Monday, February 8, 2016

Julius Lester on Multiple POV, Backstories, and Finding the Right Publisher

After reading Guardian, which I blogged about last week, I was curious about some of the choices Mr. Lester made while writing this thought-provoking book. I contacted him through Facebook and he graciously allowed me to post his answers here.

Carol: How did you decide to write this in the omniscient point-of-view? Or maybe it’s the narrator’s POV—I’m not sure. All I know is that it works incredibly well. As I struggle to write a book from two POV I wonder about the process you went through in writing this story. How did you determine that you would write it in such a way that you showed the thoughts, motivations, and fears of all the characters? You must have created intricate backstories for each, yet you convey them all in such simple sentences.

Julius Lester
Point of view. That's always the question, isn't it? But you're right. In this instance it is the narrator's point of view. If I'd told it from the point of view of just one character, what the reader would have thought about the other characters would have been from the point of view of the one character. I wanted to be fair to all the characters. I wanted the reader to experience each character as she or he saw themselves. I didn't want to take sides against any of my characters. And that was how I conceived the book from the outset. While the characters were presented from their points-of-view, their actions lead the reader to decide if they're good or evil. But I, as narrator/author, do not present them as good or evil.

Interesting that you mention doing back stories for the characters. I didn't. I worked out a chronology of how old they were and when, since the novel moves back and forth in time, and I may have made some notes about their physical appearances, but I tend to carry the back stories in my head, which is not something I recommend. It would be to my benefit to write down the back stories, but that takes time I'd rather spend working directly on the novel.

I'm pleased that you like the novel. Many years ago I wrote a piece for the Sunday Times Book Review in which I mentioned that I wished a white writer would write about a lynching from the point of view of the lynchers. None ever did, so I did. I may have mentioned this in the Afterword. Of course, the lynching in the novel is tame compared to many actual lynchings that took place. I could have made the novel unreadable if I had stayed just with the facts. It's ironic that people would find it revolting to read what black people actually suffered. Seems to me that the least we could do is read about it. But the book would not have been published. 

For your information, I gave Guardian to a black editor first. She wouldn't even present it to the publishing editorial board because she knew they'd turn it down. What disappointed me was that she wouldn't even fight for it. But, interestingly, the next editor who read it and accepted it was of Asian descent.  

For more information about Mr. Lester, see this interview. My review of Incognegro portrays another view of lynching. The art exhibit Without Sanctuary is a chilling exhibition of postcards about lynching in the United States. 

Guardian's "Author's Note" includes statistics on lynching (plus an interesting note about the etymology of the word); how that threat lived in Mr. Lester's consciousness as a young boy; how he was impacted by Emmett Till's brutal murder; and the history of how he came to write and publish Guardian (Harper Collins, 2008).  

Here is a line from a letter Mr. Lester wrote to George Woods, the children's book editor in the New York Times Book Review in 1970: "White writers are so dishonest. Seldom have they written what they could have and should have, which is the white side of racism. I'd like to see a children's novel about a little white boy who goes with his father to a lynching." (p. 125)

Lester goes on to say, "While the subject matter is a lynching, on a deeper level, this is a novel about identity. Whom and what we identify ourselves with determines our characters, determines who we are, and what we do. Whose opinion matters to you the most? When you know that, when you know whom it is you most care about pleasing, you know who are. We make choices every day that shape the content of our characters." (p. 127)
Mr. Lester's most recent
Facebook profile picture.
Besides being a prolific writer, Mr. Lester
is also a photographer and musician.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Guardian: A Book Review and a Writing Exercise

Congratulations to Sheri Levy who won Dorothy Price's picture book, "Nana's Favorite Things."

In November I reviewed Mississippi Trial, 1955  and analyzed a scene using questions that Rebecca Petruck posed to me. In this post I'm sharing an excerpt from another award winning book about the Jim Crow period, Guardian by Julius Lester. This time I'm analyzing it using questions from James Scott Bell's book, Plot and Structure.

