3 S.R. Johannes: August 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Marvelous Marketer: Realm Lovejoy (Illustrator/writer)

Note: I will announce the FOLLOWER winner of the marketing consulting session this week.

Hi Realm, I'm so excited you have joined us today. I LOVE your work and we haven't had an illustrator in a while.

Before we get started, tell me a little about yourself.

I grew up in the snowy mountains of Nagano, Japan, before moving to the state of Washington. My father is a Japanese ex-monk and my mother an English teacher from Rhode Island. The influence of both Eastern and Western culture was a big inspiration in my art style. (Being bilingual didn't hurt, either.)

I'm a full-time 3D and 2D artist over at Valve for video games and I am also a writer and an illustrator on the side.

Currently, I am illustrating my own novel, titled CLAN, which is currently out on publisher submission. CLAN begins on an abandoned planet, where a single survivor refuses to live alone. Fifty years later, the Clan has emerged: an all-male society of the survivor's clones, who live harmoniously with an ideal of no personal identity and label each other with numbers. Three teenage clones meet.Apart from having the same body, they have nothing in common. CLAN will be an illustrated novel for young adults (ages 16+).

Can you tell us about your creative process? How you come up with your illustrations?

I first write down my illustration goals and constraints for the piece I'm about to work on. I usually have a good idea about the style, palette, and composition at this stage. Then I research real-life things relevant to my project to learn more--could be an environment, time period, prop, anatomy, texture, and such. I sketch out some rough ideas, pick one I like, and start working on the illustration. Once I have the outline and line weight done, I start painting or shading, depending on the art style. Once that's all set, I crop it, adjust contrast, soften edges, and do all the other presentation tweaks until I'm happy with it.

Your heritage sounds so interesting and I'm sure it is where you got your cool name. I know you have a beautiful web site and blog. I assume you maintain those yourself?

Yes. My website launched last April and Little Willow helped put my design together. I also have a blog full of interviews, drawings, news, and other things. I maintain it regularly to connect with book industry people and readers.

I know you are on Twitter a lot. In your opinion, how important is social networking today?

VERY important. Almost every opportunity in my life came from networking, reaching out, being open, and letting others know about my goals. (For instance, I'm doing this interview thanks to Shelli contacting me through my blog.)

I know the answer to this question, but I want you to explain the unique and creative way you do interviews on your blog? IT is such an interesting way to promote your work and yourself as an illustrator?

Right now I am running a series of five-question interview for authors, editors, agents, and illustrators. The unique part about the interview is that I am providing the author with an illustration of his or her character drawn by me. (Other industry people like agents get a picture of him/herself.)

I wanted to share the ability to visually manifest a character with the authors. It's been incredibly rewarding reading emails from happy authors about the illustrations and a great way for me to connect with them. Readers also get an idea about the author's story with one look at the picture, so it really enhances the whole interview experience for everyone. In the process of supporting others, everyone gets to know me better as an artist as well.

I love your interviews and always look forward to seeing your interpretation of the author's characters. How how this helped you in landing your agent?

I am agented by the fabulous Joanna Stampfel-Volpe at Nancy Coffey Literary. When I went on my agent hunt, I got lots of rejections and I assumed it may be because of CLAN's topic: clones.

I felt like I was fighting a stereotype - the emotionless image of what the word "clone" conjures up for most people. I knew I needed to get beyond the stigma and instead, show the complex and drama-riffic characters in CLAN and how distinct they were from one another.

I couldn't really do that depth justice in a one-page letter, so I made a whole bunch of self-addressed, stamped postcards with paintings of my characters on the back to show my vision. (A picture says a thousand words, right?)

I included this with the query instead of the SASE. Ever since, I got more detailed replies and requests for the manuscript. Soon, Joanna offered representation and she was interested in having CLAN be an illustrated novel.

I really like Joanna! I had a great experience/interaction with her during my agent submission process :) What other advice do you have for illustrators regarding marketing?

Focus on what sets you apart and use it to be memorable. Also, reach out! You have to make friends. Don't go into what I call a promo-bot-mode and talk only about your book everywhere you go. That kind of promotion is forgettable. The authors that stick out in my mind are ones that are friendly, conversational, enthusiastic, and supportive. Think of networking as way of keeping the door open to others.

Thanks Realm for stopping by today!

Thanks Shelli!

Friday, August 28, 2009

A "Thank You for following" surprise!

Special shout out to all my FOLLOWERS!

I was looking through all my follower's blogs this week and catching up on their lives before I dive back into edits this weekend.

I wanted to do something special for my FOLLOWERS to show how much I adore you for signing up and listening to me ramble.

So today, I have a small present. It's not much but it's something a lot of people want/need and something I can give.

At midnight (I'll even do WEST COAST time so everyone gets a shot!) tonight, I am going to draw a name of a follower .

The only rule is that you must comment on this post AND you must be an official "FOLLOWER" of my BLOG (This prize is for my followers. It's OK if you sign up today. I just want a Follower to win.)

The follower/name I draw will get a free one hour marketing consulting session with me over the phone to brainstorm anything from marketing your book to agents and editors (query letter review) or getting ready to launch a book, or those who want to come up with a creative way to market their book already on the market. (Good for up to 6 months). In addition, I will summarize what we discuss and give you a one or two page summary with suggestion and ideas on how to move forward (this is about a 500$ value to my business clients)

PS: If you are an editor or agent, you can win this for one of your authors!

Depending on where you are in the process, this prize can benefit you.

All you have to do is follow and hello today. Then I can shout back a, "Thank you for coming to visit me and taking time out of your precious day to listen to me rant and rave." I also hope to find more bloggy friends this way :)

I appreciate all of you more than you know!!!!! Because I never feel alone. (aw! *sniff* Kum Bah Yah right?)

Marketing Round up

Now for my favorite posts of the week:

Author/Publisher gives new meaning to handselling - Christopher Herz quit his advertising job to walk the streets of Manhattan literally selling copies of his first novel, The Last Block in Harlem.

This week Pub Rants had a great posts about marketing. Why we have a Marketing Director? which talks about the newest marketing addition to their team.

I found a blog that did a great round up of some marketing posts. Of course, my interview with Molly was one of them. Am I biased? Maybe :) Book Trailers and More.

For those of you who make up excuses as to why you do not have time to focus on marketing, Jane over at Writers Digest has a few questions for you.

Greg Pincus over at the Happy Accident pointed me to this great Social Media Guide outlining tons of great Twitter Tips.

