Six Steps to Successful Sharing

Many avenues are now available for writers to publish and publicize their books. Some of us choose traditional publishing. Some  choose self-publishinng, co-publishing or a dozen other options. The same might be said for marketing or sharing the books we write. My guest today, Alicia Broaddus, offers us a different take on marketing the works of her imagination. Her approach may be just the thing you (or a writing friend) are searching for. If so, please share Alicia’s post with other writers.

 

Prioritizing your Social Media Platform with Writing and Illustrating a Book –

Six Steps to Successful Sharing  by Alicia Broaddus

Six Steps to Successful Sharing

Penny_Pink_Takes_a_BathWhen Jean asked me to share my approach to marketing my new picture book, Penny Pink Takes a Bath, my first thought was that my purpose is to “share” rather than “market” the book. That subtle difference in wording is basic to my ministry, my approach to writing, and my approach to using social media. My purpose is to create a children’s picture book to share the plan of salvation. Writing, illustrating, publishing, and using social media were simply tools I would use to assist in my ministry.

I attended a number of writing conferences and found editors, agents, and publishers recommended developing a social media platform for marketing a book. And I found authors and illustrators were frustrated with the amount of time that effort took away from completing a book. I realized early on that I could not divide my time between a book and social media. I decided to prioritize and focus on completing a book. After all, I had to have a book in order to share it.

Here are my Six Steps to Successful Sharing:

  1. Pray for God’s specific direction for your book! Every writer has a unique calling. There is no one-size-fits all formula for the process. Gather information for a specific amount of time, and determine what publishing model works for you.
  2. Create a very basic mission statement and static web page about your book and a simple business card. Pray that you won’t be distracted with an elaborate web page or social network before your book is completed.
  3. Focus on completing your book! Pray that God will give you the inspiration, direction, and perseverance you need and get busy on your book!
  4. Build REAL rather than VIRTUAL relationships. Pray God will bring the right people into your life and that you will be a blessing to them. Form friendships with other Christians, not for the purpose of promoting books, but for the purpose of sharing life and ministry.
  5. When your book is complete, focus on your social media platform, website, and distribution. Now that you have something to share, pray God gives you opportunities.
  6. Find REAL ways to share in-person! Pray God will open doors as you seek opportunities to read to church groups, ministries, and relevant community groups.

 

AB_Headshot_400x400Most of Alicia’s career she has been a technical illustrator, technical writer, and graphic designer. But her true passion is writing and illustrating children’s stories. She is originally from a small town, Irvine, Kentucky. She now lives near Charlotte, NC. She spends as much time as possible illustrating and sharing her stories.  

Picture Books the Write Way

41mlw2twmol-_sx331_bo1204203200_ A Children’s Writer Insider Guide from Mentors For Rent – Lisa Bullard and Laura Purdie Salas.

Picture Books the Write Way by Lisa Bullard and Laura Purdie Salas is one of my newest books On My Kindle Shelf. It contains about 40 pages that answer 10 questions that will strengthen my (or your) picture book manuscript.

40 pages is just the right size for me to read, chew on, and apply to a manuscript in an evening.

I’ve been writing picture book manuscripts for several years and seeing steady improvement in my skills. This little volume (Picture Books the Write Way) helped me to shore up some areas where my current manuscript was weak. One of the 10 chapters gave me a key to fixing a major problem with the same manuscript.

Picture Books the Write Way enabled me to focus on some basic areas where I was getting a little sloppy. It helped me to remember the things I’ve been learning about writing picture books.

The 10 questions answered succinctly are:

  • “Is It a Short Story Insead?”
  • “Does It Lack a Fresh Take?”
  • “Is It Too Long?”
  • “Is It Unfocused?”
  • “Will Young Kids Fail to Relate?”
  • “Is It Too Nostalgic?”
  • “Is It Too Quiet?”
  • “Are There Illustration Issues?”
  • “Is Your Meter Imperfect?”

Picture Books the Write Way also contains a useful Revision Checklist.

I highly recommend this little volume and the Mentors For Rent website. It’s more than worth the really small price tag. Mentors For Rent have several little volumes available on Kindle.

I’m getting ready to read Rhyming Picture Books the Write Way. I’ll let you know what I think.

Thanks, Lisa and Laura!mfrheader_3tm

Ten things to do by Linda Ashman

la-cropped-as500kb-300x294Many thanks to author Linda Ashman for permission to “borrow” this page from her website.  Linda is the author of more than thirty-five delightful picture books and the creator of The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books. Her books have been included on the “best of the year” lists of The New York Times, Parenting and Child magazines, the New York Public Library, Bank Street College of Education, and the International Reading Association. She leads writing workshops and gives presentations about writing and children’s books at conferences and schools.

Thanks for the great advice, Linda!

