I want to see books about all kinds of different people because I think that it is good for us to get to know people who aren't just like us.
I have chosen the winners!
Well, actually, Random Number Generator dot com, has chosen the winners.
Before I announce the winners, I need to tell you one thing: You all had a very good chance of winning.
As soon as Les Stobbe agreed to let me join his agency, I stopped asking people to sign up for the newsletter. So, whereas I was going to promote heavily through October and November, I did no promotion at all. And I ended up with a small list of subscribers (88, to be exact, which a very cool number—it was the number of the taxi-cab my boyfriend and I owned and operated in Anchorage, Alaska). As it turns out, Random Number Generator dot com chose four winners and I happen to know three of those winners.
So, there’s my explanation, to any of you who may wonder why I know so many of the winners.
Here are the prizes:
And now without further ado, the winners in the First (and last) Annual Best Books for Young Readers Sweepstakes:
You may have noticed the links to the book reviews have gone missing from my header.
Why, you may ask?
Because I don’t think literary agents should do a lot of book reviews.
It’s finally official, and I can make my big announcement.
I’m a children’s literary agent.
For a long, long time—from way back into the misty years of childhood—I’ve wanted three things. I’ve wanted to write children’s books (and win Newbery Awards), I’ve wanted to own a bookstore, and I’ve wanted to be a literary agent.
Well, I didn’t win any Newberies. And I didn’t open a bookstore. But this year the wonderful and kind-hearted shepherd of newbie authors, Les Stobbe, expanded his role to become a shepherd of new literary agents. I am officially an associate agent at the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. I’m thrilled.
And I’m really tickled, besides.
I love reading children’s books. I love critiquing and doing big-picture edits. I love the publishing industry. I love writers’ conferences. What could be more perfect for me than to be an agent?
I’m hoping to accomplish a few things as an agent:
What does this mean for you dear blog reader? Well, probably not too much change. I haven’t been posting over here much lately and I won’t be picking up the pace anytime soon. (I’ve been busy, busy, even if it’s been a fun busy.) I hope to get over here a couple of times a month.
I will also be blogging over at my children’s literary agent site, sally-apokedak.com, and I do hope some of you will come visit me over there once in a while so I don’t get too lonely.
I spent five days last week with a group of thirty-odd women speakers. That’s thirty-odd, not thirty, odd.
Maybe we were odd, come to think of it. If you could have heard us screaming and crying and laughing and praying, you might have thought we were odd.
I didn’t feel odd when I was with them. We had several things in common. We were Christians, we all felt called to speak to others about what God has done for us, and we had all suffered—lost children, broken relationships, illnesses or depression.
Well, then, we aren’t that odd. Every woman I know has suffered loss and pain.
As speakers, we need to figure out how to connect with others the way I was connected to those women. I’ve never lost a child or been abused as a child, but I could relate to those who had suffered those things, because I’ve had my own brand of suffering.
So what does this have to do with children’s writers?
To speak to any audience—librarians, school children, or writers’ groups—we have to find our point of commonality. We have to speak so our audiences can relate.
So, I was thinking this past week at the Christian Communicators Conference, and I plan to keep thinking this coming week, about my audience and my purpose. Have you ever done that? What is your target audience for your books? Is that going to be your target audience when you speak, too?
Yes, this applies to children’s novelists. We all have a message we are trying to pass on to future generations. Many of us have not thought it out, though. Take some time to think now.
Stephen Roxburgh once said writers have one book they keep writing over and over. Mine is the story of a neglected child looking for someone to take care of him. No matter what I start with, a neglected child always barges into my books demanding that I find a true love and a happy-ever-after ending for him.
What would be my purpose statement, then?
Maybe my purpose should be to help others find a safe home with Jesus, who loves them. That seems pretty broad, on the one hand. On the other hand, not broad enough. After all, some speeches and books aren’t about God at all. They may be about how to choose the best plumber. Or they may be about falling in love with a boy or defeating an evil empire. But if I keep my broad purpose statement in mind, it should help me decide which speeches I want to give and which books I want to write. So later, you know, when the world is banging down my door and people are offering me thousands to speak, I’ll know which gigs to take and which gigs to pass on.
What’s your story, and how does it inform your purpose for writing and speaking?
A quick link for you today. I enjoy reading at the Hartline blog every day, but on Fridays, their publicist posts and she always puts up really helpful info on marketing.
Some of the marketing experts remind me of people selling pyramid schemes. They all link to each other, they climb up the social media ladder by speaking in glowing terms of the people a few rungs higher. They grab opportunities to guest blog, and then one of the power bloggers links to them and boosts them into stardom.
The fact that those big bloggers can boost people up means that their numbers aren’t false. They really do have a lot of followers and those followers are reading.
But sometimes those guys at the top with 100,000 followers don’t really say anything about anything. And so often the people posting in their comments sections aren’t saying anything, either. It feels almost like they are all just linking to one another to get higher in the search engines.
I have nothing against linking. I did my own linking experiment here and raised my Alexa traffic score by a few hundred thousand points, and advertisers began to solicit spots on my blog, even. So linking is great. But say-nothing links leading to say-nothing bloggers drive me nuts.
You don’t have to worry about that with this link: Jennifer Hudson Taylor doesn’t have a huge following, but she’s putting out better posts than most of the marketing experts I’ve read so far.
What about you? Got any favorite marketing/publicity blogs to share with the rest of us?