Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Friday, January 28, 2011

Should You Submit to WiDo?

Just a reminder about the Submissions Contest-- it ends March 1, so get your query and sample chapters in by the end of Feruary just to be safe. Allie is reviewing them as she goes in order to announce the winners as soon after March 1 as possible. Actually, the winners at this phase will be those who are asked to submit a full ms. The winners of the next phase will be those who are offered a contract for publication. Of course at any time, you can say "no thanks, I just wanted the experience and an editorial critique" and that is perfectly cool too.

I thought I would tell a little bit about WiDo Publishing, in case anyone is wondering about the details of publishing should you be offered a contract.

WiDo accepts non-agented submissions, pays generous royalties (10% of retail price of print book, 50% of net of ebook) and has a fairly simple contract of under two pages. They give each author a number of free copies of their book upon release, and allow the author to purchase additional copies at 40% off retail price if desired and pay royalties on these purchases as well.

WiDo distributes through Ingram, the largest distributor to bookstores, and through Follett, the largest distributor to libraries. Online, WiDo's books are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble.com, Target.com and other online sites, with a select few available through Borders.com and The Book Depository. WiDo's titles are sold in numerous independent bookstores from East to West in the United States, although bookstores are cutting back on its purchases for obvious reasons. For this reason, WiDo wants their authors to have a strong online presence to maximize online and ebook sales.

There are five editors, two interns and two copy editors who go over each manuscript numerous times to make sure it is polished and professional before it heads to the typesetter. Once typeset, it is again reviewed by an editor and at least one copy editor. No book is released until it is thoroughly and completely edited, even if that means release dates are pushed back.

Cover designs vary from original artwork, photography, and computer-generated designs, depending on the genre and the tone of the work. For this reason, WiDo's books do not look anything alike. It would be very difficult to pick out three titles from a group and say "these all look alike and must be published by the same company."

Genres accepted for publication range from memoir, women's fiction, YA, fantasy, mystery and action adventure. With WiDo, the story is key. If they like the story, the writing style, the characters and feel like the ms. has something special, they don't care about genre. What they do not publish is illustrated children's books, how-to books, middle-grade (unless it has wide appeal), and erotica. They like a book to be around 50K- 80K words, but will publish less than 50K and up to 100K if the work merits it.

So there's some information that might be useful. Any questions or comments? Feel free to ask in the comments or email me privately and I will address them in a comment or in another post if needed. But I am going out of town and away from my computer, so it may not be until Tuesday that I can reply to a comment.

Should you submit to WiDo? Of course!!! By all means!! Go for it!!! And you should also follow my blog because I am almost to 600, woo hoo!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Interview with Terry Lynn Johnson, author of DOGSLED DREAMS

Today we have the very nice Terry Lynn Johnson visiting on my blog. Welcome, Terry, and thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions about the writing and publishing of Dogsled Dreams. And at the end is the summary of Terry's promotional campaign so don't miss that.

How long have you been writing?
I started writing magazine articles a few years ago. I have several non-fiction articles published in outdoor magazines such as Adventure Kayak, as well as being a regular contributor to Dogs In Canada Magazine. Two years ago, I tackled my first novel and was lucky to find a publisher quite quickly--4RV Publishing.

Lucky you! Or should I say "talented you"!! Is Dogsled Dreams your first published book?
Yes, Dogsled Dreams is my debut novel. My second one is on sub right now with my agent, Caryn Wiseman of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. It is also a dogsledding adventure story.

How do you fit writing into your routine of work, family, book promotion, etc?
Sometimes, this is difficult. I work full time, but I have a very supportive family. I don't write every day, but when I get on a roll, I tend to write for long periods of time. Unfortunately, my dog doesn't like that too much since our hiking time is greatly reduced.


Well, you must make time for hiking with your dog, as clearly he gives you story ideas! What was the time frame like, from editing to publication?
The turn around time was speedy in publishing terms. It took me a month to write my first draft of Dogsled Dreams, then another month to finish polishing. I submitted it to twelve small presses, but received rejections or no responses. I then took another look at it, and revised my first chapter again. The next round of submissions I got a contract within six weeks. It took another year from that time to the release date - three months of that time spent working with the editor. 


Thanks Terry, this is really interesting. I am wondering a few more things if you don't mind. When did you get your agent?
After I got my contract for Dogsled Dreams, I wrote my second book, ICE DOGS, and really fell in love with it. I submitted it to a handful of agents, and received three responses within an hour of submitting! I signed with my agent four weeks later.

Wow, that is incredible! So maybe dogsledding stories are the new vampires? What kinds of marketing are you and your publisher doing for Dogsled Dreams? (Pay attention to this list, people)
My publicist, Kirsten Cappy of Curious City, has been very creative in her marketing ideas. So far, this is our list:
1. developed a booklet with the first chapter of Dogsled Dreams, jr. musher contest announcement, and a few reviews, and sent 1500 to many dogsled races throughout Canada and the States for distribution.
2. librarian listserve giveaway of Dogsled Dreams

3. junior musher video contest to be revealed on my website February 1, 2011. Winner will be voted on by teachers and readers. Hope to generate much interest!
4. press release distribution, sell-sheet distribution to bookstores and libraries
5. facebook ad campaign
6. other  - blog tour, goodreads giveaway, book signing events at dogsled races, school visits, library readings, book trailer, bookmarks, Skype visits with classrooms via the Iditarod Education Department


You can learn more about Terry and her books at www.terrylynnjohnson.com  and you can purchase DOGSLED DREAMS through the following links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Amazon.ca (for Canadians)


Thanks for stopping by, Terry! I wish you much success and may all your dogsled dreams come true.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Amazing how much I get done when not blogging....

There's been longer time between my posts lately. Maybe it's because I have a big moving project going on at my house, maybe because of work, or fatigue, or because I got out of the routine during the holidays and my mom's illness. Maybe because my writing brain has taken hold which shoves aside the blogging brain (a good thing!)

I've noticed a lot online about writers being fed up with social media. Is the honeymoon over? Not as rosy as it all seemed at the beginning of the blogging love affair? There's still work, writing, family pressures-- all this to fit around the time required online to sell more books or to get an agent or to find the perfect publisher. Plus I believe a lot of people might have gotten into it with too high of expectations.

I love blogging and Twitter, so I make an effort to fit it into my schedule. If I didn't enjoy it I wouldn't be here. I like connecting with others whose passion is books. But sometimes life happens and posts get delayed. Or commenting becomes nonexistent. No biggie, the blogosphere isn't going anywhere *hope hope hope* and neither am I.

To those who are feeling conflicted about blogging, two words: balance and enjoyment. Try balancing your responsibilities as effectively as you possibly can, realizing that if you publish a book these days you must promote and this is the fastest, easiest way to do so.

Unless you hate it. That's where enjoyment comes in. Do it if you enjoy it, but if not then find another venue. There's writers who really dislike blogging but adore Facebook and have made it work for them. Same with Twitter, and if there's other effective social media outlets I'd love to hear your experiences with them.

Coming up on Wednesday, an interview with Terry Lynn Johnson, the debut author of DOGSLED DREAMS.