A short but immensely powerful book, Guardian portrays a lynching as seen from the viewpoint of several characters most intimately effected by the man's murder. Here are seven of these characters:

Ansel Anderson- a 14-year-old white boy living in a small town in the south in 1946.

Bert Anderson- Ansel's father who operates Anderson General Store and helped Big Willie get his job.

Maureen Anderson- Ansel's mother.

Little Willie Benton- Ansel's black fishing buddy who works with Ansel at the General Store. 

Big Willie Benton- WWII vet suffering from (undiagnosed PTSD), Little Willie's father. He does odd jobs at Mary Susan's father's church. 

Mary Susan Dennis- the girl Ansel likes.

Zach Davis- Ansel's antagonist and town bully. Great-Grandson of the man who founded the town of Davis, son of the man who owns the largest plantation in the town as well as the store where Ansel's father works and the church where Mary Susan's father is the preacher. 

Through these multitude of lenses, yet told from the narrator's present tense viewpoint, Mr. Lester has interwoven a story full of deep prejudice and misunderstanding. It is an unconventional style which works well for this topic. The reader intimately sees each character's motivations, fears, and beliefs and feels his or her emotions.

James Scott Bell writes: "A novel usually revolves around a few big scenes. These act like guideposts as the novelist moves from one to the other up through the climax." (p.127) The scene you are about to read happens three-quarters of the way into the book and is one of the big scenes in Guardian. Bert and Ansel have just left their store. 

As father and son cross the street to the car, they see Big Willie hurrying out the front door of the church. He looks quickly to his right and left, and seeing Bert and Ansel, he runs to them. 

"Mistah Bert, suh! I'm glad it's you. Yes, suh!" Willie is a tall and rather ungainly young man. His face looks as if it absorbed every death he witnessed, those he was agent of and those he was not. He is wearing a khaki military shirt with a private's stripe on the sleeve. But the shirt is dirty and torn, as if he has not taken it off since his discharge. 

"Wasn't me, Mistah Bert. No, suh! I didn't have nothing to do with it, but I know I'm gon' get blamed for it. Something like this happen, nigger gets blamed every time. Yes, suh. Sho' do. But I ain't done it." 

"What are you talking about, Willie?" 

Willie points toward the church. "I seen him. I seen him just as sho' as I'm seeing you and Mistah Ansel. Yes, such. The young Mistah Zeph." 

Bert hurries to the church and goes inside. In the dim light at the front, he sees and does not want to believe what he sees. 

"Ansel! Go outside!" 

Instead of doing what his father tells him, Ansel says, "Papa? What's he doing?" 

Zeph Davis the Third turns at the sounds of the voices. In his right hand is a knife. It is slick with blood. On the floor in front of the alter lies a body, the skirt raised to reveal her nakedness. 

Ansel does not wait for an answer from his father, who is still trying to understand what he is seeing. Ansel screams, "Mary Susan! Mary Susan!" and runs to the front of the church. He stops and stares at her nakedness. Then, realizing what he is doing, he pulls down the skirt to cover her. 

In doing so, he sees a ripped blouse and severed bra. The exposed breasts are red and slick with blood.  

He wants to stare, but feels that he shouldn't, that Mary Susan would not want him to. 

He takes the blood-soaked blouse and pulls both sides over her bared breasts, careful not to touch them. 

Zeph looks rapidly from Ansel to Bert, back and forth, back and forth, breathing heavily, not knowing what to do, what to say. 

Then he sees Big Willie in the shadows at the back of the church.

"He did it!" Zeph hours, pointing at Big Willie. "He did it!" 

"Mistah Bert? Suh, look at me. Ain't no blood nowhere on me. Look at him. He covered with blood, her blood." 

"You know niggers, Bert!" Zeph breaks in. "They do all kinds of stuff with roots. That nigger probably got a mojo that can take blood off his hands." 

"I seen him, Mistah Bert. I seen him. I was up in the balcony. I likes to sit up there when no one's around. It's real peaceful. 

