Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » I SOLD MY NOVEL!!! (Page 2)

  This topic comprises 3 pages: 1  2  3   
Author Topic: I SOLD MY NOVEL!!!
MCameron
Member
Member # 2391

 - posted      Profile for MCameron   Email MCameron         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What a great topic to see! Congratulations, Christine. This is very cool.

--Mel


Posts: 269 | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TruHero
Member
Member # 1766

 - posted      Profile for TruHero   Email TruHero         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Congrats Christine, that is great to hear! See what happens when you miss a few days!

Not that it matters, but you are now elevated on my rockstar scale somewhere between AC/DC and Van Halen, and that is a good place to be! You ROCK! Enjoy the spotlight.


Posts: 471 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mystic
Member
Member # 2673

 - posted      Profile for Mystic   Email Mystic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Congrats, Christine.

[This message has been edited by Mystic (edited March 12, 2006).]


Posts: 162 | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyre Dynasty
Member
Member # 1947

 - posted      Profile for Pyre Dynasty   Email Pyre Dynasty         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'll just add my Conflagurations Christine.
Posts: 1836 | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yanos
Member
Member # 1831

 - posted      Profile for yanos   Email yanos         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Congrats, Christine.
Posts: 575 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
AndrewR
Member
Member # 1563

 - posted      Profile for AndrewR   Email AndrewR         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You know, this thread really should be in the Writers in Print section.

But other than that...

YEEEEHAAAWWW!!!!!!!

Don't bump your head on the ceiling whilst walking on air.


Posts: 166 | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Two things kept me from putting this in the "Writers in Print" section:

1. It's not in print yet!
2. I thought that as time went on I would report the progress of things for those who may be interested in how the novel publication process works.

Speaking of number two...

Last week I spent some time looking into the contract and deciding whether or not to get an agent. I decided not to get an agent for this deal because I liked the contract pretty much as it stood and had no need to have an agent negotiate for me.

By the way, for those of you who are former students of Card...he offered to read the contract for me since I was a former student. He said that overall he thought it was a good contract. I approached the publisher with the few concerns he had and we worked them out.

The next step will be editing. This is the part I'm the most curious about myself. The manuscript will go off to a professional editor who will suggest changed that I will make (or not make) as I see fit. I have no idea what kinds of things they will suggest, how massive a change they will want me to consider, etc.


Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Survivor
Member
Member # 213

 - posted      Profile for Survivor   Email Survivor         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm guessing that they will mostly be asking for tweaks. Not that a large number of tweaks can't sap the life out of a creative effort like nothing else can, but more like they already bought the story. If it's a copyeditor, then mostly what you'll get back is a bunch of suggested wording changes and a few fact points. Like if you had a grammer/spelling checker that actually worked rather than being an object lesson on the limitations of computer intelligence.
Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Silver3
Member
Member # 2174

 - posted      Profile for Silver3   Email Silver3         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm guessing it depends on the editor, and on the amount of work they're ready to invest in the book (as well as on the quality of the book, of course). But, since they bought it in the first place, it's unlikely they're going to ask for a complete rewrite.
Posts: 1075 | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Salimasis
Member
Member # 2490

 - posted      Profile for Salimasis           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
How did I miss this post?

Congratulations, Christine. Well done!


Posts: 66 | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Netstorm2k
Member
Member # 2279

 - posted      Profile for Netstorm2k   Email Netstorm2k         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Been gone awhile, Christine, and just now saw this, so a late Big Congrats for ya. Way to go!
Posts: 331 | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jeraliey
Member
Member # 2147

 - posted      Profile for Jeraliey   Email Jeraliey         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Definitely keep us posted on your experience with the process! With luck, more of us will be able to learn from it and use what we learn when we publish our first novels!
Posts: 1041 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kolona
Member
Member # 1438

 - posted      Profile for Kolona   Email Kolona         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just in case you missed my congrats, Christine, on whatever other thread it was, let me repeat them here.

Congratulations!!!

I was in and out quite a bit and missed this thread, but this is terrific. Enjoy the process!


Posts: 1807 | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wbriggs
Member
Member # 2267

 - posted      Profile for wbriggs   Email wbriggs         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Wooooooooooohoooooooo!
Posts: 2830 | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
franc li
Member
Member # 3850

 - posted      Profile for franc li   Email franc li         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Congratulations!
Posts: 366 | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Phanto
Member
Member # 1619

 - posted      Profile for Phanto   Email Phanto         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Congrats
Posts: 697 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I got a question about marketing that I thought I'd give a preliminary answer to in this thread.

