Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators ... and more

Dear Reader,

I'm so glad to be in touch with you again.

My family just returned from a wonderful trip to England. Our daughters were on a Choir Tour and my husband and I were chaperones. We are still a little jet-lagged but things are returning to normal.

As a parent, an avid reader, a singer, and a history buff I can't tell you how overwhelmingly wonderful the trip was. And how creatively inspiring it was, too -- a new story idea popped into my head while another story idea was solidified. (Plus, it was great fun to watch Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince once we got home and recognize all of the famous sites and locations in the movie that we had just seen the week before during the trip.)

Ironically, as a chaperone, I can't begin to tell you how overwhelmingly awful the trip was -- but that's not a topic for here -- you can check out The Good Manners Mom Blog if you're at all interested in how awful middle school girls can be! I'll be posting there later today!

But I digress.

I am still working through revisions with Kecia (my artist) so I don't have any new updates on the book progress. Fingers crossed I'll have some progress to report on my next blog post.

In the meantime, I registered for the Fall Philly Conference of the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). Just got my confirmation emailed to me. It's being held on Saturday, October 10th. I love this conference! In years past, I've picked up some great contacts, met a lot of nice people, and received some good advice and positive encouragement. What's not to love!?!

As part of the conference, I can submit up to 10 pages of a manuscript for review by an agent, editor or author from the panel of presenters. I need to get my manuscript out asap -- slots fill up fast. I hope to drop it in the mail this weekend. (Just as an FYI, this story is different than the two books that Good Manners Kids Stuff Press will be publishing soon.)

If any of you are aspiring authors/illustrators of childrens books, I highly recommend joining SCBWI. There are 2 national conferences (in CA in August and NY in February) along with local chapters and conferences. I've been to the NY one, too -- although I prefer the local one because the panel members are much more approachable due to the smaller size of the crowd.

One last item to tell you about: I (or, more accurately, Good Manners Kids Stuff Press) received an invitation to be part of the Frankfort Book Fair! Sadly, with no actual books published just yet, my attendance would be a little premature. And hard to explain. Here's hoping that next year I'll be there (and at other fairs and trade shows) with our line of books.

Until my next post, I wish you Happy Reading and Writing!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Book marks and bar codes

Dear Reader,

The wheels have been turning very, very, very, very, very slowly here at Good Manners Kids Stuff Press.

Who knew that it would take so long to get my books published?

(Now I can see why it can take 18 months to 2 years or more when an author gets published.)

I am disappointed that I don't have any updates to share with you other than that I received a nice sample package from an online printer who prints bookmarks, among other things.

I plan on using bookmarks as a marketing tool, so I'm glad to have the information. But until I get my book designs finalized, I won't have anything to put on the book marks!

So, I'm still at a standstill!

I am still hopeful that I'll launch by the end of August or beginning of September. The timing could work well for my sports book as it coincides with fall sports such as football and soccer.

In the meantime, I'll just keep proofing and planning -- and enjoy our family vacation. But before I go, I wanted to circle back to something I had mentioned in my last post about bar codes and pricing that would have totally disrupted my narrative if I had tried to explain it then.

(As an English Major, I had to toss in that "disrupting my narrative" stuff to show that I totally and completely should be recognized as the next literary great -- maybe even a JK Rowling!)

So, about pricing and bar codes: I discovered that in addition to showing the ISBN number, bar codes are used to show your price. And, distributors will want one on your book. But what if you don't know what your price should be when you go to print? Or you think your price will vary depending on where you're selling your book. You don't want to print up books with bar codes for a certain price because you can't change it without printing again and using another ISBN number.

The answer is to use a bar code with 90000 -- a code that indicates that the book has no suggested retail price. That way any price can be assigned to it by the distributor.

This will give you two bar codes on your book -- one for the ISBN number and the other to show there is no assigned price.

Good stuff, huh.

Here's hoping that next time I post I'll have more interesting -- and exciting -- information to share.

Happy Reading,


P.S. I'm off to get some books for vacation! Got any suggestions?