Teachers Write 8/14/13 Q and A Wednesday

Good morning!  It’s hard to believe, but today is our last Q and A Wednesday of Teachers Write 2013. Our official guest authors are no strangers – Margo Sorenson and Erin Dealey have promised to come by to answer questions – and I’m sure we’ll have plenty of other folks coming by as well.

Got any last questions you’d like to ask our team of volunteer authors?  Fire away!

Teachers & librarians – Feel free to ask your questions in the comments.  It’s fine to ask a general question or to direct one directly to a specific guest author. Our published author guests have volunteered to drop in and respond when they can.

Guest authors – Even if today isn’t a day you specifically signed up to help out, feel free to answer any questions you’d like to talk about.  Just reply directly to the comment.

16 Replies on “Teachers Write 8/14/13 Q and A Wednesday

  1. Good morning!
    I have a couple questions:

    How do you approach marketing your books? How do you start or how do you know where to go for ideas? Which strategy has worked for you?

    And, what do authors expect from teachers when you come to visit our schools?


    1. Andrea, hi 🙂 This is such a HUGE question, this marketing question. one that authors struggle with all day long. I’m going to look later for a few great posts I’ve read on the subject and I’ll post them on my fb author page. As for how/ideas, etc. the best thing is probably to try to join a group of other debut authors when you are one — I was a member of The Class of 2K11 and it was invaluable to bounce ideas off of one another and band together to help one another. As for the teacher question, I think it’s really important for the teacher to stay in the primary role of keeping the class focused and on task and giving the author a good idea of what the teacher hopes the class to get out of it. Some of us are good at just rambling, sure, but for me it always works better if the teacher tells me what she’s hoping the class will walk away from the experience learning: e.g. specifics, say, about the connections between my book and Of Mice and Me vs. general writing tips and the importance of revision vs. hosting a creative writing exercise and encouraging writers to be brave and free in their writing, etc. Each goal gives me as the author a different focus, and I take a different path. Hope that helps.

        1. 🙂

          Thanks Gae! I’ll have to remember to go onto to fb and check out the links. All your suggestions about goals for visit are helpful. And, you brought up something I just don’t know that much about. I know, probably a silly question, but can you explain more about “Class of 2K11”? I know I’ve seen it before, and I have an idea, but just wondered where the term came from and what it really means. Thanks for being patient!

          1. The Class of classes started in 2007 with Rebecca Stead and Jay Asher in the group I think, and this was their description: “The Class of 2k7 is a group of first-time children’s and YA authors with debut books coming out in 2007. We’re helping to promote each other’s books with this joint Class of 2k7 website as well as a collective blog, newsletter, forum, chatroom, and brochure. Our authors hail from 20 states and D.C. representing an extensive range of genres and publishers.” Basically, the Class of groups are debut authors who band together to cross promote/market/and just emotionally support one another (each new class is mentored by the class before). In order to join, you have to be a debuter and be getting published by a major or traditional publisher. Tons of other groups have started up like the 2K Classes now, so there are a lot of places to go to try to get support and share in the journey with other new authors. I know our Class of ’11 had a really special bond. We STILL share weekly emails giving updates, celebrating and crying when the shoe fits. 🙂

  2. Good morning, Andrea and all campers! I now have a babysitting gig with the Adorables (hurray!), which was unscheduled, so I’ll try to pop in and answer questions when I can — when I’m not getting hugs! To answer your question, Andrea, marketing my books, as it is for most of my author friends, a matter of being aware of who might enjoy reading them. My various publishers have marketing plans and I have my own lists of “to do’s” which include notifying publications I’m involved with and professional contacts. Mostly, it’s fun, though, of course all of us would rather be writing and meeting young readers! What I like to see when I visit a school is that the kids have been prepared by being familiar with my books. That is key, because it can make the visit so much more meaningful for them. Other than that, I just like to see all their bright and shining faces and field their enthusiastic questions. Aloha!

  3. Hi there! I have a question about the passage fo time. My MG WIP takes place over three months. Any advice for how to best skip a week so I don’t sound like a play by play? (Hope my question is clear!) Thank you 🙂

    1. It’s a great question, Jessica, one I struggle with. One way is to sort of do a non-self-conscious announcement of say a day or other fact that would indicate time passed in between. So, for example in Summer of Letting Go, if a chapter was taking place on a Monday of the week before fourth of July and then the next chapter is several days later, I think I started that next chapter something like this: “Saturday, and fireworks pop all day like crazy.” So we get some sense of several days passing without making a big deal or ticking off stuff. Another way could be to start in the present action a few weeks later, then pepper in some flashbacks of anything that needs to be covered. “Joe and I stand at the pizza parlor eating a pepperoni slice. Five days ago, I was talking to Maddy and only dreaming he might ask me out.” That let’s the reader know time passed, then you could toss in a scene with her and Maddy trying to instigate the call with Joe or whatever, I think you get the gist? Does that help at all? The best way is probably to pay attention to how other authors do it successfully in their books, because it’s pretty common to need time to pass, right? Curious to hear the other answers… 🙂

    2. Hi, Jessica — I have a lot of time shifts in my books. Some of the ways you can handle these are: having your characters discuss what happened, or, having an incident happen during which your characters can refer to what occurred in the past. From my own revision trials 🙂 I can say that sometimes,it’s best to do it in real time. Have fun writing! Aloha 🙂

  4. Oh my–I dropped the ball on this one. So sorry! Looks like Gae was here to represent quite well.

    By the way, I was about to read THE PULL OF GRAVITY when my sister-in-law the hs English teacher “borrowed” it… She gave it a thumbs up for the OF MICE AND MEN references and the nod to Robert Burns. Now it’s my turn to read it! : )