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April 22nd, 2010 is the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. Founder Gaylord Nelson, was a U.S. Senator when he proposed the first nationwide environmental protest.
The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency under President Richard Nixon, and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts.
Sen. Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom–the highest honor given to civilians in the United States–for his role as Earth Day founder.
To learn more about Earth Day visit the Earth Day Network.
In honor of National Poetry Month, we will be sharing some poetry by Bill Kirk. Bill is the author of Circulation Celebration: The Sum of Our Part Series, No Bones About It!: The Sum of Our Part Series, My Grandma’s Kitchen Rules, There’s A Beetle In My Bed, and There’s a Spider in my Sink. All these titles are available through Guardian Angel Publishing.
Bill is celebrating National Poetry Month by participating in the Poem A Day Challenge. Here is the prompt from April 12th that resulted in the poem below:
April 12: “For today’s prompt, pick a city, make that the title of your poem, and write a poem. Your poem can praise or belittle the city. Your poem could be about the city or about the people of the city. Your poem could even have seemingly nothing to do with the city. But the simple act of picking a city will set the mood (to a certain degree), so choose wisely.”
By Bill Kirk
We once had a house
On Calle Nueve, across the street
From the President of Bolivia.
It’s not every day a kid
Gets to have tea with the First Lady
Or ride on a motorcycle,
Holding on for dear life,
Behind the Captain
Of the Presidential Guard.
Or watch a hundred native dancers in full costume
March through your front gate
To set up a brief rest stop
In the backyard of your house.
My sister and I heard the drums
And horns and flutes
Way down at the end of our street,
Even before we could see the parade.
When the procession turned the corner,
I just knew they would come to our house.
Yet I still couldn’t quite believe it when they did.
Even dad was surprised when he got home.
Mom said they were on their way
To a three-day fiesta in Las Yungas.
Why anyone would want to have
A party in the jungle, I’ll never know.
But they seemed to be having fun.
Then there was the time someone
Gave us a honey bear for a pet.
Of course, we couldn’t keep it.
After all, a honey bear needs to be free.
The river at the end of our street
Raged one year during the rainy season
And washed away the little mud brick shack
Where Mamasita and Papasito lived—
It was the year I was home schooled
To get me ready for fourth grade in the States.
My mom even gave me recess
So I could watch the flood happen.
Two little sheep fell into the water that day
And it took them away,
Never to be seen again.
That was a sad day on our street.
Even the President noticed.
The air is rather thin at 12,000 feet
Which is why fire departments
Hardly ever get any business that high up.
And there’s no such thing
As a two-minute boiled egg—that is,
Unless you like it raw.
Maybe the thin air is why
My memories seem so clear
From once upon a time in La Paz.
You can visit Bill Kirk online at http://billkirkwrites.blogspot.com/.
Every marketing action you take, every dollar you spend, and every hour you invest should tie back into one of the goals you’ve identified for your book. If your marketing actions don’t support your goals, then either your goals are wrong, or your marketing action is off-track.
It’s easy to get so caught-up in all the opportunities to market your book that you stop evaluating whether each opportunity is going to help you achieve your goals. Clear goals will help you create a budget, prioritize your time, say “no” with less guilt and “yes” with confidence.
Remember, your ultimate goal is to let readers, who are interested in your particular kind of book, know that your book exists so they can buy it. You’re not trying to reach every reader in the world, only the readers who read the kind of book you’ve written. In marketing language, the readers who read the kind of book you’ve written are your “target audience”. To market your book effectively, you must either reach that target audience directly, or have your message relayed by people who do reach them directly (the media).
For authors of children’s books, realize that if your book is intended for readers under age 10, you are essentially marketing to the parents. If the book is non-fiction (health, parenting, nutrition, etc.), create a very detailed profile of the parent who is your best buyer (usually the mom) and focus your publicity on reaching her.
