One of the best resources for children’s writers is The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. The website has a specific links to many ways to publish and how to achieve becoming successful in getting your work published. An editor has a question and answer page for children’s writers that covers more than the usual basics and sheds light on what editors for publishing companies look for in choosing a children’s books. The article is a great way to learn and experience the first or twentieth time submitting for publication. The editor also talks about copyright, legal issues, where to send, and self publishing.
Be sure to look into the article:
While everyone has different experiences with publishing, in today’s market you have to be thinking of not only publishing with a house but also online. It can be especially difficult as the two types of publishing can have very different approaches and require certain attention to multiple details. It can be a hard decision as to whether to publish online as many people have a preference. Annette Simon, a children’s author and illustrator, has distinct feelings about this too. In an interview with Ms. Mac, she is asked, MSMAC: There are rapid changes in the world of publishing now that tablets/ereaders and such are in the market in a big way? What are your thoughts about ereaders versus a book? Do you have an ereader? Annette: “I’m a part-time bookseller at a small indie, and this is an almost daily topic of conversation among our customers. Many have received ereaders as gifts; they try them, but they don’t love them. Those with vision problems enjoy enlarging the font, and frequent travelers are happy not to have to lug heavy material. But by and large, in our store at least, the printed book is the hero. I believe that books and ereaders can and will coexist. I have no plans for an ereader, because I need a device on which I can also create. Have you seen Oliver Jeffers’ HEART AND THE BOTTLE ipad picture book app? It’s beautiful–but so are his books!”. I have strong feelings about publishing and am still torn as to look it at online publishing as an opportunity.
While researching for my writers profile, I discovered that my author not only published written articles, but she published podcast’s as well. This is a whole different style and experience for a writer. Writing out your opinions is one thing, but writing and then verbally expressing is another.
The blog that host these podcast’s is titled The Needle and the Mouse. It covers The Fashion of Technology and the Technology of Fashion. Lauren Sherman and her husband Co-host the podcast’s together. As we drift into this new digital age, writing is changing all the time. Most platforms we read on are electronic. The transition from text to video is just another step towards a digital revolution for the publishing world. These podcast’s present information in a fun informative way that is easy to keep the audiences attention. Its a different experience and is received or translated differently than it would be on paper.
Sometimes the publication experience starts with a writer’s skills. For Allison Brennan, romantic suspense author, writing and completing her first novel did not guarantee her success as a writer.
“The first story I wrote had everything, including the kitchen sink…two stalkers, mistaken identity, a rapist, a killer, a cop hero, a security consultant heroine, a former fiancé embezzling money, a violent ex-girlfriend and more. Needless to say, it didn’t sell. But I learned a lot about writing and my own style, and when I started the second book I could already see the improvement” (Brennan).
It wasn’t until Brennan wrote her fifth novel, The Prey, that she finally published her first novel. “It was tighter, better, and more polished than anything I’d written before” (Brennan). In order to get to the state of publication, it took Brennan years of dedication and mastering her craft in order to sign with an agent she felt was “well-established” and could market her book the way she wanted. This is a difficult concept for many writers, especially unpublished ones. Some authors struggle with the idea of being rejected, or simply finding any editor or agent to publish their books, instead of finding the right ones. This often stems from the perception that their work isn’t good enough, and that they should take any offer they can get.
Seeking publication should be about just getting published. It should be about jumpstarting a successful career as an author. If fear of inadequacy or inexperience is holding a writer back, then honing his or her skills, or entering contests, can increase the understanding and experience of the writer’s capabilities. For some authors, like Brennan, the important thing is to always look for improvement and to never give up. “I had five requests for fulls and two partials. I signed with my agent the same day I had another request for a full and a rejection” (Brennan).
The use of a pen name is often discussed among writers in regards to privacy and artistic purposes. What many don’t realize is that taking a pen name is often a part of the publication process itself. Many authors choose a pen name to write across genres. For Heather Graham, who generally writes paranormal romance under her own name, she uses the name Shannon Drake when writing historical romances. Romantic suspense author, Tanya Goodwin, chose the pen name Tania Senko to write her aunt’s biography. The biography details events of her aunt’s, and Russia’s, history, which played a part in her change to a pen name geared more toward the author’s personal heritage. This technique is often employed by authors as a way to signal readers about the types of books they will be reading. For reader’s familiar with their favorite author’s pseudonyms, which many are, they know what genre of book they will be getting based on the name.
Robert Galbraith wrote the detective story entitled The Cuckoo’s Calling. Though the author’s origins had been announced as “a former member of the Special Investigative Branch of the Royal Military Police” (Grossman), it was later revealed to be the work of famed author J.K. Rowling. Rowling chose to write under a pen name in order to receive feedback without the “hype and expectation” (Grossman) that her name generated. “She called it a ‘liberating experience’” (Grossman). For many authors, it is hard to break out of the mold they have created, especially for someone whose name has become synonymous with the Harry Potter series. But most authors have a desire to grow and develop outside of their genres, especially once they have had such great success in one avenue. In order to branch out and become successful on one’s own merits, not simply by their name alone, the anonymity a pseudonym provides becomes a useful tool.
