Michelle, like me, is passionate about exposing children to the natural world and to other cultures. I highly encourage you to read her inspiring About page for her philosophy on teaching and writing.
Hope to see you there!Categories: Florence, Guest Blogging, Italy, Picture Books, Travel, Writer's Renaissance, Writing · Tags: Author, Florence, Guest Blogging, Italy, Julie Hedlund, Michelle Cusolito, Picture Books, Polliwog on Safari, Retreats, Solitude, Travel, Writer's Renaissance, Writing
Today you get a two for Tuesday 12 x 12, as the authors are a husband and wife team – Chris and Mel Bugaj. Even more exciting is the chance to share their unconventional path to publishing, proving once again what exciting times we live in as authors. As they embark on publishing their 50th story through their podcast and blog – Night Light Stories – they are now venturing into the app space. Congratulations Chris and Mel, and welcome to Tuesday 12 x 12!
Hi All! We are Mel and Chris, a husband and wife duo who started writing children’s books about thirteen years ago. After years of writing query letters to publishers, we decided to make a platform to tell our stories. Being two special educators, we recognized the impact of listening to audio stories on the reading abilities of students. Therefore, we thought it would be fun to create an audio podcast.
We started the podcast and compendium blog four years ago as a creative project to do together. We thought it would be a fun alternative for families, educators, and classrooms to listen to our stories on car trips, around the house, as part of listening stations, as literacy projects, or anytime. We also thought that since our kids seemed to enjoy the stories, other kids around the world might like them too. We say in the podcast that the stories are “for children of all ages” and it is our hope that families are enjoying the stories together.
One of our goals for the project was, of course, to get published. Recently one of our stories, Dragonfly, Dragonfly, Show Us the Way, was produced as a fully-illustrated e-book as in-app purchase from a children’s literacy app called Flying Books. We have a few other Night Light Stories currently in the process of production for release within this app as well. It’s a fun experience to see our stories come to life!
The 12×12 has really helped us feel like we part of a community working toward the same goals together. We had a challenging summer to say the least with some unexpected personal events, so this really helped us keep our eyes on our goal of producing one picture book a month to post on our podcast. On top of that, the “Featured Author Posts” and “Tuesday 12X12” provided us with useful information and inspiring stories. Thanks, Julie, for posting so many incredible resources! And keep on rocking the picture book writing 12×12’ers!
Chris and Mel are the proud parents to their seven-year-old boy and four (and a half)-year-old girl. They are both special educators in their thirteenth year of teaching. Mel has taught all grade levels from preschool to grade five in both general and special education. Currently, she is a Supervisor for student teachers for Walden University as well as a Homebound Teacher in the evenings. She also has a solo blog that she writes about the silly antics of her family called According To Mags. Chris is a speech-language pathologist and founding member of the Assistive Technology Team for Loudoun County Public Schools. He and a co-worker were published by the International Society for Technology in Education. Their book is called “The Practical (and Fun) Guide to Assistive Technology in Public Schools“. After hours he also produces and hosts the A.T.TIPSCAST, an award-winning podcast about free or commonly found technology that can be used to help students meet their educational goals.Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Apps, Authors, Children's Books, Digital Publishing, ebooks, Goals, Guest Blogging, Picture Books, Storybook Apps, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: 12 x 12 in 2012, apps, Author, Children's Books, Chris and Mel Bugaj, Digital Publishing, ebooks, Goals, Guest Blogging, Julie Hedlund, Night Light Stories, Picture Books, Podcast, Storybook Apps, Tuesday 12 x 12, Writing
Today’s Tuesday 12 x 12 author is The Lady in Red – hair that is! Both a poet and a children’s book author, Rena Traxel hosted the wild and wonderful A-Z poetry challenge this past April in honor of Poetry Month. She is the only person I know whose bio is written as a poem. I, for one, am glad she didn’t become a lawyer and joined 12 x 12 instead. Please welcome fireball Rena Traxel.
During my third year of university I took a children’s literature course on a whim. I had a choice between writing a research paper or creating a fairy tale. I chose to create a fairy tale. I fell in love with writing again. Before I knew it I had notebooks full of ideas, stories, and poems just as I had done when I was kid. But somewhere along the way I convinced myself that writing was stupid and that a career in law was much more practical.
