by Donna M. McDine
Your writing career is moving at a steady pace, but from time-to-time, the feeling of isolation overwhelms you. What is a writer to do to get one’s self out into the world of the living, but not neglect your writing goals? One of the best ways to get yourself known locally as a serious writer would be to participate in author visits to elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools in your area - depending on what genre you write for. Also check out your local library and bookstores – they too may be interested in having you conduct an event. Presenting your short story or non-fiction article for children’s magazines can be fun way to present the creative writing process to children of all ages without overwhelming them. And since you are writing for children, why not spend time with them?
It can be daunting to research school visits, considering the Internet comes up with over 2 million hits when typing in “School Author Visits.” Why not check out the following resources:
1. Musing Our Children – A fellow writer informed me of this group and it has been a wonderful resource of information regarding school visits. The group is comprised of talented and inspiring women writers who are actively promoting school visits. The group shares a wealth of information pertaining to school visits to assist you in having a successful event and to help children understand the benefits of reading and writing. The group also provides handouts that you may use during your visits. Once you join the group, active participation and input are appreciated. For more information visit: http://musingourchildren.tripod.com/.
2. Local Schools –Contact an elementary school in your area and find out whom you need to present your school visit request to. The school secretaries are happy to point you in the right direction, whether it is the principal, PTA or program coordinator of the school. IMPORTANT: Keep in mind you don’t necessarily need to have a published book to conduct a school visit. You may be able to present a published short story or non-fiction article to the class. In addition, let the school know that you can meet with respective teachers and conform the event to coincide with their ELA State Assessment Guidelines.
3. Your network of fellow writers – We are all cheering for one another and I’m sure your network would be happy to discuss their ideas of school visits. If you are just starting out, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators – http://www.scbwi.org/, has a wealth of information on all topics for writing for children.
4. Local Librarian – I have had wonderful success in becoming “buddies” with my local librarian. They are a chock full of information when it comes to conducting events for children. You never know, they may be so impressed with your initiative that they may request that you conduct a visit at their library. What better way to keep children inspired to read by meeting a local writer living in their midst?
5. Local Bookstores – Approach the manager or owner to see if they would be interested in having you conduct an author visit. If they are, obtain their guidelines for conducting such a visit and tell them that you will get back to them with your proposal / school visit kit. Be sure to leave your business card with them.
Put yourself out there…it will not only be fun for the children but for yourself!
Backing Into the Flow
You’ll discuss your good news and happenings to get a clear indication of your direction. Your valuable information will then be written into a dynamic media release. Even if you don't have publishing credits under your belt, announcing guest interviews or your topic of choice will help draw traffic and recognition to you and your writing blog.
Don't wait. Let Donna take the pressure off you today.
July 12, 2010
"If you are too busy to write and distribute a press release about your book, or simply aren't sure how to go about it, I can whole-heartedly recommend Donna McDine's publicity service. She writes excellent press releases. Best of all, she's fast!"
Mayra Calvani ~ http://www.mayracalvani.com/
June 6, 2010
"As a new author, I was unsure of how to publicize the blog tour for my first book. I knew a press release would help, but had no idea what to include or how to write it up. Donna came to my rescue! She asked for the appropriate details, composed an attention-grabbing press release then posted it all over cyberspace.
Donna provided her service in a timely, professional manner and allowed me to give approval on the final press release. If you have qualms about handling your own media release, contact Donna – she’s an expert!"
Beth Bence Reinke, author ~ http://www.bethbencereinke.com/
January 14, 2010
"I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your work on my press release. Creating a new organization involves so many details; it was such a relief to turn a task over to someone else. And you did a wonderful job! I love the energy you created with just a few lines. You're a true writer. I am going to recommend you to anyone who needs help with media releases.
Thanks again for making my life a lot easier."
December 9, 2009
"Working with Donna McDine was simply terrific! She was very knowledgeable and knew just the right questions to ask to present the most efficient and effective press release. Never having written a press release myself, I appreciated this very much. She kept me informed every step of the way and allowed me final approval of the press release prior to submitting it. Her price is extremely reasonable and easily affordable, even in this economic climate. She made the process seamlessly easy for me by also submitting the press releases to several different marketing services. As a result of her hard work, I have seen a significant jump in the traffic this week to my website. I highly recommend her services for anyone looking for an inexpensive and knowledgeable person to draft their press releases. I will definitely work with Donna again in the future."
