Fran Cannon Slayton - The Wild Ride To Publication (Children's Book Version!): Editing, Marketing, and Freaking Out!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Editing, Marketing, and Freaking Out!

Well, I told you I learned my lesson that I should post a blog entry on a regular basis – remember? But I guess I really didn’t learn my lesson, because it’s been a couple of weeks since my last entry. So what have I been doing?

Doing Edits. And Freaking Out.

Let’s start with the fun stuff – the edits. I really, really enjoyed doing them. They were what I call “substantive edits,” although I’m not sure that’s exactly the term the publishing industry might use. I was doing some cutting, working on the pacing, fixing the language here and there, and reading the whole thing out loud, which to me is a joy! I love reading out loud – not just my own work, but anything. There are things about language and pacing that you can only understand when you read the words out loud. I have to admit I especially like doing it with my own work, because the rewards are instantaneous. It’s like fixing wrong notes in a piece of music – you can hear the difference.

A Word on Cutting When Editing.
I feel like this go around, I finally was able to cut some slow parts – some of my “little darlings” – and finally get rid of them. It’s a hard thing to do, to lay the ax to that turn of phrase that’s just so fun but really irrelevant to moving the plot forward, and in fact slows it down. I don’t think I’m perfect at it, but I felt like this time around something clicked in me that allowed me to do it better than I have before. At least, I hope so!

The Freaking Out Part.
Okay, now the freaking out part. I was freaking out about marketing my book. I’ve been doing a good bit of talking to other authors lately, and at some point the whole marketing thang just overwhelmed me.

There Are So Many Things You Can Do To Promote Your Book:
blog, have a newsletter, have a website, join a co-marketing group, do MySpace, do Facebook, join Twitter, read other people’s blogs, join innumerable listserves (those for writers in general, for your genre, and for your niche markets), join Jacketflap, join Shelfari, figure out all the social websites like Diggs, Technorati, etc., make postcards, figure out who to send them to, make bookmarks, figure out where to store them, make business cards, and hope someone will want one someday, do school visits, learn more about literacy, read Hornbook, read Publisher’s Weekly, go to ALA, go to BEA, figure out all of the other librarian, teacher, bookseller and writer conventions you can possibly go to, wonder how to contact booksellers, figure out your blog tour, wonder how to approach online kidlit reviewers without making a fool of yourself, consider bribing all your friends for fantastic Amazon reviews, realizing said bribes don’t work but not understanding quite why, not to mention learning about search engine optimization, book trailers, and how to use online videos in a way that flatters (ha!). . . oh, and try to remember people’s names as you do all this.

Are you crazy with me yet? I can go on. But I won’t bore you. (Or at least I won’t continue to bore you!]

I’ll just tell you I’ve found a little peace in the storm. And I promise to tell you about it . . . next time! (Hmmm, let’s see – does it have to do with drawing boundaries? Setting limits on, say, how much time I spend on all my marketing efforts?! As Bugs Bunny would say, "Could be, Wabbit!")

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