Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Charity Is Wonderful, Isn't It? ...Wait, Whose Charity?

I have a short children's book idea in my head. Although I've yet to submit it...for a couple reasons. I have no clue which publisher to choose... and I'd really like for a portion of the proceeds to go to charity. Yes...I'll play the *my son is sick* card to sell a book. *grin* If it'll help my cause...which is finding a cure for his condition. Any advice would be appreciated!
I don't know what publisher to choose, either. This will be a matter of doing your research, and will have a lot to do with what the book is about.

Don't play the "my son is sick" card. It won't get you anywhere. Publishers get lots of submissions trying to play that card, as well as the "it was my mother's dying wish that this be published" card, the "I'm in prison and can't see my kids" card, and the "I want to write a picture book for my adult daughter telling her to get over the death of her child" card. None of these things has to do with (a) how well written the book is or (b) how profitable it will be.

Publishers also don't find it particularly charming to be told that you want a portion of proceeds to go to a charity, because what you're really saying is that you want a portion of the publisher's profit to go to charity. If you meant you wanted to give your royalty earnings to charity, you wouldn't need to tell the publisher about it.

43 comments:

Angie Ledbetter said...

Nice place. I'm going to come back in with fresh eyeballs tomorrow and look around.

DaphneL said...

I'm sorry, I found this post funny not that it's not entirely true, but the person who sent this to you seems so innocent. Sad though what publishing has turned to, but then again, it could be applied on any other work list.

böcek said...

cool blog :)

dreamer said...

nice blog........the post was entertaining. I will drop again to catch more of your humor.

Mina Jade said...

I don't think it would be that very funny, many of these statements ARE true indeed, unfortunately there are many unlucky people with sick children ad anything.
As for publishers and their colleagues and employees (and employers), not all of them are made of gold, I have to say I had bad experiences.
It is also true that my best friends work in the book industry.

Greetings,
Mina Jade

Joanne said...

It all comes down to the writing, and illustrations, which have to speak for themselves.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I think a key problem here is that the writer has an idea "in her head" and is already thinking about what publishers she should approach.

There are a number of smaller publishers that specialize in books about kids with special needs. A copy of Children's Writers and Illustrators market would probably help you find such a publisher.

Of course, those publishers probably won't bring in the huge profits of your dreams.

In all honestly, if you want HUGE amounts for charity, you may be better finding off a celebrity figure-head and getting HER to write a book about her family's struggle.

Also, remember it's not enough to write a book about a disease. The disease can be PART of the story, but really you need great plot and characters or no one will read it!

Good luck. You have a long haul ahead of you if you reaklly want to move from "idea in my head" to "published book"

Also, check out verlakay.com -- you'll find a lot of good resources there....

Ok, off my helpful soapbox and on to COFFEE! (obviously the 'sick kid' card worked with me!)

Gerakis100 said...

I'm sure playing the sick child or whatever card works once in a while

Anonymous said...

My experience tells me you are correct in your advice. I did, however, reach an agent by mistake once at a major publishing house about 18 years ago whose mother had died from lupus and who dealt only with adult nonfiction. I was a novice and those were the days of cold calls and when I happened to mention to her that I had the same, she pushed my juvenile fictional manuscript through to the children's editor. It went to the third reading and she even called me when they ultimately rejected it because they couldn't figure out how to market those kind of black children's stories back then. She even gave me other leads. So, there is a small chance, perhaps, that you might connect on some level with the editor but ultimately it was the lack of marketability that kept me from being published. Talent and marketability is what sells books.
This is my first visit but I love what I have read so far. I don't know if you are funny - just entertainingly informative. Thanks.

RA said...

Is it just me or has your blog become the destination for some sort of field trip from Noobyville?

Colorado Writer said...

Wow.

Mommy C said...