I have a great deal of admiration Gary Masskin, coming on as today’s Tuesday 12 x 12 author wiling to admit that he’s behind in the challenge (so am I!). I’m hoping that we can help jumpstart his writing and blogging with our support! We’ve all needed help at one time or another, getting from the low road to the high road. Welcome Gary!
My fellow 12x12ers,
I write to you from the low road, where my Draft Mobile has been well and truly bogged since March. I had started along the high road with the best of intentions, having finished my January, February and March drafts early in the month, with enough time to spare for multiple revisions. Unfortunately, that’s when I lost a bit of focus. Took my eyes off the road, if you like.
A series of events, otherwise known as ‘life’, conspired against me. Okay, okay. If I’m completely honest with myself, I may have taken just a teensy peek over the edge and allowed these events to conspire against me. I accidentally veered off the high road and found myself rolling downhill towards the low road. Gathering speed, as one does on a steep downhill trajectory, I ended up plummeting so fast that I narrowly avoided an undesirable rendezvous with a rather large tree, only just managing to steer towards an invitingly soft-looking bog.
So this is where I find myself… hitching my Draft Mobile up to this most reliable of rescue trucks provided by Julie’s Towing Services
[please pardon the analogy, Julie]. And once I’m winched out of the bog [thanks Julie], I’ll be free to continue along the low road and
will hopefully pick up enough speed to climb back uphill to the high road by the end of the year.
Yours in writing,
PS. A certain blog was last seen coming unhitched from the roof rack of my Draft Mobile. I’m hoping it has managed to survive the fall
sufficiently for me to backtrack a little, scrape it up off the pavement and get it to the nearest shop for some much needed repairs.
Wish me luck.
The old cliche’, ‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat,’ has never been more true in publishing than it is today. (Never mind that I’ve always wondered why one would want to skin a cat in the first place – morbid)
But I digress. Today I am hosting 12 x 12 in 2012 author Elizabeth Dulemba, who has a story about a story (LULA’S BREW) she wrote years ago that is finally coming to life as a print book. It’s spooky (in keeping with the Halloween theme) how similar Elizabeth’s experience is to my own with A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS. I’m so delighted that her book will now be available in print for even more children to enjoy.
LULA’S BREW: Never Give Up
We always hear that line in book publishing, “Never give up.” But what does that look like when put into application? I’ll share the experience of publishing LULA’S BREW, because she most definitely fits the bill.
I started writing the story back in 2005. I created an entire book dummy and began to submit to publishers. My family and friends loved it, of course, but I received rejection after rejection – you know the story. Then in 2007 I entered one of the dummy illustrations into the SmartWriters.com competition, and won! The judge was a top New York Art Director and breathed some life back into my determination, but sadly, not into my story. LULA’S BREW went into a drawer.
Then in 2009 apps came along. I’ve come to trust my radar for new ideas and it was dinging like a fire alarm. I sought out a start-up app development company (they were all start-ups back then), pulled Lula out of a drawer and got to work. I had a feeling Lula was the right story for the app – she was short, funny, and most of the art was sketched out… but not colored. I had one month to fully render the entire story to have the app out in time for Halloween. Luckily, since the art would be small (72 dpi for a small screen) I was able to work quickly. I even did the voice recording in a mock-up sound studio in my developer’s living room. And we met the deadline!
Back then, LULA’S BREW was one of the first children’s book apps available for the iPhone, so she got fabulous exposure by being featured in the iTunes store for months, and on the popular blog “Moms with Apps.” When the iPad came out, I adapted her again and again she was out for Halloween. All said, Lula was downloaded over 10,000 times.
People obviously loved the story. One mother even sent me a photo of her daughter dressed up as Lula for Halloween! Her daughter loved LULA’S BREW so much, she wanted a copy in hardcover. But I couldn’t oblige her… yet.
Meanwhile, as the iTunes library crowded with more and more selections, Lula lost her spotlight. I thought of self-publishing, but that was a beastie I knew I didn’t want to take on.
