Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing for Children's Book Authors

It's difficult for any writer to get published by a traditional publisher, whether you write for adults or for children. That's why more writers than ever are turning to self-publishing. But before you jump on the bandwagon, especially if you write for children, it's helpful to find out more about self-publishing.
Check out the recent post by guest blogger Sangeeta Mehta on publishing expert Jane Friedman's blog. Mehta, a former acquiring editor of children's books at Little, Brown and Simon & Schuster who runs her own editorial services company, interviewed agents Kate McKean and Kevan Lyon for answers to key questions on self-publishing children's books.
Here are some highlights:
Kate McKean: “The anecdotal evidence I’ve seen, however, is that the more titles a self-published author has up, the more visibility they can possibly garner.”
Kevan Lyon: “I do believe that YA writers probably have an edge over middle grade writers in the indie publishing world.”
Kate McKean: “For picture book writers, the cost of producing the book is one hurdle, and distributing it is another bigger hurdle.”
Kevan Lyon: “Self-publishing a full-color print picture book can be very expensive with little room for a profit margin, especially without distribution.”
Click here to visit Jane Friedman's blog for the complete post.
What do you think about the pros and cons of self-publishing? Please share your experiences.
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tweets and Text From Literature's Great Characters

What if Ahab were tweeting? Or Nancy Drew sending texts? Or Scarlett O'Hara texting Ashley?
What if great literary characters had smartphones! The new book Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg is a novel built around the conceit of great literary characters texting and tweeting.

Here's a funny example from the book posted on the National Public Radio (NPR) website:

Gone with the Wind

Texts from Jane EyreScarlett O'Hara:
ashley r u there
(i'm DRUNK (from brandy))
remember that time
we made out in the barn

Ashley Wilkes:
Scarlett, it's four in the morning and I have to
get up in two hours to run your mill
Please don't text me this late

Scarlett O'Hara:
oh i sold the mill
did i not tell you that

Ashley Wilkes:
Oh my God.

Scarlett O'Hara:
did you know that pantalets are out this year
that's why im not wearing any :)

Ashley Wilkes:

Texts from Jane Eyre also plays with many other characters from the Western canon, including Sherlock and Watson, Captain Ahab and Ishmael, and Nancy Drew and Ned.

Check out Ortberg's website The Toast, which she co-founded with Nicole Cliffe, for more literary satire.
And take a look at NPR's story on Ortberg.

Now choose a character and let me know what he or she would tweet or text?

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Writing Funny Isn't Easy: Just Ask John Cleese

So, Anyway...

National Public Radio (NPR) has an interview with John Cleese about his new autobiography So, Anyway... Check it out to discover what the British wit whose comic characters and hit movies, including Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Time Bandits, and A Fish Called Wanda, has to say about writing funny.

Here's a highlight from the NPR interview:

Cleese's advice for young comedy writers

"I tell them to steal, because comedy is extraordinarily difficult. It's much, much harder than drama. You only have to think of the number of great dramatic films and then compare that with the number of great comic films ... and realize that there's very, very few great comedies and there are lots and lots of very great tragedies, or dramas. That tells you, really, which is the hard one to do. So at the very beginning, to try to master the whole thing is too difficult, so pinch other people's ideas and then try to write them yourself, and that'll get you started."

To read and listen to the NPR interview, click on this link to NPR's website:

Do you agree that it's hard to write funny?

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