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Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Writer Mama Two-Year Anniversary Blog Tour Giveaway! Story #14

Christina Katz is celebrating the two-year anniversary of her book, Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids, with a blog tour describing how she got published. I am honored to welcome her to Coffee and Critique as she shares part of her story and gives away a copy of her book.

Leave a comment here answering the question below for a chance to win a free copy of Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids. If you've been thinking about freelancing, it's the perfect step-by-step guide to getting started. My copy is on my bedside table for easy reference. You can read the entire story from links on her blog.

The Writer Mama Two-Year Anniversary Blog Tour Giveaway!
 Post #14: Assemble a Team of Confidantes
To round out the support from the publisher side and your agent, you’ll need a few more teammates. Think of these folks as your personal, private cheerleading squad. The publishing process has a lot of ups and downs and you’ll likely need as much friendly emotional support as you can get. So when you are gearing up to write a book, be on the lookout for at least three friends who can offer you the following:

Editorial Insight
Writing a book is a marathon, not a sprint, so it helps to have a “catcher,” to receive your completed chapters as you go, whether this person will offer feedback or not. After I got the contract for Writer Mama, I knew I’d need a first reader. I also knew just who to ask: my longtime graduate school friend, Kristin Bair O’Keeffe.

Kristin served as my “catcher”—person to receive the early drafts of my chapters as I wrote them. Depending on how polished your drafts are, you may or may not need a draft editor, but you should always ask someone you trust to be your catcher, to help you stay on track of your deadlines. Since I didn’t strictly follow an outline to write Writer Mama, I needed lots of editorial support and Kristin’s feedback was a big help.

Emotional Support
I think it’s an unspoken rule that every first time author has to go through some trials in the process of writing and promoting a first book. Maybe it’s part of the initiation process, I don’t know. But apparently no one is exempt. There were plenty of bumps along the book-writing road for me and that’s also been the case for my friends with their first books. So you’d better be prepared with plenty of emotional support because there’s a pretty good chance that you are going to need it. My friend Sage Cohen provided a sympathetic, listening ear when I was going through my first-time-author ups and downs. She was there when I needed to vent and I can only imagine that listening to me has helped her with her own first-time-author challenges.

Professional Savvy
I was fortunate that Kelly James-Enger served as a first-time author matchmaker and put me in touch with Sharon Miller Cindrich, when we were both in the process of writing our first books. What we were able to do for each other was not just commiserate, but also provide professional advice to each other along the way. I remember nudging Sharon about her platform development. And I remember her offering content suggestions for my book. Even if you never have a crisis along the book writing path, it sure helps to have someone you can call on and share your professional process with, especially when the other person is going through the same thing you are. That’s when bonding over book-writing is both cathartic and fruitful.

Keep in mind that your private support team won’t take the place of your agent or your interactions with the folks inside your publishing house. But when you have publishing folks, an agent, and writing friends, you’ll likely have a more positive book-writing experience than you would otherwise, which will only lead to a better book in the long run.

Today's Book Drawing: To enter to win a signed, numbered copy of Writer Mama, answer the following question in this blog's comments: If you got a book deal today, who would you call on to be part of your team of confidantes? What strengths would they bring to the table?

Thanks for participating! Only US residents, or folks with a US mailing address can participate in the drawing. Please only enter once per day.

Where will the drawing be tomorrow? Visit to continue reading the rest of the Writer Mama story throughout March 2009!


Anonymous said...

This is a bit of a tough question for me, because two concerns come to mind: (1) would my team be able to give me advice that is as objective as possible and (2) would I be asking too much of my team to devote so much time to my project in the midst of their busy lives. So I think I'd have to take a thoughtful approach in asking my team for help!

My team would probably consist of my husband (for his sharp intellectual thinking), my parents (for their devotion to literature and emotional support), and three friends (for their experience in writing/reviewing literature, educational support of young adults, and community well-being). I think all of these individuals could offer constructive critiques as well as emotional encouragement!

Margo Dill said...

I like what you said about emotional support. I also think you need it if you have a book or not--this business is hard, and you need other people to understand you. Your friends and family try, but sometimes, even the questions they ask are a bit depressing--like "why can't I find your book in the Borders?" or "Oh, where do you find THAT magazine?" or even a comment like, "I didn't realize you took writing so seriously." Lord, help them. :) They mean well.