Then recently in the July 2012 Shelf Awareness, I read an article about a small publisher out of California, Xist Publishing, who was turning ebooks into print books. What? Again, my radar went off and I emailed them. They flipped over LULA’S BREW and now she will be physically available for purchase in early October. (Pre-orders for signed copies can be made now through my local independent children’s bookstore, Little Shop of Stories – via phone at 404-373-6300.) Wahoo!
LULA’S BREW took a complicated, seven-year journey to get published, but I never gave up on her. If you can’t get in the front door, try a window, but keep trying. It’s worth it.
Want to win a copy of LULA’S BREW? Leave a comment anytime between now and midnight EST October 14th. I’ll draw a winner on the 15th.
Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Apps, Authors, Autumn, Digital Publishing, ebooks, Giveaway, Guest Blogging, Picture Books, Publishing, Storybook Apps · Tags: apps, Author, Digital Publishing, e-publishing, ebooks, Elizabeth O. Dulemba, Giveaway, Guest Blogging, Halloween, Julie Hedlund, Picture Books, Publishing, Storybook Apps
I first “met” our October featured author for 12 x 12 in 2012, Dianne de Las Casas, last November when I became aware of the first annual Picture Book Month and became an ambassador (as I am this year). Like Dianne, I was incensed by the now infamous NYT article slamming picture books in 2010. I suppose 12 x 12 was my subconscious retaliation. Dianne took more direct aim by founding Picture Book Month.
Since then, I’ve been inspired not only by Dianne’s passion and commitment to the art and craft of picture books, but also by her marketing mind. She too is a contributor to Katie Davis‘ Brain Burps About Books, giving us her Take 5 Marketing Tips. I’ve learned loads from those little tidbits.
If this is your first exposure to Dianne, you’re in for a treat. Not only does she have a great deal to say about writing and promoting picture books, she is giving one lucky 12 x 12 participant a 30-minute social media and marketing consultation.
Picture Books Rock this World!
As founder of Picture Book Month, it is probably obvious to you that picture books are important to me. I began this campaign to give picture books the love and celebration they deserve. In fall of 2010, the New York Times published an article that declared the decline of the picture book. That article alone could have been my impetus to build a month-long celebration for picture books. But it was just the surface. There was something deeper. Picture books have touched my family in ways you can only imagine.
We live in the New Orleans area. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the U.S. Gulf Coast. We evacuated to Houston, Texas. My two daughters and I stayed in Houston for a year while my husband returned home to rebuild. Soleil was 15 at the time and Eliana was 5.
When we evacuated, we had to leave in a hurry and left everything behind, save for a week’s worth of clothes. The weeks following Katrina were emotional ones. We couldn’t return home – we were displaced. Being “displaced” doesn’t just mean being away from home, it means losing your sense of place and the security that a home provides. We felt like Max in Where the Wild Things Are. At first, being away from home was a big adventure but we soon came to miss everything familiar.
Fortunately, compassion was in abundance and people donated clothing, food, and toys. We were grateful for every gift but there was something missing – our book collection. At home, my daughters had shelves full of beloved books. Bonding over the shared experience of reading aloud, Soleil and I loved cuddling up with Eliana and reading picture books with her. But after the storm, we had not one single book.
So I began a letter writing campaign for books. Peter Reynolds, the author of The Dot and Ish, as well as numerous other books, was one of the first to respond with signed copies. Other books followed and soon, our new apartment in Houston became our home. I bought a bookshelf. We had books to put on them. In those days and months that followed the aftermath of Katrina, those books became our refuge. We found the comforts of home within the pages of books, especially picture books.
It has been seven years since Katrina and so much has changed. Since 2005, I truly dedicated myself to writing and now have 19 books published – 9 of them are picture books (and more are on the way)! Soleil works in graphic and web design, and Eliana is a 12 year old celebrity kid chef. My husband is proud of his girls and I’m sure there’s a picture book in this somewhere…
Picture books continue to rock my world. When Eliana was 6 years old, I gave her the book, Wow! It Sure is Good to be You! by Cynthia Jabar. The book said exactly what was in my heart every time I traveled away from home. I wrote notes in the book and glued pictures inside. To this day, when I read it, I cry… nostalgic tears. Just the other day, Eliana and I read Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex. We guffawed. And I mean we laughed until we cried… joyous tears.