Ten things to do if you want to write picture books:

  1. Join SCBWI. And find out what’s happening with your local chapter.
  2. Read craft books. You might start with (ahem) The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books and Ann Paul’s Writing Picture Books.
  3. Read picture books—lots of them. You’ll find recommendations at our group blog, PictureBookBuilders, and many more in The Nuts and Bolts Guide.
  4. Read children’s poetry. Notice the sound, the rhythm, and the way a story can be told or a world created with very few well-chosen words.
  5. Write. Obvious, I know, but somehow it’s easy to let other things take precedence.
  6. Revise, revise, revise. Think you’re done? Revise some more.
  7. Make a dummy or storyboard. Nothing better demonstrates the unique structure of a picture book or shows more clearly if your text is working in this format.
  8. Think visually. Imagine your story as a movie, and leave out anything that doesn’t move the action forward.
  9. Cultivate patience—with your writing (don’t rush!) and with the publishing industry (nothing happens quickly).
  10. Hang in there. Rejection is part of the business. It’s good to have a supportive critique group and/or at least one sympathetic friend.

http://lindaashman.com/how-to-write-picture-books/more-resources/

Newberry, Caldecott & Coretta Scott King–Oh, My!

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I walk into the children’s library and am overwhelmed. Thousands of picture books! Beautiful books, scary books, interesting books, funny books, sad books, informative books, sleepy-time books, holiday books, adventurous books…

All of them are good books, so how do I choose the best books for my children and grandchildren?

  • Thumb through the stacks until a cover catches my eye
  • Search for particular authors or illustrators
  • Ask a librarian
  • Search the catalogue for certain topics

OR, look for award-winners.

Do you think about those awards when you are crafting a picture book? Or, do you dream that someday a book you wrote will garner an award of some kind?

READING ROCKETS is a great place on the Internet to get a glimpse of the many awards granted to American children’s books including picture books. At the top of the list are The Newberry Medal, The Caldecott Medal, the Coretta Scott King Awards and The Pura Belpré Award. READING ROCKETS is a trove of information about the best in contemporary children’s literature.

You’ll find more detailed information about the American awards for children’s literature at the American Library Association. This is on HUGE website with layer after layer of websites within the website. Some of those are for children’s books.

The Association for Library Services to Children is one of those websites within the website.

I don’t subscribe to everything the ALA (and its sub-organizations) does or represents. And I don’t always agree with their choices for awards. But I respect them. You’ll find mountains of useful information at their websites about children’s literature in American culture.

The next time you have a few extra hours to spend pay them a visit.

Next Friday please drop in for ANOTHER impressive list of picture books.

Thanks for stopping by. Please help me spread the word by sharing this post.

 

 

On My Shelf Again

img_20170205_114710445_hdrThe books that belong On My Shelf have been packed in boxes and out of sight and reach for more than a month. And my “shelf” didn’t even exist. For this writer that’s kind of like trying to type or word process my words with both hands tied behind my back.

True, I can find almost any tidbit of information I want on the Internet. But, I miss my books!

I miss touching them, flipping through the pages, “accidentally” finding nuggets of gold as I scan the pages. I miss scanning their titles as they stand at attention (or, sometimes, at ease or even sound asleep!) On My Shelf. 

However, I am making progress.

Two weeks ago my NEW shelves arrived! I admired their brown cardboard containers as they acclimated to the environment of my office.

img_20170211_141226159_hdrA few days ago my son and grandson came to set those shelves free. Halelujah! Of course, the job was not without complications. What should have taken an hour to accomplish ate up three, almost four hours of their time.

But now My Shelf stands dutifully waiting to be filled.

Over the past few evenings I’ve been ripping into boxes and liberating my books. Just a few more boxes to go.

I’m an organizer. It’s in my DNA. It was joyous and satisfying last night to not only unpack my books, but to put them in the best possible order On My Shelf.

  • My Bibles (more than a few)
  • My Bible reference books and study guides
  • My books for personal and spiritual growth
  • My books about writing
  • A very short stack of anthologies that contain stories I have written (Yay!)
  • Picture books
  • Other children’s books and YAs (I love to encourage other writers by purchasing their books.)
  • A menagerie of reference books ( I know—use the Internet.)
  • Books on leadership
  • Classic fiction books and poetry
  • Notebooks from writer’s conferences and workshops I’ve attended
  • Books and notebooks for courses I have taught at church

See what I mean? I’m enamored with pages dotted with ink.

img_20170214_210822468As I read the titles it was so much like seeing old friends that I haven’t talked to in a while. Reading each title brought back some of the great things I’ve learned from those books. I remembered how those authors inspired, and continue to inspire, me. Some of these books dramatically changed my life.

Those thoughts led me to thank God for those people I’ve never met face-to-face. But I’ve met them on the pages of their books. I’ve seen inside their souls and minds. I’ve felt our kinship, or, our incompatibility sometimes.

Someday I pray that someone will step back from his or her Shelf and see my name on a few book spines. Someday I pray that someone will have similar thoughts of me and the impact my words have had on their lives.

