2021 Writer's Holiday Wish List
Need gift ideas for your critique partners? Your writing friends? Or a hint to sneak on a list for yourself?
Look no further!
Our wonderful guest bloggers (aka gift elves) have joined us to share their favorite writing, illustrating or book must-haves.
You’ll find serious and practical suggestions our guest bloggers use daily, as well as fun and whimsical items that bring joy and offer motivation.
Peruse and enjoy our 2021 Writer’s Holiday Wish List! (Then maybe forward it to your favorite shopping elf!)
Julie Rowan-Zoch is an author/illustrator. She followed her illustrator debut, Louis by Tom Lichtenheld (Clarion Books, 2020), with her author/illustrator debut of I'm A Hare, So There! (Clarion Books, 2021), and there are more projects coming. Learn more about Julie here.
Kristi Mahoney is a picture book writer whose work was featured in both the 2020 PBCHAT and 2021 PBParty picture book showcases. She’s a guest contributor for http://www.24carrotwriting.com/. Find out more at @kristi_mahoney.
Megan Litwin is the author of the upcoming Twinkle, Twinkle Winter Night (Clarion, 2022) and a guest contributor to 24 Carrot Writing. A former teacher (and a forever one at heart), her lifelong work is growing lifelong readers. Visit her at www.meganlitwinbooks.com.
Amanda Davis is a teacher, artist, writer, and innovator who uses her words and pictures to light up the world with kindness. 30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag is her debut picture book.
Find out more at https://www.amandadavisart.com/
Sarah Jane Abbott is an editor and ghostwriter, who has a passion for helping authors write the very best version of a story. To learn more about Sarah Jane and the services available at Sarah Jane Abbott Editorial visit her website here.
Kelly Carey is the co-founder of 24 Carrot Writing and the author of How Long Is Forever (Charlesbridge, 2020). Learn more about Kelly at www.kcareywrites.com.
Nancy Tupper Ling is an award-winning children’s author, poet, book seller, and librarian, who has great fun teaching poetry to all ages. Her picture books have received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, and her newest anthology entitled For Every Little Thing (Eerdmans Publishing) hit the shelves in September 2021. Visit Nancy's website at www.nancytupperling.com/
Founder of the Writers’ Loft community, and developer of the Creatively WIN method for writers, Heather wears many hats. She is a professional mentor, publisher, editor, author, conference director, and Pokémon catcher. Her most recent project is a non-profit she co- launched with Kristen Wixted that aims to get books into the hands of vulnerable kids. To learn more about Little Book Locker, click here.
Find out more about Heather at www.heatherkellyauthor.com
Kristen's picture book, Miss Rita, Mystery Reader, which she wrote with her nephew Sam Donovan (who spent a lot of time sitting in the chair when they were revising) is coming out May, 2022 from MacMillan FSG Young Readers. When Kristen is not writing she's usually working on Little Book Locker which people can find out about at LittleBookLocker.org.
Her website is kristenwixted.com
Annie Cronin Romano is one of the co-founders of 24 Carrot Writing and is a published picture book author. In addition to her love of kidlit, she also writes adult fiction, works as a bookseller and library assistant, and is a literary associate with Olswanger Literary. Learn more about Annie at www.anniecroninromano.com.
Amanda Smith is a co-founder of 24 Carrot Writing. Her poems "Stingray" and "Cuttlefish" can be found in the Writers' Loft's newest illustrated anthology Friends and Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children. Learn more about Amanda at AmandaSmithWrites.
Bonus Gift Ideas:
Let's be honest. We don't always need more stuff. Often an experience or thoughtful donation to a bookish cause will warm the cockles of a writer's heart more than any physical object. Consider giving a yearly membership to a local writing organization or community such as the Writer's Loft, a craft related online course or workshop, or an SCBWI-membership. Or perhaps donate towards a worthy organization, such as Little Book Locker, in the name of the writer in your life, and let them know.
7 Tips to Set Up a Rocking Blog Tour
By Kelly Carey
If you are reading this blog, then you already know the benefits of perusing great blogs as a reader, but blogs can also be a tremendous help when you are trying to market your book. Two of my writing friends are launching amazing books soon and they asked me for advice on setting up a blog tour. I’m going to share that advice with you too!
Don’t have a book contract yet? That’s okay. Read the tips and advice and learn how you can position yourself now to be ready to send your book out on an amazing blog tour when you do have a publishing date!
