May 7th, 2007

Shameless self-promoting

It’s a fact of life these days that most authors have to promote. The Institute for Children’s Literature had an interesting online interview with Brian Lies, who wrote Bats on the Beach, which ended up on the NYT Bestseller list.

I work in PR myself, so a lot of what he said resonated with me. Here’s my favorite part of the interview:
Brian Lies: “The very FIRST thing we did was go to our favorite breakfast place with two pads of paper. We had a delicious breakfast meeting, and each of us wrote down a whole list of what we dreamed the book would do. The most important thing at this point is to NOT allow yourself to think "how?" on ANY of the things you write down. So, the list had things like "get on the NY Times list," "get reviewed in the Boston Globe," and so on. After the breakfast, where no "HOW?" had been allowed, we began to think about which things were really possible, and finally, what initial steps we could take to make the things happen. We started to think about all kinds of stuff-- what things were in the book we could use in book events, and as pitches to booksellers and newspapers. Or who we knew who might be able to pass the book along to somebody who could make something happen for us. Sometimes, these were shots in the dark--we didn't really know or expect what the result would be. But there's that cliche about putting out fishing lines--the more you've got, the greater the chances of something biting.”

Jan: Sounds like you dreamed big...would you say you ended up seeing a lot of those fulfilled? Certainly the NYT was.

Brian: In fact, we ended up with a LOT of our hopes/goals fulfilled! One thing my wife taught me, which made a lot of sense, was that promotion is kind of like starting a campfire. You don't hold a lighter to a big log and expect results. You begin with the little stuff (local newspapers and freebie magazines), and parlay those into larger ones When larger newspapers see that you've had a small buzz in local periodicals, they begin to smell a story. We ended up with a great story in the Boston Globe as a result. And a reporter who took me to task for not having any bat-houses on our property! Although he forgave me later when I told him that we've got a very small colony in our attic (they don't come into the house), and I'm not taking steps to evict them... But the more small stories you collect, the more materials you have to send to bigger places, and the more interested bigger fish become."

Read more here.



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There’s a story here – I’m just not sure I’m the one to write it

So these Oregon high school basketball players have been charged with hazing a new member of the team. Hazing, as the Oregonian article points out, can run the gamut from having a new team member sing The Star Spangled Banner with cookies in their mouth to what happened in this case. Which seems to be sexual assault.

The article begins:
The evidence against three Molalla High School basketball players accused of sexual assault starts with a text-message to a vacationing friend that recounts, according to prosecutors, how the players "pansted" and violated a younger teammate.

"Why did you do that?" the friend fired back.

The answer: "That's what we always do."

Now three teens and star athletes are in jail and charged with sex abuse."

It’s a small town. I wonder what it’s like for the boy who told?

Obviously, one parent is in denial. “Reached by phone Friday, Vera Berokoff, the mother of the 18-year-old senior, said she was distraught over the way her son is being treated. ‘We're very upset about it, and we're thinking that they made too big a deal out of it,’ she said. ‘It's something that the kids all did in fun.’”

[Full disclosure: Sure sounds like my idea of fun.] Read more here.

Do you know of any YAs that deal with hazing?



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