Thursday, March 12, 2009

Guest Blogger Christina Katz: A Village to Raise a Book (and one comment to win one)

I'm a writer. And a mother. Sometimes I write about my kids and motherhood. Sometimes not. I don't really consider myself a mother-writer, mom writer, or writer mama, and in fact I have often discouraged others from using that label when describing me. This has a lot more to do with my own disinclination to limit myself than the nomenclature itself. I say limit because unfortunately these labels are often meant to describe a writer who writes almost exclusively about being a mother. Truth is, many – perhaps even most – writers who also happen to be mothers, actually write about much more than their children and their maternal roles. I'd even hazard a guess that most mothers who are writers usually DO NOT write only, or even mostly, about mothering.

That's where
Christina Katz comes in, a.k.a. Writer Mama (also the name of her first book). It's her mission to help writers (who are mothers) fashion viable writing careers – writing for magazines, the web, newspapers, paying blogs; or novels, memoirs, prescriptive nonfiction; or copywriting or…any kind of writing. Through in-person and online classes, books, blogs, newsletters & ezines, Katz offers education, support and networking possibilities to help women, as her book's tagline notes, "raise a writing career alongside your kids." Not necessarily a career writing only about mothering. That's the category of writer mamas in which I wouldn't mind being included.

Please welcome Christina Katz…and leave a comment here by midnight tonight to win a copy of her book.

The Writer Mama Two-Year Anniversary Blog Tour Giveaway!

Post #12: It Takes A Village

Lest we forget, it takes a village to write a book. Writing a book is not an event; it’s a journey, similar to ascending a mountain. (A mountain that you create as you climb!) Don’t go it alone. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t create an antagonistic dynamic with the folks who can be your allies and help you champion your book into the world. I’ve already talked about collaborating with the folks over on the publishing end of your book. So let’s talk a bit about these mysterious folks:

The Acquisitions Editor
Jane Friedman was my acquisitions editor for Writer Mama. She was the editor who offered me the contract and who was my first ally inside the publishing company. The AE is the person who went to bat for your proposal and helped get your book concept through the approval process so you can receive an offer and sign a book contract. Keep in touch with your acquisitions editor, even after she’s handed you off to your book editor (if this happens).

The Book Editor
Chances are good that your acquisitions editor will hand you off to another editor, your book editor. A book editor may or may not be the project manager of your book as well. But don’t be surprised if your Acquisitions Editor is still involved in major decisions like cover art, formatting, and how to structure the book (at least this was my experience).

The Cover Designer
Cover designers may work in-house for publishers or as freelancers. The cover designer for Writer Mama was a member of the in-house team for F+W. I was fortunate that my agent negotiated to include me in the cover review process. Working closely with your acquisitions editor and book editor can only help when it comes time for cover art reviews. And of course, it goes without saying that you won’t always love your cover design. Always get your agent involved when offering input on cover design. That’s one of their helpful roles.

The Copy Editor
You will interact with your copy editor after you have completed your final manuscript. The copy editor assigned to you will likely be a freelancer. You will receive a series of suggestions from your copy editor that further refine your manuscript and help prepare it for publication. However, it’s good to prepare yourself for the inevitable typos that your entire editorial team will likely miss. Typos happen. That’s just life. And don’t worry, your writer friends will likely let you know all about the typos that they find when they get their copies. (Or you can ask them to so you can alert your publisher for the next printing.)

The Publicity Director
Whoever manages book promotion and book events for your publisher is definitely a person you want to get to know. That is, if you want to be invited to literary conferences and get support publicizing your book. I am fortunate that the publicity and events manager at Writer’s Digest Book was such a charming and organized guy. If you make an effort to get to know your publicity director, everything promotion-related with your book is bound to go better.

The Sales Team
I dropped the ball on this one. It never occurred to me that the sales team would care to meet me, so I didn’t initiate anything. When I finally met the two sales team leaders at a conference, I kicked myself for not getting to know them sooner. My bad. Go ahead and ask one of your editors, if and when it would make sense to introduce yourself to the sales folks.

We’ll talk more about the other important “village people” at the next stop on the blog tour.

Today's Book Drawing: To enter to win a signed, numbered copy of Writer Mama, answer the following question in this blog's comments:

How shy are you about contacting people you don't already know? One thing I discovered when I became an author is that I am pretty comfortable chatting with folks I already know, but I hesitate when I haven't met the person before. Will you be willing to stick out your hand to all of the folks you'll need to meet at your future publishing house?

