Or, Stop and Read a Book Once In a While!
by Nancy Coffey, Literary + Media Agent
An agent shares her perspective on a frustration that most agents & editors experience eventually…
Over the holiday break, I found myself with reader’s block. For all of you writers out there who just did a double-take, yes, I said readers block. I just made it up. Although I’m positive I’m not the first person in the industry to feel this way. Let me explain.
by Allyn Johnston and Marla Frazee
Maybe now, while we’re all running around wringing our hands and wondering if picture books are dead, it’s time to declare our love for them.
What is a picture book, anyway? In the most basic, classic, and very best sense, you could say it’s a story for young children told in both words and pictures that unfolds over thirty-two or so printed pages that are sewn together at the spine and housed within hard cardboard covers.
And this story, when read aloud, will cast a spell over all who are present to hear it and look at it; and, with luck, it will go straight into their hearts and never be forgotten.
On good days, we don’t think picture books are dead — or even that they are dying — but we’ve heard the rumors and felt the rumblings. On bad days…well, this isn’t the place to talk about the bad days.
Let’s just put it out there right away: we are making no predictions here about what may or may not replace traditional picture books, and we are not offering any opinions about whether it’s an exciting, scary, sad, or wonderful time.
We just want to say that we love picture books. And we want to say why.
The words in a picture book are written to be performed. They are meant to be read aloud. Each syllable, each line break, each sentence’s placement on the page and where those critical page-turns occur, the rhythm, the word choice, the repetition (and maybe even the rhyme, if it’s done well) — all of these are massively important.
The goal is for everything to come together in such a way that the reader of the book becomes a star performer and their audience adores them.
The read-aloud experience should be so extraordinary that practically as soon as the book is closed, everyone just wants to open it up and do it again.
It is a simple circle — if the adult reading the story loves the story, that adult will love reading it aloud, and because he or she is having such a positive experience, the child experiences love for the story, and by extension, love for the person reading it.
And when this happens, a space is created — a holy space, if you will — where the book, the child, and the adult are under a spell together. It may be a quiet, dramatic, or wildly raucous spell, but it is a spell nonetheless.
When picture books really work, it is because they make us feel something intensely. Every word, every picture, and every page-turn (especially that final one) contributes to the emotion and builds toward a completely satisfying ending.
The words, the pictures, and the intimacy and theater of the moment all combine for a dynamic and loving multi-sensory experience.
More at the link above.
To Celebrate, we invite you to come read some really great short stories by a group of talented newcomers!
And the best part? They’re Free!
Diane Duane has been self-publishing A Wind from the South, a back-list title, for awhile now, and she recently noticed something unusual in buyers reactions to eBook pricing.
When she put the eBook version of A Wind from the South, on Amazon for $1.99, sales were lack-luster at best. Instead of dropping the price, she raised the price of that eBook to $4.99.
The sales figured jumped.
“Could it be that, when you’re an author who’s been established in print for a while, that it’s not smart to price your book too low?
“Is it possible that people look at it and say, ‘Oh, this thing must be cheap because it’s no good’, and pass by on the other side?
“Or is this just some seasonal effect, or some other kind of coincidence?”
It may be strictly anecdotal, but I’ve done this experiment myself. The “cheaper is better” argument is, I think, a passing fad. Enticing as the dollar and ninety-nine cent price tag might be, I think people are getting tired of getting what they paid for.
I do think readers will pay for quality.
What do you think?
You can read more at the link to OutOf Ambit above.