Learn how to promote your blog like the Big Boys do.

Do you know who is on Twitter? Do more men tweet than women or vice versa? Find out!

Have a great week!

Don't forget to say hello! :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Marketing Muse:

Have you heard about Ning.com It is like Facebook, but you join groups instead of individuals. You can search by keyword.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to those of you who emailed me saying you tried to nominate me for the Blogger Appreciation Week. (that was so sweet!) Unfortunately, the nominations closed last week. But honestly, it was all the thoughts that counted the most. No really! :)

Speaking of great blogs - we all follow some great ones. Don't know how I missed this, but at the end of May Writer's digest posted their list of best web sites for 2009. Check it out - there are some great resou
rces. They have also opened up there 2010 nomination process for 101 best web sites for Writers. You can send comments and nominations for next year’s list to writersdigest@fwmedia.com with “101 Websites” in the subject line (deadline is Jan. 1, 2010).

Girl's Night Out

Saturday was definitely a writer day.
  • Met up with old critique group members for coffee.
  • Spoke at the Atlanta Schmooze - on what you ask??? What else? Marketing! ;) Nathaniel (Master Writer of The Orgami Master) spoke about his approach to picture books.
  • Had dinner with Sheri Dillard, Elizabeth Dulemba, and Nathaniel
What a better way to cap off the night - a double signing with Jennifer Jabaley (Lipstick
Apology) and Ginger Rue (Brand New Emily).

Here are a few notes on Jennifer:

Lipstick Apology is about a 16 year old girl, Emily, loses her parents in a plane accident. The media finds a note written on a tray table in lipstick that says: "Emily I am so sorry." Emily is forced to move to NY with her aunt and tries to recover from her loss.

She got her idea for Lipstick Apology from her sister. When her sister was leaving her kids (and flying) for the first time on vacation. She kept calling Jennifer and giving her instructions "in case the plane went down" (I've done this before!!!!!) Jennifer joked with her hubby and said, "watch my sister's plane go down. She'll probably take out her lipstick and write: "kids need to be in bed by 7" on the tray table. Jennifer's hubby said - "that would be a good book". Jennifer wrote it on a post-it and put it in a drawer. She found the post it when she was movin
g 3 years later.

She writes her books out long hand (yes you heard that right) and then transcribes to the computer.

She found her agent through the traditional way of submitting into the slush pile.

She felt the hardest part of the book was balancing a serious topic of grief and loss with humor.

She started writing during the 2 hours her baby napped. "if you want it bad enough, you will make/find the time."

Here are a few notes on Ginger:

Brand New Emily is about a 14 year old girl who is not popular at school. Emily decides to hire a New York publicist to makeover her image. Emily returns to rule the school all while discovering who she really is.

She used to do some journalism for celebrity magazine. She had to do an interview with Country music singers. She felt like there was not much difference between them so she talked with their publicists, who gave her insight into celebrity image makeovers. Ginger thought it would be interesting to use that in a teen book.

She partnered up with Bonne Bell/Lipsmackers, who provide her with lipsmackers at her signings and promote her book online. Her character, Emily, uses that makeup to improve her image.

She just signed on with Tricycle for another book.

Thanks to Bryan who just gave me a Literary Blog award :)

Here's the rules.
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might not know.
5. Nominate other Bloggers.
6. Post links to the blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

I'm going to switch it up.
Here are my favorite 7 things about other people :) Who is scared yet?

Just kidding!

7 things about me:

1) I have a 15 year old Jack Russell Terrier (or otherwise known as terror). He's getting old and I dread the day he goes. He's been through so much with me and is part of my family.

2) I was kicked in the chest by a BABY deer when I was camping because I tried to sneak up behind it in the woods. OK fine, I was planning on riding it. Kids - don't try this at home. It hurts.

3) I drove a huge blue and white van in high school until my senior year.
I tried so hard to make it cool. Unfortunately my dad did too. He added big red dice to the rear view mirror and ordered a airbrush license plate for the front that said USS Johannes. I learned thin that if you pretend you're cool, sometimes people forget your not.

4) My daughter has a rarish VSD heart condition. She is fine now but the first 6 months were scary. I have a panic attack every time she has heart burn :(

5) My favorite drink is a martini - not just any martini. Greygoose vodka straight up, extra, slightly dirty with extra olives. Yum! This is from my days of reading Ian Fleming books.

6) The first car I bought with my own hard-earned money was a 1995 Jetta. Unfortunately I had to give up my 1992 red Toyota hatchback Celica because it had no air, no radio (had to drive with a boom box on the seat - yes I said boom box!!!) and every morning I had to put in a quart of oil. Needless to say, I only got 500$ for it which was more than I expected.

7) I am insecure about my arms. I was a professional gymnasts from age 3 until age 10. This means in middle and high school, I had a tendency to resemble a small linebacker. I have always had broad shoulders and muscular arms. This is not a problem now b/c since I'm older, it works, but back in school my cheerleading squad (yes I was a cheerleader! why? my parents made me try out. I really just wanted to sing/play guitar) always made me the base because I was so strong. *sigh* I cannot watch cheerleaders today without getting a bit weepy ;)

I'm going to recognize a few writers in my posse:

Chandler Craig at Fumbling with Fiction
Gretchen Mcneil at Sean Chai
Jen K Bloom
Marissa Burt at Rummaging Reads
Jen Hayley
Lisa Rondinelli Albert
Shana Silver

Monday, August 24, 2009

Marvelous Marketer: Kate Schafer Testerman (kt literary)

Hi Kate!
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer a few marketing questions. Before we dive into marketing, give us some facts about yourself.

I started kt literary over a year and a half ago now, after moving to Denver from NYC. My main areas of interest are YA and middle grade fiction, although I also look for great, funny women's fiction, and pop culture nonfiction.

I'm a one-woman shop, so I do it all -- review queries, read submissions, keep up with editors and authors, review contracts, track payments, etc. I have a contracts manager to lend a hand occasionally, and an intern this summer, but what I love about being on my own is the autonomy and sense of control.

If I love a project and want to sign the author, I'm the only one who needs to say yes.

And I love saying yes!

I know you are big into social networking and marketing so tell us more about your web site/blog.

Absolutely! The first incarnation of the kt literary website went live even before we were officially open for business. But since then, we've expanded and revised the entire site. My "web monkey" (AKA Husband), helps with some of the behind the scenes technical details, while I do all the writing and minor updates.

