As a former teacher, I know you have your own style and classroom needs. I've produced many classroom lessons and materials related to my books. These are offered as jumping off points for your own students. Click below. Be sure to let me know how you use my books in your classroom. Email me
Yes, I love librarians. You are the magicians (okay, professionals) who match readers with books. I’ve spoken at several library conferences – Nevada Reading Week, Nevada Library Association, Oklahoma’s Encyclomedia, Colorado Library Association/MPLA, and Kansas Library Association. I’ve also participated in Spokane, Washington’s Get Lit, Virginia Festival of the Book, and National Conference of Teachers of English.
I’ve attended programs at Association of Small and Rural Libraries, American Association of School Librarians, and Mountain Plains Library Association. I always meet great people and learn a lot.
Besides going to the big gatherings, I’ve been able to meet readers at libraries from Illinois to Texas, from Washington to Missouri. One of the most fun programs I give is a community literacy night with author Terri Farley. We bring activities for ages three to ninety, decorations, and our writing workshop expertise. You supply the food, publicity, and reader-writers. We often end the evening with an open mic so your writers can share their work. Love it!
I’ve been writing for many years and as a former Regional Advisor for Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, I’ve been asked some questions again and again. Here are answers to some of the most common ones.
First, think of the resources you need. There are community college and university creative writing classes. Many communities have active writers’ groups. Professional groups such as Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators offer conferences, classes, and networking. Do some research then connect with people in your literary and publishing community and ask your questions. And don’t forget to read, read, read.
These days books sold to major publishers are usually submitted by agents. Many publishers only considered agented work. To reach the most traditional publishers it helps to have an agent. Some smaller publishers accept un-agented submissions (check their submission guidelines.) Some publishing houses hold contests or have windows each year when they accept unsolicited unagented work. Many editors will accept submissions directly from writers or illustrators if they’ve met them at a professional conference. Its your choice to look for an agent or not. Here is an article about reasons you may not need an agent.
Writers don’t often share editorial contacts because each editor has their own way of acquiring books and their own tastes and needs. The same is true for agents. If a writer is familiar with and believes in your work and you, they may make a recommendation to their agent or editor, but this is a personal favor and not the norm.
Go to conferences. Look at books like you are writing and see if editors or agents are mentioned in the acknowledgements. Join a professional group. Online you can check out Manuscript Wish List and sort for agents and editors looking for your type of book. Follow their submission guidelines exactly. Consult resources such as Children’s Writers’ and Illustrators Market for lists of agents and publishing houses, their editorial needs, and submission guidelines.
Quick answer – no. Publishers match writers with illustrators as part of their editorial process. Many publishers are very interested writer/illustrators. If you can do both, do it. If not, let the editors and art directors work their matchmaking magic.
Nothing. Traditional publishers pay you. Do your homework and learn the difference between traditional advance and royalty publication, work for hire, self publishing (which will cost money), e-publishing, and hybrid publishing. Read up on contracts and rights before you sign with anyone. Know what you are paying for and what value you’ll get before using a hybrid publisher. Vanity publishers, which charge large sums of money to produce a low quality product, should be avoided at all costs! Publishing professional, Harold Underdown, has a number of good articles on his website, The Purple Crayon, that are a good place to start. Click here.
This is a personal choice. Some agents are very hands on and will work with you on your manuscript before submitting it. Many books are acquired without this step. But with the competition, some authors choose to hire an editorial consultant or to apply for a mentorship before they submit their work. (Some mentor programs are free to those selected, some require payment.)
There is no one answer to this. Most people work at least a few years before landing a traditional publishing contract. There is a lot of competition. Self publishing can be faster but has different drawbacks – cost, time required to produce a good book, expertise needed in many areas, and finally getting reviews, recognition, and distribution.
Yes, you can make millions (not likely but it happens. Most people who work hard, treating writing like a job, can make some income but often not enough to live on. They continue working another job or supplement their royalties with school visits, teaching, and speaking. Some people write for years, spend a lot of money on conferences and classes and never make a dime. They end up writing for other reasons - personal satisfaction, the artistic challenge, and the friendships they create along the way.