Posts Tagged ‘childrens books’

I always check the publisher of the books my daughter brings home from the library. “When a Dragon Moves In” was published by FlashLight Press. (http://www.flashlightpress.com/index.html) I had never heard of them before. I assumed it was an imprint of a larger, impenetrable publishing company.

I was pleasantly surprised that it was its own company. A little bit of research showed they were owned by a company that published adult books, but it was still small. It was still approachable.

Which means it’s approached by EVERYONE.

Their submission guidelines had changed in that they only respond if they really like it. They said it was because they got way too many submissions, and they couldn’t respond to them all.

That’s the way it is with us writers: Once the door opens a crack, we all rush toward it so the door cracks off its hinges.

There are so few publishing companies out there that actually accept unsolicited submissions that those who do get swamped very quickly. I only hope that my submission stands out from the herd.

What I Learned: There’s huge competition even at the little publishers. The same rules apply: Make it your best effort, and make your book stand out. (This is better than the big ones, in which you can’t even enter the competition.)

Don’t abuse the little publisher that could. They’re nice enough to offer you chances to have your work published. The least you can do is buy their books and keep that door open.

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I wrote a short story for a client, and it turned out really good. Then, after all was said and done, my client mentioned he stole the idea from the Internet.

If all you need to do is right-click on something, why be original? Creativity isn’t rewarded, it’s just copied. People who want to copy something because they like it, but don’t realize there’s a value there.

There’s an assumption that if it’s online, it should be free. If this was the case, no one would be making any money off their creations and you’d see much less of it online.

Anything can be ripped off. That’s why it’s even more important to be 100 percent original. Don’t fall into the easy trap of generating content mashed up from other people’s ideas. You won’t stand out. You’ll be exactly like everyone else who is doing it.

We don’t revere people like Steve Jobs because he copied other people. He got the respect he did because he created something new.

When anything can be copied off the internet the only thing I have is originality. People want original content, not the same old thing. That’s why, for instance, Charlie Sheen jokes got old very quickly.

My writing might not be much, but at least it’s my own.

 

 

Here’s my YouTube channel. You’ll find some very funny and some very wrong short films here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge

I’m going to start posting all of my YouTube videos here. My apologies in advance.

In a previous post, I talked about how there are a lot of filler characters in children’s entertainment.

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/who-the-hell-is-yukon-cornelius/

This book is no different. At the very least, you should read this book, or watch my executive summary of it, as an example of how not to write children’s fiction. My apologies to whoever did get stuck with the writing chores; I’m sure they did the best with what they were given.

 

I upload one new video to my channel every week:

http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge

Also once a week, probably on Tuesday, I will write a little about each entry.

All of them are silly. Some are offensive.

 

I just finished writing a board book, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. This is the first time I’ve been so actively thinking about publishing trends while writing, and it feels kind of hollow because of that.

For example, I wanted to make the main character, a puppy, female. But I thought about readership levels. Girls will read books about boy characters. But boys won’t read books about girl characters. So I made the puppy a boy. It’s only a board book, so maybe that doesn’t matter.

In one part, the puppy waves a stick, pretending it’s a magic wand. Just this week, my daughter took a stick to the face from a boy waving one around. It wasn’t intentional, he was running toward her, like “Hey, look at this great stick!” She got a scratch and a bruise. And she could’ve got poked in the eye, but she didn’t. So I didn’t make a big deal of it. But I know that lots of parents refuse to let their kids play with sticks. So I changed it so the puppy was playing with a leaf, pretending it was a magic wand.

I felt very shallow making these changes. It wasn’t like my super hero, Epic, who I consciously changed to female because I saw a lack of strong female super heroes. With that change, it just felt right. These, not so right.

I guess you actually have to make a sale before you’re a sell-out.

What I learned from reading and writing

While reading, I’ll sometimes pick up on a little insight that I hope will make me a better writer. A subtle nuance or something so exciting that I have to tell someone about it.
I also have a terrible memory. So these lessons might fade away. In fact, I have no way of knowing how many times I’ve forgotten what I’ve learned.
Therefore, I started this blog. As I read comic books, children’s books, literary fiction and horror, science fiction and fantasy, I’ll post my thoughts here. From time to time, I can look back, refresh my memory and refocus my writing.
And hopefully, you can find this helpful as well.
I don’t like to be negative. I will try to stay away from criticizing when a writer has done something I think is wrong, unless it’s something we can learn from. I certainly wouldn’t want someone to do that to me. Besides, it’s easier to tear down than build up.
I’ve been sending short stories, children’s books and comic books to publishers with little success. So, I’ll chronicle some of that for people who are going through the same thing. Maybe we can learn from each other.
I’ll try to post weekly, but we know how that works.
I’ve written municipal news for local newspapers for more than five years. I’m a regular contributor to TDMonthly.com, a toy industry magazine. My humor writing has appeared in Knockout, (Knockoutmag.com) and Awesdumb.com. I self-published a super hero spoof, Dave the Potatoe. One short story of mine was published in a 1996 New England Writer’s Network. I create fake news clips and other things at: http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge
Enjoy!
~Chris Lundy