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Tip Tuesday features writers' tips on craft, research, querying, blogging, marketing, inspiration, and more. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Hi there! Natalie here today instead of Casey. Today I'm excited to share a tip from Richard Due and a giveaway of his middle grade book THE MOON COIN. I've read a number of great reviews for the book and the illustrations so I'm hoping that one of you and your middle grade kids would enjoy Richard's book. Details about the book and the contest will be after Richard's tip.

So here's Richard's tip on self-publishing:

Read the genre you want to write in until your eyeballs fall out. Then put them back in and read some more. Repeat.

Make sure your novel's word count matches the target genre you're writing for. And remember, first time novelists don't—as a rule—get to break rules.

If you think your novel is all finished, it isn't—get back to work. Repeat.

When you finish editing it, and you're sure it's ready, print it out double spaced and edit it on paper. Repeat.

Get thee to an editor, or do not pass go. Personally, I work with two! I met one of my editors years ago, when she was 14. Her mother would bring her into my bookstore on Saturdays after soccer. She would run to the young adult section, still in uniform, and raid our Lois Leppard books. Now she edits full-time at a publishing house. Lesson?: Yep, even soccer players can become editors . . . um, wait . . . okay, seriously: KEEP YOUR CONNECTIONS!

Go to writers' conferences and take advantage of their workshops and writers' critiques with real live editors and agents. In addition to smaller, more local events, I've been to two of the big SCBWI conferences in New York City. I actually met my illustrator, Carolyn Arcabascio, at the 2011 one. Lesson?: MAKE NEW CONNECTIONS!

Join a local writers' group. Listen to criticism of your work. If one person in the group thinks you need to change something in particular, it's probably fine. If three or more people in the group think it needs to change, you've got work to do. Between family, running a bookstore, and writing, I don't get to my writer's group nearly as much as I'd like. But every time I go there, I learn something new and useful.

Get social: Goodreads.com, LibraryThing, Shelfsafari, facebook, twitter, tumblr. And make sure to start an author blog. I use WordPress, but there are many good blogging sites—just pick one and get started. A blog is a great place for an author to let readers know what's going on: new books, interviews, signings, appearances, giveaways, links to other social networks, everything.

After you've published on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the iTunes iBookstore, submit your book to book bloggers in your genre. http://hampton-networks.com/ maintains a nice list. If you have a budget, you can afford some of the paid professionals: ForeWord Reviews, Kirkus Indie, Blue Ink, Publishers Weekly, etc. These folks can help get your book in front of library staff, people in the publishing industry, and indie readers.

If you thought having a printed book or eBook was the end of your journey, think again. Your next marathon is just starting. It's called marketing. Check out Amazon's KDP Select program and see if it's a good fit for your book. Enter your book into indie awards contests. Try and arrange a book signing with your local library or bookshop.

And don't be shy about offering your book for local schools and libraries to purchase. Often, they're quite supportive of local writers. Hint: if you happen to time it at the end of the fiscal year and they still have some money to spend, all the better!

Research book festivals and other literary-themed events in your area. For a small fee, or sometimes no fee, you can set up a booth and publicize your product, sell your book, promote your "brand," do a giveaway, add new names to your mailing list, meet other writers. . . . 

Thanks Richard for your advice. Here's a blurb about Richard's book from Amazon:
 "Tales, unlike stories, never lie. You see, a tale is an account of things in their due order, often divulged secretly, or as gossip. Would you like to hear one?" -Lord Autumn

Uncle Ebb was so good at telling his tales of the Moon Realm that sometimes it sounded like he'd been there himself.

As children, Lily and Jasper listened raptly to his bedtime tales of a place where nine moons swirled around one another, each inhabited by strange and wondrous beings: magical lunamancers; undersea merfolk; wise birds; winged dragons; and Lily's favorite, the heroic, leonine Rinn.

There was only one rule: don't tell a soul.
You can find Richard at his website.

Richard is offering one copy of THE MOON COIN for a giveaway.  To enter the contest, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by September 15th. I’ll announce the winner on September 17th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. International entries are welcome.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry.


Angela Brown said...

This makes an excellent set of tips that self-publishers can refer back to again and again.


Thanks, Richard, for sharing. And thanks to you as well, Natalie. Have a wonderful day :-)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Thanks, Richard, for the wonderful tips. The book The Moon Coin sounds great. Wishing you lots of publishing success.

Kessie said...

Great tips! I'm discovering editing, crtique groups, and rewriting. And also how much I just don't know about editing. Good thing the library has such a huge section on writing!

Also, the Moon Coin sounds WONDERFUL.

Angela said...

Richard, your tips are very helpful.

Thanks, Natalie for posting.

Kathrine Roid said...

"Read the genre you want to write in until your eyeballs fall out. Then put them back in and read some more. Repeat."