"That's where I was when the preacher's girl, Miz Mary, come in. I wanted to leave right then 'cause I knowed it wouldn't look good if I was alone in the same place with a white woman. But wasn't no way I could get out without her hearing. Seeing' me, she might get the wrong idea and start screaming. So I just stayed still. 

"She went to the altar and knelt down to pray. I wondered what could be weighing so heaving on the heart of someone as young as she was. If she'd been a nigger gal, I could understand. Us niggers need all the prayer we can get. Yes, suh. 

"Miz Mary hadn't been there long when I heard the door of the church open and he come in. I thought maybe the two of them had decided to meet up together at the church, but when she turned around to see who it was had come in and seen it was him she say, 'What do you want? You get on outta here and leave me alone. I'm praying.' 

"He don't pay no mind to what she say. He go up to her and grab her try to kiss her. She push him away. She say, 'Get away from me or I'll kick you so hard you won't be able to move for a month.' 

"That's when he whipped out his knife and before she could do anything, he was on her, stabbing her over and over. Then I seen him raise up her skirt, and I didn't want to see no more. Mistah Zeph was so caught up in what he was doing that he didn't see me, and I hurried out and that's when I seen you and your boy. That's the God's truth, Mistah Bert. You believe me, don't you? You'll tell the white folks it wasn't me. Won't you Mistah Berth?" 

"Who you going to belive, Bert? A nigger or a white man?" 

Zeph notices that Bert is hesitating, that Bert is thinking about what the right thing to do is, and Zeph drops the knife on the floor next to Mary Susan's body, runs up the aisle and out of the church. 

"Rape! Rape! Pastor's daughter been raped by a nigger!" Zeph is running and yelling at the same time. Over and over he shouts and the only words that are clear are "rape" and "nigger." pp. 71-75.


Mr. Bell asks:

Was this an action scene? No question. This scene demonstrates high intensity with "tremendous conflict, important emotions, sharp dialogue, and inner turmoil." (Bell, p.128)

Identify the places where you learn about the character's objective in the scene and the conflict:

  • Big Willie's speech when he meets Ansel and Bert show how he wants his name cleared. That is repeated  at the close of the scene bookending his desperation. Conflict roars to life through Zeph's false accusation. 
  • Entering the church, Ansel wants to see what has disturbed his father. His internal conflict in seeing Mary Susan is demonstrated in his actions.
  • Zeph's anger at being rebuffed again (this is not the first time Mary Susan rejects him) leads to his objective: revenge. His conflict is visible in his brief hesitation after his sociopathic behavior. 
  • Bert wants not to see what is plain before his eyes. Afterwards, he also hesitates, showing his internal conflict. 
How does the scene end?

Zeph leaves the church and "Over and over he shouts and the only words that are clear are 'rape' and 'nigger.' The reader knows that this certainly means disaster for Big Willie and sets up the scenes which, like soldiers falling in battle, will surely follow. 

Do you want to read on? 

I'm going to leave this question up to you. Even though you have a strong sense of what's going to happen next, are you pulled into the next scene? Why or why not?

Jim Bell writes, " need to end scenes with a prompt, something to make readers turn the page...Don't ever let your scenes fizzle out, ending on a boring note." (p. 124).

It seems to me, that Julius Lester has done just that. 
On next week's blog, Mr. Lester shares some personal insights into writing Guardian.

For more information on making your scenes intense, download these handouts from Lorin Oberweger, founder of Free Expressions

Scene Response Sheet

High Temperature Plotting Sheet

Monday, January 25, 2016

You Heard it Here First: Introducing Dorothy Price's Debut Picture Book and a Giveaway

Congratulations to Clara Clark for winning Sandra Warren's book, WE BOUGHT A WWII BOMBER.

As many of you know, one of the things I enjoy about blogging is sharing other author's news. This week I am happy to introduce Dorothy Price who endeavored to break into the picture book market for years. I first met Dorothy when I led the Charlotte, NC SCBWI critique group and read this book in its infancy. I am delighted to have Dorothy tell us about her very personal path to publication.

CAROL: What was the genesis of NANA'S FAVORITE THINGS? Was there a particular event in your life that led you to writing about a grandmother with diabetes? 

