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Posts Tagged ‘Rate Your Story’

ALL ABOUT PLATFORM BUILDING V2

Today’s ALL ABOUT PLATFORM BUILDING guest blogger is the lovely and talented children’s book author Miranda Paul. Thank you for sharing your platform-building strategy with us, Miranda. You have definitely given us something to think about. Before I move on, I want to mention that the Rate Your Story membership registration is now open, and they are offering discounts and bonuses until December 15, 2015.

button trademarkAlso, the We Need Diverse Books fund drive ends December 10, so if you haven’t had a chance to visit the page, there’s still time.

 

Now, here’s Miranda. . . .

 

Breaking the Fourth Wall: My Platform-Building Strategy

By Miranda Paul

Confession: Platform building is rarely intentional for me. I don’t sit in my office brainstorming ways to get more Facebook followers or YouTube subscribers. Never have, probably never will.

Back in high school, I was an avid concert-goer. My favorite moments were when the lead singers reached their hands down to touch the crowd or when the guitarists stepped down from stage to play among the audience. A few times, I got to hang out with band members after their show. Those memories are vivid nearly two decades later.

Speaking directly to or otherwise acknowledging the audience is referred to in theatre terms as breaking the fourth wall. The effect of turning spectators into participants, or bringing the performance closer to the audience, is engaging and powerful.

Instead of speaking to people, why not speak among them?

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I’ve seen social media advisers try to formulate equations—for example, “make four posts about someone/something else for every one self-promotional post.” I’m admittedly no expert when it comes to social media, but those kind of guidelines sound fake or prescribed to me. And that’s not what I mean by “breaking the fourth wall.”

If I had to put my platform-building strategy into stage directions, it would be this:

1. Begin your platform building with a foundation that matters

I’m very passionate and invested in the books and projects I’ve taken on—from writing about grassroots activists in the Gambia to the life-giving element of water to all the career possibilities that a child can explore. Whether its diversity in literature or stewardship for the earth, the roots of my outreach efforts are strong and genuine.

Don’t build a platform so you can sell more books. Build a platform so you can share your love of XYZ or make an impact that goes way beyond a $15 story.

2. Invite others to come up on stage with you, or bring the show down to audience level

Giving others a voice has an emotional component to it. The We Need Diverse Books campaign built its initial platform by inviting others to participate with signs stating why they felt we needed diverse books. For oneplasticbag.com, a new website dedicated to my debut title, there are several ways in which kids and teachers can share their recycling efforts with me and be highlighted on the site.

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Since I write for young children, I recognize that my platform building must extend beyond social media. Kids and teachers aren’t hanging out online all day, people! School visits and community involvement are musts, and what better way to mingle with the audience is there than to crowd surf? (Figuratively, of course.)

3. Allow your personality and opportune moments to control the choreography

Sticking to a scheduled plan 100% of the time isn’t real for me. My routines change daily. I’m not wandering aimlessly in my career, but I try and look up from my script every now and then to see who’s out there, listening. I’m a casual person, an approachable person, a generous person. I allow these parts of my personality to guide how I market myself and my books. I can’t tell you how many casual interactions I’ve made online or after a live presentation that later on turned into new opportunities.

Releases February 2015.

Releases February 2015.

Author Meg Medina’s presentation on author marketing is one of the best I’ve ever attended. Rather than focus on “Do I need to be Tweeting?” she encourages authors to craft a vision statement and focus on their own legacy and impact instead of numbers, accolades, or which social media are the best avenues for driving sales. A shining example of how she melds blog content with her personal vision of being active in the Latina community was recently posted after her workshop for kids with Duncan Tonatuih. The fourth graders created a poem far more powerful than any Tweet Meg might have put out there about the visit. (Click here to watch the multi-voice poem reading at Meg’s blog and decide for yourself.)

Releases May 2015.

Releases May 2015.

If you’re in the early stages of compiling your career’s set list, focus on the big picture theme of your soundtrack. If the music is meaningful and catchy and DISTINCTLY YOURS, the fans will come out to hear you play. Just make sure to turn the microphone toward the audience every now and then and let them sing the words.

Now go out and break a leg—and the fourth wall.

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 ABOUT MIRANDA

Miranda Paul is a children’s writer who is passionate about creating stories for young readers that inspire, entertain, and broaden horizons. In addition to more than 50 short stories for magazines and digital markets, Miranda is the author of four forthcoming picture book titles from imprints of Lerner, Macmillan, and Random House. She is an Executive Vice President of Outreach for We Need Diverse Books™ (www.diversebooks.org) and the administrator of RateYourStory.org, a site for aspiring writers. Miranda believes in working hard, having fun, and being kind. Learn more at www.mirandapaul.com.

