WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

 

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WHY REJECTION LETTERS ARE NOT A BAD THING!

by Donna L Martin

 

Some of you might think I’m crazy. Others might wonder what I put in my drink. There might even be a wild thought it might be time for me to hang up my writing pen.

But just hear me out…

While I’ve been writing for more than 40 years, I only became a professional writer ten years ago. I try to find time for my writing every day. I’ve sent my “babies” out into the world and dealt with almost every kind of rejection letter out there.

The “no response at all” rejection letter early in my career.

The generic email rejection letter letting me know my story isn’t the right fit.

Occasionally the personalize rejection letter with kind words of encouragement.

It doesn’t matter how we receive it, getting a rejection letter can still hurt our writers’ pride. And sometimes it makes us doubt our own skills as a storyteller.

But it shouldn’t any more.

While we’re never going to do the happy dance over being rejected by yet another agent or publisher, there ARE three treasures hidden inside each one:

 

THE PERSEVERANCE TEST

 

Becoming a published author is a long, slow process. Dues have to be paid, sincere industry connections made, and in a way, writers have to prove themselves worthy of their future audience. Writing isn’t for the faint of heart or those in it for the quick buck (cuz there aren’t any quick bucks to be made I’m afraid!)

 

THE CHANCE TO EVOLVE

 

Every rejection allows us to work on our presentation. Maybe our query letters need tweaking. Maybe our agent or publisher list needs updating. Even the stories themselves might benefit from a little more polishing. When we incorporate the lesson found within each rejection letter, we become stronger writers who are one step closer to that coveted book contract.

 

THE RIGHT TO CELEBRATE

 

Rejection letters make any successes we receive along the way, no matter how big or how small, all the sweeter. They help remind us we are stronger than our temporary setbacks. They allow us to show compassion for our fellow writers when they feel their own sting from being turned down in their pursuit of publication. There is also a camaraderie which allows us to do that happy dance even for the birth of a book not of our own making.

So I say bring on the rejection letters. I KNOW in my own heart I’m a good writer. Just because one of my “babies” haven’t found a home yet doesn’t mean it isn’t loved. And when the time is right, someone else will learn to love them as well!

 

baby

 

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Donna's Books

Looking for a way to spend that Christmas cash? Gift cards burning a hole in your pocket? Books always make a great gift! There’s everything from inspirational essay journals to picture books…young adult fantasy novels to historical fiction chapter books. Something for everyone on sale now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other retailers. HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams can also be found at the Titanic Museums in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Branson, Missouri.

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, was released in November.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

 

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GIVING YOUR REVISIONS THE 1-2-3 PUNCH OF SUCCESS!!

by Donna L Martin

 

In November 2015 I challenged myself to write a novel in one month and LUNADAR: HOMEWARD BOUND was born. In December 2018 I challenged myself to create an early reader chapter book series based on historical events and HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams was born. In May 2019 I challenged myself to write book two in the series and HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: The Chocolate Train Wreck was born. Now I’m researching my historical facts for book three, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Hunting Gris-Gris. As writers, some of us may think we can create the perfect masterpiece the first time we lay fingers to keyboard, but for the rest of us, we know where there’s writing there’s revisions.

You can either play it safe and do a quick once-over before you say revisions are done or you can give your manuscript the actual 1-2-3 punch it needs to give it the best chance to attract the attention of an agent or publisher.

 

PUNCH ONE…STANDING ON YOUR HEAD

 

One way to revise your story is by changing how you view things. You don’t really have to stand on your head to look at things in a new way. Change the setting. Pick an alternate point of view. Even write a new beginning. Lying on the floor will give you another view of the world so why not stand your manuscript on it’s head and see what you can see differently from down there?

 

PUNCH TWO…PLAYING WELL WITH OTHERS

 

Solitaire may be a game best played alone but when it comes to writing, it’s not as solitary an endeavor as one might think…or at least it shouldn’t be. If you have taken the time to become friends with other writerly types you have access to potential critique partners. Two sets of eyes can catch a lot of things going wrong with a story but twelve sets of eyes might even be better. Taking the time to cultivate CP relationships gives your manuscript its best chance of becoming polished perfection.