Children’s fiction books can do very well marketed through school or library appearances and library events. The trick is to make it easy for the host school or library to publicize your appearance far enough in advance that children look forward to it and ask their parents for money to buy the book. To the extent that you can provide flyers (actual copies, not just the master copy since schools are on very tight budgets), bookmarks, a local press release, a pre-event letter to parents (perhaps drafted for the principal or media center teacher), and hallway posters, you’ll see better results. Schools and libraries don’t have the time, staff or budget to do that for you. Offering some kind of age-appropriate giveaway with purchase can spur sales, but make sure that there is also something for the kid who isn’t able to buy.
Look for ties to established, high-traffic places that your target reader is already going, and reach out to those organizations as promotional partners. For example, if your main character takes Tae Kwon Do lessons and that’s important in the book, contact the local Tae Kwon Do programs and set up a signing. Offer to donate a portion of the price of every copy sold to the organization’s favorite charity, or to the organization itself.
Gail Z. Martin is the author of The Thrifty Author’s Guide to Launching Your Book Without Losing Your Mind. Available on Amazon.com and other online retailers, and in select bookstores.
The April 2010 Issue of Guardian Angel Kids Ezine is now available. It features two musical video sing alongs, poems, stories, games and activities, and special articles for children, and parents and educators.
Visit the Guardian Angel Kids website to read our Things That Go! issue.
Joining us today is one of Guardian Angel Publishing’s newest authors, Donna McDine. Donna is going to tell us about her writing and her upcoming book with GAP.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.
DMc: I embarked on my writing career with my completion of the Institute of Children’s Literature Writing for Children and Teenagers Magazine Course in 2007. It has been a rollercoaster ride to say the least. Filtered between the many rejection letters I have had success publishing over 25 short stories and articles in both print and online publications. Thank goodness, for without those successes I would have thrown in the towel. I’m also proud to say I have been bestowed the honor of Honorable Mention in the 77th Writer’s Digest Writing Competition and twice in the 78th Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. The first resulting in my award-winning historical fiction manuscript The Golden Pathway, being accepted by Guardian Angel Publishing as a story book.
Q: Have you always been a writer?
DMc: No, I haven’t always been a writer. However, I have always dreamed of being one. When I was an adolescent a popular television show, Lou Grant, starring Ed Asner was my initial inspiration. One of the main characters, Joe Rossi, portrayed by Robert Walden always held my attention. I think at first I was drawn to him because we shared the same last name, but then I became intrigued by his determination of “scooping” the latest story. For some reason or another I didn’t follow my dream and went into office administration, then as a web designer, and finally a children’s author. However, I do supplement my income as a virtual assistant.
Q: Tell us about your upcoming book.
DMc: The Golden Pathway is with the illustrator now and I’m crossing my fingers for an early-Summer release. In the meantime, I’d like to share with your readers the synopsis:
Raised in a hostile environment where abuse occurs daily, David attempts to break the mold and befriends the slave, Jenkins, owned by his Pa. Fighting against extraordinary times and beliefs, David leads Jenkins to freedom with no regard for his own safety and possible consequences dealt out by his Pa.
Q: How was the publishing process for you?
The story of David started out as writing assignment with the Children’s Writers Coaching Club (CWCC) and after several revisions I submitted it to the 77th Writer’s Digest Writing Competition and it placed 12th with over 1,400 entries in the Children/Young Adult category. I’ve been told if you don’t place 1st it doesn’t really count. But I don’t feel that way. To me this accomplishment is a major feather in my cap.
Then after meeting Lynda Burch of Guardian Angel Publishing at the Muse Online Writer’s Conference I took the plunge (so to speak) and submitted my manuscript for consideration. Lynda responded back with suggestions for edits and instead of taking the chance and doing it on my own I hired professional editor, Lea Schizas. Together we went through several revisions and without the constraint of the word count from the contest the manuscript became more dynamic, resulting in an acceptance from Lynda. The book cover is complete with the expert illustration by K.C. Snider and the story illustrations will be completed in the coming months. I can hardly wait!
Q: What other things do you like to do?
