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Newsletter Dated: 7/1/2005 12:04:07 AM
Subject: Soup*s On
Andrea Campbellís Newsletter
*** Greetings! ***
This newsletter is being sent to you because you are a writer, professional friend of Andrea*s, or a fan and reader of her books. If you are new to the list, welcome. There are a ton of newsletters and e-zines out there to read, thanks for requesting and reading mine.
Have questions, comments, or ideas for future publication? I look forward to your input. This newsletter is a continued work-in-progress and I hope you will stay around to see new features in every bi-monthly issue.
In this issue:
* From the Author*s Desk
* Father-Daughter Collaboration
* Two Heads Are Better Than One
* Sharon Naylorís Book Experience
*** From The Author*s Desk ***
June held a lot of surprise and hard work for me. I learned three pieces of new software -- a task that is fairly daunting --as I donít tackle more than one software program a decade anymore.
I am the new editor for Arkansas Identification News, a professional newsletter for the International Association for Identificationís Arkansas division (comprised of forensic scientists, law enforcement and corrections officials,) and, with Appleworks, managed to crank out a 20-page document and mailing for 107 members within a month of appointment.
The third week in June had me driving to Houston, where I taught a 4-hour workshop for the Hardboiled Heroes and Cozy Cats 2005 writers conference for the southwest division of the Mystery Writers of America. My husband, Michael, came along as my lovely assistant and good thing, youíd have thought I was moving into the hotel forever! For Forensic Art: Faces from the Grave, I employed an icebreaker game, three Powerpoint presentations, overheads, slides, a VCR tape, door prizes, and had attendees construct an ear and vote on the best one for a prizeówhew! It was fun, exhilarating and tiring. One special bonus though, a good friend of mine, Katie de Koster, who I met on the Internet through Sisters in Crime, and who wrote a blurb for my book Bringing Up Ziggy, surprised me by coming all the way from Southern California. What a treat to finally meet Kiki face to face!
My second, 8-week online e-course for Mediabistro.com has concluded and the next one is scheduled to start September 6. So if you think a nonfiction book is in your future, come check out: Publish That Book: Write a Killer Nonfiction Book Proposal. You can find the link at: http://www.mediabistro.com/courses/cache/crs746.asp
I enjoy teaching online and have already had many fine people and talented writers run through my course. Since I am such a big advocate of networking, this role seems tailor-made for me.
Look for my article, an interview with agent Donald Maass, in the August issue of The Writer. I had such fun with the whole process and Don is such a nice man, it was not like work at all.
Back to editing my next book, All Manner of Entertaining: The Complete Guide to Parties and Events. This is my first venture with Women in Print and Iím having a ball. I have done drawings for the inside, composed and taken photographs for the cover, got to provide input on the cover art, the selection of printer, and will be creating the Index. The opportunity for this type of participation has been a heady experience and my association with Women in Print, very positive thus far. I canít wait to get the book out into the market. Over the next few months I will be designing a promotion plan and hope to fill you in on what Iím doing in a future issue, trying some new and different things. For a look-see at my page with them, go to:
*** Father-Daughter Collaboration ***
My friend and ASJA colleague, Timothy Harper, has just recently completed a book with his daughter, Elizabeth Harper, called Your Name in Print: A Teen's Guide to Publishing for Fun, Profit and Academic Success (St. Martin's Press). The book debuted in June and I sent a few questions to the Harpers in order to find out a little more about this unique, father-daughter collaboration.
Q. In a chapter named This Book: How We Did It, Tim, you say that the idea for this book came from an editor, Marian Lizzi, who specializes in how-to books. Can you tell readers a little about her original concept for this book, how you got tapped for the project, the proposal process, and what form it took?
A. First, Andrea, thanks for your interest. We're flattered that so many seasoned, successful professional writers like you have been interested in our book and said so many nice things about it. The book grew out of a lunch I had with Marian Lizzi to talk about another book I edited, the ASJA Guide to Freelance Writing (which I think you have also mentioned in this newsletter). Marian and I hit it off comparing our personal stories, and I started bragging on my kids. Marian didn't say anything at the time, but obviously took note of Lizzie's writing successes. Marian called me a couple of months later, out of the blue, and said she had been talking up the idea of doing a book for teens about how they could get published. She asked us to do a proposal, and didn't offer any specific guidelines or vision beyond something that would be helpful for lots of kids -- not just A students or would-be journalists, but any kid who might like to write. And that's what we tried to do.