Often, when I am in need of a gift for an adult, I turn to the venerable picture book. They are better at expressing emotion than any greeting card I’ve ever read. The picture book is 32 pages of joy, heart, healing, laughter, fun, security, thrills, and love.
During the month of November, visit picturebookmonth.com. Every day, you will find essays on the importance of picture books from such luminaries as Doreen Cronin, Chris Raschka, John Rocco, Jon Scieszka, Karma Wilson, Paul O. Zelinsky, and yes, even Peter Reynolds! Picture books will be celebrated around the world in blogs, in libraries, in schools, and in homes.
How important are picture books to you? Become a Picture Book Month Ambassador and wear the badge proudly on your website. Let’s show everyone that picture books rock this world!
November is Picture Book Month! Read * Share * Celebrate!
Dianne de Las Casas is an award-winning author of 19 books, a professonal storyteller, and founder of the international literacy initiative, Picture Book Month. She tours worldwide presenting revved-up author visit/storytelling programs, lively educator/librarian training, fun workshops, and inspiring artist residencies. Her picture books include The Cajun Cornbread Boy, Madame Poulet & Monsieur Roach, Mama’s Bayou, The Gigantic Sweet Potato, There’s a Dragon in the Library, The House That Witchy Built, Blue Frog: The Legend of Chocolate, Dinosaur Mardi Gras, and Beware, Beware of the Big Bad Bear. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook. You can also find Picture Book Month on Twitter and Facebook.
Participants – to enter to win the consultation from Dianne, you must be an official challenger and leave a comment on this post (INCLUDING YOUR FIRST AND LAST NAME) any time during the month of October for one point. On October 31st, l’ll put a check-in post on the blog. If you completed a picture book draft in October, you can let us know in the comments of that post for another point. I will draw a winner using Random.org and announce on November 2nd.Categories: 12 x 12 Featured Author, 12 x 12 in 2012, Authors, Brain Burps About Books, Giveaway, Goals, Guest Blogging, Picture Book Month, Picture Books, Social Media, Writing · Tags: 12 x 12 Featured Author, 12 x 12 in 2012, Author, Brain Burps About Books, Dianne de Las Cases, Giveaway, Goals, Guest Blogging, Julie Hedlund, Marketing, Picture Book Month, Picture Books, Social Media, Writing
Here is a word for word quote from an email I received a month or so ago from debut picture book author Mike Allegra.
“Oh, I do so feel like the dweeb looking for a way to get into the cool kid’s party. As you know, I am not an official 12x12er, but I do play along at home and look forward to whatever devilry you have in story for the 13×13-folks. That all said, I was wondering if you might consider helping me out. My children’s book, “Sarah Gives Thanks,” will be on shelves in September and I was hoping you might consider mentioning it on your site after its release. I’ve been earning my living as professional writer for years but, as this is my very first book, I am a bit of a greenhorn marketing-wise. And, well, your website just dazzles me.”
I told him he had me at ‘your website just dazzles me’. It should also be noted that in addition to calling me a “cool kid” and complimenting my website, he was the FIRST PERSON to sign up to receive information about 12 x 12 in 2013.
Now that I have read his responses to my questions, however, I feel I’ve been had. This guy is no greenhorn at anything. Just wait ’til you read his publication story. I look forward to many more guerrilla publishing stories from Mike in the future.
First things first – when will Sarah Gives Thanks be available?
It’s available now! Go get it!
What inspired you to tell Sarah’s story in picture book biography format?
Long story short, I had learned that Albert Whitman and Company was in need of a Thanksgiving manuscript, so I fibbed and said I had one. Actually, I doubled down and told them I had two. One manuscript, I told them, was a silly story about a turkey; the other was a more serious, historical piece. Both stories still needed a little work, I said. “So which one should I focus on rewriting?”
The editor told me she’d probably be more interested in the serious story. So, after that conversation ended, I scrambled to turn my little lie into a belated truth. In my hunt to find a unique, serious story about Thanksgiving, I discovered Sarah Hale.
