With more than 25 years of experience, Kathi Kamen Goldmark and Sam Barry have the inside scoop on writing and publishing. Together, they are the authors of Write That Book Already!: The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now. Email them your questions (along with your name and hometown) about writing and publishing, and don’t miss their column on BookPage.com.
Dear Author Enablers,
My daughter just had a novel published by a small company. They are not very helpful in the area of promotion. We have scheduled book signings at the local library and bookstores. What else can we do to get some buzz going?
Copperas Cove, Texas
It sounds like you’re on the right track. Your local library or bookstore can be a great resource, and authors can also reach out to book festivals and book groups. One way to generate interest is to offer a giveaway on a site such as Goodreads.com, where your daughter can also share information about herself, her book and any upcoming events. For more inexpensive do-it-yourself ideas we recommend Publicize Your Book by Jacqueline Deval.
Dear Author Enablers,
I am writing you about my daughter Sara and I’m afraid it will seem like I’m about to play “Proud Mama!” While I am proud, this truly is not the reason I’m writing.
Sara is a creative writing major. Prior to college, she won a worldwide creative writing competition (there are many other accolades and awards as well). Her Mother’s Day gift to me was an originally written and illustrated children’s story called The Cuddle Monsters that is, in my humble opinion, AMAZING. I would love to investigate the possibility of having this story published.
We’re parents, too, and we know what it’s like to be proud of your children’s gifts. But how do you get the rest of the world to see what you see? It sounds like in Sara’s case, the world is well on its way. Your enthusiasm and support are understandable, and no doubt appreciated by your daughter.
Here’s where the tough love comes in: Getting published is Sara’s job. You need to step back and let her decide:
1. If she wants to be a children’s book author.
2. How to take the first steps toward getting her work published.
You can help by being a first-line reader, coach and fan, but for Sara to become a published author, she must embrace the process of finding a literary agent or approaching publishers on her own. There are many books (including ours, Write That Book Already!) that walk the reader through this journey from beginning to end. She can start by finding a literary agent who handles children’s books. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is a great resource for finding agents and learning more about the process.
CRAFT OF WRITING SPOTLIGHT
We recently interviewed the delightful Paula McLain at our San Francisco office about her bestseller, The Paris Wife. This evocative novel is drawing readers with its fictionalized account of the marriage between Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson. “Paris in the 1920s: Can you imagine a more exciting or romantic place to have an adventure?” McLain asks. “I began my research with Hemingway’s memoir, A Moveable Feast, and then moved on to private letters between Hadley and Ernest. I ended up falling in love with them both and developed a huge crush on Ernest Hemingway,” she told us.
“The story of their marriage was perfect for a novel—no need to come up with a plot. The real work lay in using the framework of history to find Hadley’s voice, and the truth of these characters’ hearts and minds,” McLain says. “I had to find a place in my imagination where I could explore their more private, interior lives—the parts that were not documented in writing anywhere. Once my imagination was engaged, I’d never felt so energized by a writing project. You have to go with the story that grabs you and won’t let go.”