I've also committed to blogging at (Ask Daphne!) every day -- well, every business day -- with posts that range from writing advice, query reviews, news about my authors, or interesting links about the biz.

I honestly don't believe I could do my job, as it's evolved, without the web. My website is my face on the Internet, and without it, I wouldn't have found some of the brilliant authors I've signed in the last few years. Using Twitter and Facebook, as well as my blog, allows me to maintain contact with editors in NY, my authors, and other writers.

I follow you on each of those and am always interested in your interesting advice and honest perspective. Since we're already discussing your online presence, in your opinion, what are the top 3 things every author should do/must do to promote their book?

First of all, write the best book you can. But once you have that, I think the most important things you can do to promote your book are as follows:

1. Have a website that can be easily found. Use your own name, if possible. If that's not available, add "books" or "author" to the URL and see if that's free for you. You can also use your book's title, but that may mean moving things around if you want more than a one-book career. I don't advise trying to get overly creative with your website's name or address -- you want people to find it with the most basic of web searches -- your name and or your book's title.

2. Closely tied with the above, I'm a huge proponent of Seth Godin's advice that your web site must be "Unique, Useful, and Updated." Now, that may mean a blog that you update regularly, but it shouldn't be just a single page that you put up a year ago and then forget about. Keep it alive, not static. As for unique -- well, it's all about you and your books, so that's not something you would find elsewhere. To keep it useful, consider if you can have deleted scenes or extras, like a DVD, that add value to your site, and would tell the readers who find you something they don't get just from your book. Again, it could be an author's blog --consider it behind-the-scenes commentary, if that helps! If you're on Twitter or Facebook, make sure your site has links, and consider a feed that shows your tweets on your own site.

3. Finally, I think you need an open mind. You need to be able to do anything, to be WILLING to do anything to promote your book. I'm not talking about going crazy, dressing up like the characters in your fantasy novel, and shoving to the front of the crowd at the Today show, but be open to any possibilities your publisher and their marketing or publicity team come up with. Take advice from other successfully published authors, and find a way to make their ideas work for you. Talk to professionals, if you can afford it. And know that, ultimately, not everything will work, but you need to be willing to try everything to find the thing that does work for you and for your book. Blogs are not beneath you. Ditto to blog tours. Have you considered being available for Skype readings? Are you putting together a package to offer for school visits? Do it all!

Obviously, you enjoy the social networking aspect because you seem to do it all (Twitter, Facebook, and BLog). But, how important do you feel social networking is to authors?

Vitally important, I think. Gone are the days when an author could write a brilliant book, send it to a publisher, have it published to great acclaim, and then write another while remaining a virtual recluse. OK, fine, not completely gone -- it still works for Thomas Pynchon. But are YOU Thomas Pynchon? Probably not.

Besides using Twitter and Facebook, etc. to add updated content to your website, social networking is fantastic for building a community. It's all right there in the name, really. Social = community. Find other authors in your genre or age range, add your thoughts to their conversations, comment regularly, and you'll find people who want to do the same to you. Not as a tit-for-tat thing, but because you're adding to the community naturally. And authors are fantastic about promoting their fellow writers' projects. I see that on Twitter everyday.

Once you're established, social networks are also the ideal way to keep in touch with your fans. You may not be able to respond to every email or fan letter you receive, but you can tweet daily, and provide some of that back-and-forth with your fans that creates a lasting relationship.

So if you like the idea of social networks, do you feel it is beneficial for authors to team up and promote books as a group?

I think this is a great way to build community. Groups like the Class of 2k7 and subsequent classes or The Enchanted Inkpot, which gathers a group of authors in a single genre, are brilliant ways of drawing attention to the members. You may not be the bestseller among the group, but if you have a bestseller (or a widely acclaimed novel that hasn't yet hit the lists) among you, that increases the number of eyes coming to your site. The more views, the more your star may rise. And it's not just about sales -- one author on a group blog may have a devoted following of blog readers, and will bring that audience to a group blog.

A group of authors can also be a bigger draw for a bookstore for a signing -- or for a panel at a conference. There's a give and take in a group dynamic, a more lively presentation, most times, that can make for a better event. Talk to your publisher about group events, even if you're not on a group blog. Is your book one of three in a publishing season or month that retells a traditional fairy tale in a new way? Contact your fellow authors, and ask about a group event on fairy tales.

I even saw a group signing the other day at Books of Wonder in NYC with multiple authors named Sarah

I had not heard of The Enchanted Inkpot. I'll have to check it out. Since you feel online marketing and social networking are so important, do you ever Google writers to see if they already have a web presence or platform before you take them on as clients?

For me, the first thing is the book. If that doesn't work for me, the greatest website in the world isn't going to make a difference. Now, you very well may get a very different answer from an agent that deals more in nonfiction, where a fantastic platform can be paired with a ghost writer to improve the quality of the work. But in fiction, it needs to be about the text, first and foremost.

I do look for a web presence, or at least an interest in building a presence. An author who's not interested in being online probably isn't going to make a good match with me. If the author already has a blog, and I know I already like their writing, I may go back a few weeks and see what they're blogging about -- making sure they're not over sharing, that their goal for their website is to remain professional.

Some writers think they should post the details of their query process -- I can't advise against this enough. You don't want a prospective agent to come to your site and find the gritty details of your many rejections, or your preference for another agent. Don't post anything you wouldn't be able to show to a prospective employer or business partner -- which is what an agent is, after all.

Sounds like you think being online is critical as long as you do it the right way. So before you leave us, I have to ask (or my readers would kill me :), what are you currently looking to represent?

Within YA and middle grade fiction, I'm pretty open. I love contemporary voices, humor, romance. I would love to find a teen mystery that echoes Veronica Mars, or an urban fantasy that builds a unique world, and doesn't feel derivative. I would love to find a book about gymnasts or figure skaters -- I'm a little addicted to ABC Family's new series "Make It or Break It," and I can't help but think there needs to be a book about those hard core teen gymnasts. I have two superhero novels, so I'm full up there, and I think the trend for vampires and werewolves is nearing its end -- I want the next thing in paranormal, not the already done.

In women's fiction, as I mentioned on my blog the other day, I love novels that get me (in all honesty) hot, horny, and laughing. That’s the trifecta. I feel like Jennifer Crusie is an almost perfect example, but so is a lot of Nora Roberts (without the woman-in-jeopardy storylines). I don't want category romance, and as much as I might read and enjoy historical romance in my free time, I'm not looking to represent it -- unless you're talking about the next Philippa Gregory!