DOROTHY: The story began in 2011 when my 7-year-old daughter, Sanai, helped my mother bake her famous pumpkin and zucchini breads. As the first grandchild, she and my mom formed a strong bond over cooking and baking. 
Sanai Price with her grandmother, Annie Henderson
CAROL: How many drafts did you go through before you submitted NANA'S FAVORITE THINGS? What was that process like? 

DOROTHY: There were too many drafts to count! I learned that a story isn't as strong as it can be unless you have multiple drafts. I brought the story to my SCBWI critique group and from there, it went through several rounds of edits. After each critique group meeting, I felt like it was getting stronger, but none of the agents I submitted it to offered representation. By the end of 2012, after my last round of submissions, I put it away and moved on to writing something new. 

CAROL: Speaking of SCBWI, how has it been a part of your journey to be a published writer? 

DOROTHY: I always say I didn't really become a kidlit writer until I joined the SCBWI in 2010. I began writing kidlit in December 2008 after a traumatic experience, but the stories I wrote between 2008-2010 were created before I learned the picture book writing craft. Nancy Krulik is responsible for my joining the SCBWI. It was at her South County Library author visit in October of 2010, amidst a host of children, that I waddled over to her (I was 7 months pregnant with my son) and asked what advice she had for aspiring writers. She immediately said ... "Join the SCBWI!" I am forever grateful to her for that advice. I would love to meet her again and tell her, thank you!

CAROL: I love that story, Dorothy! On another track, do you have an agent?

DOROTHY: Not yet, but I do have an agent who expressed interest in another completed picture book. I submitted to her in September 2015, and she responded in December, but still no contract. 

CAROL: How did you find Eifrig Publishing? How many publishers did you query before you found them? 

DOROTHY: I only submitted NANA'S FAVORITE THINGS to a few publishers. I found Eifrig on Twitter after following kidlit, picture book, and other literary hastags from authors, agents, and publishers. Those hashtags lead me to Penny Eifrig, the owner of Eifrig Publishing. (Click here for submission information.)

CAROL: Did your editor ask for any changes? 

DOROTHY: Yes! I submitted to Penny in the spring of 2013. I didn't hear back from her until October 2013. She had a few suggestions for how to make Sasha's character stronger by having her come up with more ways to help her nana. Of course I brought the story back to my SCBWI critique group for advice, and submitted the revised version back to Penny in December 2013. I heard back from her in January 2014 and she explained that her list was full, but she was still interested in the story. I didn't hear back from her again until April 2014 when she said she wanted to move forward with publishing the book!

CAROL: How long did it take from initial concept to publication? 

DOROTHY: Roughly five years. 

CAROL: What are your hopes for this book? 

DOROTHY: Since this book is based on personal experience, my hope is that it begins to create a dialogue about diabetes in all communities. A number of my close family members have died from diabetes complications, so I have seen firsthand how devastating this disease can be. My mom actually has diabetes, but because of her lifestyle changes, she does not take insulin. She exercises and maintains healthy eating habits which has contributed to her stable health. I would like people to know that diabetes is a preventable disease, if you're willing to make some lifestyle changes. 

CAROL: What’s next? 

DOROTHY: My book launches on February 8, 2016. My first book signing is at Park Road Books on February 20 in Charlotte, NC. 

Overall, I am extremely grateful for Penny Eifrig and TeMika Grooms who illustrated the book. The journey was long, but well worth it! 
Dorothy is wife to one, mother to two, and writer of picture books. Of all her grownup jobs, teaching high school English was her favorite. Aside from jumping rope, running, and spending time with her family, reading books is one of her  favorite things to do!

"Sasha loves to shoot hoops and ride her bike. Those are her favorite things to do. But she also enjoys her Nana’s yummy treats. One day, Sasha learns her Nana has diabetes and can no longer eat the tasty snacks they have baked together over the years. With quick thinking, Sasha comes up with a clever plan to help her Nana become more active and healthy. Before long, Sasha and Nana realize they both have some new favorite things."