Another reason authors use pseudonyms is in order to publish more books at a time. This is true in the case of both Nora Roberts and Stephen King. King explains his reasoning for writing under the pen name Richard Bachman: “in the early days of my career there was a feeling in the publishing business that one book a year was all the public would accept” (Grossman). Nora Roberts also hit a similar issue when she realized her publishing company was having difficulty producing her works faster than her output allowed. Both authors chose to write under pseudonyms as a way to maximize their output and produce more publications a year.
In an expletive-filled rant, John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars, spoke out against self-publication. According to the Association of American Booksellers, Green said, “I am sometimes held up as an example of someone who is changing the publishing paradigm or whatever because I have a lot of Tumblr followers and YouTube subscribers and I can speak directly to my audience and I don’t need the value-sucking middleman of bookstores and publishers, and in the future everyone is going to be like me, and no one will stand between author and reader except possibly an e-commerce site that takes just a tiny little percentage of each transaction. Yeah, that’s bullshit.”
He goes on to say that he would not have any books to his name (he currently has six) were it not for his editor, his publisher, and the dedicated teams who help his stories to reach their maximum potential. He calls self-publication “an insidious lie.”
Yikes. I wouldn’t consider self-publication an insidious lie. I would prefer traditional publication, actually, to take care of the business aspects and allow me to focus on my writing. John Green has been highly successful so far (I actually rather liked The Fault in Our Stars), but it looks like he may need to add “publicist” to his list of business necessities. I guess no one told him that a publishing house can’t always sweep his asshole remarks under the rug.
You’ve all heard her name. If you’re anything like me, you begged your parents to buy you wizard robes and take you to midnight book release parties, so that you could be one of the first people to know what was next for Harry Potter and his friends at Hogwarts. J.K. Rowling is a sensation. Her books have been translated into 65 languages, at one point making her one of the richest people in Great Britain.
For J.K. Rowling, it was luck that got her book published. Luck, and a lot of determination. The manuscript for the first Harry Potter book was completed in 1995. Rowling writes of the experience, “The first manuscript I had to do on a typewriter and then had to re-type the entire chapter if I changed a paragraph. Then I had to re-type the whole book all over again because it wasn’t double spaced.” Rowling sent her story to several publishers, and accumulated rejection letters for an entire year before Bloomsbury Publishing finally expressed an interest in her work, although her editor warned her not to quit her day job.
J.K. Rowling is a true inspiration to many, and you can read her full thoughts on the publishing experience in this interview with Urbanette: http://www.urbanette.com/jk-rowling/
While conducting my research for my writers profile, I came across an interview with my writer, Lauren Sherman. The interview was done by Examiner.com and was discussing blogging culture. I found the information Lauren Sherman talked about really eyeopening. She has worked with countless platforms and has a deep grasp of the digital writing age. I think some of her best advice in the article is:
“You need to practice your trade to get good at it and you need to immerse yourself in good writing to be able to write well.”
We all are aspiring to achieve something with our writing. The best thing we can do is practice what we have learned to expand our horizons.
In our world of self-publication, it is so easy for authors to get their works published. (Although ease of publication does not necessarily guarantee success.) This was not the case for J.K. Rowling as she finished up the first Harry Potter book.
It took Rowling over a year to find a publisher, before it was accepted by Bloomsbury Publishing. I thought it was interesting that it took so long for her to find a publisher, because her novel was so very different than any other work of children’s fiction.
I can only imagine what a difficult job publishing would be, making decisions about what books will and will not sell, and dealing with the consequences of your decision when you are mistaken. Obviously, many publishers were very mistaken about this particular series.
Robert Lawrence Stine, otherwise known as R.L. Stine, is a well-established author among the horror genre. He is a part of many people’s childhoods, including mine. His books are especially appealing to those who are a fan of gore and horror stories. He is famously known for his series of books called Goosebumps. Each book focuses on a different character and follows a different plot line, though they’re all meant to scare or at least invoke a few goosebumps (yes, I said it).
Stine initially wrote humorous books targets toward children after being placed in a position on the Scholastic Press. He also wrote a humor magazine named Bananas that was meant for teenagers. He wrote them under the pen name Jovial Bob Stine, to go along with the genre he was aiming to write under.
Surprisingly, Stine didn’t write his first horror novel until 1986, titled Blind Date. He only branched out into this genre after he lost his job at Scholastic. The novels Twisted, The Babysitter, The Beach House, Hit and Run, and The Girlfriend followed soon after.
In 1989, he published approximately 100 books in the series Fear Street, meant for young adults, before publishing the Goosebumps series, aimed more toward children, in 1992. These books led to spin-offs and additions that later became quite successful as well. The Goosebumps series are what gave him his claim to fame and led to him becoming a best-selling author.
The books were such a success in the United States that a television show was created that was based off of their stories. R.L. Stine became a very successful and wealthy author thanks to these shiver-provoking children’s books.