My tastes for pop culture nonfiction are a little harder to define. I enjoy travel essays and snarky entertainment criticism, but I want them to be about more than just travel or snark. I'm not looking for traditional memoirs.

Basically, in all genres, I want a voice that makes me stand up and take notice. Does your book have it? Submit to me and let me know!

Thanks for the insight Kate!

Thanks Shelli!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Five/Marketing Round Up

Friday Five

1) Schedule Schmedule - My first week on a new schedule stinks. I have to get up at 6, wake daughter up at 6:30, get her breakfast and packed for school. Wake son up at 7. Drop daughter off at 7:30. come back and get son breakfast. take him to school at 9. 9:30 - 12:30 my time (of course that means laundry, cleaning, paying bills, blogging) 12:45 pick up son. Stretch him until 2 so I can pick up my daughter. come home and get son down by 2:30 for nap. 2:30 - 3:00 quiet time for daughter. 3-3:30 one on one time with daughter. 4:00 wake up son. play until 5 when dinner gets started. By the time 7:30 comes and kids are down - I'm exhausted (and I this doesn't even include my work, writing, hubby or self time.)

2) Take 3 - Yes I am back to the drawing board on my book. Spent hour with Super Agent this morning and it was very productive. I have until Sept 18th to work out some character issues, line edits and other minor fixes. I like my agent because she says things like: gusto, whole hog, and bravo. We are hoping this is the last round before we go to submission. So far, my agent has several editors interested in reading it so that makes me even more anxious to get this thing done and out. I do trust her however and she is very picky and pushes me which I like. I know when the book goes out, it will be the best it can be at this point.

3) I'm not a day over 25! This weekend is my bday (23rd). Yes it is. I wont say how old (you can guess as long as you don't go over 25 :). Its always awkward on my bday. I don't' know why but when you spend time with family, you feel the same age you did when you were 16. As if time stopped. Or maybe its just my family :) Do they have to still sing? Do I have to still wear a bday hat? (Feel free to email me if you have any bday presents you want to snail mail my way. I may be too old for hats and singing but never too old for gifts :)

4) To defriend or not to defriend. This week was my first experience with "defriending" someone. It was all but necessary since the person insisted on posting vulgar/mean posts on my Facebook page. Yes on my public forum. I tried to reason with this person who is mad at me - for reasons I am still not sure about - but I can only apologize so many times (especially when I don't really think I did anything wrong.) Anyway, I tried to call and work it out but at some point, you have to just let people be mad and go their own way. It's sad b/c after 20 years, you'd think one argument wouldn't break the friendship. Anyway, It sucks to sit in front of FB screen and read the note "Are you sure you want to defriend this person?" And then you have to hit "yes". I mean people come and go in your life but there is never a definitive question or sentence that completely ends it. Needless to say, I cried that night. I am such a softy! Honestly, it was either that or continue to be cussed out (as well as my family!) and berated on my (PUBLIC!!!) Facebook page. I mean send me an email for god sakes, you can cuss me out all you want. I can take it. But on my Facebook Wall? Tacky?- yes, immature? double yes. heartbreaking - no matter who it is - my answer is yes. Even though I don't want to be upset, I can't help it. Not to mention, after talking to many people, I think it was all so undeserved. And hey, I am one to take a hit for the team. I am one to apologize even when I shouldn't. But at some point, I guess you have to draw your line in the sand. Right? *sniff - though I am sad*

5) Another award? Really? I am almost putting myself to sleep typing this, you mean you guys don't use my blog as night reading to shut your brains down during the day? who knew? Anyway, thank you to Lauren over at Book in the Oven (isn't that the cutest name!) for the Humane Award (obviously she gave it to me before knowing I am probably the only person who just DEFRIENDED someone!) While this award is traditionally used to represent nature friendly bloggers, the writing community has embraced it as celebrating those who encourage other writer. So I will say five bloggers who have been encouraging me in my writing. My critique group deserves one but none of them blog anymore :(

1) Meg Cabot (not that she will even know right?) But I love her books, especially Princess Diaries. Her writing is similar in style to mine and she gave me inspiration to write (not personally, just her books. Though that would be really cool huh!)

2) Katie Andersen (Plot This) who spends hours brainstorming ideas for me. I just gave their blog an award but I could not do this award without mentioning Katie. It would not be right :)

3) Lindsey Leavitt - she is the one who got me back into blogging and on my path to getting an agent. Without her, (and she may not even know this. I don't know if I told her) I would not have gotten this far. Not only is she a fab person and good friend, but she rocks as a writer.

4) Suzanne Young - (She knows why!) Basically, she gave me a HUGE break that got me to where I am today (with an agent). With that said, Suzanne didn't even know me! She just reached out to me on Facebook because she read my blog. So thoughtful. (That's all I will say!)

5) Teen Fiction Cafe - Because it is run by a bunch of great writers all at different stages in their careers.

Rules: Link to back to the awarder, list 5 people who have inspired you in your writing, and then just let them know about their award ;)

Here are my marketing favs for the week:

1) An interview with publicist Suzanne Pfefferle of Pelican Publishing Company. With the ever changing market, it is nice to hear from the brain of the house publicist.
Check it out!

2) Came across twitip.com - the site focuses on providing great tips on how to best use twitter. This article is on how to be follow-worthy!

3) 2009 pulse of social media industry. About this time last year, a survey was done with bloggers/content providers, brand and agency marketers for their insights about one aspect of social media .. Blogger Relations. As is typical in our industry people generously offered their insights and we learned together how to create win-win-win strategies. 2008 Pulse of the Industry Blogger Relations . There is a survey for 2009 if you want to take it.

4) Of course my friends (Robin and Mary) over at Shrinking Promotions ran an article on tweeting this week. Tweeting for introverts that is. :) Just as I am starting to tweet more on marketing/branding tips, they are dedicated to tweeting on "daily tips, reminders, affirmations, and suggestions for caring for your introverted self." I will be doing a guest post for them in October! yay!

5) If you missed my interview with Molly O'Neil, check it out! (oh goodness, that was a shameless plug!) It was a HUGE success. I think about 1500 people came to my blog that day alone. And all for Molly's fabulous advice.

6) Writers Digest lists out the best tweets of the week - some great marketing, blogging, etc nuggets in here.

ON a side note, Cynthea Liu (Writing for Teens) is starting a series of interviews on "Authors on the verge". Today's is Kate Messner. They cover rejections, agent process and publication journey. :)

Have a great weekend!!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Secrets to the industry - ssshhhhhh!

