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Category Archives: Reviews

Trends – New bends in the path to publication. By J.R.Poulter

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,
  • proofread,
  • 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 –

TOOFS!-Promo-3To be launched end of June – “Toofs!” a collaboration between J.R. and Estelle A.Poulter and illustrators Monica Rondino and Andrea Pucci.

How to Create a Website in 3 Steps (with 10 thumbs)

How to Create a Website in 3 Steps (with 10 thumbs). This is good sense advice succinctly put from Jo Ann Carson. NOTE – you do not have to buy. Word Press, Yola, Weebly and Wix all provide excellent ‘free’ – yes, that’s what I said, FREE’ site templates, easy to assemble [if I can, anyone can] with lots of whizz-bang features!

How not to do a Book Launch?!

When Jenny Stubbs, Festival Coordinator Extraordinaire, told me I had a slot to launch “All in the Woods” I was ecstatic! It was my first book to be published in the UK and a launch venue at the Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature, Woodlands, was almost too good to be true. Jenny facilitated a link to Aleesah Darlison who agreed to MC. BRILLIANT! What could go wrong?

The Ipswich Festival is always an exciting event! It is held at Woodlands, a stunning, heritage listed venue set amongst rural fields, magnificent trees and rolling hills – what a setting for a launch! The lead up to the day, Tuesday, 13th September 2011, was a real buzz! Then the unthinkable happened… The weekend before, my throat started to get that irritating little scratch and that niggly cough that sometime precedes worse. Sunday night it started to hit! Laryngitis!

Friends, good friends can be the saving of such worst case scenarios. I spoke (whilst I still had a voice) to Tara Hale, who designed the promo poster, would she be Guest Artist “Pink” the possum [cousin of “Ink” the animal hero of my book]. Next I contacted  Nooroa Te Hira, he has worked as a tour guide so I knew he would ace a reading of my book. Then I rang Christian Bocquee and asked would he help with nitty grittys like directing teachers and students to seats, distributing prizes and general moral support! Bless them, they all ‘volunteered’ unstintingly!

Result? Fun, fun, fun!  We had a ball, the book launch was a total success! The author having to use copious amounts of sign language but, hey, she has 5 kids so she speaks the  lingo with hands and fingers! 🙂

You can see some of the fun in the gallery below.

And the book, which was illustrated by wonderful watercolourist Linda Gunn

? It had been a truly international effort – written by an Aussie, illustrated by an American and published by a Brit! The icing on the cake was a nomination for the OPSO Award!

Here is a recent review by Kathy Schneider!

Where can you get it? Here!

“All in the Woods” first review through and first from the USA

“All in the Woods” by J.R.Poulter, illustrated by Linda S. Gunn, Pixiefoot Press, 2011 UK  ISBN 978-0-9560363-5-3  [release  – 1st August]

Everyone in Pete’s family is moving or adjusting to a move, it seems. Change brings challenges, not least of which are the family’s nosey, new neighbours. Everyone says what they think, but are they right? Things are not always as they seem…  and who is the mysterious little visitor who changes everything? A story that bridges generations, told with humour  and an underlying plea for the preservation of wildlife habitats.

REVIEW by Janice Phelps Williams, USA

“With sensitive and humorous prose, J.R. McRae tells a story of family life, love, and acceptance with beautiful illustrations by Linda Gunn. When Pete finds a furry hero, Ink, to solve his dinnertime woes, a nosey neighbor jumps to conclusions that enlarge as Pete’s grandpa comes to visit. When Mrs. Allan’s mother-in-law, Nanny, and Pete’s grandpa take off for an early-morning drive, the assumptions increase until Ink and Grandpa solve the mystery. Perfect for young readers, this book speaks of a boy and his grandpa, a mother defending her son from gossip, and the surprise of love at any age.”  ~Janice Phelps Williams, author, illustrator www.janicephelps.com

Promotional poster, by Tara Hale, for “All in the Woods”, Pixiefoot Press, 2011

“Mending Lucille”, Radio New Zealand review by John McIntyre

Cover, "Mending Lucille"

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:
http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20110617-1037-childrens_book_review_with_john_mcintyre-048.mp3
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

Opportunities for writers, artists, poets –

NEW Opportunities!

http://nightwolfpress.yolasite.com/submissions.php

Novel competition and an anthology going. Submission guidelines for ms submission.