 

PUNCH THREE…BECOMING EDWARD SCISSORHANDS

 

Don’t you love it when Edward Scissorhands takes the time to create those beautiful ice sculptures? He’s not afraid someone might laugh at him. He’s not worried about the outcome because he’s confident the end result justifies what it takes to get there. Don’t be afraid to leave unnecessary words on the cutting room floor. Don’t hesitate to kill one of your darlings or even rewrite the entire first chapter of your manuscript if that’s what it takes to make that baby shine!

No one ever said writing would be easy. No one ever said the path to publication was lined with simple solutions to achieve that coveted book contract. But then, again, no one’s ever said we writers aren’t fabulous WORD WARRIORS capable of executing perfect prose if we put our minds to it, so grab your story and treat it to a 1-2-3 punch of success!

 

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books

They make great stocking stuffers!

HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams
HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: The Chocolate Train Wreck

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, was released in November.

 

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

 

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7 Ways To Get Over The Rejection Blues

by Donna L Martin

 

In case you just landed here from some distant planet, let me let you in on a little secret…

If you’re submitting your manuscript to any agents or publishers, you WILL get rejected. More than once. Maybe enough to lose track. The initial sting never changes. The hopeful surge of anticipation quickly followed by the sharp pang of disappointment. It comes with being a member of this wild and wonderful industry that is part subjective, part hard work, and part luck. But while you can’t get around the ‘no entry” message hidden within every politely worded rejection letter, there are ways to help get over the rejection blues.

 

HAVE A GOOD CRY…

 

Or a good scream off the top of some grassy knoll. Take a moment to acknowledge the pain and get it out of your system. Beat a pillow. Throw some darts. Stomp through the house saying it’s unfair. You’re human and of course it hurts. But remember…you are in this for the long haul and drowning in a pity pool will only keep you from your dream agent…or your dream publisher…or whatever lofty writing goal you have set for yourself. So have a good cry and then move on.

 

GO FOR A WALK…

 

Return to the gym. Or if you’re like me, head to a martial arts training facility and kick something. Do something physical to take your mind off of those little gremlins running around in your head trying to tell you you’re not good enough for this kind of life. Because you are. Know how I know? Because despite the fact you KNOW there will be rejections coming your way, you’re still brave enough to send your story out into the world all alone while you wait at home hoping for good news. So go for a walk and reconnect to why you do this thing you love so much.

 

HANG OUT WITH BEN & JERRY…

 

Come on, you know sometimes the only thing that can take the edge off the rejection blues is a pint of Chocolate Peppermint Crunch. So go ahead and give yourself permission to grab some Ben & Jerry…just don’t go diving into a gallon of the stuff…you’ll wake up after crashing down off that sugary wave wondering just what the heck happened.

 

DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY…

 

I know it can be hard to do. Impossible sometimes if that rejection letter is particularly harsh. But most people “play nice” these days so the generic letdowns are usually easy enough to deal with. There are many reasons why our manuscripts get rejected…i.e. similar stories in the publishers existing lineup, not a good overall fit for the agency, not enough of a passionate connection for the agent or publisher to fight for it. That does NOT mean your story stinks, it just means it’s not right for that particular person. Remember the whole subjective thing I mentioned earlier? Keep that in mind and try not to take those letters personally.

 

REMEMBER PRIOR SUCCESSES

 

One of the ways is to make a conscious list of prior successes, no matter how small. Sometimes when there is a hurdle placed in front of us, it’s easier to think NOTHING has gone right. But even something as small as adding another paragraph to an existing story validates your worth as a writer and serves as a reminder that you are still heading in the right direction.

 

SHARE WITH OTHERS

 

Writing is a lonely occupation to begin with so when we get a rejection letter, it can be easy to think we are the only ones going through this. This may be the time to reach out to others who have experienced the same disappointment. See how they have dealt with the blues and come away better able to deal with that part of the publishing path we are all on. One word of caution though. Drawing on the loving support of this wonderful writing community is one thing…putting down or talking negatively about the person generous enough to review your manuscript and give their subjective opinion as to whether it’s right for them or not is unbecoming of a true writing professional and will always do more harm than good.

 

KEEP ON WRITING

 

Probably the most important thing to remember when you are feeling the rejection blues is to keep on writing. Every day. Your creativity and storytelling ability is a muscle which will atrophy if not used on a regular basis. It’s also proven the more you write, the better the chance you will improve your overall writing skill. If the rejection letter offers specific reasons as to why your manuscript was turned down, take the time to seriously consider the merits of the reasons. But no matter what, just like Dory in Finding Nemo, when it comes to your writing…just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

 

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STAR CATCHER CONTEST Prizes 10-13-19

STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST PRIZES

 

 

*** I’m WAIVING THE ENTRY FEE!!***

It’s now FREE to send your short stories in for a chance to be published in an anthology. 25 winners and 25 prizes! Tell all your young, writerly friends from ages 10-18 to check out the contest rules by clicking on the STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST tab above.