Ha! I thought that would get your attention!

I have come across a few things I think are interesting for writers and bloggers alike:

1) The Hopefuls - Chandler Craig over at Fumbling for Fiction is posting anonymous interviews (called The Hopefuls) These interviews are with different writers that solely discuss their journey to getting an agent or a book deal. The posts are all inspiring no matter where you are in the process.

2) Book Blogger Appreciation Week is rather more than an ordinary award. It's
an organized week long thing in September, encouraging blogging community, spearheaded by My Friend Amy. Here's the link! The first Book Blogger Appreciation was observed in the fall of 2008 and occurs every September. If you decide to submit your posts as requested, you will then be in the running for shortlisting, and if you make the shortlist, you can be voted the Best Kidlit Blog! YOu can register as a reader or a blogger.

You can also nominate your favorite blogs for an award!

Amy was interviewed about the blogger week here.

You can also follow the group on twitter.

3) Kidlitosphere Fall Conference (2009 -Washington DC) - I've mentioned this before but Kidlitosphere is a community of reviewers, librarians, teachers, authors, illustrators, publishers, parents, and other book enthusiasts who blog about children's and young adult literature. The have just opened up registration for their annual fall conference. The 2009 conference will take place in Washington, DC, on Saturday, October 17th. Go check out the schedule and agenda. They also have a Facebook group.

Hope you find these helpful!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Marvelous Marketer: Molly ONeill (Assistant editor, Katherine Tegen Books)

Be sure to add your comments or questions. Knowing how active Molly is
online, she may be stopping by and answer them. :)

For those of you coming for the first time, I do these interviews weekly with either agents, illustrators, editors, and authors. Next month - we have a publishing house publicist and a publishing house sales executive.

Hi Molly! Thank you for joining me today. Before we get into marketing, can you tell everyone a little about yourself and your imprint.

Hi Shelli! I'm an assistant editor at Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Children's Books. I've been in the industry for about 6.5 years. I spent the first 4.5 years working on the marketing side of children's books, so I appreciate that this blog focuses on helping authors decode a part of the industry that may not be as second-nature to them as writing. However, while my marketing background is immensely helpful in my current role, my goal was always to become an editor.

I joined Bowen Press as an assistant editor in 2007 and Katherine Tegen Books in 2009. Being a children's book editor is my dream job, and I can't think of another job that could possibly compare!

Can you tell me a little about Harper Collin's web sites? They seem to have a few.

HarperCollins has a website, which has separate, dedicated sections for parents, educators/librarians, and kids themselves.

HarperTeen also has a separate website, a MySpace page (including a blog where many of our authors contribute guest posts), Facebook and Twitter. As a company, we’re constantly looking at the digital and social media worlds for possibilities—we’d like to be ahead of the publishing curve in taking advantage of those opportunities, whenever possible.

From a personal perspective, I'm on Goodreads (although there I mostly watch to see what my friends and colleagues are reading), on Facebook (although I tend to spend far less time on there these days than I once did), and on Twitter, where I'm most active. I also have a new-ish blog. I had blogged as part of Bowen Press and I missed "thinking out loud" about the bookmaking process.

You've had a lot of experience on the publishing side. In your opinion, what are the top 3 things every author should and must do to promote their book?

1. I’m likely preaching to the choir here, because if you’re reading this, you’re someone who is already online, but I think that you must have a web presence!

In today’s world, the internet is the first place that people go to find out more about anything, and potential readers and book buyers are no exception. Kids will look online to find out more about you as a writer, to learn about your other books, to find out when you have new books coming out, or because they want to communicate with you.

Teachers, librarians, and booksellers will look online for extras like promotional materials and teaching guides, to learn more about you and your backlist, and, sometimes, because they want to invite you to do a school visit, library appearance, or to find out about your book tours or signings. If you don’t have a virtual home where these potential readers can locate you, they may move on to another author who is more accessible, and you’ll lose fans and sales without ever realizing it.

In my opinion, you shouldn’t limit your presence to Facebook/MySpace/ Twitter, or other sites where people are required to have a subscription to gain access to you—you should make it simple for anyone to find you if they’re trying to do so. And be sure that there’s a way for readers to contact you via your website. (It’s amazing the number of people who neglect to include this information!) And once you’ve established your web presence and are comfortable with navigating the Internet, be sure to include your website/blog/twitter handle in your email signature. Ask if it can be included in the bio on your book’s cover or back flap. If you’re printing promo materials, make sure you include the information prominently.

Your web presence doesn’t have to be an expensive website—you can start off with a free blog template that you customize—but the key is that it should be professional, both in appearance and content. Think of your online presence as your extended business card to the whole world! And depending on what’s possible for you, once you do have books coming out, you may decide it’s worth investing some money to make your online presence even more unique, professional, and attractive. Think about it—you’d probably consider buying a new outfit or getting your hair or nails done before an appearance at a bookstore or at a conference, and usually that’s for an audience of a few hundred people, if not even less. Your web presence, on the other hand, is how you’re appearing to potentially the whole world—so it’s worth investing time and energy to show yourself in the best light possible !

2. I also think that you must *understand* the tools you're using. Do you know why you’re blogging, or on Twitter, or on Facebook, or thinking about attending ALA or BEA? If you can’t articulate your reasons for doing so, you may be using your time counterproductively. In fact, I think this is one of the big confusions of today’s industry. There are more options than ever before for getting the word out about your book, but you have to know how to take advantage of them in ways that make sense for you. Sometimes authors read about a conference that sounds “like fun,” or like an opportunity that they think they need to take advantage of—but that isn’t necessarily the most appropriate venue to promote their book—for example, IRA is focused primarily on elementary reading teachers, so there’s not a lot of reason for YA authors to attend.

Here’s another great example: An author once confessed to me, “I don’t like blogging at all, I’m just doing it because it’s marketing.” Unfortunately, the internet is often a transparent place, and despite that author’s good intentions I think the “I’m-here-because-I-feel-like-I-have-to-be” attitude came through loud and clear on that particular blog, which never gained much of an audience. There are other kinds of marketing that you can be doing instead. You may need to experiment with different tools until you find the ones that are most useful to you.

There’s no denying that blogging (or fill in the blank with another kind of “hot” current marketing effort that “everyone” is doing) can be a very strong marketing tool. But blogging by itself does not instantly equal marketing. Beware that you’re not equating the two: marketing and keeping an online journal are not the same thing. In my mind, for it to really be marketing, you have to be targeting an audience—and reaching them with it.

