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Category Archives: Reviewing
Some time last year, Erica Wagner, Publisher at Allen and Unwin, was reported as having said, in relation to graphic novels, that there was a lot to be gained by submitting a text already illustrated or mostly illustrated [Allen & Unwin publish purely commission only picture books]. Perhaps this may signal a change in direction that may even extend to those other illustrated tomes – picture books and picture book/graphic novel crossovers.
Some writers/illustrators I know have recently signed contracts for ‘print ready’ books. This is not self-publishing, nor submission to a print-on-demand house but submission to a traditional, royalty paying publisher of a book that is ‘ready to go’ in publishing terms.
What constitutes a ‘print ready’ book? It is a book that has been –
- professionally edited,
- designed to industry standards,
- professionally designed cover and,
- if illustrated, has all images appropriately set.
This is a great way to go for authors who are able to pay illustrators and book designers up front. Most authors are not able to do this. This then means all creators involved in a book project agreeing to royalty share and working between paid projects to collaborate on their book.
What have I gleaned about such ‘print ready’ deals? One company, smaller and reasonably new, offered a small advance and a good contract, by industry standards, with higher than regular royalty share for creators. An offer of help with promotion was also part of the deal. Another company, medium sized and established, offered no advance but better than average royalty shares for creators and help with promotion and marketing of the book.
How does this stack up against what is generally on offer now?
- Small and middle range publishers, in general, do not offer advances.
- Larger publishers offer advances depending on the book, depending on the author, and depending on the agent involved.
- Smaller and middle range publishers often [there are exceptions] expect the author to do it all in relation to promotion, even requiring the submission of a marketing plan.
- Larger publishers vary greatly as to how much promotion they will give a book.
- Generally, publishers will submit copies of their publishing output for major awards, such as the CBCA, and to a selection of leading review outlets.
What’s the down side for author, illustrator, book designer, [often the illustrator], to go down the ‘print ready’ publishing path?
- It IS a lot of extra work for all creators involved to ensure the book is ‘professional’ standard even before it is submitted.
- There is no money upfront.
Are the rewards worth the effort?
- If you love collaborative work, it is a big plus.
- Creators have much more project control to create the book they have collaboratively envisaged.
- A quality product, ‘print ready’, is a major bargaining point for creators/agents. ‘Print ready’ saves the publisher heaps!
The first company mentioned does small print runs, sells out their print runs, reprints and even sells out reprints and so it seems to be gradually snowballing.
It is too early to know in the second instance. [I’ll keep you posted!]
My feeling is that, if Erica Wagner was sensing a ‘trend’ and if these companies make a success of it, we will see more such deals. It’s something to think about!
My own news –
The set up, which I thought would only take an hour, stretched to all morning. Coordinating the set up of an exhibition this size with so many ‘exhibitors’ had Michelle Richards, the Brisbane Central Library’s exhibition coordinator, running a million directions at once, advising as to ‘how [it was something new to a lot of us], finding stands and suggesting modes of display, and generally guiding us all through to ‘VOILA!’ – one fascinating and very varied exhibition!
But there was more – not just the glass cases to set up, but hanging around to do the hanging! this was not as straightforward as it sounds. We had to somehow attach our paintings to fine dangling wires and – here’s the worst part GET THEM TO SIT $#@*# STRAIGHT!
I thought I had probably long gone received the last of the reviews for my Crichton Award winning picture book, “Mending Lucille”. WRONG! Just got the loveliest, very belated review –
RADIO NEW ZEALAND:
Sarah Davis [my amazing collaborator, illustrator on this wonderful project] sent it to me today. It came out on 17th June this year! Better late than never!
John McIntyre gave a very thoughtful, in depth review citing the use of “Mending Lucille” by the Monash Centre for Grief Education in the training of counselors working with children experiencing grief, loss or separation from a parent. Read more of this post
Novel competition and an anthology going. Submission guidelines for ms submission.
Short Story Anthology – theme ‘Last Contact’ – flash up to 5,000 words, 31 March deadline. See website:
1. Notes from the Gean (March 2011) featuring haiku, tanka, haiga, haibun, renga/renku. Writers are invited to submit their work for the June issue.
2. Haibun Today (March 2011) featuring Haibun and Tanka Prose and the largest online collection of literary criticism of the haibun and tanka prose forms. Writers are now invited to submit haibun, tanka prose and articles for consideration in the June 2011 issue.
Romance under a Waning Moon: Call for submissions. This is a poetry and image website focused on the ups and downs of later-in-life romance. This project has just been started and writers are invited to submit already published poems (preferable) or new work to Editor Ray Rasmussen.
WIN A VIDEO MONTAGE, closes 6th March
Sandie Muncaster is hosting a giveaway on her site:
Video Montage GIVEAWAY
Want more exposure for your blog, book or a service you offer? Perhaps you’re looking for a fun, family adventure captured to video? TattleTott Productions can help by making a video montage.
Montages are professionally done and posted on YouTube where it may be seen by hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. Once its uploaded onto YouTube, embed codes are available to use on your own blogs, social networks, newsletters or even emails. Think about how much more exposure that will create, plus it’s FUN to watch.