#1 Your KidLit Community Is Flush with Wonderful Bloggers
The authentic time and energy you have put into building your KidLit community likely means you know a few KidLit bloggers. Have you met authors at conferences who have blogs? Have you met bloggers at book signings? At retreats? Those relationships are the best place to start when deciding to reach out to bloggers for spots. Your KidLit friends are going to be excited about your upcoming success and if they have a blog, they will be happy to boost your news on their site.
Don’t have any blogging contacts? Don’t worry, it’s okay. Ask your critique partners if they have any connections. Reach out to the relationships you have in the KidLit community and ask if anyone could introduce you to bloggers they know.
For those of you who are pre-published, work on building relationships now so that you will have a long and comfortable list of bloggers ready to trumpet out news of your debut!
#2 Offer Relevant Content to the Blog
If you are asking for space on a blog, you need to honor the theme, format, and audience of the blog. The blogs that will host you are those that see you offering good content. Make sure you have read the blog and that you have a clear idea of how you and your book fit the blog’s structure and how you and your book could be featured.
For example, does the blog routinely run interviews with debut authors, like Lindsay Ward’s CritterLit blog? Offer an interview. Does the blog feature authors with a unique hook, like Nancy Tupper Ling’s Author Acrostic blogs? Offer to write a poem. If, like 24 Carrot Writing, the blog offers tips and advice to writers, offer to write a helpful post on a relevant topic as Cathy Ballou Mealy did for 24 Carrot Writing here.
Know how the blog handles guest authors, debut books, and cover reveals and be specific in your request. A straight ask to “please review my book,” is not the best method. Leave that type of request to the publicist at your publishing house. At 24 Carrot we never review books on request. That’s not our format.
The best way to know how you can fit into a particular blog is to be a regular subscriber of the blogs you love and might want to see yourself on someday. If you are pre-published, be a patron of your favorite blogs. Comment, retweet and repost your dream blogs and you’ll be ready to fit into their format when the time comes.
#3 Be an Easy Guest
Many bloggers are busy wearing multiple hats and love finding guest bloggers who provide everything needed to assemble a great guest spot.
Make sure your request to be featured on the blog is easy.
In your initial email offer up the following:
Once you have a spot make sure you:
Even if the blogger hasn’t asked for these things, make it easy for them to pop this information into a post. If you have provided it and it is readily available, chances are you’ll see it in the post.
#4 Timing Can be Flexible
If you are setting up a blog tour for your launch, you’ll want blogs to post ideally the month prior to your launch and the month of your launch. This will create that wonderful buzz you want to generate and hopefully drive preorders as well as post launch purchases. Many blogs schedule their posts three to six months out, so it’s a good idea to start asking for spots four to seven months before your launch month.
Worried you’re too late? You’re not. Bloggers are always looking for great content and sometimes have spots in their schedule to fill. They might love a last-minute booking. And remember, if the only spots left are months after your launch, a post at any time can still help readers find your book. Suggest a date tied to the theme of your book, even if it is a year after your launch, it will still help readers find your book.
#5 Don’t Rely Just on the Publicists at Your Publishing House
The publicists at your publishing house will reach out to bloggers and reviewers on your behalf. But publicists are busy folks and if you have personal contacts, they will be happy that you reached out. If your publicist sees you working hard to promote your book, they will be happy to work hard alongside you.
Your publicity team is never going to be upset if you have already secured spots on blogs - go for it!
#6 Don’t Worry About Over Saturation
Marketing stats say a person will need to encounter your book 7-10 times before they decide to purchase it. That means they need to hear a friend talk about it, see it on social media, read about it in a blog, and/or spot it in a bookstore a handful of times before a purchase might be made.
Every blog about your book is a chance for a reader to find and hopefully purchase your book. Every blog gives you a reason to repost and retweet things on social media that will keep your book news buzzing.
Remember, not every reader will see every blog you appear on. You want to maximize your visibility. When it comes to a blog tour, you want lots of venues.
#7 Asking for Group Spots
If you are in a Marketing Group that’s wonderful! If you are not check out this post about the benefits of group marketing and how to find a group here.
I reached out to bloggers that I knew for my Soaring 20s Picture Book marketing group, and I have to say, asking on behalf of others was a bit easier than asking just for myself. Other members of our group did the same. Many bloggers, offered to let members of our group contact them individually while others opted to host us as a group. Either way, we were grateful for the opportunity. Make sure you take advantage of these offers when they come your way.
All of these tips are made easier if you are already a follower of the blog. While you are awaiting your first or next contract, spend time connecting with the KidLit community and be a regular reader of your favorite blogs.
When you ask them to support your marketing efforts, you will be glad you did!
Peruse blogs for advice and tips from KidLit creatives.
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