Award-winning Children's author of the Penny and Rio series
November 20, 2009
“Donna McDine knows her craft very well. I am extremely pleased with the media release she wrote to help promote my new blog. What really stood out is her ability to write a very succinct media release covering all the pertinent information. Her media release is an attention grabber. If you are looking for quality work, I highly recommend Donna McDine. If you have any questions feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be more than happy to answer any questions.”
You’re reading this right now, so you must be able to navigate your way onto a website. But what if that’s the extent of your technical abilities? Does the idea of having to become social media savvy make your brain hurt? Does there seem to be too much to learn and not enough time to do it and work on your novel at the same time?
We’ve all heard that as debut authors, we have to become part of the social networking / new media environment, and every agent and publisher will expect it. To some, this is an exciting frontier . . . and to others, it’s a frightening abyss. I’m pretty savvy myself, but I have had many, many moments of complete overwhelm.
If you feel dizzy just thinking about it, you’re not alone.
There are plenty of resources online for the soon-to-be-published author who needs tips and advice. But, for those of us who like the comfort of a book in our hands, BookLife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer by Jeff Vandermeer is a great companion guide.
Jeff is not only a social media expert, he’s also a writer of many genres, including fiction, so he can sympathize.
For those of us who do go into overwhelm, he’s got a section in Chapter One called “How Am I Possibly Going to Keep Up With All of This?!” That’s what I kept asking myself! One thing I learned, with immediate relief, is that I don’t have to do it all. I seriously thought I was behind the times if I wasn’t on MySpace. But MySpace has never appealed to me, so I avoided it. Now, I don't even worry about it. There are PLENTY of other avenues. I can pick and choose the ones best suited to me and my personality.
“Sometimes an opportunity is an opportunity – and sometimes it’s just a distraction or even a trap.”
Jeff’s book covers:
Creating and Managing Your Goals
Choosing Your Platforms
Effective and Ineffective Approaches to Blogging
Managing Your Involvement
Dealing with Agents and Publishers
Understanding Creative PR, PR Tools, and PR Planning
Leveraging Your Ideas
Maintaining Your Booklife
Living Your Booklife (finding inspiration, work schedule, habit vs. process, etc)
Protecting Your Booklife (rejection, despair, envy, etc)
And Much More.
As you can see, the book is not just about social media, it’s about how to make your public and private booklives connect, so that the process feels organic, rather than like swimming upstream (or against a sea of virtual voices). What you create OUT THERE can be an extension of yourself. Your personality, your strengths, may be used and can be communicated so that your readers hear YOUR voice and not something inauthentic or forced.
The book offers not only tips, but questions you can ask yourself to get clear, ways to get more focused on your PR so you can take practical steps to creating your booklife, self-checks to make sure you’re staying in balance, resources and examples.
I highly recommend this book to any writer who is nervous about navigating the virtual landscape.
And if you'd like more information about Jeff and/or his work, you can find him ONLINE. Of course.
“VanderMeer has struck a new sort of balance with the Internet: charming his dedicated fan base on the web, creating multimedia promotional tools for his books, and actively seeking out new readers like me in the digital crowds. One of my favorite writers.” —The Publishing Spot
M E D I A R E L E A S E
CONTACT: Donna McDine, Editor-in-Chief, Guardian Angel Kids Ezine
For Immediate Release
Guardian Angel Kids Ezine Announces New Editor-in-Chief, Donna McDine
Jennifer Reed, original Editor-in-Chief is stepping down from Guardian Angel Kids and will be replaced by award-winning children’s author, Donna McDine effective immediately.
Ms. McDine comes to Guardian Angel Kids with 20 plus years of administrative and web design expertise in both Fortune 500 companies and as a virtual assistant. Along with her experience in the children’s publishing industry as a published author, National Writing for Children Center Publicist Intern, and former Stories for Children Magazine marketing manager McDine brings to the forefront her business, writing, and marketing know how to propel Guardian Angel Kids to further success in 2011 and beyond.
Please join, Lynda Burch of Guardian Angel Publishing, Kevin McNamee, Guardian Angel Kids Technical Director, and MarySue Roberts, Guardian Angel Kids Cover Art Director in welcoming Donna McDine to the family.
Please visit Guardian Angel Kids and become familiar with all we have to offer the young muses in your life at http://www.guardian-angel-kids.com/.
Thank you for your time and interest.
by Donna M. McDine
You dream of the days of no commute to a 9-5 job and you finally give your writing aspirations the chance that they deserve. You have stocked your office or any small writing space that you designate in your home with all the essentials; computer, paper, pens, pencils, books and research resources, etc. However, the responsibilities of mother seem to intrude every moment of the day.
