Saturday, March 26, 2011

I'm a Winner!

Hectic weekend of activities with the Book Industry Association of Jamaica (BIAJ) - awards ceremony, illustrators workshops, readings etc.
Just briefly announcing that my book Bernie and the Captain's Ghost won the Best Children's Chapter Book Award for 2011. I am very pleased.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Writing tips for children's writers

Don't mind the 'foreign' voice on the previous post.  Write4Kids allows their writing tips to be re-posted. As an editor, one of the most frustrating tasks is to have to wade through a poorly presented manuscript. In the Caribbean, a gem can sometimes be discovered from a new writer who hasn't learned all they should about how a book gets published, so I will skim through all the manuscripts which reach me. However, it is a real turn off when it is immediately obvious that a writer has not taken the time to learn at least some of the basics of his/her craft. Maybe this 'foreign' voice will help to convince some to do so.

Your enthusiasm is good, but you want the editor to catch your enthusiasm, so please take some time to learn how to present your work. There are lots of sites on the Internet giving free advice to writers.  Here's one -
Write4Kids blog;

Submitting to Children's Book Publishers: 3 Steps to Avoiding Rejection...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How not to sell your books

A book marketing newsletter I subscribe to makes this very important point:
All of marketing consists in creating relationships. Real relationships: friends, lovers, partners, warriors, fans.
Another good point is made by a subscriber describing how she sold many copies of her book at airports, restaurants etc, just by carrying copies of the book and telling people face to face about it- Instant sales.
I know I'm going to vex a few persons who might read this post, but I suspect other Caribbean (Maybe it's only in Jamaica???) writers have my experience with this relationship and face to face selling thing.It's another hazard of our small populations.

 Here's how it usually goes: You are at a function, or you meet persons you know well or not-so-well and after the greeting the conversation will go something  like this:
Friend/Foe:   I hear you have a new book out
Me:              Yeah came out earlier this year
F/F               What's the title again?                                                                                                            
Me               Bernie and the Captain's Ghost (Could be another title) It's a children's book
F/F               Where can I get a copy?
Me               It's in the book stores (Duh!)
F/F               You don't have a copy with you?
At this point you'd better say no, because if you say you do and hand it over this is what is likely to happen
F/F              Looks interesting. My son/daughter/nephew/niece/godchild/grandchild would like this.How much is it?
So you give the price gleefully smelling a sale.Then F/F says: "I don't have any cash on me, but call me later at ....... OR  I'll get it to you later" - and walks away with your book.

AND THAT IS TOO OFTEN THE END OF THAT STORY. F/F is never in when you call and if you buck up him/her later you'll get a kind of blank look. He/she can barely remember having taken your book and attitude will suggest you are planning a scam on him/.her.(You're sure I didn't pay you ?)

Then, of course, writer gets shame and drops the issue. Unfortunate!! People who would never think of going into a restaurant and not paying, have no qualms about getting your book for free. It's a mind set we seem to have- books should be borrowed or gifted, but never bought.

At a launch, people (F/Fs) will come expecting to buy a copy of your book,but after that, it's like pulling teeth with your bare hands.
Is it just me with this experience?????