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