Q. This question is for Elizabeth Harper, who likes to be called "Lizzie." Lizzie, I understand you had previous experience working on your high school's newspaper as editor, and as a columnist for a weekly community newspaper. That's a lot of responsibility for a young writer -- congratulations, but did you have reservations about working on a book with your father?
Going into the project, I definitely had some moments when I felt like I might not be able to do my share of the work. I knew I could write, but could I write enough? I think that's an issue a lot of teen writers face when they start to get successful and write for people other than themselves. It's tough to feel confident in yourself and your writing right away, but one of the most important points in our book is that you'll gain more of that confidence with every new level you reach -- even though at the beginning you might feel unsure. Just get out there and do it, and if you act like you believe in your work other people will, too.
Q. Lizzie, how was the mission for this book different from your father's goal? Can you describe what you did to get started?
I think my dad and I had pretty similar goals for this book -- above all, to have a good time doing it and stay friends throughout the process. And fortunately we accomplished both. Of course, I was more motivated by my share of the advance than he was by his, and I know there was some paternal desire to help his kid in the "family business" that made him consider the idea of a collaboration when Marian, our editor, first brought it up. Then he talked to me about it, and we both saw the potential of a father-daughter team sharing our experiences as writers with other parents and kids who are interested in writing. I feel like Your Name In Print really emphasizes that spirit of collaboration: both sides have to want to work together for the project to be successful.
Q. Tim, you are a seasoned professional, the author of many books and articles. Did you find working with your daughter a challenge? coordinating a schedule, for example. And what about other considerations such as editing and corrections? How did that go?
A. I've done a number of collaborations, and this was by far the easiest and the most fun. Lizzie had some doubts about whether she could do this -- whether she could write a book -- but she really stepped up. I think the key was that we broke down the project into different parts, step by step. First we need to do this, then that, then this, then that. We split up the work, and then kept checking in with each other all the time. Most days started with a meeting, usually over breakfast, to go over what each of us was going to do that day. Most days ended with another meeting, usually right before we made dinner together or even while we were making dinner, that looked at what each of us had accomplished that day. I have to confess: Lizzie did most of the work. I kind of set up the outline and acted as project manager and then as editor. Lizzie did almost all the interviews -- which reviewers are saying is one of the strong points of the book, especially the profiles of young writers telling their stories about how they find ideas, how they write, how they got published, and so on. Lizzie also had a wealth of first-person experiences that she described as a young writer, which added a big dose of real-life "this is how I did it" to the book. On a lot of days, we'd talk about what she was going to do, and I would go off and work on something else. She did a lot on her own.
*** BooksByBookends ***
Walk into the shop (or send them an e-mail) with your manuscript, and a small bookstore in New Jersey will print and bind your book for you, and they'll probably do it faster and cheaper than anyone else. A year after it was started by a freelance writer and the bookstore owner, BooksByBookends has made thousands of books for dozens of authors, from poetry and cookbooks to memoirs and how-to. The tiny (only one full-time employee: James, who will answer your emails, and design and print and bind your book) self-publishing and print-on-demand service takes orders for as few as 10 books, starting for as little as $175. For more information, go to: http://www.booksbybookends.com
and send an email to James if you have questions.
*** Two Heads Are Better Than One ***
Brenda Warneka and Arlene Uslander are both veteran authors who have co-edited an anthology, The Simple Touch of Fate: Real People; Real Stories (iUniverse, 2003). This compilation contains over 50 true, inspirational stories from people all over the world about how being at the right place at the right time had a profound effect on their lives.
Brenda lives in Phoenix and Uslander lives in Chicago. They met on a writers website, eventually got together in person and became good friends, before deciding to become co-editors of a book. Here they share some of their insights about that experience.
Q. Was it difficult for the two of you to work on the book together since you live so far apart?
A. Until about 10 years ago, it probably would have been impossible, but thanks to modern technology, specifically e-mailing and faxing -- we didnít find it difficult at all. Fortunately we get along well, and having someone to work with on the project, as well as sharing the excitement of receiving a new story, or commiserating after finding out that a story we both loved was fictional instead of fact, was an interesting experience. And, it served as a kind of checks-and-balances process.
Q. How did you decide who would do what in working on the anthology?
A. I (Arlene) am a retired teacher and professional editor who works at home, so I was able to spend more time during the day sending out announcements for submissions, communicating with the authors, and taking care of other things on the computer. Brenda is a full-time attorney and more of a night owl, so she did a lot of the initial editing, as well as the final editing to get the manuscript ready for publication. Perhaps most important of all, Brenda did extensive fact-checking, to make as reasonably sure as possible that the factual information in the stories was true. She also handled legal matters, such as contract and trademark issues. Brendaís research turned up information that caused us to eliminate two of our favorite stories because certain facts in the stories could not be verified, and the authors finally admitted that one of the stories had been made up and the other was a composite. We were unable to check some of the events that take place in the stories; e.g., what might be called mystical experiences, but as I said above, we did all that was reasonably possible to fact check.