To enter for a chance to win this engaging and informative picture book, please leave a comment by 6 PM on Thursday, January 28. If you're new to this blog, please leave your email address also. Share this on social media (and tell me in the comment) and I'll enter your name twice. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

We Bought a WWII Bomber: A Review and A Giveaway

Congratulations to Dorothy Price who won an autographed copy of Kiss of Broken Glass.

Here are three observations about WE BOUGHT A WWII BOMBER by North Carolina author, Sandra Warren:

1. Sandra did a great deal of research. The amount of details in this book for adults and teens is reflected in the extensive bibliography. 

2. Today's teenagers are different than the patriotic, self-sacrificing teenagers who lived seventy years ago. Those students learned how to live with shortages of food, how to collect materials that could be re-purposed for the war effort, and willingly participated in scrap metal drives and rationing. Would we see that type of commitment and patriotism today?

3. I knew that Kate and Lillie, the protagonists in my book, Half-Truths, would have been in elementary school during World War II. Reading this book made the time period come alive for me and helped me think more deeply about how those shortages affected them.

WE BOUGHT A WWII BOMBER is the story of a dedicated group of junior and senior high students who raised more than $375,000 by selling War Bonds and War Stamps to purchase a B-17 bomber. The story begun in 1942 by a quiet student, Arthur Blackport, when he suggested that his fellow students at South High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan work together to purchase a Flying Fortress. 
Arthur Blackport
Not only did the students raise enough money to purchase the bomber, 
Queen La Vonne Kronberg, Col. A.C. Faulk
Mr. Henry Mulder, Mr. Harry Brown

but they also successfully raised money to buy an advanced trainer plane,
Queen LaVonne Kronberg, Jean Endless, Velma Kling, Lucille Hice
Barbara Northway, Margaret McCarthy AT-6A Advanced Trainer

as well as two disaster vehicles (which were a combination canteen, ambulance, and hospital car), and sixty-three fully equipped landing barges. 
U.S. Army Signal Corps photograph
Gift in Memory of Maurice T. White
Collection of the National WWII Museum
After the bomber was officially christened and flown off, the students wondered what happened to it. "How many battles had it won? How many German or Japanese planes had it destroyed?" (p. 49)

For seventy years no one knew what happened to the plane. The students heard rumors, but no facts. But in 2012, at her Class of 1962 fiftieth South High reunion, a remark which Sandra Warren made about "Searching for the Spirit" prompted a fellow classmate, Joe Rogers, to start digging for the truth. 

Joe uncovered the fate of "The Spirit of South High" which enabled Sandra to write this story. 
WWII USAAF aviation plug socket FOUND by
John Reynolds, May 3, 2015 at the crash site,
Meadows of Dan, Virginia

Click here for a FOX news interview with Sandra Warren about the book. 

Sandra's attention to detail made this period come alive for me and I hope the book will inspire you. I am happy to give away my autographed copy of WE BOUGHT A WWII BOMBER. Please leave me a comment by 6 PM on Thursday, January 21 and your email address if you are new to this blog. PLUS--if you are in or near Central Florida, Sandra is speaking at the World War II study club on January 29 at the Colony Recreation Center in The Villages from 1-3 PM. Come on by and meet the author!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Kiss of Broken Glass: A Review and a Giveaway

Image-driven poetry. 
A serious mental health issue. 
Deep point of view. 

Madeline Kuderick's debut novel, Kiss of Broken Glass, reminds me of another beautifully written novel-in-verse, Linda Phillips' book, CRAZY.

Or to put it simply, if you liked CRAZY, you'll like Kiss of Broken Glass

When a "friend" finds fifteen-year-old Kenna cutting in the school bathroom and rats on her, Kenna finds herself "Baker Acted" (i.e., involuntarily committed to a psychiatric ward for 72 hours). 

The first morning Kenna meets the other teens on the ward and the group therapist, Roger. 

I start to fixate on the paper clip stuck to Roger's folder.
The one with all those shiny, sharp possibilities.
I imagine the clip uncurling, transforming,
becoming straight and strong and stiff,
just like an arrow. 

