Tag Archives: blog tour

TAGGED: Another Writing Process Blog Tour Stop

TAGGED: Another Writing Process Blog Tour Stop
TAGGED: Another Writing Process Blog Tour Stop


Week after week, writer by writer, we’re asking and answering 4 seemingly-simple-but-surprisingly-complex questions about how we write. Then we’re tagging others to post their answers, as well. So thanks to good writing buddy, Deb Gonzales for the tag! (And see my tags below.)

Deb is an excellent writer of early readers and a creator of wonderfully detailed book and study guides for teachers. More info about her can be found at: http://www.debbiegonzales.com  .     DebbieG_TriangleLogoLG

Now it’s my turn to answer:

What are you currently working on?

I just finished the last draft of a new fantasy mid-grade novel. As a matter of fact, it’s off to my agent in the morning! It’s a companion volume to THOMAS AND THE DRAGON QUEEN, provided my editor at Knopf likes it! In addition, I am always working on various picture book manuscripts. I have two new picture books in the works. One with Knopf that is an almost wordless book, similar to MINE! (Knopf, 2010) and one with Clarion tentatively titled, MOUSELING’S WORDS.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, there are certainly a number of light fantasies for mid-grade readers! I can only hope that this latest ms of mine treads some new paths. It uses conventions from the Sleeping Beauty tale, but is very much a boy-centered adventure.

So, we’ll see if it stands out in its genre!

Why do I write what I write?

I generally write at two levels, for the very young (3 to 7 year olds) and for readers in the middle grades (4th to 7th grades)  I think it’s because I have a 4-year-old and a 12-year-old residing in my head. And we all know that our first “readers” are those younger selves within. Those voices in my head MUST be satisfied before I dare show anything I’ve written to anyone else.

I know many children’s writers who carry around a younger version of themselves as a first critic and a reader that needs to be placated.

Why 4 and 12? I’ve pondered this before, and not come up with a really good answer. Perhaps it is because these are important years in my development? Not sure. I started kindergarten when I was 4 (Without preschool prior.), my first time away from home for hours without a parent. And it was my first exposure to many new and wonderful things and ideas.

And, of course, 12! Such an important time in any child’s life. When you’re twelve you’re on the cusp of so much. At twelve I read Jean Craighead George’s book, MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN. This was a seminal work for me. What 12-year-old didn’t think that he or she hadn’t been born into the wrong family? What 12-year-old didn’t want to go off and live in a tree? I did! It’s that kid’s insatiable appetite I write for.

–How does my individual writing process work?

It’s really hard to describe. I’m not sure if each book has the same process. I know it’s a different process between the two formats I tend to write, picture book and novel.

With a picture book it’s more like solving a puzzle. I move the pieces around, try this, try that. It feels happy–a little like dancing in a water sprinkler on a hot day. With a novel, it’s more like swimming across a lake. I’m swimming through deep water and I don’t know if I’ll make it to the other side–but I do keep stroking. Eventually, I reach the farther shore and a book gets done.

I tend to write in clumps of time. A few random hours at a time for a picture book. More regularly, if I’m writing a novel. Then I’ll write a couple of hours a day until it’s done–weeks later.

I don’t outline–after all, I want to surprise those inner kids. If I outlined, there’d be no surprises. However, I do make notes to myself as I write. These are chapter headings and happenings, maps, timelines, names, character info, settings, even pictures. For this last novel I used Scrivener for the first three or four drafts. Then I dumped the individual chapters into Word and did the last three or four revisions with one big file. This seemed to work well.

One thing I have learned about process is that it evolves. There is no one formula that works for each book. It’s a bit of trial and error until a momentum begins to build up. When that happens, I know I am going to finish that particular ms.


I hope this helps others through the process. My books are available through the usual channels–though some are now starting to go out of print. Boo!

Now, I get to tag some folks!!  And I tag:

1. Carrie Pearson, a fellow Michigan writer. Carrie has a warm personality that flows over into her writing. She writes children’s picture books and historical fiction manuscripts, short memoir pieces, adult popular press and historical articles. In the business world, she is also a writer writing business and marketing plans, speeches, foundation grants, corporate sponsorship proposals, marketing and advertising copy, ghostwriting speeches/​proposals/​correspondence for CEO’s, and website content. Please check out her site at: http://www.carriepearsonbooks.com . And read her blog posting next Monday, June 9th when it goes up!

Carrie Pearson   A Warm Winter Tail

2. Tracy Bilen. Tracy is also a Michigan author. Her first YA suspense WHAT SHE LEFT BEHIND garnered rave reviews. Her second one is on its way! And, I have a special fondness for Tracy–she won me in a mentorship contest and I got to work with her on her first novel over the course of a year. What fun. What a great writer. Check out her post next Monday and her website today! It’s at: http://tracybilen.com .

Tracy Bilen  What She Left Behind



Katie Davis on How to Promote your Children’s Book (And a book giveaway!)

Katie Davis on How to Promote your Children’s Book (And a book giveaway!)

My friend and fellow writer, Katie Davis (She of the many funny books for kids.) has a new book out for those of us who write for kids: HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR CHILDREN’S BOOK.

How to Promote Your Children's Book by Katie Davis

With this guide and her trademark sense of humor Katie, who is both an author and an illustrator, coaches even the shyest and most promotion-reluctant writer with unique (and common) ways to sell more copies. Katie’s nine children’s books have sold over 250,000 copies so she obviously has learned a thing — or maybe 82 — in the process, and she shares it with us in her newest ebook.