Cover to work to....

Triangulaton

Short Story Anthology – theme ‘Last Contact’ – flash up to 5,000 words, 31 March deadline. See website:

http://parsecink.org/staticpages/index.php/triangulation_11_guidelines

OPPORTUNITIES

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.

http://www.geantree.com/indexcover.html

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.

http://www.facebook.com/l/31a98MHsMap6v9MR4qVq06_Hw2w/haibuntoday.com

AND

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.

http://raysweb.net/fallromance/index_introduction.html

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/

Writers:

Peter Cowan 600 Short Story Competition open -http://www.pcwc.org.au/index.php?p=1_10  Closes 1st May 2011.

Links for Writers – a growing resource

This series of links were included as part of an article I wrote for WQ Magazine,”Markets – from woe to go and getting a foot in overseas! ” [March issue 2011] . Sadly, the actual links had to be removed due to space restrictions so I have placed most of them here.

This list of resources, sources and publishing opportunities on the internet and elsewhere is far from exhaustive. Please do contact me if you have or know of a resource that can be included!

Review Blogs and sites

Book Review blogs

Review Sites

All genres:

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/

Children’s Literature:

The Reading Tub

Terry Doherty Reading Tub http://www.thereadingtub.com/

Reading Tub Blog http://readingtub.wordpress.com/

Marketing & Promotional Aids

Magazines that publish short stories and poetry

[I have submitted a list of online journals most on Facebook, some with links – http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150093435850908 and growing.] New additions

Leaf Garden Press http://leafgardenpress.blogspot.com/

http://leafgardenpress.blogspot.com/2009/01/submissions-open.html

Dash Literary Journal

Rose and Thorn http://www.roseandthornjournal.com/Home_Page.html

Cross genre:

Good Reading – http://www.goodreadingmagazine.com.au/


Children’s Writers & Illustrators:

Dream Chaser promotes children’s writers and illustrators globally. http://www.dreamchasersmagazine.webs.com/

Poetry Sites and Blogs:

Children’s Poetry

Publishers

Magazines

Interview with RebeccaNewman of “Alphabet Soup” and with Meredith Costain of  “Comet”, “Explore”, “Challenge “(Pearson education)

http://monthofpoetry.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/poetic-aside-publishing-poetry/

CHILDREN’S POETRY Blogs

Julie Larios – The Drift record http://julielarios.blogspot.com/

Children’s Writers’ Blogs :

Publisher’s blogs:

Writers blogs – tips n tricks

Jayme Ian Woode http://jaymesianwoode.wordpress.com/

Writers’ Organisations:

Writing cross genre:

Children’s/YA writing Organisations:

I-publishing – new players, new info

27.12.2010 Update:

I have found numbers of other interesting sites which I am actively investigating.

Story Chimes

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.

MCB

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

Loud Crow

Read the AppModo.com review article, check out their site – http://loudcrow.com/ – I like the look of their pop-up books!

uTales

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.

Nook Kids

This site is doing some innovative things – take a look –

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/nookcolor/kids/index.asp?cds2Pid=36139

 

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:

 

http://www.astorybeforebed.com/

 

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

 

http://www.jacksonfish.com

 

 

Useful resources for children’s writers and teachers

A websites well worth visiting  –

Two children’s authors sharing how they are doing it and things they have learned en route.

http://childrenspublishing.blogspot.com/2010/10/voice-and-art-of-telling-versus-showing.html

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 Karen O. Johnson, MEd.

 

GRIEFABET by Karen O. Johnson MEd.

 

“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 - peek inside

 

“GRIEFABET” by Karen O. Johnson, http://www.griefabet.com, ISBN 978-0-615-39746-7.

Karen O.Johnson-2010-09-21 AuthorTacklesGriefFromAtoZ