3. And I think to be successful, writers should understand communication and relationships are the underlying root of every level of this entire business.

In many, many other industries, “relationship” is code for product placement. In our industry, “relationship” means actual, wonderful relationships—with readers, with booksellers, with teachers, with librarians, with grandparents, with kids, with families, with classes. Your publisher has relationships on your behalf. You establish relationships yourself. Both are important, and depend on one another. Note, though, that the word here isn’t just friendship. Friendships exist for the sake of the friendship itself; they don’t really require any outside goals, but business relationships usually do—and in the case of authors, that goal is book sales. And that has to be a goal, otherwise, you’re just being social and making friends and calling it marketing. I’m not saying a relationship without a sale is worthless, not at all. But every professional relationship should remind you of the potential for sales. Good sales are how you get the chance to do more, to have more relationships, to piggyback closer onto your publisher’s relationships. Focusing on book sales DOES NOT mean you have to be impersonal/sleazy. Many authors think, “I don’t care about my sales, I just want to talk to people who care about books and kids.” But in fact, being aware of sales and consciously working to make them grow means that your publisher will take you that much more seriously—which, in turn, will give you more opportunities to talk to people who care about books and kids!

It looks like you are pretty active in the social networking arena. How important do you think online networking is becoming in today's publishing industry?

It becomes more important by the week, I think! It will never be as important as good writing, as creating impressive art, as executing fantastic, original ideas. But focusing the growing power of social media on yourself and the product of your work—your books—can help brand and define you as a memorable author/illustrator, which will lead (hopefully!) to more book sales, which will then (hopefully) give you a strong sales track, which will (hopefully) make it easier for you publish more books.

Here’s the thing: most people, even those moderately interested in books and children’s book creators, won’t spend time every day/week/month looking at authors’ websites. BUT, the beauty of social networking is that most people WILL check their own profile (be it their @replies in Twitter, their feed in Facebook or Goodreads, their wall in MySpace) anywhere from numerous times a day to at least a few times a week. So if they’re following you, simply by posting (whether or not it has anything to do with your books), you’re reminding them that you exist, you’re reinforcing the connection that you’ve established, which is a small but significant step in building relationships.

Yep, it comes back around again to that relationship part! There are relationships you, as an author, can build, that are different than the ones a publisher can build for you. Some of the key relationships are those that you build on the local level—with your local booksellers, with local educators, with your local librarians, with local readers and young fans. And with social networking that personal, “local level” of relationships quickly extends beyond geography—the people you’ve become virtual friends with become “local,” too, in the sense that you can “see” them on a regular basis—and that’s yet another key to building strong relationships for yourself and your books.

Beware, though, and THINK before you post to your networking sites - blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Your mother wants me to tell you that the rule of “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” applies EVEN MORE to the Internet! In other words, the instantaneous nature of the online world makes it all-too-easy to blurt things out that are very hard to take back, whether they’re snark about those inside the industry, mean-spirited comments about other authors, or even racy asides that you wouldn’t actually say out loud in front of the young readers of your books. Social media is a tool and it can be used productively, but it can also be dangerous. Think of it like a sharp knife—you can cut beautiful slices of fruit with it, or you can slice your finger off if you’re not careful. Once you’ve put something out on the Internet, it’s nearly impossible to take it back—even if you take down the post later. In short—don’t become an industry cautionary tale!

Also, if you’re involved online before you’re published, as more and more writers are these days, there’s usually a shift that has to happen as you go from being an author whose online community has been mostly other unpublished authors to being a published author with a potential readership of fans. Always ask yourself who your audience is—if necessary, create an imaginary readership that lives in your head (made up of a few kids, a few teachers, other authors, a librarian, some indie booksellers, some editors and agents, your own editor and agent and, of course, your Mom) that you keep in mind anytime you post something, and ask yourself—“Will this offend any of them? Will I be boring them? Am I sharing things that are too personal that I wouldn’t tell these people if I met them in person? And in contrast, am I doing more than just constant, blatant self-promotion? Am I sharing enough of a sense of the person I am to keep readers engaged? Am I interacting enough with my readers, in comments and follow-up posts and replies, that I’m really building relationships?”

Technology and social media are becoming more and more active, rather than static. It’s a bit of a two-way street, where the more you use technology to communicate with others, the more aware people will become of you, too, even if you’re not actively campaigning for yourself. That’s a bit of what’s meant by “web presence”—you’re giving readers a chance to feel like they really know you because of interactions they’ve had with you.

We see alot of group marketing efforts. Do you feel it is beneficial for authors to team up and promote books as a group? If so, what is the best way to do it effectivelywhy?

It can be, definitely. But the truth is, you have to do so as much as a collective as you do as an individual!

The first few marketing collectives drew attention in some part just for existing, and having a new approach that involved harnessing the the-relatively new power of social media, but now there are so many such groups, with new ones cropping up constantly. So you need to ask some of the same questions as you would about marketing yourself as an individual—are we reaching beyond friends to target unknown, potential consumers and advocates? What makes our efforts stand out among all the others like us? What are we doing that’s unique and news/attention-worthy? What are we doing really well—what strengths do we have as a team and how can we maximize them? And, most importantly, how do we draw attention to our group and get the word out wide about the things we ARE doing?

One word of caution, too—in collectives, some authors are almost always going to have different opportunities than others (i.e., some get sent on tour, or get another book deal soon after their first, or their books hit the bestseller list, or get multiple starred reviews, etc., etc.), so you have to be someone who can fight off the insane jealousy those events might inspire and be genuinely supportive of them.

Since you have such a deep background in marketing, what other tips can you share?

I’ve got a handful of additional advice, mostly gleaned from talks I used give about marketing:

• Take the time before each book is published to sit down and make a marketing plan for yourself, separate from anything your publisher may be doing. Think about your limits and be realistic. It’s great to come up with wildly creative ideas, but sometimes carefully thought out simpler ideas can accomplish far more. Set goals for yourself, and make sure they are goals that you can accomplish, not something that you have little control over (like winning an award). Set specific goals, and give yourself benchmarks to measure if you’re meeting them. For example, don’t just have goal of “make brochures.” Make it be “make brochures and distribute at least 50 to local area teachers.” Instead of just “set up local book signings,” which may or may not be successful, add to it, set up book signings and attend 4 other events at your local bookstore, so you can see what works—and doesn’t work—for other authors, and so you become a familiar face. And make sure on every marketing plan, there are a couple things that are new—maybe even things that seem a little scary...whether that means cold-calling schools to offer school visits, or trying blogging, or speaking in public….Growth in your approach is important, and trying new things can open up possibilities you never even considered.