The first step is telling everyone I know. Obviously, I don't just do this because of marketing. I'm really, really excited about my sale and want to share the good news with everyone, but my family and friends are the first people who are going to go to the store and pick up the book. If they like it, they will tell their friends and family, and so on and so forth.

But it's not only friends and family. I'm now telling anyone I come into contact with that I'm a writer and I've got my first novel coming out. I've been absolutely floored at the number of people who write down the title and author and say they'll look for it just on the basis of having met me! I went to a fish fry at the local church last week and sat down at a table full of random strangers and they did just that. They thought it was so neat that they met a real, life author.

Plans for the future (that I'll tell you more about as they happen):
1. Finish my web page. It's live but still bare at the moment. I need to get my picture up there and when it comes in, the cover art for the book. I'm also got a blog to try to keep things light and personable. (It will be more so when I start keeping it up.)

2. E-mail Card when the book comes out and get him to mention me on his published former students page.

3. Schedule book signings. (publisher helps)

4. Put ads in local newsppares and magazines (publisher helps)

5. Try to get on local radio and television. (I think this one would be very successful if I can manage but I really have no idea how this would work.)

6. Visit my hometown of St. Louis and repeat stps 3-5, especially since the book is set there.


Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Elan
Member
Member # 2442

 - posted      Profile for Elan           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Christine, my background is in advertising and marketing. In response to your list of 'things to do'... my personal recommendation is, don't waste your money on local advertising, unless you are advertising an event, like a book signing. You won't get the return on your money. And there really is no need to pay for advertising for a book signing... use Press Releases, instead

What you need to do is to send out press releases, to 1) radio, 2) television, and 3) newspapers. I developed a marketing handbook several years ago, and I specifically covered press releases in that handbook. I mentioned in another thread that I'm one person removed from screenwriter Mike Rich. Well, the people I know who know him, work in radio. John used to be the news director of a large metro radio station, and my friend Joanne now makes her living as a publicist for new authors. Plus, I used to work for a newspaper and know what they like to receive. John graciously allowed me to interview him, specifically about what makes a successful press release. Here is a summary of what he said:

(and if you think the first 13 line is tough with print editors, press releases need it in about two lines!)

WRITING A GOOD PRESS RELEASE
1) Research the target of your press release. Know the name of the news director, the format (in the case of a radio station) and whether your book will appeal to their demographic. Go to your local yellow pages and look up: Radio Stations, Newspapers, Television Stations for phone numbers and addresses. Call and verify with the receptionist WHO you should address your press release to.
2) Send press releases at least 2 weeks ahead of time, but not more than a month ahead–it may get lost or overlooked.
3) Do NOT send "stuff" (like tickets to an event) to the news director.
4) Write your press release with the most crucial information within the first two sentences. These first two sentences answer the Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Additionally, it should briefly answer the editor’s question of “how does this benefit and impact the readers of my publication?”
5) Don't forget: YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION. Date your press release.
5) Less is more. News directors get, literally, dozens of press releases a day. Make yours lean, with only the bare essentials. The release should not be any longer than one typewritten page.
6) Most publications receive anywhere from 50-100 press releases a week with approximately 10 - 25 percent of those having nothing to do with the publication to which they are sent. Read the publication. Get to know what type of articles and press releases the publication prints. Make sure your press release is news. If it’s just a blatant commercial pitch, it will end up in the trash.
7) When submitting to a local publication, mention the fact that you are local; it gives them additional reason to find your new book "news worthy".
8) Include a photo of yourself. Do NOT get a photo scanned and send out the scanned copy. Newspapers will have to rescan the image, and you'll end up with a little problem called a moire' (pronounced more-AY). It will create a hounds-tooth pattern, and make you look like you have a peculiar skin disease. In fact, I'd suggest you have a high-res (scanned at 300dpi) image available for download on your website. Mention the availability of the image in your press release.
9) Most newspapers simply chop off the bottom of the press release and run the first paragraph, or two, as is. Write your press release with this in mind. Be succinct. Make sure you make your POINT in the first two sentences.

Consider hiring a publicist. It doesn't hurt to call one, and ask about rates and what they can do for you. A good publicist can groom you for television appearances so you don't look nervous or uncomfortable.

I hope this helps!

[This message has been edited by Elan (edited March 28, 2006).]


Posts: 2025 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks a lot, Elan!