Thanks for participating! Only US residents, or folks with a US mailing address can participate in the drawing. Please only enter once per day. Where will the drawing be tomorrow? Visit the
Writer Mama blog to continue reading the rest of the Writer Mama story throughout March 2009!


~Donna said...

Hi Lisa,

I love, love, love to make connections and have no problem talking to people. The problem arises when I need to promote myself. I know I can write, but I have a hard time telling people I can write. It's not rational, I I said, I'm a work in progress! :)

LuAnn Schindler said...

In some aspects, I think I'm a shy writer. It is ironic that someone who communicates for a living has problems communicating with those who can advance one's career.

To make it in the publishing world, I'm going to have to stick out my hand and market not only my book, but myself.

And I agree: it takes a village to publish a book.

Anonymous said...

I usually feel like I might puke when I'm dialing the phone to talk to someone I've never met. My years as a reporter made it easier but there's still a bit of bile. Just being honest :) Good thing there's e-mail. Ironically, I do make a lot of connections with people I don't know online and after a while it surprises me I've never met them in person!

Lucia said...

I do enjoy connecting with others online or otherwise. But I do get shy if talking about myself, and hate drawing attention to myself. Sometimes I prefer the anonymity though that doesn't fly so well. Learning how to promote my work will be interesting to watch unfold.

Anonymous said...

I got to give my original pitch to Jane, which was great. And I'm loving everybody at WD who I get to work with.

I used to be incredibly shy about new people, but the Internet has, frankly, made it a lot easier. I can talk to just about anyone out here, and then when/if I do meet them, I don't feel like such a stranger. Also, the more I hang out with writers, the less I am around people with whom I don't have anything in common!

I hope you don't mind me following you around on these blogs--I feel a bit stalkerish, but I'm taking every chance I can to win your book! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm not shy about meeting people face to face, but I would be shy promting myself.
When meeting stangers for the first time, I tend to smile alot. If I'm not careful I gush too much and then regret what I have said.
I think the best advice is to find some common ground to talk about and do a lot of listerning. that shows that you are interested in the person and what they have to say. Then you can introduce your topic of conversation,and agenda without sounding too agressive or pushy.

Anonymous said...

I overcame my shyness and lack of confidence years ago when I took a job in sales and training. I find networking and making connections fun.

Julie said...

Your questions hit the spot today. I am still working through the pre-interview jitters for every single interview I do.

I find it incredibly difficult to "sell" myself to people I don't know. Heck, it's hard for me to even say hello to people I don't know.

I believe that the more I practice, the more proficient I will become at putting myself out there. Notice I say proficient, not comfortable.

However, when I do find a book topic, I know I will feel a lot of passion about that topic--and that in itself makes it much easier to start talking!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the terrific descriptions of the different individuals at a publishing house that a writer would interact with! That really clarified some questions I had.

In my day-to-day life, I'm a pretty shy person and tend to observe others. But when it comes to something I feel strongly about (e.g., a manuscript, my daughter's health, science opportunities for young women, etc, then I will pursue and speak to anyone willing to help me answer questions I have or reach goals I am trying to make happen.

The only time I hold back is if I feel like I am placing a burden on someone or asking too much of them. If the individuals at a publishing house welcome my input, then I would be thrilled to take the first step in interacting with them.

Anonymous said...

It depends on which me comes to the party. I'm a mixed bag. Sometimes I can be very comfortable while other times I'm a complete wreck when talking to strangers. I think it has a lot to do with the vibe I receive from the other person. Sometimes you just connect and things are easy, and then other times...not so much.

Cassie Premo Steele, Ph.D. said...

You know what's making it easier? Twitter. I am not an early adopter and almost had a tantrum trying to figure it out, but once I got going, I found it a wondrous way to connect with other mama writers, share work, get tips, etc. I found this post by searching :mama writer: on Twitter. Voila!

Lisa Romeo said...

The winner is Julie. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for participating everyone! And thanks to Lisa for hosting! And now we're off to Write to Travel. I hope you'll come along for the book-publishing ride!

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow's the last day of the blog tour and the hostess gifts are in! Come on over to Robin Mizell's blog and chime in if you have time!

And thanks again for hosting!

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.