Hurry…entry deadline is Friday, November 15th!

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, will be released in November.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

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5 Ways To Avoid The Slush Pile

by Donna L Martin

 

No two words strike more fear in the heart of a writer than “slush pile”. And I think no two words cause more confusion for a writer as well.

Whether you are a newbie writer or established author, sometimes it’s hard to either figure out exactly what an agent or publisher wants to see in a subbed manuscript, or even what a slush pile is. So let’s clear up confusion number one…

What exactly IS a slush pile? Simply put, it’s where all manuscripts end up if they haven’t been specifically requested by an agent or publisher. No matter how fantabulous your story is, if the right person doesn’t request it, you’re still going to fight to make your way to the top of the stack..

So what’s a writer to do?

Bottom line, you want your story to have the best chance to catch the eye of that agent or publisher who will be so blown away by your stellar storytelling style they can hardly wait to mail that fat advance check to you, right?

Well, I can’t guarantee THAT, but I CAN tell you five ways to help you avoid swimming at the bottom of some poor publishing assistant’s “to read someday” stack. Here they are:

1. Writer’s Conferences…if you can afford it, conferences are one of the best ways to meet agents and publishers face to face. Publishing professionals are only human and that human connection, along with a perfectly polished pitch, might just be the thing to get a request for your manuscript.

2. Twitter Pitch Parties…participating in pitch parties like #PitchMas, #PitMad, and others are the next best thing to meeting agents and publishers face to face. Participating in a Twitter pitch party is a great way to network and possibly even meet your next future agent!

3. Agent Contests…entering contests like Miss Snark’s Monthly Secret Agent Contest at http://misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.com/p/secret-agent.html helps get your pitches out there where agents and publishers can see them. It only takes one well crafted pitch to entice them to ask for more.

4. Publishing Contests…there are literally hundreds of contests out there offering publication as part of the prize package. Valid sites to check out include the Poets & Writer’s list at http://www.pw.org/grants?gclid=COX1otb09sICFcKHaQod6SkAeA, or even specific submission sites like Creative Nonfiction at https://www.creativenonfiction.org/submissions.

5, Author Platform & Social Networking…the path to publication is long and rocky and weighed down in twisty curves to frustrate the newbie writer. Building a strong author platform to include a website or blog, Facebook Author Page, Twitter presence, Pinterest boards, etc. shows potential agents & publishers you are deeply committed to your craft and your career. Seek out the agents or publishers you are interested in and connect with them through social sites. Take the time to interact with them on their blogs, on Twitter and Facebook. One of those connections could eventually be just the thing you need to garner that coveted manuscript request.

There you have it. Publishing is a subjective business and as a professional writer, you must do your due diligence to make sure your manuscript has the best chance to avoid the dreaded slush pile.

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known secrets. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in this latest volume of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES!

In Book One, Ship of Dreams, ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers’ strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming soon to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

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Author Event Planning

by Donna L Martin

 

I’m already lining up author events for when HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams comes out so I have put together a list of ten things I need to keep in mind as I get closer to my book’s release date. Hopefully some of these ideas might help someone else as well…

1. If you have ready-made Event Flyers for the personnel at your event to hand two weeks in advance, it will help build momentum prior to your arrival. Include things like the title of your book, how they can purchase it, book cover with blurb, date & time of the event, and who to contact for more information.

2. Add a Bookmark to those event flyers and your audience will have information regarding pre-orders or even directing them to your website.

3. Plan a Talk instead of just a book signing. Interact with your audience to help them feel connected to what you have to offer.

4. What about holding your event somewhere other than a bookstore? Maybe at a local youth group community center? Or out in the open? The library closest to my house sits on the corner of a small park and there is a pavilion large enough to have a table, chairs and even displays with grassy areas for the audience to lounge on the ground picnic style.

5. Pair up the purchase of your book with something else…i.e. two for one sale. You might want to bundle your current book with an older one as a package deal. Or maybe if they purchase your picture book, you can include some illustrator coloring pages as well for free. 