I was considering hiring a publicist or at least talking to one, though this would happen closer to the time the book came out. The publisher sends press releass to local TV, radio, and newspapers but I'm not sure if I write that press release or if they do. I imagine I at least have a say in what it says so I will *definitely* keep your tips in mind.


Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lullaby Lady
Member
Member # 1840

 - posted      Profile for Lullaby Lady   Email Lullaby Lady         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I leave for a month or so, and come back to find one of my favorite people here is finally being rewarded for all her hard work. Way to go, sweetie! You surely deserve it!

Big hugs,

~LL


Posts: 212 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Elan
Member
Member # 2442

 - posted      Profile for Elan           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I know you've turned up your nose at the concept of self-publishing before but many of the hoops a new author has to jump through are the same hoops the self-publisher has already been through.

It's worth your time to check out a couple of self-publishing resources. They have TONS of ideas about marketing and self-promotion... after all, they cannot rely on a publisher to do it for them. And frankly, neither can you. Your publisher will be on board for a limited duration, and continued sales of your book will be up to you.

Here's a useful FAQ from Creative Minds Press:
http://www.creativemindspress.com/newbiefaq.htm

Yahoogroups has a tremendous list called Self-Publishing (not to be confused with "selfpublishing", a list of no consequence.)

The Self-Publishing list has so much information it will make you dizzy, and marketing is often a point of conversation. My advice: If you sign up, sign up in digest form. Otherwise the activity on the list will overwhelm your inbox.

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/Self-Publishing/



Posts: 2025 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Since I went with a small publisher, one of the things I was asked to submit along with my query package was how I planned to promote my own work. The publisher is there to help with some things, but I loved what she said about marketing in her FAQ -- that most of it falls on the author's shoulders, even in big publishing houses, unless you're John Grisham or Robert Jordan.
Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Survivor
Member
Member # 213

 - posted      Profile for Survivor   Email Survivor         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In the case of big names, they've already effectively done the bulk of the marketing work anyway.
Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jammrock
Member
Member # 3293

 - posted      Profile for Jammrock   Email Jammrock         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Congratulations!

quote:
(It might help if you live anywhere near Kansas City, or more specifically, Olathe.)

I lived in Gardner until just two weeks ago


Posts: 136 | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Awww...you coulda made it but the party's over now.
Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is going to be a slow process (I keep having to remind myself of that) but here's an update:

I finally received the signed copy of the contract back from the publisher. She's either very quirck about things or very slow...there doesn't seem to be an in-between.

The novel has been sent to an editor (or will be sent to one shortly). I provided them with a brief synopsis and an author bio earlier this week, along with some guidance on the cover art. (As I said in the book cover thread, I don't know eactly what it will look like at this point...I have to hope and trust.)

Now I just kick back and wait...probably for months. I'm keeping busy by writing another novel and working on my web page.


Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
NewsBys
Member
Member # 1950

 - posted      Profile for NewsBys   Email NewsBys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Wow, glad I totally didn't miss hearing about this! Congrats Christine!
Posts: 579 | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Update:

It seems that my book has not yet entered the editing phase. The publisher likes to pair up stories with specific editors (makes sense to me) and the one she has in mind for my book will be available in 2-3 weeks. She still thinks that the book can be ready as an e-book in August so here's hoping!

Meanwhile, I've made an extensive list of promotional things that I intend to do along with questions. Right now my list consists of the following:

1. book signings
2. local tv and radio talk shows
3. press releases
4. web page (still in progress...I really need to work faster)
5. book fairs and conventions
6. library events
7. charity events (my book has several characters with eating disorders -- perhaps also try to raise awareness for this problem)
8. send press releases to scifi, fantasy, and mystery mags and perhaps offer to do an interview
9. get a professional photograph

I still have lots of questions I'm working on. I think I should probably look for author book signings in the area and go to one just to see how they work. (I've never been to one before!) I'd like to know how to draw people to them, how many books to have on hand, how to make them fun. Do people ever read excerpts from their books? Which book fairs and conventions should I attend?

You don't have to answer unless you happen to know the answers off the top of your head...I've got some research in another browser window even as I type...I just thought I'd get back over here and poke my headu p. I've been spending less time here lately as I've been trying to get back on task writing my second novel.


Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Elan
Member
Member # 2442

 - posted      Profile for Elan           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Christine, I have some strong opinions about publicity materials from authors. I'm a graphic designer by trade, and used to work at a large church that had authors on the lecture circuit who came through on a regular basis. (Wayne Dyer, Kenny Loggins, Marianne Williamson, Carolyn Myss, Jean Houston, etc.) My job was to design the publicity to notify the community.