• Writers are creative people who usually have lots of creative friends and family members. Help one another where you can—if you're a former teacher, offer your services writing a reading group guide in exchange for the different expertise of another writer who can help you build a website or create a book trailer. And think about graphic design as you create materials—a little design sensibility goes a long way toward making things like postcards, bookmarks, business cards, and websites look really professional, even if they’re “homemade.” If you know that design isn't your strength, put an ad up on craigslist for a college-age graphic design student to help you create a professional "look" to your materials—the price should be right, as they'll be glad to have the pieces for their portfolio, and you'll see it pay off when schools, bookstores, etc give your materials a second look.

• Beware of putting all your efforts in one place, especially on the Internet. Reach out in different ways to different audiences. And beware of leaving control for all your marketing efforts in the hands of a third-party website that has no vested interest in your career or marketing efforts! If Facebook or MySpace or Blogger closed tomorrow without notice, would you loose valuable lists of marketing contacts, or email addresses, or content you’ve spent hours creating? Just like you back up your writing efforts, back up your marketing efforts, too!

• Remember that imitating another's success is not a guarantee of the same success for yourself—just like no one else can write your same book, you can’t expect your career to mimic anyone else’s. The possibilities for marketing and promoting yourself are endless, and you’re likely to get more attention for being the first person to explore a new form of promotion, rather than being the 100th person to imitate something that got a lot of attention at first, but that has quickly become the norm.

• And finally, when it comes to marketing and publicity efforts, it’s more about a collective whole than doing any one particular thing, be it a blog, website, school visit, social networking use, conference appearance, book signing, interview, etc. etc. Success rarely comes from one aspect alone; it’s the way things you do build upon one another, and on your publishers’ efforts, that come together can make a noticeable difference. And it takes time; success sometimes seems to happen overnight, but behind the scenes it's usually much more gradual than it appears. Finally (and this is where the editor in me speaks up!), don’t forget about your writing! Some of the best marketing you can do is keep creating books for the readers who have encountered and loved one of your books…or for the readers who might not have found your first book, but will fall in love with your next one, and circle back to find what else you’ve written. So don’t forget that your books are out there, building relationships and communicating with readers, too. There will be times to focus more on marketing, and times to focus more on writing, and both are truly important for your career.

As an assistance editor, do you ever google authors before taking them on to see if they already have a web presence or platform? If so, how does that influence you?

Of course! To me, this is research that makes sense in our modern world. If I'm thinking about trying a new restaurant, or looking for a hotel, I usually google for reviews. If I'm thinking about spending *far more* money on a book than I would a pair of shoes, and spending *far more* time working on that book and with that author than I would at the restaurant or hotel--why wouldn't I want to learn what I could first, to be sure we're a good fit?

Are there standard things publishers offer in contracts in terms of Marketing? What does the average author receive or is it different, depending on the book?

Contracts are written to define the rights to intellectual property--so the bulk of them don't address marketing, as it's not really the appropriate forum for that conversation. It's also not usually the right TIME to be talking about marketing. It's often hard to know at the time of a contract's signing what the best kind of marketing for that book will be--especially since the project may morph over time, and because the landscape of marketing can change dramatically in the 2-5 years the bookmaking process takes.

What marketing things do you expect an author to do on their own?

1. To learn what it means to be a professional in the industry, and to be sure that their online presence reflects that professionalism—while also reflecting the personality that makes them unique and exciting as a writer.

2. To have considered the many possible options available for marketing their books (and to consider whether there are untapped ways to do so, too!) and made careful decisions about which methods they’re going to use in support of their books.

3. To be trying new things—just like I don’t expect most writers to write the exact same book over and over (even if they’re series writers!), I don’t expect them to do the exact same things to try to support it. I always suggest that with each book, an author at least try a couple things that are new—maybe even things that seem a little scary...whether that means cold-calling schools to offer school visits, or trying blogging for the first time, or speaking in public….Growth in your approach to being an author is important, and trying new things can open up dynamic possibilities you might never have even known were possible.

So I have to ask. What are you looking for at Katherine Tegen Books? What are you interested in?

I’m not interested in books that are clearly derivative of other successes currently on the market—I like stories that surprise me by being fresh and new. I acquire everything from picture books through YA, but I’m especially looking for strong middle grade and teen books right now—a vivid voice and inventive storytelling are the thing I’m hoping for every time I open up a manuscript. I’m a sucker for a gripping high-concept idea and good writing to back it up, for a good romance (or in middle grade, for the stirrings of romance!), and for stories about connectivity and the choices that we make and the way they trickle down to affect others—and the person we ultimately become, too. Other sweet spots of mine: ballet/theatre/other artsy, backstage stories; a strong setting and a sense of place that shapes a story, and books that make me laugh, or cry, or even better— both!

Thank you for in depth sharing your insight with us!

Thanks Shelli!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sharing the Love and special shout outs

Special shout out to Robyn Campbell and Katie Salides in thanks for the recognition on my blog :) I love awards!!! They are right up there with new blog followers, FB friends, Twitters following my tweets, blog comments, and oh yeah - gifts....presents. (wait, does that sound bad???)

Mostly, I love awards because I can pass them on and share other great blogs I follow :)

Award #1: Kreativ Blogger Award (with a capital K. BTW, leave it to me to get the award that is spelled wrong. :) Hey - if you saw my new line edits, you would understand why!)

(from Katie Salides at Step 1Write, Edit and Revise)

Here are the rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

7 (really boring) things about me.....that you probably don't care to know and could definitely live without.

1. I used to sing in a jazz band. I actually always thought I'd be a professional singer. If only I was not too old to try out for American Idol. I guess there's always America's Got Talent :) (I didn't know in my heart yet that writing professionally was even an option for me. Until I was out of college, I thought all writers were dead. Don't ask me why.)

