Publishing: The Good, The Bad and The In-Between, by Raining Deer

by Classics author, and guest blogger, Raining Deer ©2011

The Road to publishing your own work is a journey of the good, the bad and the in-between.

The GOOD  is the Creative Process — writing as a craft/art.  If you are a skilled writer, expressing your thoughts or storytelling may be a fairly natural thing for you.  I always say, “if you can talk, you can write,” i.e. – you should be able to write what you say.  But that’s not always the case.

For some, who don’t speak “the King’s English” writing may be more of a challenge.  Nevertheless it is always necessary to convey your thoughts from the “reader’s” perspective.  With that in mind, whether you consider yourself a writing technician or someone who just likes to tell a good story and will leave the grammatically correct aspect to an experienced editor, remember to write in such a way that the reader fully gets the point of what you are saying.  

The BAD in publishing can be lined with rejection – letters that is, if you are seeking a publisher.  This can be a lengthy, tedious process, and you might need to grow an extra layer of skin to soften the blow of rejection.  You could seek out a literary agent to run interference, but there are costs associated with having an agent represent you.  And still, you may not get a deal within the timeframe that you set for yourself.

If you don’t have or want an agent, are thin-skinned, or you or your agent don’t think your material will grab the attention of a small or large publishing house, self-publishing is always a good alternative.  Especially if you have a story or a topic that you simply must write about and it’s just oozing out of your pores, so to speak, self-publishing might make the most sense. 

The IN-BETWEEN is that, in any event, you must understand that you are a writer, but you will be in the business of marketing.  For some this is a hard concept to grasp. If you get a book deal with a publisher, your job will still be to market your book.  If you self-publish, your job will be  — to market your book. Today, even if you have limited financial resources, with desk-top publishing and a plethora of  electronic avenues for getting exposure for your work, self-publishing is a proverbial snap.

Once your manuscript has been written, edited, proofread, priced competitively, printed or set up as an e-book, you establish a website, start a blog and start some chatter on face book, Twitter, LinkedIn or some other popular on-line sites, and you’re good to go.  At least the ground work is all done.  Then comes the networking.  Actually, the networking should have begun from the moment of conception – or your book topic, because when you decide you want to write a book you have to know your audience, — i.e., who will be willing to pay money to read your work, and have a plan for accessing that audience.

In any case, see the good and don’t let the bad or the in-between deter you from following your passion.  As they say, “Don’t die with the music in you” or in this case, don’t die with your story in you.  Get it out.  Write about what you know and get it out.

Raining Deer is the author of BCV – RITES OF PASSAGE FOR BREAST CANCER VICTORS, which is available at Classics, , 117 South Warren, downtown Trenton, book_cellar@mindspring.com.  You can learn more about Raining Deer at http://rainingdeer.com/.

Tips on Writing Children’s Books: Tika Bernadette

Tips on Writing Children’s Books

by Classics author, and guest blogger, Tika Bernadette 

Writing children’s fiction is a lot of fun, but it’s no easy task, in my opinion.  As with any well-written literature, there are rules and standards that industry movers expect when reviewing literary work for children.  If you wish to attract positive attention from editors, agents, publishers, educators and your target readers, there are some things you must take into serious consideration when creating your literary art for children.  Here, I will share some pointers that I’ve learned along the way to conceptualizing, writing and publishing two books for children, with a third book set for release this year. 

One simple rule for writing picture books is – Keep it simple. Let the pictures tell the story. Picture books are generally for babies and toddlers, with illustrations in place of text. Text, if any, is secondary to the illustrations and is no more than one word per picture, or two to three words per sentence, on average.  The text, if any, is often choppy.  And, the entire book is usually between 24 and 32 total pages.  

Learn the categories of children’s books so you can be sure that you are writing for your target audience.  As you have read above, many picture books are for babies and toddlers. There are also books for early readers. Readers in this group typically range from age four to age eight and are just learning to read and write.  They are still thrilled with pictures, but are also fascinated with written words.  Books for early readers have more printed words per page with fuller sentences, even when accompanied by illustrations.  The storylines, while still simple, are more fluid and imaginative. At this point, a few challenging words have been incorporated into the text.  Early readers are not as intimidated as you may think and desire to increase their vocabulary.  Structurally, books for early readers are usually between 45-60 total pages and no more than 1,500 words. Then there are your intermediate readers. Readers in this group range from age eight through age ten.  They are proud chapter books readers at this point.  Chapter books usually contain 48 to 80 pages and between 1,500 to 10,000 words.  These books tend to be thicker and have more sophisticated plots and themes.  Another category in children’s book literature is the middle school reader.  These readers are independent thinkers and are discovering themselves and beginning to pursue their own interests.  They usually select books based on their own personal taste.  Books for the middle school reader are usually 80 to 192 pages, with 20,000 to 45,000 words.

After middle school readers, we then go into young adult readers.  We won’t speak about them today. Today, we are discussing literature for young children.

Study your target audience.  Observe children’s habits, their movements, their language, their emotions, their follies, their antics.  Tune in to their interests.  Channel their energy and excitement through your work.  Take your mind back to when you were that young.  When you do so, you will find that you write on their level, but not down to them. They are intelligent creatures and learn quickly. They pick up on condescension and do not appreciate being talked down to. 

Read your story out loud.  Read to an audience of children before you send your work to an editor, agent or publisher. Get lots of feedback from parents, teachers and your target audience.  Is your audience fully engaged? Ask for audience participation.  You not only want to read your story aloud, you also want it to be interactive.  You want your readers to be so enthralled that they desire to become part of the story themselves.  Therefore, at some point during your reading, stop and ask your audience questions about what you’ve read so far.  Bring them into the story.

Keep writing!

Recommended reading:

  • Writing Children’s Books by Lesley Bolton and Lea Wait
  • Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul
  • How To Write And Illustrate Children’s Books (And Get Them Published) by Treld Pelkey Bicknell and Felicity Trotman

Tika Bernadette is the author of Baby Love and Zuri and Friends Conquer the Mountain.   You can buy her books on Amazon by clicking here.