We both worked on other aspects of the project: deciding which stories to use out of the many that were submitted, final-editing the stories by fax, and proofreading each story over and over again, to make sure neither of us had missed any typos. We each wrote several stories for the book based on our own fateful experiences.
Q. Since Brenda lives in Arizona, and you live in Illinois, how have you been able to promote the book together?
A. Shortly after The Simple Touch of Fate was published, I spent time in Arizona, where we did a number of book signings and reviews. A few months later, Brenda traveled to Chicago, where we did the same. Brenda independently participated in events to promote the book and I have done the same in Chicago. In-between, we sent out press releases to the media, contacted bookstores, notified online newsletters, and read everything we possibly could about book promotion.
Q. Would you want to work on another book together?
A. Definitely! We are already working on a sequel to The Simple Touch of Fate. For each of us, working together has been a growth experience, fun, and has blossomed into a wonderful friendship, because Fate brought us together on the Internet. We were both at the right place at the right time.
Please visit: www.thefatesite.com. Purchase The Simple Touch of Fate with the publisherís toll-free number (800-288-4677) or order on Amazon.com.
*** Bookink.com ***
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*** Sharon Naylorís Book Experience ***
Seeing my debut novel It's My Wedding Too on the front table at Borders was a thrill I never thought I'd ever experience. After all, my 26 other books are wedding planners, non-fiction, and they never make it out of the reference section (except for when I move them to the front). But there it was, and I'll never forget that moment. I get a first-timer's thrill every time a book of mine comes out, but this time was so much more rewarding because I took a risk, stepped out of my usual genre, and created a project that has revealed more about me personally than a non-fiction book does. The novel is a comedy about a battling set of mothers, mother of the bride vs. mother of the groom, plus a heartbroken feng-shui obsessed bridesmaid, a bride and groom who DON'T fight during the mayhem, plus a few firemen playing softball in the park (one of my favorite things).
I LOVED the experience of writing this novel, which was originally a screenplay. My agent had advised me to turn it into novel form with an eye toward getting it acquired as a screenplay someday. And that made all the difference. I was then able to pack it with inside jokes and pop culture references, my own life experiences and those of brides and grooms who come to my site, the real-life setting of Hoboken, NJ and my sarcastic sense of humor.
I forgot as I was writing it that my goal was to get it published, so that's why it was such a breeze. I just relaxed into creating my characters. I wanted them to be very flawed and very multi-dimensional, with rich backstories and bad moments, triumphs and the kinds of things we wish we could say in real life. The stories come from a conglomeration of real-life stories I get through my Web site http://www.sharonnaylor.net , where brides write in about their mothers, mothers write in about the brides, and grooms want everyone to just get along. It hit me one day when a bride wrote in about a mother's sabotage of the plans: this is a story!
The compliments I've received are tremendous; over and over, I'm hearing 'this is not the usual chick lit!' and 'it's so real!' What's most amazing to me is the feedback I'm getting from a MALE reader...it's interesting to see what someone outside of my usual demographic is grabbing from the book, the things that stick. It's gratifying personally to know my story can reach both men and women because of the comedy and the sarcasm, which couches very real life lessons in between.
I love my characters and am thinking about spinning off a story for that feng shui-obsessed bridesmaid. Am I frightened about doing a second novel? Of course. But the story will come to me just like my characters for this one did, each one carrying a present in the form of a plot twist or a cultural reference. My dream is to see someone reading my book at the town pool. Some people hope to get on Oprah...some people hope for great reviews...I hope to see someone smiling and laughing at something I wrote. That would be the best thing imaginable."
Sharon Naylor is the author of 26 wedding books including Your Special Wedding Vows, Your Special Wedding Toasts, The Groom's Guide, Mother of the Groom, The Mother of the Bride Book and others. It's My Wedding Too is her first novel. http://www.sharonnaylor.net
*** Future Newsletters ***
In upcoming newsletters we will answer readerís questions, share a new story or two, talk more about publishing, and provide additional writerís tips. If there is any area of my life or work you would like to discuss, from autopsy to monkeys, just send me a note. Thanks for the read. : 0 )
Copyright©2005 Andrea Campbell If you wish to quote from here, fine, just attribute it to me and my web site.