Sarah amazed me. Not only was she the driving force behind turning Thanksgiving into a national holiday, but also she was the first female magazine editor in America. She was one of the first female novelists in America – and the very first to condemn slavery in a novel. (She beat Harriet Beecher Stowe by about 25 years.) She was a tireless advocate for women’s education. She led huge fundraising drives to turn Bunker Hill and Mount Vernon into national landmarks. She wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” And she was influential – sort of the Oprah of her day. When she said something, America listened.
What kind of research did you do to write the book?
I had to crank out the first draft of Sarah Gives Thanks pretty quickly because – well – I told the editor I had already written it. Fortunately, the editor liked the draft enough to request another, longer draft, which was wonderful. The request for a rewrite allowed me to give the story the time and attention it deserved.
I spent a lot of time researching Sarah. I read dozens and dozens of the magazines she edited. I read Sarah’s books. I read her letters. I read a number of biographies on her. Basically I became a bit of a Sarah Hale geek. If you need proof of my geekdom, by the way, I’ll be happy to show you the Sarah Hale bobblehead on my desk.
What surprised and/or inspired you most about Sarah?
What surprised me the most was that I had never heard of Sarah Hale before. Considering her many accomplishments, she still remains relatively obscure and that, frankly, is a real shame.
Can you tell us a little about your path to publication?
I already did. Pay attention!
What is next on the horizon for you?
I’m still writing and submitting other picture book manuscripts, of course. Some fiction, some non. I’m also beginning the hunt for an agent, so we’ll see how that goes.
In the meantime I will continue my gig as a magazine editor, which is my day job. And, of course, I’ll continue to seek out and leap on any interesting opportunities I can find.
If you could interview you, what question would you ask yourself?
Q: Do you play the sousaphone?
Would you ever have the guts to do what Mike did and say you had a story when, in fact, you had none? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t!
Well, after an unplanned hiatus, Tuesday 12 x 12 is back! Please welcome Marcie Atkins today, a girl after my own heart. One who lived for the summer reading program at the library, loves productivity apps, and is a challenge addict. Marcie amazes me with her dedication to her challenge results, and I suspect you’ll agree after you read this post. Welcome Marcie!
I was the kind of kid who loved the summer reading program at the library. You know the one where you got prizes for reading books? It was like rewarding me for eating candy.
That book ravenous kid turned into an adult who loves nothing more than a challenge to check off. And I’m the kind of writer who needs a good challenge to reward me for writing.
I’m a to-do list junkie. I used to make all of my lists on pencil and paper. Now, I’ve gotten high-tech and am geeking out on a To-Do List app that lets me sync between all of my tech devices.
In the past, some of my favorite writing challenges have included the Picture Book Marathon (write 26 picture books in 28 days during the month of February), PiBoIdMo (the picture book writer’s answer to NaNoWriMo hosted at Tara Lazar’s blog), and Laurie Halse Anderson’s WFMAD (Write Fifteen Minutes a Day during the month of August) and Kate Messner’s Teachers Write (a summer writing challengefor teachers).
Why do I do all of these challenges? Because I love to have accomplished something, then experience the insane joy of checking it off on my list. And quite frankly, I do better with the added pressure of a challenge. It holds me accountable. It makes me produce something instead of staring at a blank page.
I really wanted to participate in the Picture Book Marathon for a third time in 2012, but I was also working on two novels that needed major revisions. Since I work full-time and have two kids and a husband, writing a picture book draft a day would take all of my writing time for the whole month of February, something I just couldn’t afford to do this year.
Enter Julie Hedlund’s brilliant idea–12x12in12. I didn’t want to give up my picture book writing, so one draft a month seemed like a slow-and-steady pace I could pull off. I only ended up with three or four workable manuscripts out of the Picture Book Marathon anyway. So, if I wrote twelve, maybe I’d end up with three or four workable manuscripts this year too.
I thought it would be easy. Of course I could write a new picture book every month. THEN the novel revisions began to take over my writing life. They pulled on me. I wanted to be immersed in them. Picture book writing didn’t disappear, but it took a back seat to my novels.
I have checked off a picture book draft every month this year. But can I confess? Most of them (okay, almost all of them) are NO good. So far, I might (emphasis on MIGHT) have two salvageable manuscripts.