Absolutely do not allow the publicity/portrait photographer to pose you with your hand near your face. No leaning your chin on the cupped palm of your hand or your fist looking pensive. You also don't want to allow the photographer to heavily crop your photo, like do a tight shot on your face only. It may be artistic, but it's not very practical for publicity purposes.

Here's my beef: the graphic designer who will eventually be working with your photo has a variety of needs. Sometimes you have to crop that photo tight to the headshot, and that means cropping out the body and arm. A cropped hand in the tight face shot makes you look stupid, and if the graphic designer has to integrate your photo along with the photos of other authors: ie, if you are in a workshop or booksigning with other authors and the publicity will include photos of those authors as well... then you want your photo to blend in, not stick out like a sore thumb.

A nice shot of you from about the waist or chest up is great. Keep your arms close to your body in case the graphic designer needs to crop you from mid-chest up so there isn't an arm sticking out into space like an extended wing when the photo gets cropped. (Is this making sense?) The reality is that the Graphic Designer needs to have material to work with. Let the designer do the cropping. The photographer cannot know all the different ways that photo will be used, nor the different designs the photo needs to fit into. The photographer's job is to get the lighting correct and catch a nice expression on your face. Don't let them get all artsy fartsy on you.

Going along with this theme, make sure there is good contrast between what you wear and the backdrop. If you are wearing dark tones (reds, dark blue, black, etc) then make sure the background is light toned. Vice versa, if you are wearing white, make sure the background is dark. I suggest selecting a tone of clothing that matches your hair. Here's my problem. I cannot tell you the number of times I've had photos to work with where the person has dark brown hair and the background is also dark. That means the person's head becomes indistinguishable from the background.

The problem is, when the designer scans the photo and converts it to grayscale, the TONE of the photo is all you have left. Chances are high your photo will be printed in black ink only, so you have to pay attention to the tones. (is it light? neutral? dark?)

I remember once when I worked in a print shop, we were doing a newsletter for an insurance company who provided photos of two employees. One was a white man with light blonde hair with a light colored jacket against a white curtain. The other was a dark-skinned black man with a black jacket against a dark curtain. The white man looked like a floating ghost, with only the pupils of his eyes standing out. The black man looked like a cheshire cat; all you could see was the white teeth of his grin. When you go to press, you lose detail... and MOST of your photos will end up printed on newsprint (newspaper ads) or low quality paper (flyers).

Do not, under any conditions, send out hard copy photos in your publicity kit that have already been printed on a printing press or from a laser printer. Use real photo prints. They are more expensive, true, but necessary. In order to print anything, it has to be screened. And in order to turn a photo from a hard copy to electronic, the graphic designer has to screen it again. When you screen an image that has already been screened, you get a nasty houndstooth pattern called a moire'. It makes you look like you have a skin disease. It is unacceptable from a design standpoint, and very VERY difficult to work with. I often opt to simply leave the photo out if it has a bad moire on it.

Make sure your photo stands up to the worst-case printing scenario. Then, if it gets printed on high quality equipment in 4-color process, so much the better.

Also, when your book is printed in physical form, make sure they run a good overprint of the covers. You can send a copy of the cover out with your press kit. Then the graphic designer can scan the cover, and reprint a copy of the actual book cover to go with your photo.

Heh... you hit my hot button with this... I have had WAY too much experience working with poor materials given to me by authors who have no clue what the actual production requirements are for advertising.

OK. I'm done with my rant now.

[This message has been edited by Elan (edited May 15, 2006).]


Posts: 2025 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
No, thanks! I really appreciat eit. That's the sort of thing I wouldn't have even thought to LOOK for on my own. I knew about the scanned rescanned photo thing but that's about it...I can go to the photographer armed with much better information now.
Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Elan
Member
Member # 2442

 - posted      Profile for Elan           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Another question I get asked frequently is: should I have the photo printed in color, or black and white?

By all means, have the photo produced in color. The graphic designer can easily convert any photo to grayscale with one click. That way your photo can be useable in a variety of settings... web design as well as 4-color process. Any other advice is simply outdated information left from the old days when color phototgraphy was not up to par with black and white.

[This message has been edited by Elan (edited May 15, 2006).]