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ALL ABOUT PLATFORM BUILDING V2It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been away regrouping in preparation for my upcoming blog series on platform building. I’ve also been busy with my critique service. I’ve added many more testimonials to my website, and I’m working on some new ideas and services. I continue to plug away at my picture book and chapter book writing and edits with my fingers crossed that some of them will soon meet with Erzsi’s approval, and the submission fun will begin.

Speaking of submissions, before I move on with my DON’T BE AFRAID TO FALL post and my announcement about my new blog series, I want to thank the ALL ABOUT SUBMISSIONS team for sharing so much of themselves during the series. Thank you: Cindy Williams Schrauben, Elaine Kiely Kearns, Heather Ayris Burnell, Julie Falatko, Kirsti Call, Marcie Flinchum Atkins, Sophia Mallonée, Sylvia Liu, Teresa Robeson. Your posts continue to help writers who visit my blog.

When it comes to submissions or the business of writing, it can sometimes seem much easier to get discouraged than encouraged. Today, I offer some food for thought about discouragement, or perceived failure. I’ve had the following piece in my collection for many, many years. I’m guessing since the early seventies. You can tell it’s old because of the people and events mentioned. I’m sure we could find some remarkable statistics on more current people. But what really matters is the message. I’ve modified the piece slightly and interjected a little in parenthesis.

FALLINGDON’T BE AFRAID TO FALL

Author unknown

 You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember. You fell down the first time you tried to walk. You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn’t you?

Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 homeruns.

R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on. (Macy’s now has 800 stores. They are in every major geographic market in the United States plus their Macy’s.com website.) English novelist, John Creasey, got 752 rejection slips before he published 564 books. (I’ve read elsewhere that it took him 14 years to sell his first story, and he wrote 600 books, using 28 pseudonyms.)

Don’t worry about failure. Worry about THE CHANCES YOU MISS WHEN YOU DON’T EVEN TRY.

ANNOUNCING MY NEW BLOG SERIES 

ALL ABOUT PLATFORM BUILDING

In the ALL ABOUT PLATFORM BUILDING series, ten awe-inspiring social media mavens will share their key lessons or tips for building strong, engaging, and of course, successful social media platforms. I’m excited about this series because I think it will be a great service to the writing community. I’m also excited to have the opportunity to work with each of these phenomenal women. I am so proud to be able to feature them on my blog. One of the many things that I love about this series is each team member has developed a unique platform. I believe that the guest posts will be as unique as each of these talented people and their successful platforms. I expect that their posts will show others that ingenuity and the thing that all writers have, creativity, is the key to a strong platform.

piboidmo2014In celebration of the quickly approaching Sixth Annual Picture Book Idea Month and her upcoming picture books I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK and LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD, the one and only Tara Lazar will kick off the series on October 25.

It is also my pleasure to introduce the rest of the team:

Elaine Kiely Kearns and Sylvia Liu – Children’s Book Authors, Founders of KIDLIT411, and more

Heather Ayris Burnell – Children’s Book Author, Founder of Sub It Club, and more

Julie Hedlund – Children’s Book Author and Founder of the 12 x 12 Writing, and more

Katie Davis – Author, Founder of Brain Burps about Books, Video Boot Camp, Author, and more

Marcie Flinchum Atkins – Children’s Book Author, Queen of Teaching about Mentor Texts for Writers and Teachers

Michelle Lynn Senters – Children’s Writer and Founder of Kids are Writers

Miranda Paul – Children’s Book Author, Founder of Rate Your Story, and more

Susanna Leonard Hill – Children’s Book Author and Founder of Making Picture Book Magic, and more

See you in a few weeks.

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sub six series 2

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Read more about the Sub Six Series: All About Submissions Here

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Guest Post by Sylvia Liu

Contest and Other Submission Opportunities in 2014

Besides submitting work to agents and publishers, don’t forget to submit to contests, grants, or mentorship programs. These are great ways to get your work noticed and perhaps published, to improve your craft, or to help pay for your writing or illustration habit.

Here’s a list of contest and submission opportunities in 2014, for both children’s book writers and illustrators, with deadline dates ordered chronologically. When a range of dates are listed, applications are accepted only within that window. If a date is in parentheses, it is the date for last year’s contest because the new date has not been announced (but it is likely this year’s deadlines will be on a similar timeline). Click the links to find out application information.