I'd suggest getting involved in a community that surrounds this ailment. There are several on Facebook. You could even start a support group blog. In the meantime, write like heck and utilize resources like Verla Kay. Polish your manuscript and do your homework. There are a million publishers and agents out there, 99% of them will be a waste of your time because they won't handle your type of work. By the time you have a polished manuscript (about the story and not the illness) and know where you'd like to send it to, hopefully you can point out that you have positioned yourself as a leader in the support community and are a prominent well known figure to those involved. There are often conferences and such for illnesses (a place to market). Having an established reputation will help prove you can market this book, which a publisher may be cautious of handling as it could possibly have a limited appeal. In the end, you'll have a polished manuscript, have contributed something to the community you are wanting to donate to, and will have a good platform to market from. It's a win win. And all of my blessings, I love my three inspirations more than life itself. I have the deepest empathy.

Sorry, one last idea. You should check out what Moonrat is doing over at http://editorialass.blogspot.com/ and http://mischieffightscancer.blogspot.com/
You could network a little and reach out to published authors and illustrators. Perhaps, they may be willing to raffle their services for a cause. Like an illustrator could draw a picture of the winner's child, or an author could write a story with the winner's child's name in it, or donate autographed copies of their book. You'll raise money for the cause and be able to communicate a little with established writers and artists, which can be very valuable in the learning process of a serious writer.

Also, read "It's A Bunny-Eat-Bunny World" by Olga Litowinsky. Some things have changed since it was written, but it is the best way I know of to get up to snuff on a ... well, bunny-eat-bunny industry.

Please, everyone, check out what Moonrat is doing. She's a creative saint.

ae said...

You are getting heap-o junk blogs.

Vincent Robleto said...

If you don't publish my children's book I never donate anything to charity ever! And my kid has ADD.

Jeanie W said...

If you're a writer interested in supporting a charity while increasing your chances of getting some professional editorial feedback, check out the raffle on moonrat's blog.

http://editorialass.blogspot.com/2008/10/ummm.html

Jussi Koiranen said...

The headline for the post is excellent! There are many ways to do charity and forcing other people to give away their money definitely isn't the best to go about being charitable.

Will Entrekin said...

Am I the only one who cringed a little at the tandem use of "I'll play the *my son is sick* card" and the *grin*? I want to say the problem is it's glib, but I'm not sure 'glib' is the right word; it seems to try to make a joke out of exploitation, with an additional attempt to make sickness a 'card.'

Art said...

My best advice is to go with your hearts instinct. If you feel that your creation is notable and worthy of publishing, which of course it is, judging from what I've lately, then put it the hands of the masters of the industry and hope faithfully with unwavering desire that the time constraint is short lived and your work brings your gratification beyond measure.
Motto; Any contribution to literature is better than none at all! Good Luck with your idea and turning it into a fullfilled dream.

David said...

St. Judes is an excellent charity that has saved many children from life threatening illnesses. I often give to them through my ebay sales. Thanks for the great blog!

ChrisEldin said...

Since this thread seems to be garnering much commentary about blog promotion, I thought I'd throw mine up too.

Please visit www.talkshit.com to discuss anything you want and reach millions of viewers.

(will be heartily surprised if this is a real URL. Perhaps I should check first....)

:-)

The author's writing sounds familiar from the SCBWI boards. If it's you, A, I truly wish you every success. But get your book out there first. Make yourself successful, so then you can make others (people, groups) around you successful.

Judy said...

Depending on the illness or disability, many have their own organizations with small publishing companies, and might be interested in such a book.

But it has to be a good story first and then about the illness, which should be woven in to the 'real' story. Good luck.

ada said...

Informative and humorous blog. I look forward to visiting often.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Oh my. There do seem to be a lot of interesting comments here. And the one in Chinese in the other comment trail? I'm guessing it's Chinese.

Chris - I can't wait to check out your new blog, ;-)

Sarah Laurenson said...

LOL

That site does exist, Chris...

The Trooper said...

The pity card is just hopeless..Dunno how people can even think that'll work..

Deirdre Mundy said...

Gosh, EA.. did you visit "Pleasespammycomments.com" or something?

I guess this is proof that your blog has really "arrived."

Sandra said...

Just a quick note to those wondering where all the noobs (like me! lol) came from - Editorial Anonymous hit the Blogger "Blogs of Note" list on October 1st. That's probably a source of a lot of the newbie traffic.