Montages may include any information, pictures and link backs you want – music is included.
TattleTott Productions normally charges $45.00 for a video montage, but you can win one FREE. How? Just leave a comment (and contact info) at; http://sandie-lee.blogspot.com
Giveaway ends March 6th and will be done by random drawing.
Enter today. Good Luck!
You can check out my work at; http://www.youtube.com/my_videos?feature=mhumWriters:
OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS:
Basics of Life anthology open till 28th Feb – Austlit http://auslit.net/2010/11/27/australian-literature-anthology-basics-of-life/
Artists/Illustrators/Poets, Short story writers ++ :
Going Down Swinging taking submissions till 28th February – http://goingdownswinging.org.au/submissions/
Poets, Artists and Illustrators:
Haijinx still open for submissions till 1st March! Haiku, haiga, renku, sumi-e and haibun – http://www.haijinx.com/I-1/
Peter Cowan 600 Short Story Competition open -http://www.pcwc.org.au/index.php?p=1_10 Closes 1st May 2011.
I have found numbers of other interesting sites which I am actively investigating.
Story Chimes has won the PTPA Media Inc. Seal of Approval. This App Developer is in partnership with Raven Tree Press, producing their print books for iphone and ipad as well as new, never been in print, titles.
Interesting interview with Jean-Pierre Bousquet about his experience publishing his Children’s picture book , “Caroline , and the mysterious Christmas Tree” with Mobile Children’s Books [MCB]. Check out Wheezards interview LIVE radio show on 938Live The Living Room – Singapore podcast
This is a brand new venture which may work well for those not so techno flash or those with less in the way of spare cash. It is European based and the books have a definitely European look. Read about uTales and about becoming a ‘uTaler‘, publisher on this site.
The site, commendably, also support “Pencils of Promise” who built 15 schools in third world countries from donations last year.
This site is doing some innovative things – take a look –
Peter Taylor‘s update on i-publishing [thank you Peter]
Children’s Publishing Innovation Award
At last week’s NY Digital Book World Conference, this went to:
This is marketed as the first and only service where consumers can create an app by recording a video of themselves reading as they turn the pages. Children can play back the story as often as they like.
You can give it a free trial, too.
There are over 200 books in their main selection http://www.astorybeforebed.com/books When you register, you create your own bookshelf to store your recorded downloads.
Many of their selection of books are published by Chronicle, Orca and Charlesbridge. They also ask for suggestions from accomplished children’s book authors, illustrators, and publishers, as they’re always looking for more great books.
The publishers may also consider giving purchasers the option of having the book read by the author/illustrator.
This idea comes from creators at
A websites well worth visiting –
Two children’s authors sharing how they are doing it and things they have learned en route.
Carol Denbow at http://abookinside.blogspot.com has lots of writing tips and marketing tricks and lots more.
Dream Chaser Magazine regularly features articles and interviews on new children’s writers and illustrators as well as tips and tricks by those who have been published. Latest edition – http://www.magcloud.com/browse/Magazine/92435
Interviews and writing tips and more – http://damesofdialogue.wordpress.com/ – recently featured illustrator, K. Michael Crawford.
GRIEFABET by Karen O. Johnson
Note – a new kind of Alphabet to use with older children, teens and adults in literacy classes! I ust wonder if Karen has realised this potential for her amazing little book herself! 🙂 Folk addressing illiteracy issues in their lives have more that just that they are trying to face, come to turns with, cope with, get past. This alphabet is for them! It is therapeutic whilst it teaches, but in an unobtrusive, non-threatening way!
“Griefabet” by noted American therapist/counsellor/presenter, Karen O. Johnson is unusual.
The book,of course, is primarily aimed at counseling and therapy settings and there is a workbook that can be purchased to accompany “Griefabet”. But this little book is a great deal more.
A book of warm, witty, affirmations for those who are coping with grief and loss, it has a few happily playful ‘venting’ exercises thrown in for good measure. It is also a free verse poem that celebrates life and the resilience of the human spirit. Finally, it is a work of art – illustrations use the letters of the alphabet in designs that mirror the verse of affirmation opposite. It is a design achievement!
“GRIEFABET” by Karen O. Johnson, http://www.griefabet.com, ISBN 978-0-615-39746-7.
In her new book, “Mirror”, Jeannie celebrates the differences that makes up the diversity of world cultures and the elements that unite us, the bonds of family and the mundanities of every day life.
Even the presentation, as two books united within one cover, highlights ‘same and different’, but highlights it in a way that draws us closer to both families, the traditional Moroccan family and the modern Australian family.
Turning pages of each book simultaneously, reveals parallel aspects of the daily lives of these very different families. We see them with the intimacy and immediacy of a fly on the wall. They are at work, at meals, settling for the night, shopping and sharing. The colours are luminous and the details absorptive. Words are superfluous!
I have always been a fan of Jeannie Baker’s beautiful, evocative, detailed collages. This latest book is a treasure!
“Mirror” by Jeannie Baker, Walker Books, ISBN 978-1-4063-0914-0.