DMc: I enjoy reading of course. As a writer you must read in the genre you write in. I cherish the moments of spending time with my husband and two daughters, extended family, and friends. So it’s not uncommon to have people at my home almost every weekend. I also enjoy walking (especially along the Hudson River), swimming, and playing basketball. I don’t play as much basketball anymore since my 12-year-old can wipe me up off the court with her abilities.
Q: Any advice for struggling authors?
DMc: Hmmm. Don’t get discouraged. I know, I know…not so easy. Rejection is all part of the game. Makes the acceptances all that much sweeter.
Practice, practice, practice. Write every day, even it’s for only 15 minutes a day. Do you think the best musicians and athletes got where they are today with not practicing. It’s a craft, it’s hard work and oh so worth it when you receive the wonderful ACCEPTANCE!
Don’t edit as you write. There’s time for editing after you have written your first draft.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
DMc: Network, network, network! Even if you don’t have any publishing credits to your name, you’ll be surprised how quickly that can change once you get involved with a critique group and writers discussions. Online groups are available in every genre and check out your local library and find out if there are any local groups. I’m involved with a combination of online and in-person and both continue to be beneficial for my writing career.
You can find Donna online at:
Don’t forget to keep your eye out for The Golden Pathway by Donna McDine, coming from Guardian Angel Publishing in Summer 2010!
Note: This interview was performed by Sandie Lee
Tell us about your books?
So far, GAP has published 7 of my children’s books. They have quite a few more in the pipeline waiting for illustrations and finishing touches.
I write about a variety of things as well as write YA and adult novels.
Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. released my books under their “Academic Wings Division.” That is exciting for me because I am not only able to give the kids a good story to read but to contribute to their education with back of the book material that teaches something about the subject. It is my hope that teachers and homeschoolers make use of the information.
The GAP books recently released are RV Mouse and Andy and Spirit Meet the Rodeo Queen (which releases this month). Besides those, the first was The Christmas Angel. That followed with Andy and the Albino Horse — one which GAP signed me up for a series when they accepted the first Andy book. The second Andy book, Andy and Spirit Go to the Fair came out as well as Andy and Spirit in the Big Rescue. One Family’s Christmas released as the sequel to The Christmas Angel. The Tween book, The Adventures of Andy and Spirit (Book One) releases this year. As we have four Andy stories out, they will be included in Tween format for the older readers.
How has it been working with a publisher?
GAP is wonderful to work with. They have been publishing my books since 2007. I hope we can work together for the rest of my life. The publisher works very hard to make sure everything comes together in the production process to produce high quality reading material for young people.
Where do you get your ideas from?
Ideas are everywhere. I write about everything from a handicapped boy in today’s world that is involved in hippotherapy to a little girl who makes a friend along the Oregon Trail in the 1850s. Other subjects include a mouse that gets into a motorhome and a chick that has to learn to find its own food as well as a little boy that is afraid of Santa Claus. And on and on.
How long does it take from idea to actual print?
If the story comes full blown to me, as sometimes happens, it can be written very quickly. If it needs more development, it can take a few months or even a year to complete. I expect it to take approximately a year from the time it is accepted to see final production due to working it into the production schedule and the illustrator’s schedule. Since there are quite a few on file, I don’t worry about when they will bepublished. I just keep writing and doing the grunt work of promotion.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes. I can’t remember a time I didn’t write. I also remember designing clothes for paper dolls (long before Barbie came along). I sometimes find myself “designing” the clothes my characters are wearing with words. So, what made me stick with writing and not continue to draw and sew clothes is anybody’s guess.
Any advice for people just starting out?
Stick with it! There are a lot of people out there that wanted to be authors but gave up. It can take years and years but those who hang in there will, eventually, become published.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Guardian Angel has a great thing going not only for adult authors, but for young people who strive to see their writing or illustrating in print as well. Lynda Burch is an inspiration to us all. Through her vision at GAP she is bringing a tremendous amount of great reading material to people everywhere.
K.C. Snider has illustrated all of my books so far. It is always fun to see what she will paint to go along with the text.
Check out Mary Jean’s web sites at;http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com