Impact.

Encouragement.

Influence.

In a positive and godly direction.

This Is the Feast

feastThis Is the Feast

Written by Diane Z. Shore        Illustrated by Megan Lloyd

Published by Scholastic, Inc. in 2008

 

This Is the Feast is a rhyming picture book about the Pilgrims’ journey and settlement of the New World, then their feast of thanksgiving. The voice is quite similar to another Thanksgiving book ON MY SHELF, The Very First Thanksgiving Day (also published by Scholastic, Inc.)

I was pleasantly surprised that This Is the Feast makes repeated reference to the Pilgrims specifically thanking God for His blessings.

The artwork is bright and colorful like the season of fall. As a matter of fact it was too colorful in some ways. The Pilgrims are dressed in bright colors—orange, red, blue, purple, summer green. That isn’t historically correct, and it jerked me out of the story.

The rhythm is happy and bouncy and fits the illustrations well. However, it is the same rhythm as  The Very First Thanksgiving Day.

 

Thanksgiving–A Harvest Celebration

Thanksgiving—A Harvest Celebration

Written by Julie Stiegemeyer            Illustrated by Renné Benoit  harvest-celebration

Published by Concordia Publishing House in 2003

 

Thanksgiving—A Harvest Celebration is a nonfiction picture book about the Pilgrims’ journey to the New World, their first year of extreme hardship, their friendship with Native Americans and their feast of thanksgiving.

It was published in 2003 which, if I recall correctly, is about the time the children’s publishing world made a shift from straight, didactic nonfiction to “creative nonfiction.”

Thanksgiving—A Harvest Celebration is filled with interesting information. Stiegemeyer created a fictitious main character, Ellen Chilton, and centered the narrative around her. However, the narrator has an adult voice, and the text is rather didactic. That’s fine for adults. I enjoyed the book. But I can see that it would be difficult for this text to hold the attention of 21st century children.

The illustrations are lovely. And the text is a friendly way to teach children the facts of Thanksgiving.

I do appreciate that Stiegemeyer (and Concordia) placed great emphasis on the Pilgrims’ gratitude to God for His many blessings. The last few pages of Thanksgiving—A Harvest Celebration contemporize the lesson and remind the children listening to be grateful to God and to our Savior, Jesus Christ.

This book is a welcome addition to MY SHELF because it helps me teach my grandchildren the truth that all blessings come from God our Father and His Son, Jesus.

 

The Very First Thanksgiving Day

The Very First Thanksgiving Day

Written by Rhonda Gowler Greene               Illustrated by Susan Gaber

 

very-first-thnx-dayThe Very First Thanksgiving Day is a rhyming picture book that shows young readers the story of the first Thanksgiving celebration in the New World. The illustrations are beautiful.

It is mostly written in tercets. The first two lines of each stanza rhyme with each other. The third line repeats the first line of the previous stanza. However, there is another interesting twist. In the second half of the book the poem switches to couplets. These couplets repeat the story working  backwards through the poem so that the last couplet repeats the first two lines of the first tercet. Both the first and the last page of the book (poem) are the same words.

This poetic form makes the story come full circle. It reminds me of children’s songs like “There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly.”

I have no idea what poetic form this is. If you know, please tell us in the COMMENTS below. If you can, please leave a link to a website that describes this complicated form.

Thanks, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving         by Dav Pilkey

Published by Orchard Books of Scholastic Inc in 1990.

night-thanksgivingYes, Dav Pilkey of Captain Underpants fame has given elementary aged kids another good laugh.

‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving is a ridiculous look at a class field trip to a turkey farm. The kids fall in love with the turkeys and then learn of their Thanksgiving fate. While the farmer and teacher try to figure out how to calm the students, the kids themselves coordinate a rescue mission for their new turkey friends.

It’s silly.

It’s cute.

It’s Dav Pilkey for sure.

 

 

Thanksgiving Day at Our House

Thanksgiving Day at Our House: Thanksgiving Poems for the Very Young

Written by Nancy White Carlstrom           Illustrated by R. W. Alley

Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in 1999

thnxdayatourhouse

In Thanksgiving Day at Our House fifteen cute poems dance with colorful, adorable illustrations. Both the poems and the artwork capture the traditions and humor, the colors and confusion, the purpose and silliness of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The jingle-jangle of the short poems appeals to very young children. (ages 2-5, I think) The illustrations do, too. They capture the adorable and sometimes absurd behaviors of preschoolers. The book makes a point of including very young children in Thanksgiving celebrations—an idea I really like.

The poems pay tribute to family and friends. They also remind us of Thanksgiving history and traditions including school pageants and Thanksgiving Day feasts. Three poems are prayers; one for the feast, one for people in need, and finally, a good night prayer of gratitude.

Thanksgiving Day at Our House is a fun read-to book that celebrates both family and Thanksgiving Day.