Posts: 2025 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
EricJamesStone
Member
Member # 1681

 - posted      Profile for EricJamesStone   Email EricJamesStone         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Elan, that's some great practical advice. Thanks.
Posts: 1517 | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Survivor
Member
Member # 213

 - posted      Profile for Survivor   Email Survivor         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I know this is a goofy question, but it's okay for her to tilt her head to the side, right?
Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Elan
Member
Member # 2442

 - posted      Profile for Elan           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I know this is a goofy question, but it's okay for her to tilt her head to the side, right?

As a graphic designer, I'd have to say: "Please don't. Have a face straight-on shot, if you please."

From a design standpoint, it sucks. Here's the dilema... the photos in a layout always need to be looking INto the layout. For instance, you don't want a photo of some headshot perched on the outer right hand margin, with the person facing right. It looks like he's finding something interesting off the page. In cases like that, I try to flip the photo to get the subject facing inward. However in some cases it doesn't work... particularly if there is anything visible in the photo that gives it away (like a clock or written text or maybe they have a prominent mole on one cheek that people would notice is in the wrong spot.)

When the publicity is for a single individual, ie, a newspaper ad for a booksigning or a brochure about that one person, it's not such a horrid handicap to work around. BUT, in the event you are designing a piece with MULTIPLE authors in it, it can really suck to have the subject facing one direction or another. As an example, a workshop with multiple authors, where the authors are being listed alphabetically. This means you fall wherever your name puts you, and if the designer is trying to bounce the bios back and forth across the column to break up the monotony, you can botch the entire design.

I had one design I was doing for SEVEN authors who were holding a week long retreat. One of them...actually the assistant of one of them who had her own special thing with interpretive dance, provided only a face shot cropped so tight that you couldn't see her full chin or anything above her eyebrows. Cropping hard on like that tends to accentuate the image. So here I am with several highly prominent (on a national and international level) speakers and authors, and the one that LOOKS the most important is the one who was actually the least important of them all. I cursed her for the entire time I was designing the mailer, the catalog, the newspaper ads, the magazine ads, the brochure, the bulletin... each and EVERYtime I had to use her photo. It really botched several clever design ideas. If I had of had the freedom to do so, I would have simply dropped her photo out and given her a small line credit.

So to answer your question, Survivor, if you can provide the most neutral photo possible for the graphic designer, they will be happy. Feel free to TAKE photos of hands cupped on face, pensive expressions, tilted heads, or strong left or right facing head shots... but save those for the book jacket. The photos you send out with your press kit need to be adaptible for a wide variety of publicity purposes.

Does that help?

[This message has been edited by Elan (edited May 15, 2006).]


Posts: 2025 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Elan
Member
Member # 2442

 - posted      Profile for Elan           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Elan, that's some great practical advice. Thanks.

No, thanks to Christine for bringing this topic up. It's been cathartic for me. I feel much better having got this off my chest!!

I spent several years in frustration designing my way around poorly produced author materials that came across my desk. I'm happy to train the up and coming authors... there are many unseen graphic designers out there who will appreciate your graphic-design savvy.


Posts: 2025 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Survivor
Member
Member # 213

 - posted      Profile for Survivor   Email Survivor         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I didn't mean facing off to the side, I meant tilted. Just a little. Would that be bad?
Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
hoptoad
Member
Member # 2145

 - posted      Profile for hoptoad   Email hoptoad         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
...provide the most neutral photo possible for the graphic designer, they will be happy....The photos you send out with your press kit need to be adaptible for a wide variety of publicity purposes.

Hear! Hear! And along with NEUTRAL be as NATURAL and NORMAL as you can.
Any affectation can read badly, except a natural smile.

I agree with everything Elan said but would add three MINOR points:

1: In many cases the designer will use the promo image on the book cover too. So make sure it is a decent shot you are happy with.

2: You should wear what you want to wear. Don't let the photographer coerce you into wearing something you don't want to wear. You will look uncomfortable
( Also, nothing will make a designer opt for black and white faster than receiving an image in which the subject is wearing a sweater of some unwholesome hue... )

3: Consider not taking off your glasses if you wear them. Most people will recognise a myopic stare when they see it or wonder why you look so unfocussed and vague.

Hope this helps.

[This message has been edited by hoptoad (edited May 16, 2006).]


Posts: 1678 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Survivor
Member
Member # 213

 - posted      Profile for Survivor   Email Survivor         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, I don't mean tilting your head to the side if you don't normally do that. But what if, and this is not connected in any way with Christine personally, you can't smile without your head tilting to the side?
Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Elan
Member
Member # 2442

 - posted      Profile for Elan           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
But what if... you can't smile without your head tilting to the side?