Now that you are home, everyone thinks that you are accessible all day long. The kids feel that since you are home that you aren’t “really working”. You’re not sure when it happened, but responsibilities that were normally delegated, somehow have become all your responsibility. A writer’s life can easily become frustrated when the creative juices are without fail interrupted by the most mundane questions or needs. You know how that goes. Cleaning the sticky keyboard. Mom where are my soccer cleats? What is there to eat? Can you put the movie in for me? The list is endless. When did my family become so helpless?
We all love our families, but how does one carve out that special and much desired writing time without the feeling of neglect on the family? It is important to reset boundaries as quickly as they disappear. Let your family know that writing is indeed work, but also a passion that you want to achieve. Teach your children the importance of uninterrupted writing time and that they will get your undivided attention once your writing session is completed. Hopefully they will come to understand that what is important to you should be respected. Just as you respect what is important to them.
Although there will be times and sometimes it will feel like many, where interruptions are a necessity. Such as, when the school nurse calls to say that you need to pick up your child that has a fever. Like any mother, we quickly grab our car keys and head to the school. If you attempt to balance your writing and the care of your sick little one it will tend to leave you both feeling frustrated and neglected. At this point, you are much better accepting the fact that your child needs you and that your writing can wait for another time. Even if that deadline is on the horizon, you will not do your best work, just leave it.
Grab any time thrown your way, especially when the little ones are asleep. When the house and telephone are quiet it tends to be a great time for creativity. These little pockets of time may not feel like much, but the time over a week to a month will accumulate and you can get quite a bit accomplished.
Keep a handy pocket notebook with you at all times, you never know when your next inspiration will come to mind. It could happen anywhere, such as that crowded doctors office you just brought your sick child to. Like anything in this life, this too shall pass, but we hope not too fast, since they do grow up quickly.
To learn more about Donna's writing career visit her at http://www.donnamcdine.com/
Breaking News: The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade is now plaguing the blogosphere.
Nov. 5, 2010--From the west to east coast, The Bug is on the loose and cannot be stopped! Reports state that the brand new picture book by award-winning author Lori Calabrese broke out of its bookends, sneaked out of the bookstore after hours and is now buzzing by various children's literature blogs. It's goal--to make its way into people's homes.
The first incident occurred at Mayra's Secret Bookcase, located at http://mayrassecretbookcase.blogspot.com/2010/11/review-of-bug-that-plagued-entire-third.html, at around 12 p.m. Tuesday. One witness said, "All of a sudden, out of nowhere, this Bug comes flying and buzzing in the air. It was big."
"The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade all started because my son caught one of those vicious stomach bugs," says Lori Calabrese, the author. "Now it's gotten loose and it has its bright emerald green eyes set on plaguing the blogosphere. I never thought it would get to this point!"
No one has been hurt, but there's more to this bizarre tale about a bug on the brink of extinction. People report that all incidents with The Bug have been positive...
"A bug-tastic treat," says Ingrid Sundberg of Ingrid's notes.
"What I really enjoyed about this story is the way the author skillfully combines verse and a complete plot with a clear beginning, middle and end," says Mayra Calvani of Mayra's Secret Bookcase.
"This is a wonderful story which should find a home in every grade one through three classroom," says Penny Ehrenkranz of One Writer's Journey.
"Readers will enjoy the building tension that takes place centered on the interplay between the two types of ‘bugs’ in the story," says Chris Singer of BookDads.
The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade.
"Let's cut it off at the path," says Sergeant Hines Emerald. "If it's already in your house, it won't be able to sneak its way in and plague members of your household."
To keep up to date on the status of The Bug, be sure to follow along some of the blogs in The Bug's crosshairs...
Mayra's Secret Bookcase
Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz's One Writer's Journey
The Children's Book Review
Mrs.Hill's Book Blog
Miss O's Library Land
Tara Lazar's Writing for Children (While Raising Them)
N.A. Sharpe's Realms of Thought
Beverly S. McClure's The Story of a Writer
Raising Itty Bitty Bookworms
There's a Book
The Iron Bodkin
Into the Wardrobe
What The Bug can't stand the most are comments! So leave as many as you can at these "targets" and be entered to win a The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade Prize Pack that includes...
-a tote bag
-Make your own bug jar craft kit
-Make your own bug magnifying glass craft kit
-and an autographed HARDCOVER copy of The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade
(Contest open to U.S. Only/ Winner will be announced December 1st)...
According to state blogosphere officials, the escape has sparked nationwide buzz over The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade. Chaos has ensued and they want everyone to stay well-informed, and be prepared or at least have a plan as The Bug continues to plague the blogosphere!