Thanks for the honest post!
Margo Dill

Tricia Sanders said...

It is a tough question. I'd have to say members of my critique group. They're tough, but they provide the critical eye I need. They would have helped me get that far to begin with. I also have a couple of non-writer friends who read my stuff and provide great feedback from a reader's perspective. They may not catch the split-infinitives and comma splices, but they know when something just doesn't sound right.

Anonymous said...

A thought-provoking question, and one that brings positive energy to envisioning the *when* each of us becomes published, not the hypothetical *if*! So, WHEN it happens, I would call upon friends who know me well enough to provide painfully honest feedback -- some writers, some not. I would benefit greatly from the experience and talent of one friend who is already a very successful children's book author and illustrator. He is a wealth of information about how things really work! Also, through blogging, I have "met" some incredible writers with such generosity of knowledge that I know there would be an on-line group of supporters as well.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, and I was already lucky enough to have won the book on a previous blog stop, so I am just commenting for the fun of it! :-)

Unknown said...

I'm not eligible living in Germany but I thought I'd answer the questions anyway :)
I'd have to say my husband because he has ignored the less than perfect state of housekeeping around here since I started pursuing writing for profit in Sept.
I'd also call my sister. She was the first person who I let read my book and she loved it. So I have to say she rocks :)

zeldadg said...

As hostess, I'm not eligible for a prize, but I thought I'd go ahead and dream out loud.

BTW Great posts, everyone.

This is when I'd really be glad I'm a member of a writing group that hooked me up with great critiquers.

I agree with Tricia, too. I'd want some non-writers who read my type of book to look at it. But I also know just which of my writing buds I'd go to for feedback.

For emotional support, it's weird, but my kids have been my best cheerleaders. They always ask how my writing is going and comfort me during the set backs. My daughter and I do work together - homework for her and writing for me. It helps both of us stay on track.

Pat Wahler said...

I think that I would have to name my critique group. It has a broad range of talent from newbie to seasoned, thus supplying a variety of perspectives. Members listen carefully and and are generous with well-considered and practical feedback.

And best of all my critique group can always be counted on for enthusiastic support.

Unknown said...

Good question.
In addition to my critique group, I would rely on my family and a small circle of writing friends who don't belong to my critique group, but whose opinions I value and whose judgment I trust.
Because I won a copy of Writer Mama on another blog, I'm disqualifing myself from winning here so someone else can win.
Also, I have to say Christina's book is an excellent resource. I'm not a Writer Mama, but a Writer Grandma (raising my two grandchildren for over the past four years), and the book's advice resonates with me. Chapter 17 - Negotiate Like a Barter Queen is especially inspiring.
Donna Volkenannt

Anonymous said...

My tribe, as Christina would say, is awesome. First, I would call my husband, the red pen wielding grammar nazi, is willing to listen, to give feedback and to support my work in myriad ways. Next I would call Emily my writing pal, then I would post a blog and share the news with my cool blog friends using too many exclamation points. I would totally update my Facebook status. And I would e-mail Christina because she's been huge in motivating me to make the dream reality.
PS just commenting for conversation and not to win :)

Anonymous said...

A book deal today?? Like Nathalie, I would call upon my husband but he doesn't wield a red pen. He does however, have a calming presence and I appreciate this about him. He would happily read revision after revision and every time tell me, "It's good!" So, I'd also have to quickly add someone to my cadre who's objectivity isn't dependent on...well, you know! I'd seek out my writing friend Nathalie and rely on our wonder twin powers. I'd then send an email to Heather Lende author of If you lived here I'd know your name. She doesn't know me. But her book motivated me to get back on the horse and ride after my writing career had been corralled far too long. Of course I'd shoot an email over to The Writer Mama herself. Her books have given me direction and her generosity, opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the great comments, ladies. But we'd all better run and get some mamas who HAVEN'T read my book yet so they can win. Has everyone read it already? Impossible.

So, note to the group, keep commenting and then go round up some friends and make them answer too! ;)

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow's the last day of the blog tour and the hostess gifts are in! Come on over to Robin Mizell's blog and chime in if you have time!

And thanks again for hosting!