Monday, February 7, 2011

Publication and Promotion: They Go Together by Linda L. Osmundson, Guest Blogger

Today it's my pleasure to welcome Linda L. Osmundson, another of Colorado's most excellent authors. As members of Northern Colorado Writers, we run into each other from time to time at the writers' studio, so I was anxious to have her tell us about her path to publication.

I enjoy covering children's books as well YA and middle grade novels since I frequently buy them for gifts. I already have my copy of How the West Was Drawn: Cowboy Charlie's Art and will be giving it to my grand-nephew Charlie on his birthday.


Publication and Promotion: They Go Together by Linda L. Osmundson, Guest Blogger

"I want to get published,” I announced to a group of ladies at the first Newcomer coffee I attended in Fort Collins. My husband’s five transfers moved us throughout the West over sixteen years before we returned home to our adopted state, Colorado, in 1996.

On February 9th, I’ll serve as guest speaker for that same coffee group as a published writer, not only of magazine and anthology articles, but as author of a children’s book.

Even though I traveled an unconventional path, I got my wish and more.

Over a period of a year and a half, I researched Charles Russell, chose art objectives from the Amon Carter Museum, and wrote How the West Was Drawn: Cowboy Charlie's Art. Actually, I’d studied Russell off and on for about 30 years.

To include a list of competition in my book proposal, I perused Most children’s books on Russell showed publication dates older than five years – old by publishing standards.

My format for each of thirteen art objects consisted of pictures, questions to encourage looking, a short paragraph about the art, and another about the artist.

Imagine my disappointment when I found on Amazon a February, 2010, new children’s release - Charles Russell: Tale-Telling Cowboy Artist. I ordered it. I discovered someone “beat me to the punch.” I held in my hands a book which looked much like I envisioned mine.

After a show of sympathy, my critique group reached a consensus. “Your book is different. Take out the biography parts, stick with the questions, and keep the information about the art pieces. Submit it to the same publisher. Suggest How the West Was Drawn might serve as a companion to their new release.”

In other words, “when given lemons, make lemonade.”

I followed their advice and after several months of email communications, Pelican Publishing bought it. A surprise lay in store for me – permission for picture use from the museum and costs reverted to me rather than the publisher. Permissions, a multi-media projector (I refuse to rely on unfamiliar equipment for presentations), and bookmarks devoured most of my advance. Until I get them sold, the 250 books I ordered will take care of the rest and more. However, a friend says to remember “for every free book given, the recipient shares it and probably another book is sold.”

I’d heard that publication was only half the work. It is true, now the real work begins - promotion. Today’s publishers expect the author to help. The Newcomer coffee serves as the first of my promotion events.

My blog, Writing Roads, offers these and more promotion ideas.

• Research what other authors have done. I learned from Debbie Dadey. She suggested I post a teacher's guide on my website.

• Keep in close contact with the publishing house's publicist.

• Take advantage of social media networking and other blogs.

• Get free marketing advice from your local Small Business Development Center.

• Take photos of appearances and post them on your websites, blogs or social media.

• Participate in list serves.

• Contact school district media personnel. They forward your press release or information to each school media person.

• Build a platform.

• Google promotion, platform, and networking for more ideas, such as book promotion expert John Kremer.

• Check Doug Solter’s blog and the article How to Impress Booksellers.

• Log onto SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and search for marketing ideas.

• On San Francisco’s Book Review blog find the article Building Your Author Platform and the section called After the Manuscript.

These ideas help you get ahead of the game. Check my website for more information on my book, events, classroom activities, and me.

Although my editor assures me they are considering the next book about Frederic Remington in the How the West Was Drawn series, I await acceptance. Perhaps in a year my second wish will come true – another new release.


Linda, thanks so much for being my guest today. Cowboy Charlie's Art is a visual treat, and I'll recommend it to anyone who needs a fun and educational gift book for a child.

I also highly recommend Linda's blog, Writing Roads. The posts are full of information and recommendations for book promotion.


Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Thanks for hosting Linda.

Linda - These are all very creative ideas for getting involved in promotion. And you're absolutely right. In today's world, the author really has to take an active role in promotion. Publishers don't do it all. I wish you much success!

The Old Silly said...

Excellent article here, I actually bookmarked it for reference. Thanks for sharing, Linda, and thanks, Pat for having her on your blog today. :)

Marvin D Wilson

Clarissa Draper said...

Some really great tips. I love the art.

Terry Odell said...

And how nice to have a publisher that actually HAS a publicist. Some of us with small presses are on our own, and it's a time suck. But necessary.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Patricia Stoltey said...

I learn something from every one of my guests, which is a big bonus for me. Thanks Margot, Marvin, Clarissa, and Terry for stopping by this morning.

Terry, necessary and so time-consuming. I'd give up my stash of chocolate to have a publisher with a built-in publicist.

irishoma said...

Hi Patricia and Linda,
You Colorado writers are such a generous and sharing bunch. Your spirit of helping each other to make your dreams comes true is wonderful.
Thanks for the creative ideas, tips and inspiration.
Donna V.

Holly Ruggiero said...

Wow, how heartbreaking to have a book come out just before yours. It’s good to see you turned it around to work to your advantage.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Lovely to have Linda as a guest, made enjoyable reading.


Patricia Stoltey said...

Donna -- I know other states also have supportive groups of writers, but there's something about the writers' groups in Colorado that really brings out the helping hand. I love it here.

Hi Holly and Yvonne, thanks so much for being here today.

Linda Osmundson said...

You are all most kind. I love to teach so passing on writing tips is a natural for me. Thanks to Holly, Yvonne, Martin, Donna, Terry, Clarissa, and Margot for your comments. And thank you, Patricia, for asking me to post.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Linda, you are very welcome. I'm so pleased you were able to be my guest. I love introducing our wonderful Northern Colorado authors to my bloggerly friends.

Linda Osmundson said...

As a follow-up, I received an email from my editor at Pelican that they want to publish the second book on Remington. No contract yet, but I know it is coming. More work! I love it!

Patricia Stoltey said...

That's excellent, Linda. Congratulations. One more great gift for my great-nephew! :)

GutsyWriter said...

I agree with promotion and after attending a writers conference in San Diego last week, realize publishers want 10,000-20,000 hits per month on your blog. How realistic is that though? I'm trying but it's tough. Thanks for the tips.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Sonia, we already know what it takes to get that many hits per month on our blogs, and if we're doing that, we're not writing books. I don't have the answer for that one.

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

Hi Linda. Thank you for the tips and links. I'm always looking for new ways to promote myself. Good luck with the next new release!

Gutsy Writer, Sonia, I'm getting those numbers on my website and blog combined, but it takes a lot of work, and it doesn't always turn into bookings for me. It also means that I have no time to write.

Hi Patricia.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Simon...if I don't start writing again, I've sabotaged myself...

Linda Osmundson said...

Simon, I wish I knew your secret. I'm lucky if I get 4 in one day to look at my blog. I do have more Facebook followers now but that took a lot of work. As Patricia says, when can a writer write if they spend all their time on social medial and blogging? Now that you have that many, perhaps you can write again. Good luck.

Arlee Bird said...

Great advice! If an author writes a book, it's not going to be like the Field of Dreams philosophy--"build it and they will come". Somebody's gotta market it and mostly it's gonna be the author.

Tossing It Out