2. I love to do Bikram Yoga. The hotter the better. For those of you who do not know, it is yoga done in 108-112 degree room. It is amazing!!! At the end of my class, they always hand out frozen lavender-smelling washcloths. Before I had kids, I did this yoga at least 5 times a week and had a rock hard body. Not so much anymore. (sorry to hubby!) I hope to return soon. :)

3. My husband is from UK. And, yes he has a sexy accent. He's actually from a small town in Wales. After we first got married, his company messed up his Visa and he was sent back to UK for 8 weeks until the British Consulate redid his passport. I spent a whole day (and night along with a few bottles of wine) thinking he was dead in a ditch somewhere b/c the airline would not inform me he was detained. I even got pulled aside in Atlanta Hartsfield Airport by security for "creating a scene" which really meant I was crying too loudly. What can I say it was after Sept 11th, so I guess my wailing spooked some people.

4. I really think I'm going to be on Oprah someday. Yes all my friends laugh at me. But I have had recurring dreams about me sitting on a couch talking to her - about what I don't know - so who knows. Weird huh? After my ex-fiance called off our wedding (2 weeks before the date). I sent in an essay to Oprah on the topic "How I pulled through a bad time." Mine was actually published in O magazine under an article title called "When I was dumped." Nice huh? But hey, I was proud - after all - it was in O magazine! Nothing like the whole world knowing. right? Wait - can I put that in my bio - that I was published in O magazine???

5.I was chosen to be in the show and pet Shamoo at Sea World. Yes, I have it on tape. I even said something brilliant. When asked "what does he feel like?" by the trainer, I yelled into the microphone (obviously not knowing how loud it was) "a tire". I think Shamoo was offended b/c he splashed me. Which doesn't sound bad, except I walked around the rest of the afternoon smelling like a fish. I have it all on tape but at parties I usually only show my parachuting one. makes me look cooler.

6. I traveled through Europe for a month by myself when I was 25. It was awesome. I was attacked on a train by a group of boys trying to mug me. Special shout out to the Italian train conductor for saving my life that night. I got stranded in Geneva without a hotel. And I was stuck in Piccadilly Circus for about 4 hours (11 pm - 3am) b/c I could not get a cab.

7. I have a special power. That's right. I am a superhero. Jealous? Whenever I touch something electronic, it breaks. I must have some kind of overactive magnetic field. Things never break down when my hubby is using them, only me. To give you an example - this was my week - my dishwasher broke (yes I had to wash dishes like in the old west except it was in a sink not a river). my car broke down (a day after we paid for it, while I was driving it. My hubby drovei t the whole weekend and it worked fine. I get in and NOTHING.), my TV broke while my hubby was out of town (yes you busted me, this is why I am caught up on blogs). And my cable broke and then came back on the day they were coming to fix it (we have no idea why).

Man I just realized how boring I am. And those 7 were hard for me to come up with.

Now, wouldn't it be funny if I now told you they were all lies! They're not but it'd be a great joke if "I'm a great liar" was #7. tee hee.

7 Kreativ Blogs

1) Jodi meadows (slush pile reader) - at Words and Wardances, she does a series called Slush stats where she shows her notes on query letters. It is very eye-opening. she is also on Twitter.

2) Frenetic Reader - Khy is a great teen reviewer for children's books, primarily MG/YA. I love reading teen blogs about their view on the books they read.

3. Plot This - My friends and aspiring writers, Katie and SF Hardy, run a great blog together.

4. Lisa and Laura Write - These girls are sisters, they write together (i still don't understand how that works exactly) and they are HIlarious!

5. Lisa's Little Corner.... - Lisa Schroeder is one of my fav authors so I was estatic to meet her in LA (and a little nervous). Her book "I heart you" led me to my tween angel story. BTW, she is as cool and funny as she is brilliant.

6. Dream the Dream - Brit seems to always reach in and find something I am worrying about.So maybe she can reads minds too. Who knows? you'll have to read her to find out.

7. Heather Hansen - Met her in person in LA and she is as funny in person as she is on her blog.

Award #2: Literary Blogging Award
(from Robyn Campbell at Putting Pen to Paper.)

BTW me? a literary award? This may be the only time I ever get that! :)

Here are the rules:
1) Accept the award and post a link back to the awarding person.
2) Pass the award on (the rules differ here; sometimes you pass on to one person, five, or even more).
3) Notify award winner.

I'm only going to do one since I think I just broke something coming up with the last 7.

My choice is.....

Sarah Davies (FYI - I learned her last name is pronounced Davis!!) from Greenhouse Literary. Not only is she a FABULOUS person and ROCKING agent. But she also writes beautifully and her posts always seem to touch me in some unexpected way.

Whew I'm exhausted! Hope you got some new blogs from this!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Playing catch up/Marketing Round Up

Marketing Tip: Beating a Following addiction!

This is something I do. I follow ALOT of blogs (yes it is an addiction but you all are so smart I love to read your thoughts!). Obviously, I do not get a chance to read everyone, everyday. :( I put aside one full day a month and go to every blog I follow/catch up.

An Award? Aw Shucks

Aw shucks :) Cathy Hall awarded me the Superior Scribbler.

1. pass the Award on to 5 most-deserving bloggy buds.

2. link to the author and name of the blog from whom he/she has received the Award.

3. display the Award and link to the Award explanation.

4. visit this post and add his or her name to the Mr. Linky List at the Scholastic-Scribe's blog. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who wins this prestigious Award!

5. post rules on his/her blog.

My 5 blogs are some new ones I found recently:

Little Ms J - because she is honest and cracks me up!

Serenity now - just found this one (somehow) and I like the voice

Road to publication - I roomed with Kimberly and want to give a shout out! (oh yeah and she is going to be huge when her book comes out in March. Melissa Marr just blurbed it and the cover is gorgeous!)

Reverie Book Review - new teen blog I found that reviews books

Lauren Barnholdt
- a fellow Trident author who is also with my agent.

My Interview!

I was recently interviewed by WOW (women on writing) about branding and marketing. Check it out (special shout out to Cathy for thinking of me!)

Marketing Favs

Here are some great posts for the week!

Focus on blog content instead of traffic - we rarely hear the pros talk about the one thing that is essential in a great blog: content.

Public speaking for authors - This is a series that covers how to prepare, organize and speak. So, the day has arrived. It’s time to actually talk to an audience. What do you do?

Why a video sells books? Publicists and marketing professionals believe these videos are the best new way to create the kind of buzz that attracts readers and sales.

Finding your Facebook strategy - Create an amazing network of really cool people who are engaged, supportive, and excited about your work.

Lost in the madness of marketing? Top ways to market your book.

have a great weekend! :) Thanks for all the comments this week - I appreciate you all spending time reading AND commenting. Plus I love finding new blogs. :)