by admin on October 25th, 2010
We have had such a great response to our Journey from Idea to Print series that follows authors throughout their journey of publishing their books. If you have always wanted to publish or be published keep reading this great series!
The third installment follows Kathy Troidle Jackson, who has written “White Dog Haiku and Things I Learned from my Westie”, a series of three line “one breath” poems in the 5-7-5 syllable format – about the White Dog. The book is inspired by her 5 ½ year old rescued Westie, Islay Bear who brings so much joy to her every day as he demonstrates what it means to truly live in the moment. The great thing about this book is that all proceeds from go to Westie Rescue. What a great cause!
The Influence of Social Media
The idea for White Dog Haiku came, from of all places, Twitter. On Twitter you only have 140 characters a tweet so the three line haiku format of 5-7-5 syllables lends itself perfectly to the medium. Her husband David saw people writing haikus on Twitter and one day while Kathy was away on a business trip and he wrote few funny White Dog haikus about their dog to make her laugh. From there she caught the bug. A writer on twitter (@baffled) started a Haiku Challenge where you could write any haiku you wanted but it had to have a specific word in it. This is where the daily White Dog haiku’s started!
Social media not only influenced Kathy to create her book but also enables her to easily connect with other authors and see how they are publicize their works and support each other.
Kathy has found that she has been thinking in haiku lately and writes them down whenever something touches or amuses her. This form of poetry helps her focus on the now and capture a moment in time in a really fun and meaningful way. She has discovered that haiku’s are more than simply three line poems with a 5-7-5 syllable structure. Good ones will invite the reader to bring their own imagery to the poems. Her muse is her rescued Westie, Islay Bear, who reminds us to find joy in every moment, every season, and every experience.
Many writers have key techniques and practices to keep the creative juices flowing. Some are conscious and planned whereas some just occur naturally and organically. Kathy has always written funny stories and poems to get a rise out of her sisters for as long as she can remember. Her consistent practice of journaling brings out undiscovered beauty on paper that may have been tucked away in her heart and mind. In addition to her daily writing journal she also keeps a daily gratitude journal where she writes done five things for which she is grateful each day before she goes to sleep. This evening practice often inspires a haiku or two before she turns out the light. The Haiku Challenge on Twitter gives Kathy a nice diversion in the middle of the day to take the challenge and write a haiku about a white dog using that day’s word.
What People are Saying
“Delightful! Between the expressive Westie photos and the delightful haiku, the book will be a hit with all dog lovers.”
“I love your book! I no sooner opened the package when my 7th grade daughter ripped it out of my hands to bring to school because they are learning haiku this year. I had to go back and order another one for me.”
“You have captured the essence of Westie spirit with these haiku.”
“White Dog Haikus and Things We’ve Learned from our Westie by Kathy Troidle Jackson is another great book for all ages. … This a light-hearted read that I’d recommend to any dog-owner.” – exerpts from a critique by Michael Colbert, fellow SCWBI member on his blog.
Getting her book into the hands of the right peeps is of major importance to the success of the book. She sent a complimentary copy to the Islay Bear’s rescue foster mom who loved it so much she featured it at the annual Westie National Breed Competition and Parade of Rescue event. Kathy has sold more books there than all other previous venues combined. This goes to show that writers should consider non-traditional events and ways to market and sell their book in addition to the traditional book stores and book related venues.
Peer Author Support
Kathy is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). This group provides the opportunity to participate in peer and agent critiques, marketing reviews, attend conferences and writing workshops. She also enjoys doing public readings of her book with children at schools, libraries, book fairs and art shows to get some instant feedback. She has submitted her work to publishers and reads every word of rejection letters where they often have very useful tidbits of information that help her continuously improve her already beautiful writing.
The Importance of the Support of Family & Friends
Kathy originally set out to put something together for family in order to share pictures of Islay Bear in a fun way where she could leverage the ever growing collection of haiku she had amassed. Her family loved it so much and encouraged her to take it further and put it out there in the world! The encouragement of her friends and family that kept her writing. Entrepreneurial friends got her to admit that in fact she is a writer, not just a budding one. Through their support she gained the confidence to take imperfect action, self-publish and seek places to debut her work.
Her first book was self published as a Christmas gift to family and friends but Kathy had never expected to take it farther than that. Since then her book has been submitted to several publishers and individual haiku have been submitted to a few online publications and magazines. While she has received some rejections, some constructive criticism and suggestions she is waiting for the publishing process to take its course although the publish by publisher process is very slow and frustrating if the publisher only accepts agent represented works. Self publishing provided her with a faster way to get her book in the hands of her readers and almost immediate sense accomplishment because she had a copy of the book within just a few weeks of finishing it at lulu.com. For this first book she used a predefined poetry book template. It has space for the poems and photos, a lovely Japanese style design, and was an easy way to get it done quickly.
There were a few lessons learned through this process including to “Just do it!” Kathy reinforces that minute you write something down you are a writer! Her advice is to write it down and get it out there in the world including entering writing contests, take writing challenges. She maintains the industry is changing fast and it’s less about being published by a big name publishing house and more about building and marketing to a community of “peeps” or followers that love what you have to say and eat up your material. No one is marketing your book for you in the world of self publishing. This means you must line up book signings yourself and establish your own connections with store owners and libraries.