6. Make sure you have a way to contact the people attending your event. Have a sign up sheet for email addresses and offer some type of incentive for providing that information. Maybe you already have a newsletter you send out just to your email subscribers. Maybe you have worked out a deal with your publisher to offer 10% off their purchase if they sign up to receive occasional emails from you.

7. Arrive an hour before your event and greet the store personnel. Thank them for their assistance in helping to create a successful event. If at a bookstore or other retail space, mill around and hand out copies of your event flyer. Encourage people to come by and visit with you later.

8. Make sure your local newspaper, radio, and TV stations know about your event. If your publisher doesn’t send press releases, make sure YOU do. A lot of media outlets have community boards or ways of getting the word out about local talent. Announce it on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and any other social sites you regularly participate in. Ask your friends to help get the word out about your event.

9. After the event send a thank you note to the person in charge of opening the doors to you in the first place. If your event was at a bookstore offer to come back at another time to autograph any pre-orders once they are delivered. It’s going the extra mile to impress them so you will get a return invitation for your next book!

10. Take a moment to make notes about your impressions of how things went. Even if you just sit in your car after loading things up, write down estimates of how many attended, if you know how many books were purchased or ordered, what kind of questions were asked, if the audience seemed engaged as well as things you might need to work on before your next event. If you wait until you are back home, you might forget something you really wanted to remember during the excitement of the day.

Anything I left off this list? What do YOU do to make your author events special? Let us know in the comments below…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known secrets. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in this latest volume of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES!

In Book One, Ship of Dreams, ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers’ strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

 

*************

 

donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

 

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IT TAKES A VILLAGE

by Donna L Martin

 

It’s incredible the number of things that need to be done before a book’s release. And I’m not even talking about the editing, revising, proofreading, illustrations, formatting, creating ebook files, or any of the other things I’m doing while I wear my publisher’s hat as Story Catcher Publishing so Book One, Ship of Dreams, from HISTORY’S MYSTERIES, a new historical fiction chapter book series for 9-11 year olds, can be released on October 14th of this year.

I’m thinking about how I as an author have to be prepared on my end for release day. This week I’m focusing on future book reviews of my manuscript. The Kidlit community is a wonderfully supportive group of incredible writers who are always willing to help spread the word about the next great children’s book. Reviews are a GREAT way for readers to show authors they value all the hard work we put into our stories. It even helps online sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc. to validate the hundreds of thousands of books being uploaded to these and other online retailers every year.

 


HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

If you are curious about my new children’s series, be sure and send me your email address! Starting on Monday, September 16th, I will be emailing a FREE PDF copy of Book One, Ship of Dreams, to anyone who would like to send me a request to donasdays (at) gmail (dot) com. Be sure to put Ship of Dreams PDF request in the subject line. It will be the same format readers will find in the ebook version. All I ask is that as a book reviewer, you read the entire book (80 pages) and then leave an HONEST REVIEW on Amazon for me. I will include the direct links to leave a review on Ship of Dreams in the email

 

Titanic front    s                        Titanic back

 

And for everyone who requests a PDF for review, your name will go into a drawing for a chance to win one of these commemorative Titanic coins for your very own! I will be giving away FIVE of these throughout the month of October to help celebrate the birth of my new children’s books series. I hope you will join me in the celebrations. There will be more surprise announcements and giveaways as we get closer to the October 14th release date!

I know some will like my book while others might not find it to be their cup of tea. But that’s okay! I value ALL reviews…positive and constructive…because I see validation of my work in the positive and challenges to improving the commercial appeal of my stories in the constructive. Always a lesson to be learned on that path to publication.

And I’ve even worked on a special classroom section from Amelia Earmouse for anyone who decides to purchase either the paperback or hardback versions! As a gift to all my readers, I will be loading some of those extra pages on my website (www.StoryCatcherPublishing.com) under an Amelia’s Kid’s Korner tab in the very near future. These handouts would be a great addition to any classroom discussion!

I’ve also listed some blogs and websites below who offer all types of book reviews. Some support the smaller presses, some are on a much larger scale but ALL have one thing in common…a deep, sincere love of books!

