would like to congratulate our good friends at Greenlight Books in Brooklyn for their cyber expansion.
Hopeful authors ‘pitch’ stories to editors Anderson’s Bookshop 123 W Jefferson Ave, Naperville, IL. Nearly 300 people attended a unique book signing at Anderson’s Book Shop in Naperville, where 25 prospective authors were able to receive feedback on their book ideas.
By Kim Lovejoy-Voss
Naperville offered a unique opportunity Thursday night. “Pitchapalooza” was held at Anderson’s Bookshop and featured Arielle Eckstut and her husband, David Henry Sterry, authors of a newly-released book, The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published.
While authors of recently published books are nothing new at Anderson’s, this signing was a little different. Anyone who purchased the book was given a number and a chance to pitch their book idea to the authors and a guest panel. Twenty-five hopeful authors heard their number called and then attempted to sell their story to the panel and nearly 300 guests who had packed into the shop on Jefferson Avenue.
“All three (of the editors on the guest panel) have fine, upstanding credentials and are good friends with Anderson’s,” said Gail Wetta, events and publicity person at the shop. “They are all local, and they came forward to help us out and create this wonderful program.”
Guests on the panel included Dominique Raccah, founder, president and publisher of Sourcebooks Inc., based in Naperville; Joe Durepos, senior acquisition editor at Loyola Press in Chicago; and Wendy McClure, senior editor at Albert Whitman and Co. in Park Ridge.
One-by-one the brave and optimistic souls came forward to try to sell their story ideas to the five judges. Children’s stories, gothic tales, science fiction, fairy tales and true life experiences were explained in a variety of ways.
I was one of those hopefuls standing in the audience. When my number was called I experienced a mixture of hope and complete and utter fear. My book idea has been tossed around in my head for nearly a decade and, just recently, has been growing in my computer. It has been fun to write the story, loosely based on me getting pregnant in my 40s and dealing with the burdens and trials of a pregnancy late in life while raising three rambunctious teenagers. But what would others think of the idea?
Well, I didn’t bomb. I carefully read my pitch, heard a little laughter at certain parts and then waited for the criticism to start. To my surprise, they actually liked what I had to say and how I presented my story, asked if it was based on my experiences and then said, although the presentation went well, my ending fell a little flat. Having worked with editors who have critiqued and changed my newspaper stories for over 30 years that was criticism I could live with.
After the 25 authors presented their ideas, Sterry explained that everyone who had purchased a book at Anderson’s Book Shop would receive the opportunity to speak with Eckstut or himself for 30 minutes during a phone interview to receive feedback on their book ideas, find out the next step to having a book published and to gain information regarding book publishing.
“This evening was done because of the release of the book,” Wetta explained. These authors “have quite the pedigree, and it is only logical to add (the pitching of stories) to their event. They are very committed to their craft.”
She added that Friday the shop had received numerous emails regarding the event, most expressing gratitude for the opportunity to sell their story, while others praised the panel.
“This was one of our larger (book signings),” Wetta said. “But it shows you the amount of talent that can be found right here in the Chicago area. You don’t need to go to New York or L.A. to find talent. We have plenty of it right here.”
Changing the Game December 20, 2010 by elliottzetta
What I love most about self-publishing is the way it empowers creators everywhere—no more waiting for the “official” stamp of approval, and self-publishing no longer equals “substandard.” John Edgar Wideman has self-published, and earlier this month LA Banks announced that she is self-publishing her new series of YA books. Emerging and established authors are realizing that they don’t have to stand in line to be rejected and/or treated shabbily by big publishing houses. Small presses are looking better and better, and digital publishing offers even more options for authors.
This morning I found an article on Publishers Weekly that announced the triumphant emergence of Citizen Authors: “determined, motivated, fed up.” The article is written by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry, authors of the recently released Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published; I was interviewed for that book and I’m included in the PW article:
What’s perhaps most exciting about Citizen Authors is that some of them have been able to say a big “I told you so!” to Manhattan publishing after having been rejected, mocked, and/or dismissed by that clique’s elitism, solipsism, and/or lack of creative vision. These include people like Zetta Elliott, J.A. Konrath, and Lisa Genova. Zetta wrote about race in a way that didn’t fit into the credo of the mostly white world of publishing, but fit perfectly into libraries all over the country that catered to children of every color…
The irony is, when Citizen Authors prove how valuable they are, all the big guns in the book business come running, throwing money. Even more ironic is that these Citizen Authors saw the marketplace in a clear-eyed, smart way that “big publishing” wouldn’t or couldn’t.
To my knowledge, only the Brooklyn Public Library and the NYPL acquired Wish when it was first self-published in 2008/2009, and we’re still working on getting libraries across the country to add Wish to their collections. One of the biggest challenges faced by self-published authors is marketing—not just getting the word out, but getting book buyers to look in nontraditional places for book reviews and recommendations. If you’re not reviewed in School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus, or PW, many important institutional book buyers won’t even know you exist. The blogosphere was my best friend as a self-published author, but I meet educators all the time who still express amazement when they learn I have a YA novel in addition to my traditionally published picture book, Bird.
But I have no regrets about self-publishing and plan to do it again; it’s reassuring to know that you don’t have to take whatever the big houses are offering (when they offer anything at all), and I’ve had a great experience working with AmazonEncore. I’d work with them again in a heartbeat, but I haven’t given up on traditional publishers and small presses, and encourage other aspiring authors to keep their options OPEN. Take risks and be willing to work for what you believe in…which brings me to Neesha Meminger, the latest YA author to start her own imprint and take charge of her publishing career. Have you seen the great new trailer for Neesha’s new novel? You can view it here, and the book is now available online—just in time for the holidays!! Get your copy of Jazz in Love at Amazon.com, (Amazon.ca if you’re in Canada), Barnes & Noble, and indie bookseller Boone Bridge Books. Neesha has agreed to do an interview for my blog, so stay tuned for details about her exciting adventure…
The self-publishing experiment only works if people take a chance and support books that are coming out of nontraditional sources. So please do support these authors and remember: if things were equal, they wouldn’t need to be separate.