Spring Spirit 2016 Summaries (1)

If you couldn’t make it to Spring Spirit this year you missed a lot—like Bruce Hale singing to us (really). Or maybe you were there but missed a few sessions because you couldn’t be in two or three places at once. (And if you CAN be in two or three places at once, call me, I have questions.) Anyway, don’t fret! We’ve got you covered. Our volunteers have written lots of summaries for your notes, or to give you a few more reasons to make sure you get there in 2017!

by Chad Hunter


Writing For Children: Everything You Needed to Know (But Didn’t Know to Ask) with JaNay Brown-Wood, Gayle Pitman, Jessica Taylor, and Stephanie Garber by Jen Garrett

Imagine being taught by four fabulous authors in one sitting! That’s what happened on Friday night when JaNay Brown-Wood, Gayle Pitman, Jessica Taylor, and Stephanie Garber answered all the questions we didn’t know to ask about children’s books.

First, JaNay and Gayle explained the ins and outs of picture books using examples and tips. They showed a realistic timeline for a children’s book author and showed how perseverance often outweighs talent.

Then, Jessica and Stephanie took the floor and wowed us with their list of “Dos and Don’ts” that apply to all children’s books, but especially to middle grade and young adult.

Afterward there were a few minutes for questions, and we all walked out with more info than could possibly have fit in an hour and a half. But somehow they managed!


Creating a World in 800 Words or Less with Alexis O’Neill by Jen Garrett

Alexis O’Neill led us in an exercise of world building for picture book writers. We learned to push ourselves beyond the first 10 ideas or even the first 20, because those are likely the most common ideas. Then she helped us increase our sensory writing, cut the fat, and hook our reader with vivid verbs. “If you only revise one thing,” she told us, “revise for verbs.”

Using examples from her own books, Alexis helped us understand how literary devices can create a world. We learned about onomatopoeia, personification, rhythm and rhyme, plus many other tricks and tips for making our stories shine. After giving us this arsenal of writing tools, Alexis ended with some sage advice, “If it feels right for the story, try it out! If it doesn’t, get rid of it.”


The Business of School Visits: price, cost, negotiation, approach with Alexis O’Neill (Author) by Angelica Jackson
Author and speaker Alexis O’Neill shared some of her experiences from her many school visits—what can go wrong, and how to plan so things go right. One issue that got lots of discussion was how much to charge (spoiler—she does recommend that you charge for your visits), and how maintaining professionalism can go a long way to getting bookings.
Takeaway: For those who missed this one, I highly recommend checking out her websitehttp://schoolvisitexperts.com/ for a wealth of information on school visits for all age groups!

Indy Publishing: Added tasks, budgeting and accounting with Christina Mercer (Author & CPA)  by Angelica Jackson
Christina Mercer shared some of the steps along the way to Indy Publishing, along with some anecdotes from her own journey to independently publishing her novels and nonfiction title. The emphasis was on building your own publishing team of professionals: how to find and choose a quality editor, cover artist, and promotional tools, and how that will keep you competitive with traditionally-published titles.
Takeaway: Independent/self publishing has come a long way in the last several years, with several YA series really taking off, and there is a wealth of information out there to help you avoid scams (if you’re willing to put the work into research). Websites like http://indie-visible.com/ and Joel Friedlander’s http://www.thebookdesigner.com/ are great resources to start with.

Taxes, a working session with Christina Mercer (Author and CPA) by Angelica Jackson

Christina Mercer walked us through some of the important tax issues for authors and other creatives to be aware of, and discussed the pitfalls that can occur with sloppy accounting. The audience had lots of questions ready for Christina, and lots of “aha!” moments at her answers—which she kept as easy-to-understand as possible for the layperson. We left feeling not nearly as intimidated by record keeping and taxes!
Takeaway: Christina’s talk followed the structure of her book, Bean Counting for Authors: Helping Writers & Creative Business Owners Grasp Accounting & Taxes, which I recommend for a more in-depth coverage of accounting and taxes




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