One afternoon we took a tour of the Highlights and Boyds Mills Press offices. We all rushed to get our pictures taken under the Highlights banner. Here I am with my new friend, Kesha Grant, who I plan to exchange manuscripts with.
We met different editors, heard about the submission process, and were introduced to the new Hello magazine for 0-2 years. (A great shower present for new moms!)
Who doesn't remember Highlights from their dentist's or doctor's office as a kid?
Now they publish Bilingue, which is in Spanish!
After the tour of the editorial offices, we were ushered into Boyds Mills Press and saw the table around which editorial decisions are made.
Assistant editor, Cherie Matthews, showed us several new releases including the award winning fun book, One Day, The End by Rebecca Kai Doltish and illustrated by Fred Koehler.
|I expect to see Jan Davis-Castro, |
my fellow writer from the Carolinas,
at our next SCBWI Carolinas conference.
Then she said, "Carol Baldwin has a wonderful blog that I follow."
Everyone looked at me. "I'm Carol Baldwin," I said.
Cherie said, "No. You can't be the Carol Baldwin. She lives in Charlotte, NC."
"Really, I am Carol Baldwin." Then I explained when I moved from Charlotte to Greenville, SC I forgot to update my blog.
I was thrilled that an editor from Boyds Mills Press followed me! Everyone laughed, I changed my personal information on my blog as soon as possible, and we all saw first hand the power of social media.
|Cherie Matthews and I.|
Earlier in our week at camp, Mitali Perkins had given a keynote on the importance of using social media. "It's a great opportunity for you to showcase your writing! Make your voice pop!" she said. Writing 140 character tweets (nouns! verbs!) helped her write picture books.
In addition Mitali highly recommended that we:
- Register a domain name ASAP. GoDaddy was one site that was mentioned.
- Create a Facebook author page, even if you're unpublished. Populate it with posts from other pages such as publishers, libraries, and professional organizations related to the content of your book. "You'll be branding yourself by finding organizations with similar interests. Recommend free content for your followers."
- Organize your Facebook friends into lists. You can then target this list when you are creating an event.
- "Gather your courage. Be passionate. This must come from your personal vocational mission, or else it won't work."
- Create Twitter lists for "tuning in, research, and promotion."
|I met with Mitali and she gave me|
terrific ideas for Half-Truths.
I've been blogging since May, 2007 when my editor at Maupin House, Emily Gorovsky Raj, suggested it might be a good idea. I had no idea what I was getting into, but I learned.
As my fellow campers and I laughed about Cherie's comments, I realized that I blog because I enjoy it. It's not for everyone and it certainly takes time, but I like recommending books and giving them away. I like sharing what I'm learning as I write Half-Truths or from other websites and writing conferences. Plain and simple: blogging fits who I am. A good lesson for me to remember on my writing journey.
I named my blog in an impulsive moment of "let's get this done and move forward." Since then I've envied my friends who have come up with much more creative names for their blogs. But guess what? Now I'm glad I kept it simple.
It seems to have worked for Cherie!