Katie has graciously agreed to giving away a free copy of the PDF version of her book and to entertain a number of questions from me. Her thoughtful and energetic answers should make all of us who are media shy wake-up and take another think about promotion. Wait . . . maybe I could do that. And that . . . and maybe even that . . .

I learned so much from Katie’s book!  QR codes, teachertube, book  birthdays . . . WOW! Who knew? Enjoy this interview with Katie, and then get to work promoting.  (p.s.: Scroll down and you’ll find the details for winning her book.)  



Katie Davis picture
Katie Loves to Share!


  1.) Katie, I’ve been astonished by your energy, and how much you get accomplished. How and when do you draw, or write?

I love to watch the horrified look people get when I tell them about my friend who makes his partner take his ethernet cable to work. He can’t get online and get distracted! I couldn’t do that but I could’ve used it last year while I was promoting my new picture book, Little Chicken’s Big Day. But this year I’ve been delineating my time more. It goes something like this:

  • Morning coffee and social media type stuff
  • get some exercise
  • turn everything off and write
  • lunch
  • art and other things I need to do that doesn’t involved my writing brain  

   2.)    I thought I knew a great deal about the PR opportunities available to me as a writer, and then along comes your book . . . and I’m blown away by possibilities.  For the frantic writer with limited time to promote, what top three promotional outlets would you say were really vital for any author to utilize?

The most important thing is that you do it. If I say Twitter is the most important but you hate Twitter, then my advice is worthless! So I’d say find what works for you and be consistent, be transparent, be generous, and be true to who you are. That is how you will connect with people and develop relationships, and to me, that is the basis of successful promotion.  

  3.)    QR codes. Wow! I hadn’t considered them at all. But what a wonderful way to lead people to information about a book, a video, teacher materials, etc. What’s been your favorite way to use them?

There are so many creative ways to use them, but it would have to come down to practicality. The most useable, therefore my favorite so far is to include a code on your card that leads to a book trailer. It’s fun and will say something about your book that your card alone cannot.

  4.)    Have you seen any traditional promotional outlets that have been overused? I do know that book store signings—even for well-known authors–are not always successful unless they are tied into something else, like educator night, etc.  But I almost feel like we need to keep doing them to help booksellers. Any thoughts?

Though I am always up for supporting booksellers, I kind of want to turn this around and tell you what has been under used! And my answer to that? Video. (Actually, booksellers can utilize this, too. They can post book trailers on the book’s page on their site, and also have a dedicated video page.)

  • Video is great for SEO (search engine optimization)
  • YouTube is the #2 search engine (Owned by Google, so do the math!)
  • You can make quick and helpful clips while entertaining your audience as well as getting the word out about you
  • You can practice till you feel comfortable
  • The camera work isn’t as important as the audio quality so get a good mic
  • Make. Them. Short. * (See note below.)
  • Make. Them. Short.
  • Did I mention you should not make them long? Here is an example of one of my video FAQs:

And here is a funny one of me announcing the winner of my sweepstakes last year.  


  5.)    And now the really important question (I always ask at least one silly question!): Suppose you were abducted by aliens. And before they whisked you off to their planet, you were allowed to bring one thing with you—but it has to fit into your pocket. What would it be?

At first I thought, I’ll bring a map so I’ll be able to get back home! Then I thought, I’ll bring a translation device so I can talk to them! Then I thought, No! I know! I’ll bring books to read because it’s probably a really long flight.And then I realized all I need is my iPhone, and since it’s attached to my hand, I won’t even need to put it in my pocket! 

(*Usually I try to keep my videos at tops, two minutes. If I’m making a tutorial, however, it can be much longer. Also, for this tour I created a video for Chris Cheng’s Creative Spaces segment that was bit longer than my usual.)  


Keep up with Katie’s blog tour!  Here are the sites where she has been (if you want to hear a different take on her book), and where she will be appearing in the next few weeks. Enjoy them all!

  Blog Tour schedule:

Feb 1 – E is for Book

Feb 2 – Banana Peel Thursday

Feb 3 – Creative Spaces

Feb 6 – DearEditor.com

Feb 7 – Writing With a Broken Tusk

Feb 8 – Shutta Crum

Feb 9 – McBookWords

Feb 10 – Kerem Erkan

Feb 16 –Elizabeth O. Dulemba

Feb 17 – Fiction Notes

March 1 – 12×12 in 2012

March 2 – Christine Fonseca, Author


Now!  What you’ve been waiting for . . . how to get your name into the drawing for a free downloadable pdf copy!


 How to Promote Your Children's Book by Katie Davis

To be eligible to win a free PDF copy of HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR CHILDREN’S BOOKS by the incredible Katie Davis you just need to comment on this blog post by the end of the month – – midnight, Feb. 29, 2012. (If you have time, tell us a little about any technique that you’ve used to create some successful buzz for your book.) Then I’ll draw a name from those entered, and Katie will send you the code to download the book free.

(Your name will only be entered once during the month.)  But wait!!

 There’s more (as they say ) . . . if you go up to the top right hand side of this page and put in your email address to subscribe to updates of this blog your name will be entered two more times into the drawing. YUP! That’s a total of three chances during the month to win this wonderful resource.


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