A few beads of sweat form on my neck
near the vein that beats faster every time
something really good or really scary is about to happen.

I bet I can swipe the clip when Roger isn't looking,
and I have to bite the inside of my cheek
so nobody sees how excited that idea makes me. 

Then I remember what Donya said.
How they can keep me here
even longer than 72 hours
for something as lame as a paper cut. 

So I sit on my hands
and try to get a song stuck in my head instead,
and send screaming telepathic messages to Roger
to put that freaking paper clip away
before the click, click, click
shoots a bullet in my brain. (p. 24-25)

From that moment, the reader is immersed in Kenna's inner turmoil about an addiction she jokes about, "It's kind of like a club, I say. Sisters of the Broken Glass," (p. 23) and pretends she can quit at any time.

Kenna's favorite place at school is the bathroom where she can draw and be alone:

It's okay to be myself 
in that handicapped stall,
even if being me feels
sort of like a blank piece of paper.

I don't have to come up
with any colorful lies in there,
or force a smile until my cheeks hurt,
or roll up my long cotton sleeves,
and show off my scars,
just to fit in. (p.41)

Cutting is an endorphin riddled high. 


The skin tears
and I feel this rush
swirling in my brain
like a waterspout.

A finger-tingling

And the pain doesn't feel like pain
but more like energy
moving through my body
in waves.


Purging all the broken bits out of me

like a tsunami washing debris to the shore. (p.65)

While Kenna wrestles with guilt, she is also aware that she doesn't have a huge, deep dark secret causing her actions. She realizes that her main motivation is to be accepted by the gang of girls in her school who cut themselves. 

She uses her one phone call to call Rennie, the girl who is the head of the gang. Rennie picks up the phone.

And then I hear her.

"This better be good."

Her words are like punches
knocking the breath out of me.
I want her to say:

OMG! Are you okay?
This is sooooo unfair!
Are they going to let you out soon?
Everybody misses you like crazy.

But something's off.

"I just wanted to talk," I say.

"So talk," she answers.

I hear water running and someone giggling
in the background. Then Rennie sighs,
like she's bored with me already.

"Look. The school's on high alert," she says.
"A message went home telling parents to be
on guard for the Top Ten Signs of Self-Harm
and now every mom in Manatee County
is searching for scissors under the bed
and taking inventory of their Band-Aid boxes."

I hear the phone chasing hands
and another voices jumps on the line.

"You can't even get a plastic knife
in the cafeteria thanks to you." (p.131,2)

As crushing as that phone call is, it is also an eye-opener for Kenna, as she begins to see the lies she had begun to believe. She also admits to herself,

I need help.

And I wouldn't say it feels
like a huge first step.
Not in the Mount Everest way
that Skylar said it would.

But it definitely feels 
like something.

And just for a second,
a swirl of promise
tickles up inside me.

And I feel calm.
Without the guilt.  (p.198)

The book doesn't end syrupy sweet, but it does end with honesty and hope. When her family comes to pick her up Kenna says,

And it's not like I get
all happy ending-ish
and ride off into the sunset
or some crap like that.

But I do feel like I have a choice.
Like a fork in the road or whatever.

I just hope 937 Things to Do Instead are enough.

Because to tell you the truth,
I could go either way. (p.201)

Madeline Kuderick wrote Kiss of Broken Glass the year following her daughter's involuntary commitment under Florida's Baker Act for cutting. Kenna was in sixth grade when she found herself surrounded by teens who cut themselves and as Madeline wrote in the Author's Note: "She tried it, experimentally at first, but was soon drawn into the strangely addictive allure of the blade." 

The book ends with two pages of resources. If you know someone who is struggling with self-harm, this book may be their first step towards hope and help. 

I met Madeline at the SCBWI Florida mid-year conference and was excited to have her autograph a copy of her book. I'm offering Kiss of Broken Glass as my first giveaway of 2016 and hope that it'll eventually land in the hands of a teen who needs to know she's not alone.  