Good blog from what I have read so far, going to favorite it and come back when I have more time to read back posts.

LindaBudz said...

What will entrekin said.

And in any case, if you want to raise money for a charitable cause, there are lots of easier, faster ways to do it than trying to get a children's book published.

Congrats on your Blogs of Note status! About time the rest of the world found you!

6-double5-3-2-1 said...

Straight and to the point. As many of us know, Publishers are 1)brutally honest to the unpublished; and, 2) professionals at telling the published what they want to hear for manipulation. Whatever mood they're in that day, playing those cards couldn't possibly work:)

Marian said...

Whatever you do, don't send the book to a vanity press and still hope to donate money to charity. I once read a post from an author who had done just that. After buying her own books from the publisher to sell to readers, then paying for advertising and freebies and so on, she said she would have had more money for the charity if she had just donated it in the first place.

Isle Dance said...

Good job. :o)

Marc said...

Eek! Not-so-nimble book promoters but makes for a good blog post.

Lovely site!

divathat said...

It's a good idea but in order to have a book published, you often have to get a literary agent. As noted above, a lot of publishers don't want to hear that a portion of what they might make from the book is going to charity- as well as literary agents. I recommend maybe contacting the charity for help funding the project (if you could promise the money back) or putting up the money yourself, and self publishing. It's a long and tedious process to get published that sometimes never gets you anywhere. If you really want to help, it'll take over a year to see a hard copy of the book- after you've found a publisher. I recommend "Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents" if you're really serious about this.

eazibee said...

First time I've come across your site, and I loved the balance you've struck between it being funny on the one hand and yet also very informative... one of your posts had me laughing out loud... And, no, I'm not a children's author, though I do have an idea for a children's book series...! ;-)
E

Anonymous said...

Try backtracking, ask several charities which are the best publishers to go with and then contact each asking if they have any special dispensations for charity based publications.

Brainwhispers said...

Do you think that the "my son is sick" card may work if you then held up a childrens doll painted whiter than white and said "Look, he is very pale and hasnt spoken for days"
Maybe then sniffing the dolls rear end saying "And his stools have been very plastic"

Ok, maybe that wouldn't work either. Maybe it would just land you in a padded cell.
It would be fun though.

Anonymous said...

ARGH, please, please, make them go away! (Or at least make them busy themselves in the archives before posting ...)

Yes, I'm talking to you, Bernardo and Weird Doll-Rear-End-Sniffer.

Yours,
A Devoted Reader Who Misses the Old Gang (I love ya, AE and Working Illustrator!!)

Akoon said...

that5 5ad but funny at 5ame time

Deaf Brown Trash Punk said...

yeah, whoever wrote that is getting way ahead of him/herself. FIRST WRITE THE BOOK!!!

geez.

ae said...

Anon 2;39 pm. I am sure you mean EA.

I am a just a hopeful dish rag hoping one day to become a meaningful, lasting and beautifully written and illustrated book. Five years and counting of conferences, classes, art degrees, praise and ...misunderstanding.

But thanks.

And "working illustrator" is a wonderfully worthwhile read. I love him (it is a hymn... is it not?)

EDDIE OMBAGI said...

cute blog

xgenesis007 said...

This is a nice post. I am a freshman at writhing anything. I wish someday to author a book that I can see on book-stands or at huge book stores.

Yes you are definitely right, at saying that a good and marketable concept of a book is the key. Well anyway, all of us must improve our writing skills for us to have our books read by thousands or even millions.

More power to you.

Lois Peterson said...

10% of royalties from my book do go to a charity - a public library. Each time I've received my advance cheques I've immediately sat down and written a cheque for 10% of the value to the library. I will also be writing a cheque for $1 a book sold at the launch in a week or so. But it's me giving to the charity. Coming out of my pocket. Not the publisher's. Not the booksleller's at the launch. Because I have the connection and commitment to the charity.

And because I've decided that 10% of the royalties of any book I publish will go to one charity or another.

(But don't come begging. I've already picked out the next two I want to support, and I've yet to get a second book accepted.)