School Library Journal…http://www.slj.com/about-us/review-submissions
Publisher’s Weekly… http://publishersweekly.com/pw/corp/submissionguidelines.html
The Children’s Book Review… http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/media-kit/submission-guidlines
Bergers Book Reviews…http://bergersbookreviews.com
American Library Association… http://www.ala.org/offices/booklist/insidebooklist/booklistproc/proceduressubmitting
Kid Lit Reviews…http://kid-lit-reviews.com/policies-ratings-reviews/review-policies/
Kirkus Services…https://www.kirkusreviews.com/author-services/indie/
Midwest Book Review… http://www.midwestbookreview.com/get_rev.htm
YA & Kids Books Central… http://www.yabookscentral.com/info/10892-write-a-review
The Horn Book…http://www.hbook.com/about-us/submissions/
Book Page…http://bookpage.com/content/submission-guidelines
Booklist Online…http://www.booklistonline.com/get-reviewed
Association for Library Service to Children… http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/notalists/ncb/ncbsubmissions
Library Journal… http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/about/submitting-titles-for-review/
The New York Times… http://www.nytimes.com/content/help/site/books/books.html
Through The Looking Glass… http://lookingglassreview.com/books/
Kids Reads…http://www.bookreporter.com/book-submission-inquiry
Readers Favorite…https://readersfavorite.com/

What about you?

Do YOU have a children’s book blog? If so, I’d love to chat with you about possibly reviewing my book! Do you know of a book review blogs or websites to add to my list? If you do, please share in the comments below…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known secrets. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in this latest volume of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES!

In Book One, Ship of Dreams, ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers’ strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

 

*************

 


donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

 

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October is just around the corner and my historical fiction chapter book series, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES is almost a reality. So many things to cover before the big day. Getting the word out about my book is just one of them. Marketing comes in many forms and sometimes you need to get really creative to make sure your story isn’t lost in a sea of new releases. So I put together a list of some offbeat ideas for book promotions. It takes a little bit of moxie or gumption or assertiveness or whatever you might want to call it to approach some of these venues about doing a book event…i.e. reading, book signing, party, etc. You might have to help educate individuals on the benefits of allowing you to come into their establishment. Remember, it’s not about YOU and YOUR BOOK. It’s about THEM and WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM. The easier you make it for them to say YES, the more eager they will be to help you make your event a success. I like to call this my:

 

THINKING OUTSIDE THE CRAYON BOX MARKETING LIST

 

Teacher’s guides

Create your own set to post on your website and bring on school visits or hire someone like the talented Marcie Colleen (http://www.thisismarciecolleen.com/) to do it for you.

Hallmark stores

Why not offer to do a reading during the holiday season for free in exchange for being able to hand out bookmarks?

Street fairs

Check your city’s website for upcoming events and see if you can participate in any of them.

Farmers markets

Maybe they will allow you to set up a booth or hand out flyers

Gyms

Some facilities have a children’s room and some have monthly promotions for their members. Maybe you can work out a deal to do a children’s activity during a monthly membership drive?

Airports

Many airports have retail stores in them. Why not see if there is one carrying books and set up a time when you can be available for impulse buys and a book signing?

Art stores

Your book will have illustrations. Why not offer to do a reading and maybe even a coloring contest where you provide your book cover as the pages?

Art museums

Same as above or even have a contest where kids can interpret your book in some other art form? Have a contest, offer some small prizes and then do a reading/book signing afterwards.

Craft stores

Like the art stores or art museums, you could have a craft party where you tie in some simple craft with some aspect of your book. Make simple puppets, make a cool picture frame and color a copy of your book cover to place inside. Do a reading/book signing afterwards.

Church bazaars

Make up a basket for the silent auction, ask for a booth space, offer to provide a simple craft in exchange for handing out your book’s swag items

Community youth sporting events

Ask if you can hand out flyers, offer to volunteer a couple hours in exchange for being able to hand out bookmarks at the concession stand.

Coffee shops

If the coffee shop is inside a bookstore or places like Walmart, maybe you can create a giveaway like for every cup sold the customer gets their name added to the drawing. Hand out a two part entry form where they fill out the bottom but keep the top with your book information on it.

Special interests groups

My HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series will resonate with both middle elementary readers as well as people interested in historical events or even a little mystery.. Find professional groups in your city that might allow you to leave information about your book for their clientele.

Radio stations

Offer a coloring prize pack to the first ten people to call in. Oriental Trading (http://www.orientaltrading.com) has a great selection of inexpensive items for prize packs. Don’t forget to include your bookmark and business card.