Leave me a comment by noon on January 14th to be entered into this giveaway. If I don't have your email address, make sure you leave it too. 

Everything You Wanted to Know About Social Media But Didn't Know Who to Ask

My apologies if you receive this blog twice. I’ve had some issues with feed burner and am trying to correct them.  In case I still don't have it resolved on January 4, I blogged about my focus for 2016 and wanted to hear what yours was. On January 11 I reviewed and offered Madeline Kuderick's debut novel, Kiss of Broken Glass as a giveaway. Please hang in there with me while I get this ironed out! Thank you and make sure you check out this week's giveaway!
For those of you who are outside the SCBWI-Carolinas region you may not know Joan Y. Edwards, our regional "go to" person when members have questions about blogging and social media. She generously agreed to answer some of my questions about Facebook, Twitter, and blogging. PLUS she is giving away a critique of 1000 words, a pitch and a query OR a blog consultation to one of you! Today we'll start by learning how to link Facebook Pages to Twitter accounts. Next week Joan will discuss more about blogging. 
What kind of Facebook page can you link to Twitter?

If your Facebook profile post is marked public, you can share it
with Twitter. Most of us only share our posts from 
our Facebook profile pages with our friends. These are NOT public. 
After you have a regular Facebook profile page, you can add a special page, such as an author page, an illustrator's page, a blogger's page, or a business page which are all public and anyone can see what's posted on it. THESE public pages can be linked to Twitter. If you like a person's public page, then it goes into your friends timeline so they can see it when they click on their home page.

Here's a link to explain more:

How do you link a Facebook page to Twitter?

If you manage a Facebook page, you can share updates on your Twitter account with your Twitter followers, and you can control what type of updates you'd like to share: status updates, links, photos, notes, events. If you have multiple pages, you have the option to link each of these pages to different Twitter accounts. 

Here are directions to post automatically from Twitter to Facebook page:

How do you link from your personal profile page to your author page? 

1. Click on the share button.
2. There are six places you can choose to share:
    1. Share Now (Friends) It goes immediately to your friends.
    2. Share (if you click on this middle share, it takes you to five more choices. If you choose:
On your timeline. When you click on this, it goes immediately to your timeline.
On a friend’s timeline. (Type in their Facebook name, their name should pop up, click on their name. Then write a note in the box with “Say Something about this...” Click on the Share Link button on right hand side below the link.
In a group. (Type in the name of the group and choose it when Facebook pops the name up. For instance, if you type in To Market To Market, the whole group name should pop up. You have to click on the name when it pops up. Then write a note in the box with “Say Something about this...” Click on the Share Link button on right hand side below the link.
On a page you manage. It will have the name of the page. If you have more than one page you manage, you can click on the down arrow to see other pages. Click on the page you want to which you want to post. Then write a note in the box with “Say Something about this...” Click on the Share Link button on right hand side below the link.
In a private message. When you click on this, it has a box with TO and the word names. Click on names and type the person’s name there. You will see a box with “Say Something about this...” above the link. Type your message to go with the link. Click Share link button on right hand side below the link.

What are the advantages of people liking your Facebook author page? 

Here's a great article on that:
Joan Y. Edwards is author/illustrator of picture book, Flip Flap Floodle. Her Never Give Up blog has over 300,000 views and over 330 subscribers. She presented a "Blogging Basics" workshop at the 2012 SCBWI-Carolinas Conference in Charlotte and two workshops at the 2014 SCWW (S.C. Writers Workshop) Conference in Myrtle Beach: "Get Your Blog Going and Make It Stand Out" and "How to Add Pizzazz to Your Blog." Two of her books are scheduled for release in 2016: Joan's Elder Care Guide and Larry, the Terrifying Turkey

Blogger or Word Press? Joan Edwards Highlights Some Differences

Congratulations to Connie Saunders for winning a critique from Joan. 

As I said in last week's post, Joan Y. Edwards, is the SCBWI-Carolinas regional "go to" person when members have questions about blogging and social media. In this post Joan explains how to get the most out of your blog as well as the difference between Blogger and Word Press. PLUS she is giving away another critique of 1000 words, a pitch and a query OR a blog consultation to one of you! 