Then I suggest you go see a doctor and find out what is causing the neurological problem?

Seriously, you have to adjust to your personal physical quirks. Myself, I had Bell's Palsy when I was in third grade. While I recovered within a short period of time, I have a very slight difference in muscle response in my face that is ONLY obvious when I have a photo taken. Once side of my face "catches" the smile, the other not as much. If I smile broadly, my face looks really weird. So I opt most of the time, in photos, to keep a bare smile or not smile at all. My family makes fun of me for the "goofy" way I look in photos. I think that if I ever need to make a press kit, I'll hire a stand-in model... heh.

[This message has been edited by Elan (edited May 16, 2006).]


Posts: 2025 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
colorbird
Member
Member # 3425

 - posted      Profile for colorbird           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Congratulations to Christine on the sale! The tips are helpful as well.
Posts: 28 | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Survivor
Member
Member # 213

 - posted      Profile for Survivor   Email Survivor         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Okay, what if, when you smile with your face centered and level, it becomes obvious that your face is a good deal less symmetrical than usual for humans? That is to say, if your face doesn't have a natural vertical line, and thus is technically always tilted? Again, not talking about anyone in particular. I don't think it's something that doctors can fix either, not that it is so terrible, since accepting that your head simply is tilted solves the problem rather handily.
Posts: 8322 | Registered: Aug 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What an intriguing discussion!

My facial flaw is a lopsided smile. I don't know why it is, but I only smile with half my mouth unless I fight for it and then I look REALLY funny...ah well, we've all got our quirks.


Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
autumnmuse
Member
Member # 2136

 - posted      Profile for autumnmuse   Email autumnmuse         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Elan,

I think your information and advice about publicity shots is awesome and I haven't heard most of it before. Can I get your permission to quote a couple of your posts on another writing site that Christine and I are both members of (Codex, if you were wondering)? I think many of the people there are at a stage in their careers where this is very helpful information.


Posts: 818 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Elan
Member
Member # 2442

 - posted      Profile for Elan           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sure, feel free to quote me. And Hoptoad had good advice too, you might include some of his tips (with his permission, of course.)

I feel pleased to have authors paying attention to the needs of the poor, lowly graphic designer. You cannot even begin to guess the number of times I contemplated writing to some poor schmuck of an author to tell him he needed to get a face lift on his publicity materials. Sometimes I actually DID write... particularly if the author sent a pre-printed photo that ended up causing a spectacularly hideous moire'.

In a nutshell, a good press kit should contain:

1) A photo quality print of you. It doesn't need to be 8-1/2x11"... A photo that is 5x7" is more than sufficient. A 4x6" is also a perfectly functional size. Here's a reality check: most of the publicity you receive (newspaper ads, flyers, instore promo flyers) will print your photo at a size more like 2x3" or even 1". The designer can adapt when they scan to size your photo for a larger layout.

2) A sample of your book cover. Send it flat if you can, or at least don't fold it across the surface of the front cover area. If you have to fold to get it into a press kit, make sure the fold falls at a naturally occuring area near the spine.

3) A SHORT bio of yourself. By short, I am talking one paragraph, no more than two. Keep it to a couple hundred words. Chances are the designer will lift one or two sentences out about you, max. Make sure your bio has something pithy to say about you that doesn't involve cats. If your bio can reflect a little on what motivated you to write the book, it reinforces that you know your topic.

4) A SHORT summary of what the book is about. Again, one or two paragraphs max, using concise sentences. If you can isolate a single sentence to represent the entirety of what your book is about, do so... and make it the FIRST sentence in the summary.

If you have a schedule of appearances, include that on a separate page. If you have other books or stories that have been published, include a list.

Do research on Writing A Great Press Release.

Make sure your press kit contains the building blocks a graphic designer needs to work with. After all, most of the designers who will be throwing together flyers, catalog blurbs, and newspaper ads for your book won't know you, nor will they have read your book. They know only what you tell them. Don't waste space on describing inconsequential hobbies, etc. Make every sentence in your press kit give the reader a reason to want to buy your book.

Good grief, I nearly forgot something important. If you can POSSIBLY get someone well-known to write a sentence or two in your favor, do it. Quotes are a useful part of your publicity. Also include a few quotes from reputable people or publishers, or reviewers at magazines or newspapers about how great your storywriting skills are, and how enthralling the book is. For some reason, YOU can tell people your book is great, but they'll believe a quote from Joe Schmoe over you. You don't need a bucket full of quotes... 3-4 max. But even 1-2 might help.