You Tube online video contest

Have a contest where kids act out your story or tell why they like your book. Post the top five on your website and promote others through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. to vote on their favorite. Winner gets a prize pack including an autographed book.

Book pairing on website or Amazon

If you have more than one book, see if you can bundle them together and offer a discount for the package. Create a collection of 3 or 4 short stories or maybe a short Ebook on how kids can become writers and offer as a freebie with every purchase through your website.

Mail Chimp Newsletter

If you haven’t set up a link for visitors to subscribe to your blog, do it now! I use Mail Chimp (http://www.mailchimp.com). Not only is it simple to use, it offers an easy newsletter template where you can keep in touch with your subscribers.

Fast food restaurants

Where do you see a lot of kids? McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys! Why not chat with the manager and offer to host a little party at their place? It can be a tea party, an ice cream party, a coloring party, etc. They supply the food and maybe offer something like a free cone or drink to the first 50 kids to come in on that day.

Local kids events

Check your city’s online website for local kids events. Make contact with whoever is in charge and see if you can participate. Some of them will allow you to join for free if you offer some kind of door prize or incentive they can give away. It’s how I’ve gotten into the Children’s Festival of Reading for the past ten years for FREE and been in front of more than 12,000 people each year!

Daycares

Think of the number one place you will find kids outside of school? Daycare and afterschool visits can really boost the opportunities to get your books in front of your targeted audience. Suggest acting out your story, coloring contest, and don’t forget the flyers going home to parents announcing your upcoming visit. Offer a way to preorder your book so you can sign them the day of your event.

Cub Scouts

Look online for the different badges cub scouts can earn. Create a 90 minute “lesson” where scouts can participate to earn their badge. Call your local organizational leader and offer to visit any pack in the area who would like a free author visit. Break up your “lesson” into three parts…part one is where you read your book to them and answer questions, part two is where you do your main activity (scouts could have completed other parts of the badge requirements prior to your arrival) and part three is where YOU present the scouts who have completed all the requirements with their activity badge (provided by the den leader). Send flyers home prior with pre-order info and hand out bookmarks, autograph sold books, etc. after the event.

Girl Scouts

Same as the Cub Scout lesson details listed above.

Festivals

Neighboring towns might have festivals where the cost of gas might put you in front of hundreds of potential readers of your book.

Civic organizations

Think of how your book might tie into their interests. Since my series will focus on historical events and little mysteries, I will look for those groups to see how I might be able to participate in some of their events. Maybe they will allow my bookmarks to be handed out at their meetings. Maybe they will promote my book on their company blog or website. The worst they can say is no.

School carnivals

Don’t forget the annual school carnivals, health fairs, book fairs, etc. where you can possibly have a booth or at least hand out flyers about your book.

There are literally thousands of opportunities out there to market your book. If you can be creative in your stories, then surely you can be creative in the ways you promote them?

Let me know if you have tried any of these ideas before? What worked? What didn’t? What do I need to add to this list? Comment below…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)     HM The Chocolate Train Wreck front cover

SHIP OF DREAMS COMING IN OCT! CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK COMING IN NOV!

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

HOW KROGER HELPED MY MARKETING PLAN

by Donna L Martin

 

I woke up this morning wondering what I would write about today and for some reason my grocery shopping trip this past weekend popped into my head. I don’t know if you have a Kroger where you live, but it is one of the largest grocery store chains in my town. Over the years I’ve shopped at different stores depending on my mood and what sales were running. I’m not one of your “brand” shoppers. Or at least I didn’t think I was until it dawned on me this morning how subtle Kroger’s marketing plan has been to win me over and yet so “in my face”.

 

1. OFFER SOMETHING CONSISTENT

 

Kroger sends me an email every week tempting me with their latest specials. They aren’t shoving their wares down my throat but every week I know I can depend on that little email saying “hey, come take a look at what’s happening over in my corner of the world”. A writer serious about expanding their fan base can learn from that. If you have a blog then have a regular posting schedule and stick to it. It doesn’t matter what goes into that post as long as you are consistent about it. If your blog is a writer’s blog then don’t start writing about how you are crocheting your dear aunt a sweater for Christmas…unless of course you can tie that back to writing somehow. My blog has always been aimed at writing/seeing the positive side of things so I always make sure whatever I write falls under one of those two categories. I’ve written many blogs and if you look at any one of them you will find that is the driving theme in all of them.