Tuesday tips are always a treat, but a rare few make me want to print them out and stick them somewhere.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Natalie, Hi, Richard,

Natalie, thank you so much for featuring Richard today. WOW, what tips!


Thank you so much for the tip it took to write these down and to share them all with us!

Your book looks fantastic and I love the cover. I will be dropping by your site the moment I finish this comment.

Natalie, I will put Richard's giveaway in my sidebar.

Old Kitty said...

Great sensible tips - esp about joining writerly groups and really listening to sensible and helpful critiques of one's stories! Thank your Richard! Take care

Ali B said...

I love my critique group and my online critique partner. I agree with Richard's advice - you need a writing posse.

Thanks for the tips!

Anonymous said...

First off, a big thanks to Casey McCormick and Natalie Aguirre for hosting the amazing Literary Rambles. I've been a regular visitor since 2010. (Which was back when I first started querying agents.)

And a special thanks for all the wonderful comments, folks! I use those tips constantly, and it makes me very happy to share them with you. :)

[big wave]

Richard Due
Gibbering Gnome Press, A Division of Ingenious Inventions Run Amok, Ink

THE DRAGONDAIN / Book 2 / A Moon Realm Novel
Available as an ebook September 8, 2012, paperback to follow later this year.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm exhausted just reading all of that! I knew my author buddies who self-published did a lot, but wow!

Cassandra @ Book & Movie Dimension a Blog said...

Richard's tips are pretty helpful.
Libraries are great places to spread books to get noticed.
I live in Georgia and discovered Thank Faire Folk Saga by Gillian Summers which turns out the authors are local:)

Oh and tweeted this author tip/giveaway post-https://twitter.com/BookLoverC/status/240592823844499457


Kristin B said...

I follow via GFC. Thanks for the giveaway!

Kristin B said...

I tweeted! https://twitter.com/KEB943/status/240663667346124802

Linda A. said...

Great tips, Richard. The Moon Coin sounds terrific. The don't tell rule is bound to work.

nrlymrtl said...

Sounds like a good book - and I am basing that on the excellent choices of names like Lily and the leonine Rinn.

nrlymrtl [at] gmail [dot] com

Candice said...

Wonderful tips! Thank you. The book looks really interesting! I'd love to enter the contest.

Wendy said...

Thanks for the post! I tweeted too-https://twitter.com/WendyGreenley/status/240863846456254466

wgreenley (at) comcast (dot) net

Julie R said...

Great ideas. The book looks good too. julierupert@gmail.com

Anubha said...

nice post... awesome reviews... :)


Natasha said...

Thanks for the chance to win! Sounds like a really good read!!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Natasha Hawkins said...

I've considered self-publishing my YA paranormal romance, EVENING STAR...and I love the great advice from someone who's been there. I am going to pursue the traditional route first- just started querying agents- but I will bookmark this in the meantime.

Here's hoping to land a copy of THE MOON COIN!





D. D. Larsen said...

Enjoyed the post. And here's hoping I can win a Kindle copy of Moon Coin.

D.D. Larsen aka Dean

Robin Lemke said...

Thank you for the giveaway!

Anonymous said...

I too went the traditional route first. And, if asked, I would recommend others to do so as well. That having been said, if you're a first time author, and your book involves lots of full-color illustration, and it's not a picture book but a novel, then know that you can definitely do it better yourself. The legacy publishers simply won't pay for the pricier paper and everything else involved.

I still had material out to four agents when I met Carolyn Arcabascio at the 2010 SCBWI conference in New York. When it became clear that she was interested in the project, I suddenly found myself in the odd situation of NOT wanting to hear back from these agents. Which seemed so CRAZY at the time! I mean, I'd been querying like mad for 18 months, and had sent out material to a dozen agents by that point. I thought it was what I wanted. But all I could see in my head was two versions of THE MOON COIN: one, done by a legacy publisher, with no illustrations and printed on newsprint. And one with very high production value and beautiful illustrations. That's when I looked at my wife and she said: "What? What? I know that look." And I said, "I want to make the best art I can make." And she said, "Well then, you better get busy." So I did. If you want a visual tour of how the book turned out, you can get an idea from this video: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/38598908/FileChute/TMCnewvoiceover.MP4

Sarah said...

I like the tips. :) Especially the reading until your eyeballs falls out one. :)

Anonymous said...

A bit painful the first few hundred times, but you get used to it.

Anonymous said...

Better yet. This giveaway is for a print edition. :)

Veronika said...

Thank you for the giveaway!
GFC: Veronika
verusbognar (at) gmail (dot) com

Kiera Paul said...

Interesting tips. I love to learn new things about the publishing industry. Thanks for both the tips and the contest!

Eisen said...

Thank you for having the giveaway! :)

Cleo Li-Schwartz said...

The Moon Coin sounds interesting.

Thanks for doing the giveaway!