Make sure your press kit is professional in appearance. Print your pages out on quality paper, and use a nice looking portfolio/folder. Ask your local print shop or home-town office supply retailer for suggestions.

[This message has been edited by Elan (edited May 17, 2006).]


Posts: 2025 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
hoptoad
Member
Member # 2145

 - posted      Profile for hoptoad   Email hoptoad         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I am not fussed on receiving a presentation folder. I just take all the materials out and re-file them, so I end up with a motley crew of orphaned folders around the office.

It's up to you, but what I prefer is to get the materials in an envelope BIG ENOUGH to accommodate them without folding. Of course this is not always possible with dust-jackets, so DITTO what Elan said about folding them along their proper creases. If you do include photographs and dust-jackets etc intended for scanning, place a clean sheet of heavy card (straw-board is fine) cut to size and inserted into the envelope to act as protection against bending. Two sheets makes doubly sure, one in front of the items, one behind. Make sure they are clean and cut neatly. You can buy pre-cut sheets from Officeworks — or whatever the US equivalent is — if you want to save time. If a CD/DVD is included, put it inside a CD mailer INSIDE the larger envelope.

If possible, address the envelope with a printed address label.

[This message has been edited by hoptoad (edited May 17, 2006).]


Posts: 1678 | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Minister
Member
Member # 2213

 - posted      Profile for Minister   Email Minister         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
To shift the discussion from the press release (great info, guys!) to the book signing, many times the bookstore will supply the books for the signing -- but only on the condition that it is a title they can return if it doesn't sell all they order.

My bookstore on Staten Island (the forgotten borough of NYC) has book signings on a semi-regular basis. That factor about the returnability of the book is usually what decides whether we will do the signing or not. (Most books by a major publisher are returnable.) We'll then determine how many books we think we need; if it's Derek Jeter's new book, we may have literally thousands on hand, while the relatively unknown children's author will only have a hundred or two. The even less known cheesy romance/mystery writer probably only had twenty to fifty of each book on hand. For what it's worth, we've always had books left over after a signing. The bookstore knows better than you do how much traffic they get and how many customers tend to be interested in books of your genre. You can help yourself a LOT by going to the bookstore and talking to the employees ahead of time, being gracious, and not making prima donna demands (not that I would expect you to do that, but you wouldn't believe how some authors act!) Maybe the biggest thing you can do is find out which employees work in the section your book would go in, and which employees read books of that genre for fun. Give each of those employees a free, signed copy (this is a great reason for pleading for a large run of advance reader copies.) With luck, they'll read the book, like it, and plus sell it (bookstores are always after employees to have a book or item that they recommend to customers, either to add to what the person is buying, or in case the person doesn't know what they're looking for. That item will most likely be a book the worker has read and enjoyed. Why not yours?) They'll also likely talk about the upcoming signing to regular customers in your genre ("Hey, make sure you come back Thursday; this cool writer I met is coming to sign her book, and it's pretty good.") That will increase the "buzz" and awareness in-store about the signing.


Posts: 491 | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Elan
Member
Member # 2442

 - posted      Profile for Elan           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
True dat, what Hoptoad said... although the POINT of the presentation folder is, in part, to provide the stiffness required to protect the photos and cover from accidently bending. But sticking a bit of chipboard/cardboard into the envelope to protect the folder from bending in the mail is wise advice. You should see some of the mangled contents in unprotected envelopes I've had to rescue.

In actuality, the graphic designer doesn't need the presentation folder... it is a waste of money on us. Like Hoptoad, I just chucked them in the garbage (they didn't fit into my file cabinet. I would simply refile the info in a file folder.) HOWEVER, you should make sure your entire packet looks professional for the people making executive decisions as to whether or not to book you for a newspaper or radio or television interview. THOSE are the people you are trying to impress. They just toss us the packet after they book your appearance.

