The recent Spinning Tales conference for New Zealand Children’s Writers and Illustrators highlighted some important need to know facts about the state of children’s publishing here and overseas. As I research for this blog, every week I come across articles and discussions that support the 6 most important facts.
1. Writing for children is a business. It is not sitting down and tossing off a gentle story about clouds and raindrops and having a publisher fall on their knees to have the chance to publish it for all the little kiddies to read.
It is a hard slog to write a good story and harder to write a good children’s story. The little kiddies are web savvy and digital literate. Your story must drag them away from T.V, cell phone, Xbox and YouTube. Good Luck There! Janice Hardy has an excellent post on making the reader care.
2. Writing For Children has to be commercial so that the publishers make money and stay in business...but look out there are others too who want to make money off you.
Publishers print lists are contracting. E publishing is expanding. We are not authors any more we are content providers. The 10% that content providers get and the 7% they get for e-rights (overseas) is not worth it for the author or the publisher unless the print run is sold out. Add into this the changing nature of publishing contracts and the implications of epublishing on contracts.
The author must be contract savvy or have an agent who is.
It helps if you know what the scams are out there for unwary authors. Larry Brooks has a writer beware publicity scam (?) where TV stations want to make a buck off you. Publishingtrends highlights the Kindle swindle. Watch out for copyright scammers who make ebooks from your web content.
3. Publishers are being challenged by new technology. Everything is changing. Everyone is scared.
The ease of digital publishing and printing have authors questioning whether they need the traditional publishers. Arguments for and against are everywhere on the web.
Joe Konrath interviewed Bob Mayer about his move to have his own publishing company, then Joe threw down a challenge to his traditional publishers (ouch!) Jody Hedlund and Jami Gold have taken an opposite view.
The stakes are high.
Here in New Zealand, publishers are digitising their back lists...this will make it harder for an author to get their rights back if the book is not selling because ebooks are forever, unlike print.
4. The author must do the bulk of the publicity.
Publishers are not sending writers out on tour unless they are big sellers! There is no money in publishing to spend on promotion which means the book doesn’t get promoted unless the author does the job. Sellingbooks has a good post on publicity made easier, and 10 buzz building secrets every writer should know, takes it to the next level.
5. You must have a web presence. You must be searchable. Your internet presence must promote your brand. Your brand is your writing. You must make it easy for your readers to find you and buy your book.
Christina Katz has written a comprehensive overview article on this. She is the guru on Author websites.
Groups of writers have gathered together to help each other promote and publicise their work. This has become a very good way to get noticed and share the load for the average introvert writer.
Readergirlz annual teen literacy week is just about to start and the Diva’s have linked into some very big names. Take the time to trawl their site and think of the implications for shared publicity.
6. At the moment there are no E publishing gate keepers here in NZ. The reviewers I know haven’t been forthcoming when I have asked if they would review ebooks. It is too hard. The take up of E readers here at the moment doesn’t warrant it. New Zealander’s quickly become enthusiastic adopters of new technology so the ebook explosion will happen quite quickly.
This is probably the time to strike if you want to get into ebook reviewing. We need filters and trusted reviewers to say this is worth the price. Although as I have been reading lately the small price you pay for an ebook means if it is a dud you haven’t lost much.
Quality writing for children in an ebook format is likely to get lost in the crowd unless....See Number 3 and 4.
Check out MeeGenius and their children’s book e platform...be enthused or be scared....
Over on Craicerplus (My Amplify Page) I have links to articles on
Dean Wesley Smith gives the full Uni Course On Cover Design.
eBook Conversion Comparisons...for when you create that ebook.
Agents –You Gotta Have A Contract! - Read it, Weep and Be Warned! See Number 2
The Periodic Table Of Storytelling....geek cool
The Top 5 KidsLit Agencies
Get out there and share the love because our words have the power to change lives....
Question: Any more facts children’s writers should know? Write a comment.