Most importantly Kathy wants other writers not to get discouraged by the process and celebrate all successes! Even a rejection is something to celebrate because it means someone looked at your work and if you are lucky has put some thinking into how it could be improved and shared that with you in the rejection letter.
Associations and Memberships
Joining a children’s book association such as the SCWBI or an association that lends its support for your genre of writing gives a new author the chance to learn the craft, understand what makes a book worthy of a second look by a publishing house, a chance to network with other authors and facilitates intros to agents and publishers that a new author wouldn’t get otherwise. Often the speakers at association events accept non-agented submissions from people who were at their talk even if the policy at their publishing house is to accept only agented material.
Being able to say she is an author and having something to submit into calls for authors at book fairs, art events are great. What is even more important to Kathy is to sell to make money for her favorite cause – the Westie Rescue!
In the Works!
Kathy has many projects in the works and ideas for new books. Her most active ones revolve around the white dog – a series of haiku poetry books geared to different ages and different themes. She now has hundreds of haiku and is looking to build on what has been started with the first book. She also has a collection of picture book style manuscripts in various stages of readiness inspired by her collection of stuffed animals.
Stay tuned to the work of Kathy Troidle Jackson. She has some great things coming your way including her haiku being published in magazines and a novel or two just waiting to be harvested!
- Click here to preview and purchase White Dog Haiku and Things I Learned From my Westie
- Follow The White Dog on Twitter at @cocowinedog
- Don’t forget to “Like” The White Dog fan page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/whitedoghaiku
by admin on October 11th, 2010
In our next segment in the series Journey from Idea to Print we meet the Happy Poet, Emily Long. She recently self published her first poetry book entitled “Dancing with Life, Love and a Little Magic”. This little book of poetry will have you smiling in delight with poems of quiet simplicity and, with a turn of the page, have you pausing to reflect on poems layered with spiritualism and meaning. A unique blend of happiness, beauty, and mysticism, these poems are sure to awaken your soul.
Emily turns to nature and hiking in the mountains or going to the beach for sources of inspiration where sights, sounds and color spark many ideas for her poetry. Other times a simple phrase, the way the light illuminates something or a feeling inside will begin the creative process.
There are a number of things that Emily does to keep the creative juices flowing that change every few months. This includes setting aside a period of time each day to write. In fact, Emily wrote a poem a day for 6 months. That’s at least 180 poems!
Setting the right mood and getting comfortable in your environment including choosing a specific notebook for creative writing, lighting a candle and setting intention are just some of the writing rituals that keep her creative!
A great idea Emily has as a writer is to always keep a pen on hand. In fact she even keeps one on her keychain because she never knows where or when ideas will come. When a small notebook isn’t handy she has even scribed ideas and phrases on her arms. Now that is dedication to her craft!
What people are saying:
Here is what some of her readers had to say about Emily’s work:
“Emily Long is one of the most wonderful poets I’ve had the chance to meet. Every poem touches my hear in such a deep way that I have been scrambling over to her blog to soak in the new ones (and sometimes read the old ones!) Now she has put these little jewels into a book that we all can touch and feel. Ordered mine immediately!!”
“Emily is able to use words to take me to a place that’s beyond words. There’s sweetness and a magic to her writing unlike anything I’ve read before.”
“Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful. Your poetry lifts my heart.”
Advice from a fellow writer:
Emily encourages writers to ask for feedback without being specific to what type of feedback you are looking for. This will allow the reviewers or readers to share anything they felt was important rather than feel restricted. One of the freedoms Emily has as a poet is that she doesn’t follow the traditional “rules” of poetry but rather write in a style that works for her.
There are so many options for people to publish their works and Emily evaluated all the possibilities. Ultimately she decided on the print-on-demand option as she wanted creative control the project, the freedom of producing her own product, and didn’t want to go through the lengthy process of trying to find agents and publishers. The flexibility of the print-on-demand option allows people to buy online anytime they choose. She can order smaller bulk orders as required, get an ISBN number easily and have the option of selling retail.
As an author who has now been through the process she recommends that authors considering publishing their work talk to people who have done the various types of publishing and get their feedback on it. Then take that feedback and look at that through their own lens of wants and needs and knowledge and choose the best option based on the best match for your situation.
The Role of Social Media:
While Emily has written poetry most of her life, she did not set out with the intent to write or publish a poetry book. Her start was a poetry blog in January of 2009 when she was doing her poem a day. This generated quite a following on the internet and her book “Dancing with Life, Love and a Little Magic” was published due to the requests of her online fans. Social media played a large part in the creation of the book as well as the ongoing promotion and availability. It may not have been released if it wasn’t for her readers nudging her to take the next step on her blog as well as her friends on Facebook & Twitter. Right now, the majority of her sales are coming through blog readers and connections online.
The most rewarding part of being a published author is primarily that she has accomplished it and created something from beginning to end from sorting through hundreds of poems, editing, putting it all together and creating the end product. It was thrilling for Emily to watching it grow from a nugget of an idea to holding the physical book in her hands and of course, receiving money in exchange for her book, my writing is exciting too!
With several book plans in the works including a book of children’s poetry, e-books and audio books this is sure to be the first of many creative works from Emily.
For more information the book “The Happy Poet: Dancing in Life, Love, & a little Magic” visit Emily’s website at http://thehappypoet.com, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/emilyrlong or visit her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/emilylong01