A CD/DVD with your cover artwork and photo(s) would be sweet! Save the graphic designer time and make sure you get a high quality image. You could include two photos; one with a tilted head if you are Survivor, and the other looking straight at the camera with your lopsided head MAKE SURE ALL IMAGES HAVE BEEN SCANNED AT HIGH RESOLUTION... a minimum of 300dpi. None of this 72dpi nonsense; that low res crap is entirely for the internet. Print production requires a minimum of 300dpi. Anything above 600dpi is overkill. This isn't National Geographic, after all. Make sure the image is saved to a TIF format; JPG is usable, but it's a compressed image and tends to degrade in quality over time with use. It picks up background noise, and eventually becomes blurry and out of focus. This is only a problem if you are invited to speak over and over again. A one-time book tour shouldn't tax the technology over much.

Always make sure your contact information is printed on EACH AND EVERY SHEET OF PAPER. Never EVER send second pages without the full contact information. Think in terms of the person who gets multiple press kits across their desk. You take the packet out, set it on your desk... then take the contents out from the next packet, and the next.... someone comes along, moves crap on your desk, or here's the worst... the booking manager sneaks into your office while you are grabbing a cup of coffee and swipes the promo material to show to someone in a meeting, grabs several press kits at once..... drops them off onto your desk later, all mixed up. So, which description belongs to which author??? Who the hell knows? Put your name, mailing address, phone number, email and web address on each and every piece of material you send out. Even scraps or notes should include a business card and contact info. You just never know what is going to happen to your info.

Prevent the worst case scenario: someone loves what you have written, wants to book you, and sadly since the original portfolio and envelope have long disappeared into the trash, they don't know how to get hold of you so end up having to pass on having you as a guest on their show.

Hoptoad, aren't you finding this whole discussion a big relief??? I've never had an outlet for ranting about all this stuff before! Woo hoo!


Posts: 2025 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Elan
Member
Member # 2442

 - posted      Profile for Elan           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
You can help yourself a LOT by ... not making prima donna demands (not that I would expect you to do that, but you wouldn't believe how some authors act!)

No kidding. We saw a LOT of authors come through. Here's only one example: We had one author, whom I will not name by name since she's a pretty recognizable person, who had a list of typed demands that were a page long. Only one of the demands was: she wanted a glass of water, filled with water to a level that met her exact specifications, placed X number of inches from the edge of the table, with a napkin placed just so on the top.

Crimeny. You can ask for water. But for pete's sake...

These people tend to be high maintenance and a pain in the ass. The only ones who can get away with it are best seller authors. If you are an up and coming author, you'd better be cooperative, genial, and friendly.

Which brings me to another suggestion. If you are not a trained speaker (and you expect to do radio and television interviews) I highly recommend joining Toastmasters International. The club absolutely teaches the fundamentals of public speaking. Even just a few weeks into the meetings you will pick up some incredible advice about how to eliminate the annoying speech habits we all acquire. The more smooth your public interviews, the more fun you are to interview, the more interviews you pick up. Just a thought...


Posts: 2025 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Christine
Member
Member # 1646

 - posted      Profile for Christine   Email Christine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Elan -- I've heard ot toastmasters but have never thought of joining. It might not be a bad idea, although I feel reasonably comfortable speaking in public. (Actually, I feel more comfortable about giving a speech than I do about interpersonal communication...anyone help with one on one?)

I get a list of demands? Neat! I will definitely need a table and a chair. Oh, and water. A pen would be good in case I forget mine.

Nah, that's no fun...

Precisely 32 oz of cold tea without ice, mixed with precisely 2 packages of splenda (not sweet and low)...and a twisty straw.

Well heck, that's the only nit-picky thing I can even think of (that's what I do at home). I'm no fun.

My book will be returnable but the first print run is going to be small and I don't get enough random free copies to give to every book store employee I run across. I do see the merit in the idea, but if I do that I'll essentially have to buy copies of the book myself to hand out. I'll keep that idea in the back of my head and see how the money situation looks. I know at Borders, if the employees like my book they have this contest they can nominate me for...it's completely for new authors and it's completely employee-driven, but whoever wins gets a big national push from Borders.


Posts: 3567 | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Prima donna behavior like that has always been high on my list of Things to Avoid Doing When I Get Famous---assuming, of course, that I someday Get Famous enough to engage in such behavior.

However...I remember reading a writeup on the rock group Van Halen (I think) and the legendary M-&-M's-with-the-Brown-Ones-Removed contract clause. The theory was that putting the clause in was their way of seeing whether anybody read the contracts or not---and if they missed that, they might miss more important clauses, in particular how strong the stage had to be in order to hold their tour equipment. Once, somewhere, somebody didn't remove the brown M & M's...and, yes, the stage wasn't strong enough, too...


Posts: 7981 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 3 pages: 1  2  3   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2