How can bloggers get the most out of their blogs?

What can I do to ensure that my blog is noticed in a very crowded blogosphere?

Choose a theme or template that's attractive and reflects your personality and/or interests. Make sure you have a column for your posts, plus a sidebar for:

  * A picture of you
  * Most popular blog posts
  * Latest blog posts
  * Either at the top or in the sidebar you can put pages/tabs that remain the same all the time. On my blog, I list "Pub Subbers, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4 and About Me" all the time in view. I also list them in the sidebar (column on right).

  * When you first begin your blog fix everything you want so it’s done one time.

       Carol's Thoughts: Think about who your audience is as you write your posts. What information are they looking for? What can you provide that other blogs don't? Joyce Hostetter taught me the importance of including pictures as much as possible. 
Joan's first chapter book is coming out next year!

How are WordPress and Blogger the same?
  *You can add pictures and videos on both.
  * You can choose sizes and colors of fonts. 

  *  Both have a place to put keywords, topics, and phrases which, are extremely important. (Blogger calls these "labels.") When people put a keyword, or topic into a search engine, if it’s in your blog, you'll show up as a possible source for information about that topic. For example, if you search for "publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts" you'll find my blog post, "32 Publishers Who Accept Unsolicited Manuscripts." Your goal is to be at the top of the search engine list when someone searches for a topic.
   * Both have additional services that you can add to your blog. WordPress calls them “widgets;” Blogger calls them “gadgets.”

What are the differences between WordPress and Blogger?

       * WordPress calls their blog designs “themes.” Both Blogger and WordPress have portfolio or magazine style templates.

   * WordPress may put ads on your blog. On Blogger you may have to request GoogleAdSense to place ads on your blog. They check your ad ratings. If you have a high number of readership, GoogleAdSense will put ads on your blog and pay you when people click on them. You can find more information here.

    * On WordPress, you can fix the settings so that after you approve one comment from a person, all of their emails will be approved.

     * WordPress has a spam filter called Akismet to block emails from people who spam your blog. You can fix its settings so none of them are deleted until you dump them. Akismet does a great job of catching people who just want to put a comment with links to websites to purchase something.

     * Instead of a spam filter, Blogger uses Captcha, which lately has you click and say you’re not a robot. I don’t like the Captcha that makes you type the same letters and numbers as they have in their little box. Sometimes I can’t tell whether they are capital or lower case letters and may 3 or 4 tries. Sometimes I get frustrated and leave the blog without leaving a comment. Here’s a blog post about Captcha alternatives

Elegant themes compares WordPress and Blogger here

What are some other resources you'd like to share with my readers?

    * To Market To Market for Bloggers, Writers, and Illustrators is a public Facebook group for self-promotion. Members congratulate, encourage, and inspire each other share each other’s links. Share a link about your books, blog posts, and events (webinar, book launches, book signings, guest appearances, parties). Join on the group page

   * Pub Subbers Yahoo Group encourages members to submit a manuscript often with automated reminders of the necessary steps to get ready to submit: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4. To join, email
Please leave me a comment by December 30th and I will enter your name to win your choice of a 1000 word critique (plus evaluation of your pitch and query) or a critique of your blog. If you are new to my blog, please leave your email address also.

Joan’s Elder Care Guide Release 2016 4RV Publishing, empowers you, the caregiver to meet your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social needs and those of your elder to promote healing, well-being, and survival. Based on the author’s research and fourteen year’s experience caring for her mother, it provides resources to find the right place for your elder to live, explains ways to improve communication to find solutions, and gives organization ideas for medical, financial, insurance, and legal documents. It offers ways for a caregiver to get time away from caregiving."

Joan Y. Edwards is author/illustrator of picture book, Flip Flap Floodle. Her Never Give Up blog has over 300,000 views and over 330 subscribers. You can find her on Facebook or Twitter @joanyedwards and @tomarketsuccess.