 

2. OFFER SOMETHING TEMPTING

 

Every week Kroger offers a Free Friday coupon. They send me an email on Wednesday to tweak my interest about visiting their website on Friday to discover what the free coupon might be. The item doesn’t usually cost much…this week is was Marie Calendar’s Breakfast Pot Pie. Some weeks I’m not interested in picking up their free coupon but EVERY week I make sure I visit Kroger’s website because I don’t want to miss out on the possibility of treating myself to something free. Kroger doesn’t bang on my door and yell at me to buy their stuff. They simply send a friendly reminder saying, “we want to show our appreciation for your loyalty by offering you a gift as a way of saying thanks”. I don’t HAVE to take them up on their offer but in this day and age of rising costs and diminished customer service, even one small gesture like Kroger’s Free Friday coupon subtly reminds me why I like shopping there in the first place. I’m going to continue tweaking the look of this blog in the next few months and will be adding some free things as MY way of showing my appreciation for all the wonderful visitors who take a moment out of their busy days to stop by. Yes, it’s smart marketing but it also ties into the caring and sharing person I am so I’m excited about being able to do this for my readers.

 

3. OFFER A “BRAND” TO IDENTIFY WITH

 

There are many other grocery stores in my city…just now I thought of about six other companies offering basically the same thing…but when I need a loaf of bread I immediately think Kroger. For me, they have managed to capture my attention in such a way that their BRAND is seared forever into my brain when it comes to grocery shopping. I will still look at the other store’s ads but unless there is a HUGE difference in pricing, Kroger will see my smiling face every Saturday morning for many years to come.

I’ve been working on creating my own “brand” and the title of my books makes it somewhat easier. To me, Story Catcher Publishing is who I am…a writer trying to catch the right words to tell an engaging story. My new business cards show an open book…hopefully inviting future readers to stop by and take a peak.  My Facebook fan page is titled Story Catcher Publishing. I even have magnets on my car doors announcing I’m associated with Story Catcher Publishing and directing them back to this website. I’ve had those magnets on my car for about a year now and I’m many double takes and passing looks. People are pausing to read my sign and last week a server at the Burger King drive thru stopped and asked me about my sign. She told me her granddaughter loves to read and I told her about my book. Maybe she will pick up a copy of my latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, coming out October 14. 2019 and maybe she won’t, but I know if she sees my “brand” enough, she might decide it’s a brand worth being loyal to in the future…**

 

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HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams (Paperback)

Ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers' strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

$10.00

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 1th, 2019.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

 

books.jpg

 

When a book is newly released, the first thing an author might think of is to print up a bunch of bookmarks as a way to advertise their book. If I took a poll, bookmarks would probably be on every new author’s list of how to get the word out.

But that’s not the only way.

There are sooo many choices when it comes to marketing ideas that it can become overwhelming for a newer author to decide what will work and what won’t. Not only do you have to decide WHAT you want to put your book information on…i.e. swag items…but also WHERE do you want to promote those items. This week I will be looking at some swag items and other promotional ideas I will consider as I get closer to my release date for my historical fiction chapter book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams. Here is a list that will be helpful as general knowledge for self-published authors as well as those who might not have access to a marketing or publicity department through their own publisher.

 

Printing Companies

 

Vista Print…http://www.vistaprint.com
U Printing…http://www.uprinting.com
Print Runner…http://www.printrunner.com
P S Print…http://www.psprint.com
Mimeo Printing…http://www.mimeo.com
4 Imprint…http://www.4imprint.com
Oriental Trading…http://www.orientaltrading.com
Marco Promos…http://www.marcopromos.com

These are just some of the online companies offering ways to advertise my book. Some are quite cheap and others more expensive than my little budget will allow so I will get creative with my promotional ideas. Yes, I’m sure I will get my stack of bookmarks to advertise Ship of Dreams but here are some other ideas I might consider too. I will also keep in mind that ships are central to the story line and butterflies are part of my company signage as well.

