September 30, 2009

Authorless Book Tours?

An interesting article recently appeared in Business Week titled, Kid-Friendly Book Tours (Author Not Included). The article cites that some publishers are still doing the tours, promoting the books, but leaving the authors at home. The tours focus on the characters in the book, with the thought that they attract children more than the author. Random House launched the authorless tour six years ago. Barbara Park's wildly successful Junie B. Jones series was promoted in the Stupid Smelly Bus Tour.(an actress posing as Junie B.) This summer, Amulet Books took an ice cream truck to 31 city libraries. The publicity was for Jeff Kinney's latest book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Publishers note that the bus tours cost more than author readings, but sales are better. Increased book sales + more time to stay home and write? Sounds like an interesting proposition.....

September 21, 2009

Where do all the used books go?

If you are reading an author's blog, chances are you are a bibliophile. You buy books, lots of them, and collect them. Many of us have jammed bookshelves that can't possibly fit one more book. Some books are like old friends, you simply can't bear to part with them. But with other books, you might be willing to help find a good home. Where to donate? Well, your local library may be happy to accept, and sell the books for a few dollars. Definitely a bargain for the next reader - particularly if it's a hardback, and you are supporting a local resource. If the library doesn't accept donations, not to fret, there are plenty of other opportunities for books in good condition: brings books to needy schools and libraries across the US pays shipping costs to developing countries send books to American troops overseas

So, feel free to read on, my friends. Just remember to pass along!

September 15, 2009

Who Needs a Running Buddy? You Do!

Need to clear your head after a long day of writing? The Rx for me is often a long run. The fresh air, exercise and change of scenery often inspire me and get the creative juices flowing. Most of my writer/runner friends are nervous about hitting the trails without a partner. For many, the buddy system makes us accountable and feels safer. If you have a big dog like mine (a former pound hound), a running buddy is ready to go at a moment's notice. But for those runners who long for a furry bodyguard, the answer is as close as your local animal shelter.

In the October issue of Runner's World magazine, a terrific piece titled "Pace A Pooch" highlights SPCA and human societies with running programs. Runners have a buddy, and the workouts help the dogs find a new home. Overweight dogs lose lbs. and increased exercise often means less behavioral problems. Runners can pick up a dog for each mile, or train one friend to go the distance. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Programs currently exist in Seattle, Washington D.C. and Tulsa or contact your local animal shelter (enter zip code at

September 12, 2009

Not in love anymore?

Via Twitter, I recently came across a very funny article titled, "You Aren't The Book I Married Anymore" by Courtney Summers. The article makes the analogy that the relationship with your manuscript is like a marriage.

Oh, those glorious first weeks/months. The giddiness of new ideas, fresh pages, the "I can't get you out of my mind" feeling. The endless possibilities. Aren't we all thrilled with our new manuscripts? You can't wait to make the introductions. Everybody will love him...I mean "it", the book. You want to spend all your time together.

But, alas, like all relationships this one needs work to remain healthy. Very slowly, you begin to notice flaws. Things with the manuscript all not all good. Sure, you can deny it for a while, but what about those characters that need more development? The dialogue is not quite its best. Really, what makes this book different from the others? You beg the manuscript to cooperate. Change for the sake of your relationship. The honeymoon is over. This relationship needs work.

Now comes the hard part. Revising, commitment, editing. The willingness to admit that some parts aren't working, but you are open to change. For the sake of the relationship. You two can get through this together - and walk the I am published bookstore aisles in wedded bliss.

September 10, 2009

Back to School? Good idea(s) !

For many of us, "back to school" means more writing time. Summer nourishes our soul, and allows a break from demanding schedules. Everything is more relaxed - and our writing often languishes also. But back to school means fresh notebooks, sharpened pencils and new ideas. This time of year is full of ideas for a manuscript. Publishers are always on the lookout for new back- to -school books. Observe your kids, listen to their conversations. What concerns/fears/excitement can you hear? Chances are, your kids are not the only ones talking about these issues. New kid in the school? Scary teacher? Lunchroom food fight? Someone change over the summer? Funny bus driver? New principal? Electing class president? Don't have school age children yourself? Remember how you felt as a child. The butterflies in the stomach and the anticipation. If you need more ideas, borrow a friend who has young children. Treat her to a cup of coffee at the local coffeehouse. Now she has more time too!