The New York Times bestselling novelist, Jodi Picoult, also wrote with young children underfoot. In Kelly Stone’s TIME TO WRITE, Picoult talks about that time in her life: “There were days I wrote garbage, but you can edit garbage.” So, even if my picture books aren’t publishable yet, at the end of 2012, I’ll have twelve more drafts than I had in December 2011. And I can always make them un-garbage-like.
Even if my two possibly-salvageable manuscripts never see the light of day, I will have practiced writing picture books. Malcolm Gladwell says in THE OUTLIERS that “Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.” I’m clocking in my time. Just call it another part of my to-do list.
My day job is a teacher. Today is my first day back to school, which means I will be juggling all sorts of other to-do lists. There will be nights that I won’t want to write when I come home. I will long for delivery pizza and mindless TV. Writing time will be precious. Having a goal already in place will keep me going. Even if all I get done in September is write my picture book draft for the month, then that’s a huge accomplishment.
And I don’t know about you, but come December, I’m hoping there is a new challenge for 2013. You see, I’ll need to have something to check off on my to-do list.
Marcie Flinchum Atkins is a teacher by day and a mom, wife, and children’s book writer by night. She holds an M.A. and an M.F.A. in children’s literature from Hollins University. She has freelanced for educational publishers and magazines. She spent her summer writing and revising picture books and doing a major revision on her current work-in-progress, a magical realism middle grade novel. You can follow her on Twitter.Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Authors, Children's Books, Goals, Guest Blogging, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: 12 x 12 in 2012, Goals, Guest Blogging, Julie Hedlund, Marcie Atkins, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Tuesday 12 x 12, Works in Progress, Writer, Writing
If you remember my video interview in May with Sarah Towle of Time Traveler Tours (TTT), you know I am a HUGE fan of her app, Beware Madame La Guillotine - a Paris walking tour narrated by a real-life woman of the French Revolution. Now the World Youth and Student Travel Conference has recognized the brilliance of this app by nominating it as a finalist in the App Yap contest. If TTT wins the contest, it will be a huge boon to Sarah’s vision to bring many more of these apps to tweens and teens in the future. These iPhone apps put history, art, and culture in the palm of kids’ hands – literally.
I would love to see TTT win this contest, so I asked Sarah to come back on the blog, tell us a bit more about the contest, what it would mean for TTT if she wins, how she has been marketing the contest and the latest news on TTT. Welcome back, Sarah!
Can you tell us about the App Yap contest and how BmlG was nominated?
The World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) created the App Yap Contest as a way to identify, from over 17,000 travel apps on the market, the best ones suited for youth and student travelers.
Apps are entered into the contest by the developer with a demonstration video and short description of content and purpose. A panel of six judges then chooses 10 finalists from among those apps entered.
I was thrilled to discover that Time Traveler Tours was selected for Beware Mme la Guillotine, A Revolutionary Tour of Paris. All of the other finalists are utilities or social networking tools. BMLG is the only finalist with narrative storytelling at its core.
How are winners chosen?
After the judges – five professionals from the youth and student travel industry plus last year’s contest winner – select the 10 finalists, the judging is turned over to YOU, the public. That’s when it’s up to us, the finalists, to crowd-source as many votes for our own app as we possibly can. This is the phase we’re in right now.
The public voting ends Aug 31st when the final decision reverts to the six-person judging panel once again. The finalist with the most public votes will earn one vote and therefore go into the final judging phase with an advantage.
In the final phase, starting Sept 1st, the judges will review each app more closely, looking not simply at design, ease of use, features and functionality, but also at the app’s content, its relevance and fit with the youth and student travel market and accessibility on a global scale. They are also looking at the developer’s potential for growth and entrepreneurialism.
What would it mean for TTT if you win this contest?
A 1st place win would be a HUGE boon for the TTT. The 5KEUR prize money would help to fund the next round of technical development necessary to extend the concept beyond Paris and offer historical story tours to locations worldwide. In addition, the winner receives a ton of free marketing. With “discoverability” being the biggest challenge for app publishers of all shapes and sizes, you can’t put a value on the benefit such publicity would bring.
