Wednesday, April 29, 2015

So you want to be published - self-publish?

Be very careful who you self publish your manuscript with and avoid anything connected with Author Solutions.  
Who should you avoid? 
 Check out this article - the list is humongous with many different names, but every one of them makes their money by selling authors down the river without a paddle. Hmmm. That should say - they charge an arm and a leg, promising everything and actually following through with nothing.

One statistic stands out.
This company has ONE person trying to calculate royalties to 180,000 writers. Just one person.  No wonder royalties are late or never paid at all. Contrast this ONE person with "732 sales reps with aggressive quotas to sell worthless crap to potential authors - like “web optimized” press releases for $1,299, YouTube advertising packages for $4,099, and Hollywood pitching services for $17,999."

Many, many people are suing them for not fulfilling the promises in their contracts.

If you really want to be published - before you pay to have your book published or commit to any publisher,  check out  these resources:
Writer Beware website
Writer Beware blog
It's on Facebook, too - here.
Absolute Write also has a Writer Beware page

And remember - money flows to the author. Not away from the author.  
You shouldn't have to pay for the editing and book production, and do all the publicity and marketing and shipping of books (from the boxes and boxes in your garage). That's the publisher's job.  It's your job to write.  
If you are doing all this other stuff, when are you going to have time to write your next book?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Nonfiction Monday - Building Our House

Bean, Jonathan. Building Our House. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2013. Print.

          Using a slightly old-fashioned, pastel colored illustration technique, Bean takes the reader through most of the steps of building a frame house. (He does condense the time frame.) The whole family helps. 

(with no child squabbles! Really? And no mention of them attending school.) 
About three quarters of the way through, it becomes apparent that it is the oldest, female child telling the story.

          The first person narrative makes it very personal for the reader. Their determination to get this done and done well creates the throughline of the story, ending with the family cozily sitting by the warm wood stove.  

Although not mentioned in the story, the mother is shown pregnant throughout the building process. Thus the end of the book not only shows the beginning of the family’s life in this new home, but also a baby - the beginning of a new life.

          The author/illustrator has presented much for the adult reader and child to discuss.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Busy Toes and Busy Fingers are featured

Oh Wow!

Mary Bowman-Kruhm​ and I got a shoutout for our picture books, Busy Toes & the companion book, Busy Fingers, on this blog - plus the author, Kerry Aradhya, added activity ideas to go along with them.


Click here to get to Picture Books & Pirouetts - A celebration of Dance, Movement, and Children's Literature.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Nonfiction Monday - Remember the Ladies

Is this Women's History Month?
If not it should be.  In fact, every month should be women's history month because our history blends with all the men's history in the history books.

Harness, Cheryl. Remember the Ladies: 100 Great American Women. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.
            (Collective Biography grades 3-5)  

My first reaction to this book was being blown away by all the illustrations, done by the author and carefully inserted into the text, which so accurately portray important women in the history of the United States.

           Written in an informal, storytelling style, Harness includes Native Americans (Sarah Winnemucca), African Americans (Ida Bell Wells-Barnett), and Hispanic (Antonia Novello) and intersperses her short biographies with paragraphs of historical events (bicycles in the 1890s/ the Great War ending in 1918).  (I happen to be related to number ten – Margaret Corbin.) 

Eight pages of back matter extend the information and adds more. 
A wonderful book to spend hours pouring over for information, and incidentally, the changes in fashions of dress.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Nonfiction Monday - Noah Webster and His Words

Ferris, Jeri Chase.  Noah Webster and his Words.  Illus. by Vincent X Kirsch. Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012.           

            (SCBWI Golden Kite Winner, 2013) 
This is a  picture book biography of the man whose American spelling book was instrumental in making American spelling different from British spelling. Ferris cleverly inserts definitions of words onto every page, which continually reminds the reader that he created the still-famous Webster’s Dictionary and she connects his American Speller with major events in American history. 
Although most picture book biographies concentrate on one event in a person’s life, Ferris includes almost Webster’s complete life and offers additional information with a timeline, more facts about Webster, plus a bibliography.  
A very good example of a picture book biography.

Jeri has been an online friend of mine for many years and I was thrilled to see this book of hers be honored with so many awards

More Nonfiction Monday selections can be found here. Click on over to check them out.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A few Spring and Easter Books

Did you find a basket of beautiful eggs today?
I decided to skip the egg coloring and go straight to the deviled eggs.  YUM.

One of my favorite Easter books is Max's Chocolate Chicken by Rosemary Wells.
I see that she's come out with others - Max's Easter Surprise and Max and Ruby Celebrate Easter.

And my new favorite is Here Comes the Easter Cat by Deborah Underwood.

These and some other Easter books are discussed (with pictures) on the Picture Book Builders blog.  Go check it out.  Fun.

Friday, April 3, 2015

If you are going to ALA this year -

ALA (the American Library Association's Summer Conference) is in San Francisco this June. Here's a mixture of things to do and see:

The price of the Newbery/ Caldecott banquet is high, but well worth it. Plus you take home a CD of the speeches. (dress up)  

Spend several days walking the Exhibits. (wear good walking shoes so you don't get blisters - it's huge. Carry a large bag for things you collect and wear casual clothes here, plus carry a sweater. Parts of the Exhibit area get very cold.) 

Be sure to visit the Children's publishing area several times because different people will be signing. Sometimes books are given out free and sometimes at a discount. Other goodies are available at the booths from chocolate to pens and pencils to really nice stuff.  

I papered my library and my child's room with posters from ALA. 

Go through the events catalogue (it's huge) and write down the times of signings and lectures and other events and only carry this list with you - to make sure you get to all of the things that interest you. 

Beware of anything that Mo Willems MCs - the audience is usually huge. (often I couldn't hear or see at these events.) 

Meet online friends for lunch or dinner.  
Have fun.  
Be sure to ride the cable car - you'll get a great tour of San Francisco that way.