to the next one, leaving us hanging, wondering if they ever received our stuff at all.
Wondering if we should give up on Them and go ahead and submit elsewhere.
Just wondering, wondering, wondering.
(Or we get no answers because they were trying to decide/ took it to committee and it was shot down/ or forgot about it while they got excited about someone else's manuscript.)

I wish I had started writing sooner, while she was still alive.
I wish I had had an editor like Ursula Nordstrom.
Don't you?

Monday, August 12, 2013

More Letters from an Editor

So, I continue to read Dear Genius, the Letters of Ursula Nordstrom, collected and edited by Leonard S. Marcus and I come upon this series of letters:

To Crosby Bonsall     December 14, 1965
Dear Crosby,
Where is the book?

To Crosby Bonsall     December 15, 1965
Dear Crosby,
Ou est le livre?

To Crosby Bonsall     December 16, 1965
Dear Crosby,
Donde esta el libro?

To Crosby Bonsall     December 17, 1965
Dear Crosby,
Wo is der buch?

(Il libro, dov'e?

To Crosby Bonsall     December 21, 1965
Dear Crosby,

(What book does Ursula want from Bonsall?  The Case of the Dumb Bells, an I Can Read book by Crosby Bonsall which was finally published in 1966)

Hmm, this reminds me of a saying I've heard -- "I love deadlines.  I love the sound of them as they wooosh by."

And for those who love nonfiction -- Nonfiction Monday is at Prose and Kahn today. Click on over.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Letters from an editor

So, I'm reading Dear Genius, the Letters of Ursula Nordstrom, collected and edited by Leonard S. Marcus and mumbling to myself, "Why don't editors write letters like these any more. There she is, practically begging authors to send her stuff."

And the letters of encouragement she sends.  WOW.

And then I hit this letter -- and burst out laughing.

To Hilary Knight,  September 18, 1964.
    I hesitate to worry you, but I thought I should tell you that some enemy of yours is writing me very angry letters, and signing your name to them.
Have a good week.

   ==  ==  ==  ==  ==
The footnote (you gotta read every footnote in this book as well) explains that there had been a series of delays about the publication of a book and tempers were getting a little frayed all around.  Marcus does NOT give us the letter from Hilary Knight that inspired this response but it sounds like it had been a letter we are cautioned to never ever send to editors nowadays for fear of offending them.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

New warning from the Writer Beware blog

The Writer Beware blog is required reading for anyone wishing to truly be published.

Here is their warning about new ways the sharks are eating up people who want to be published.

(note, NO legit publishers ask authors to pay for ANY of the publishing process. Money flows TO the author, not away from.) On the other hand, is the self-publishing model where you do the work and you have control.

These are the sharks who wait in the gap between those two publishing models, with their tooth-infested mouth open, waiting to take money from the unwary.

Be warned.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to write -- Advice from Dr. Seuss

Ted Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) had this to say about the writing process when he discussed writing the very first Beginning Reader -- The Cat in the Hat.
I spent half a year working [on this limited word story].

When I came up, I solved my problem by writing "The Cat in the Hat." How I did this is no trade secret. The method I used is the same method you use when you sit down to make apple stroodle without stroodles.

You forget all about time. You go to work with what you have! You take your limited, uninteresting ingredients (in my case 223 words) and day and night, month after month, you mix them up into thousands of different combinations. You bake a batch. You taste it. Then you hurl it out of the window. Until finally one night, when it is darkest just before down, a plausible stroodle-less stroodle begins to take shape before your eyes!

Since "The Cat" I've been trying to invent some easier method.  But I am afraid the above procedure will always be par for the course. At least it will be just as long as the course is laid out on a word list. (New York Times Book Review, November 17, 1957, Quoted in the book by Caroline M. Smith,  Dr. Seuss The Cat Behind the Hat, revised edition. Chicago: Chaseart Companies, 2012.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

SCBWI Annual Conference

If you missed the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators annual conference (they now call it the International Conference, recognizing that a lot of writers come from Canada, and other countries), then you can hop on over to the wonderful Lisa Yee's wonderful blog to see pictures. (She calls this entry, Where authors and agents and editors collide.

She also has a link to the official SCBWI conference blog where you can read summaries of ALL of the workshops and events -- almost like you had been there.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

California is different

I've been working on a list of things that are different here in southern California from my old homestead in Maryland.

One of the most outstanding differences is the weather.
Besides the fact that there's no snow here (yea!), oftentimes the hot and cold spots seem to be reversed.

For example.
In Maryland, we go to the mountains (Appalachians -- only 3,000 to 4, 000 feet high) to get cool. When we go to the beach (down to the Ocean), we know it's going to be hot, hot, hot. That we'll have to walk across a good bit of very hot sand in order to reach the warm-ish ocean to swim.  Warm-ish because the Gulf Stream in the ocean sweeps up from the tropics to warm our coast.

In southern California -- it's the opposite.
By the beach, where I live, it's cool.  We've been in the 60s all May, June, and July while the east coast warmed up to the 90s and higher.  Yes, the sun is stronger and we have to wear hats to protect our skin from its rays, but that means it's only warm while the sun shines.  But we have clouds (the marine layer) every morning and evening, so that warmish feeling doesn't stick around very long.

Where can we go to get warm?  To the mountains, of course.
Take yesterday, for example.  Temps here by the beach were in the 60s. Further inland, 70s to 80s.  In the mountains (6,000 - 7,000 feet high) it was in the 90s! And to the east of the mountain is desert where it was 106 degrees.

So, Californians come to the beach for cool weather.  Go Figure.