To be honest though, the ‘winning’ has already begun for Time Traveler Tours as a result of being named a finalist in the App Yap Contest. I’ve been invited to guest post, and have already been published, on several travel-related blogs. Also as a result of the exposure the contest has brought me, I’ve been approached by another entity interested in a potential business partnership.
As a finalist, I am invited to attend the WYSTC annual conference as a guest. That’s when the App Yap winner will be announced. You bet I’ll be there to shake hands and hand out cards and generally shout from the rooftops all that’s worth shouting about the Time Traveler Tours products and concept.
So whether or not Time Traveler Tours makes it to #1 – and I hope it does – I feel I’ve already won by virtue of the marketing opportunity participation in this contest has afforded us.
Writers are always looking for marketing/promotion ideas. What cool things have you done to promote TTT in this contest?
Besides guest blogging and posting to facebook and relevant LinkedIn groups, tweeting the news and being retweeted by others, I’m also using the fact of my traveling to the conference to put together a stateside tour of school visits and regional SCBWI workshops. So far I have gigs set up in CA and DC in late Sept, TN in late Oct, and the NYC-area in early Nov.
I will be speaking to middle and high school classes about French history and culture; to teachers’ groups about using technology in the classroom; and to writers’ groups about all issues related to making apps.
If any of you would like me to come speak to your class, colleagues or writers’ group, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t delay! I need to lock in my flight arrangements very soon.
As of this writing, TTT was in second place. What is needed to throw you over the top?
More votes! Team TTT has been uber supportive, voting repeatedly and sharing the link with followers and friends. But we continue to trail the app currently leading the charge by about 200 votes. I reckon we’d need about 400 votes to best them at this point. Which, if you think about it, isn’t too far outside the realm of possibility – if each of you reading this post votes once a day for the next seven days, and ensured that three of your friends/followers do the same, we might just make it!
I know from my own experience with a “win with votes” contest, it can be exhausting. How are you holding up?
You’re right – it IS exhausting! You have to be very creative about where and how you ask so as not to exhaust the good graces of your friends and followers as well. And unfortunately, the timing hasn’t been great for me, as I have been traveling throughout the month of August. In fact, I’m on vacation in England with my family right now. As we’re traveling, we can’t always find access to the Internet, which has made this effort even more challenging. All of Europe, where I live, is on vacation right now and I’m aware that several of my usual supporters have gone off the grid for the month and therefore know nothing of the contest.
Given all this, I decided from the get-go that I would do what I can and hope for the best; that I would send out the word where and how I could and not stress out about it. It’s important to have a certain level of detachment with these things or you’ll go mad.
Nonetheless, I’ve been thrilled to see our vote count rise daily. That’s in large part thanks to folks like you, dear Julie, who are helping to promote the cause with me. I am truly grateful for your support.
How/where can people vote? Can they vote more than once?
Yes! You can vote every 24 hours. I hope you will. There’s one week left. So if you start today, that’s seven more votes for the TTT. The only rub is that you need to have a facebook account in order to vote. If you do, it’s easy-peasy. Two clicks, followed by a quick call to action to your FB friends, and you’re done. Click Here to Vote TTT.
Any other exciting TTT news you could share with us today?
Oh my, yes. Let’s see, there’s the potential partnership I hinted at above – but I can’t say anything more about that yet. And the biggest news: Beware Mme la Guillotine will soon come out as an iBook with our next story, Day of the Dead, A Spectral Saunter through Napoleon’s Paris, slated to come in this format in early 2013. We’re also in development with story tours to Amsterdam, Boston, various Italian locations, and the Versailles gardens. Very exciting!
I would really love to see TTT win this contest. To prove it, I am going to reward my readers for voting. You can vote once per day from now until August 31st – 7 days. You can vote and tweet to enter and win, and you can do both each day. Good luck!Apps, Children's Books, Digital Publishing, Giveaway, Guest Blogging, Storybook Apps, Travel, Travel Writing · Tags: App Yap Contest, apps, Beware Madame La Guillotine, Digital Publishing, e-publishing, ebooks, Giveaway, Guest Blogging, Julie Hedlund, Paris, Sarah Towle, Storybook Apps, Travel, Travel Writing, World Youth and Student Travel Conference, Writer