 

Promotional Ideas

 

Hats
Tshirts
Ink pens
Pencils
Car Door Magnets
Foam Butterfly Stickers
Adhesive Labels
Silicone Bracelets
Business Card Magnets
Regular Business Cards
Full Color Badge Ribbons
Display Table Runners
Handle Bags
Butterfly Necklaces
Small Plush Butterflies
Butterfly Shaped Foldable Fans
Water Bottle Labels
Mini Flying Discs
Hi-Density Pulpboard Coasters
Corrugated Plastic Yard Sign
Indoor/Outdoor Banner
Emery Boards
Wooden Nickels
Temporary Tattoos
Balloons
Bumper Stickers
Hand Fans

As you can see the options are nearly endless when it comes to advertising my book. Will I be able to afford 500 tshirts with the Ship of Dreams printed brightly on each one? Probably not. But it’s my job as the author to lead the charge to promote my book and the future readers of my story probably don’t care that my budget is tiny. I’ll check what other authors are doing and make sure I give my book the best chance to succeed!

What have YOU used to advertise your books? What worked? What didn’t? Let me know in the comments below…

 

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HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams (Paperback)

Ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers' strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

$10.00

 

 

************

 

donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

hand

GETTING A HELPING HAND

by Donna L Martin

 

With my new historical fiction chapter book series, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES, coming out this Fall, I wanted to share a basic process a writer can follow to create a great story or even an entire series like I’m doing. Book One, Ship of Dreams, was an easy choice because EVERYONE loves the Titanic and I came across a historical event which happened about a month before the maiden voyage. If history would have altered its course just a wee bit, all those people may not have died.

 

STEP ONE: Pick A Topic

 

Book Two, Chocolate Train Wreck, was a little bit more challenging. I was given a lead on a historical event not many people know about or if they do, it didn’t much matter to them. But it matters to me. It is a fascinating moment in time and I know I HAVE to learn more about it.

The first thing a writer has to do when they are thinking about writing a non-fiction story is to select their topic. There are literally millions of possible ideas to begin a story. I chose this one event as my topic. It is interesting, involves children, and is shrouded in mystery. So now that I know what my story will be about, what do I do next?

 

STEP TWO: REACHING OUT

 

The foundation of non-fiction stories must come from extensive fact-based research. Publishers are not interested in risking their reputations with stories built on shifting sand. They need to know the books they print are based on facts and the more data a writer can provide, the better the chances their story will be accepted by agents and editors alike. Keeping that in mind I made a list of how I wanted to learn more about my topic.

 

GOOGLE…

 

I googled everything I could about this event. The event itself, the place where it happened, any people involved at the time, etc. I printed off copies of newspaper reports and made sure I documented my sources as I went along. I discovered only 5 or 6 small articles over the past 50 years covering this event and they generally say the same thing. This isn’t going to help me uncover as Paul Harvey used to say…the REST OF THE STORY. I knew I had to do something else.

 

STRANGERS…

 

I decided to reach out and ask strangers for help. I wrote to one of the names that I saw in the articles, explaining what I was hoping to do with my discovery of this historical event, and I waited. And waited. Until one day I received an email thanking me for my interest and suggesting I contact a local librarian.

 

EXPERTS…

 

I reached out again and this time I spoke to the librarian over the phone. She was a lovely lady who not only had a wealth of knowledge concerning this event, I also found out she was in charge of a small museum housed in part of her library dedicated to reminding people of what happened near her town. She graciously sent me a package containing pictures and other information about my topic that I would never have found through Google. And then she gave me a special gift. A name of someone who was a first hand witness. I didn’t want to seem too eager but decided to reach out again…

 

PRIMARY SOURCES…

 

The name I had been given belonged to a very elderly lady who has a very special connection to the event and after sharing a few emails with her, I have discovered we both seem to share a few special connections with each other as well. Some of the “coincidences” I have come across includes facts like my primary source has a daughter just a little bit older than me with the same name who published a children’s book years ago, she has a son who has lived near Knoxville for the past 30 years, and she has another daughter in the medical profession (my son is in the medical profession and he was born on the 33rd anniversary of this historical event). She put me in touch with her son (another primary source) who told me much more about the event and I am now trying to arrange for us to meet in person.

 

SECONDARY SOURCES…

 

I have also spoken to an editor on one of the newspapers serving this community and they graciously offered to run a “letter to the editor” as a way of a shout out for any other primary sources to be able to get in touch with me about my topic.

There is much more to be done but my first act of reaching out has opened many potential doors and all I have discovered on the other side are lovely people eager to answer my questions and help shed a light on a little known event. I chose to boldly go where no writer had gone before and my reward for reaching out was a connection with some wonderful people and the beginning of a foundation that will become Book Two, hopefully by November of this year.

I hope you will join me next week when I will show how I’ve decided to organize my research and how I plan to outline my story…

 

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donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.