A great resource: Be sure to check the SCBWI Event Calendar for local mentorship programs and awards. Just in the month of January, the following SCBWI regions have mentorship program or scholarship applications available and due soon: Southern Breeze (conference tuition for illustrators; AL, GA, FL, Feb. due date), Carolinas Mentor Program (Jan. 10 due date), California North/Central Digital Mentor Picture Book Program (Jan. 10 due date),

JANUARY

Jan. 1 – Jan. 31           Highlights Fiction Contest

  • What: best short story (up to 800 words) with a holiday theme
  • Who is eligible: anybody, published or unpublished
  • Prize: three $1,000 prizes or tuition to any Highlights Foundation course

Jan. 15- Feb. 3                        Rate Your Story

  • What: best manuscripts in three categories: Picture Book, Novel/Novella, Everything Else
  • Who is eligible: free to RYS members (Basic members can submit 1 MS to each category, Pro members can submit 2 MSs); $5/MS for anyone else
  • Prize: First place gets $50, a professional critique, and free Pro membership, 2nd & 3rd prizes available

FEBRUARY

Feb. 28           Sustainable Arts Foundation 2014 Spring Grant (application available Jan. 15)

  • Award: Five $6,000 awards and five $2,000 awards for writers or artists who are also parents
  • Who is eligible: applicant must have at least one child under the age of 18

MARCH

March 1 – March 31:  SCBWI Work In Progress Grants, includes:

General WIP Grant

  • Award: seven $2,000 grants in each category (Picture Book Text (Barbara Karlin Grant), General Fiction, Contemporary young adult novel, Multi-cultural fiction, Nonfiction research (Anna Cross Giblin Award)
  • Who is eligible: SCBWI members

Karen and Philip Cushman Late Bloomer Award

  • Award: $500 and free tuition to any SCBWI conference
  • Who is eligible: SCBWI members, authors over age 50 who have not been traditionally published

Don Freeman Illustrator Grant

  • Award: two $1000 grants to illustrators (1 to a published illustrator, 1 to a pre-published illustrator)
  • Who is eligible: SCBWI members

March 15-April 15:  Student Illustrator Scholarship to SCBWI Conference

  • Award: 2 scholarships to the national LA SCBWI conference in August 2014, including the portfolio showcase and the illustrator intensive
  • Who is eligible: full time graduate or undergraduate students studying illustration

APRIL

April 15: Student Writer Scholarship to SCBWI Conference

  • Award: two scholarships to the national LA SCBWI conference in August 2014, including an SCBWI advisor to help navigate the weekend
  • Who is eligible: full time students over 18 at an accredited academic institution

MAY

May 5  Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition

  • Award: cash prizes, work seen by editors & agents, etc.
  • Who is eligible: anyone writing for all genres, including kid lit (fees are involved to apply for this competition)

JUNE

 

JULY

(July 31)       Unfortunately, THE CHEERIOS CONTEST WILL NOT RUN THIS YEAR  Cheerios 2014 Spoonful of Stories Contest

  • What: a national search for a winning picture book story
  • Who is eligible: unpublished writers (very strict – can’t have published in kidlit market, including magazines)
  • Prize: $5000 and publication & distribution in Cheerios boxes nationwide

AUGUST

Aug. 31           Sustainable Arts Foundation 2014 Fall Grant

  • Award: Five $6,000 awards and five $2,000 awards for writers or artists who are also parents
  • Who is eligible: applicant must have at least one child under the age of 18

SEPTEMBER

(Sept. 30)       New Voices Award, Lee & Low Books

  • What: a national search for a winning picture book story
  • Who is eligible: unpublished, unagented writer of color (can be published in kidlit magazines)
  • Prize: $1,000 plus standard publication contract

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

(Dec. 13)        Tomie dePaola Illustration Contest

  • What: annual search for a winning illustration following a prompt given by Tomie dePaola
  • Who is eligible: SCBWI members
  • Prize: trip to the winter New York SCBWI conference, award presented, and lunch with Tomie dePaola

Sylvia Liu is a former environmental attorney turned writer-illustrator. She is working on several picture book projects and is being mentored by illustrator David Diaz as part of this year’s Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program. Her art and infographics have been published on Huffington Post and other venues. She is inspired by aliens, cephalopods, bunnies, and pigs who want to fly. Check out her portfolio at www.enjoyingplanetearth.com, her blog at  www.sylvialiuland.com, her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ArtbySylviaLiu, and her Twitter handle is @artsylliu.

CONTEST ADDITION AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT SYLVIA’S  LIST FROM ALAYNE

On JANUARY 11, SYLVIA’S LIST WILL BE POSTED ON kidlit411. It will be updated on that site throughout the year. Kidlit411 is an exciting new website that my friends Elaine Kiely Kearns and Sylvia have put together with a little help from their friends. They are building it up to be “the” place to go for kidlit information. I hope you will check it out. They have done a beautiful job. Just before I published Sylvia’s post, I thought of another contest. Pockets Magazine Fiction Contest – March 15 – August 15. BEST OF LUCK TO ALL WHO COMPETE OR APPLY FOR THE FABULOUS OPPORTUNITIES. MORE ABOUT THE SUB SIX SERIES: ALL ABOUT SUBMISSIONS

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