One Writer’s Journey

February 27, 2018

February 26, 2018

Author’s Copies: Dakota Access Pipeline

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 3:09 am
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Woo-hoo!  My author’s copies of The Dakota Access Pipeline arrived Thursday evening.  The book came out in January so I’ve been popping out whenever I see the poor mail carrier.  Honestly, I wonder if author’s houses aren’t marked on a map.  “Beware!  Will worry carrier for weeks at a time.”

This is one of the hardest single books that I’ve ever written. Not only does it include information about this specific pipeline, it also explains:

  • Native American history especially in the plains including the killing off of the buffalo to solve the “Indian problem” and forcing the people onto reservations.
  • How oil is drilled and transported using pipelines as well as potential safety issues.
  • The process used to decide where something like a pipeline is laid.

One of the hardest parts of writing a book like this is sorting out the biases of your sources.  Oil industry experts will swear left right and sideways that pipelines are safe and effective and not at risk for leaking.  Environmental experts want you to say just how hazardous a pipeline is.

As you try to decide who is giving out accurate information, you read that the path of the pipeline was moved when white residents of another possible route objected it would put their drinking water at risk.  But when Native Americans make the same claim, they are attempting to halt progress.

It is especially tricky when you go into a project with ideas about who is right and who is wrong.  When you don’t find the information that you expect to find, is it because big money blocked data and made sure that skewed facts were published.  Or are you being resistant when your own prejudices aren’t being supported.

If you love ferreting out facts and trying to decide exactly where the truth lies, consider writing nonfiction.  You have to be one part miner, digging things up, and one part detective, following a path to Fact.



January 31, 2018

Author’s Copies!

Happy Birthday to me!  Guess what arrived on my birthday?   Author’s copies.

This was probably one of the hardest books to research.  I landed the job not long after President Trump won the election.  A Google search on “electoral college” returned tons of links but I knew that most of the material would be unusable.  My editors wanted a balanced historic take on this American institution.  I had to go deep enough to unearth articles written by political scientists.

Another tough thing about this type of topic is going beyond your own take on it.  I’m a political liberal.  Theorists on that side of the divide mark the College as racist and pro-Slavery.  As I read further, I uncovered material that discussed balance.  Was that just the Conservative party line?  I had to read further to find out.

I did a good job explaining the why of the college but my editor asked me to cut some of the history and bring in more of what was going on now.  I had achieved liberal vs conservative balance but not done as good a job with then vs now balance.

I have to say that I’m really happy with how this book turned out.  I learned a lot and I think I managed to present a complete picture that isn’t weighted too heavily one direction or the other.  The publisher has also done a good job with the book design.

The interior is clean and easy to read.  That’s a big one.  Some publishers tend to get carried away with special features, graphics and sidebars.  There’s almost too much to see.  They also don’t do a good job choosing images or they use low resolution images that look pixellated on the page.

Yes, yes.  It is my book baby so I may be a little biased but still?  I’m really happy with it.


August 21, 2017

Author’s Copies: I’ve Run Out of Space

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:25 am
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The too tall stack of author’s copies in search of a new home.

Another pair of author’s copies arrived in the mail on Friday – these are What Are Race and Racism?  The series, Race in American, is with Abdo. Once again, I had the opportunity to work with Duchess Harris who was the topic expert for this book.  After the author turns in an Abdo book, the topic expert reads through it and makes sure there are no serious omissions.

But I discovered something when Professional Gaming Careers arrived last week.  I’ve run out of space!

Up until now, my author’s copies have “lived” in a pile on the end of one shelf.  The problem is that they reach from one shelf to the next and then some.  What a wonderful problem to have!

But this means that I have to get moving cleaning out my office.  Snicker.  The first time I wrote that phrase, I typed “cleaning out my room.”  Yeah.  My office is a lot like my teen room.  A big desk and papers, books and piles galore!  I’ve made some headway over the summer but not a whole lot.

In my experience, and maybe it’s just me, the paperless office of the 21st century is a myth.  There isn’t as much paper as there would have been 50 years ago but there’s still quite a bit.  There are also a set of cards my son and I are making as well as 2 crochet projects and a knitting project.  I knit and crochet while I watch video lectures for the class I’m taking on Ancient Egypt.

But is that what I’m doing today!  Don’t be silly.  We are in the path of the solar eclipse as in 45 minutes from home we can see the full eclipse for something like 45 seconds.  We are not passing up that opportunity.

So for the next few days, my authors copies will have to share space with library books.  Why?  Because I have a library shelf.  Doesn’t everyone?





February 9, 2017

Author Copies! and Getting Paid

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:04 am
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authorcopiesI’ve been checking the porch for my author copies for days.  Of course, the authors copies of The Zika Virus and Hidden Human Computers arrive while I’m on the rowing machine so please forgive my snazzy outfit.

My husband brought the box in and put it on the bed.  I walked past it on my way to the Little Author’s room.  “What is that?”

“A box?”

A box.  With a great big, bright green Abdo sticker.  I must like him pretty much though because I gave him the bubble wrap.


Some publishers, most often magazines, pay only in author copies.  Um…no. I can’t pay the electric bill with copies.

When you are researching potential publishers, make those that pay your top priority.  Also pay attention to when you will be paid.  Here are some of the terms that you might run across.

In Copies or In Copies Only:  These are the ones that pay you copies vs actual, spendable money.

Work-for-Hire:  This means that the publisher will hold the copyright and, most often, you will not get royalties.

Royalties:  This is a percentage of sales that go to the author.

Advance:  If you are being paid royalties, look for a publisher that pays an advance.  That means that you get part of your royalties up front.  Yes, you have to earn enough to surpass this before you get another check but you get it now vs later.

On acceptance:  This means that you get paid when the publisher accepts the manuscript. This is how Abdo pays.

On publication:  This means you get paid when it comes out.  That’s how Highlights pays.

Hmm.  That’s all I can think of right now.  Ask me about anything that I’ve missed and I’ll add it to the list.  Or you can add it in the comments below.


October 20, 2016

Author’s Copies! Women in History Have Arrived

women-in-historyAbout 30 minutes after we had finished dinner my son tossed a comment back over his shoulder as he left the room.  “Oh, yeah.  They delivered your books.”

“What books?”

“Your books, Mom.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“You were on the treadmill.”  Granted, I’d been off the treadmill for slightly more than an hour and a half but my son and husband found this perfectly reasonable.  Of course, I pretty much blew my credibility because, at that point, I spun around and tripped over a pair of wet shoes someone had left by the front door.  Someone.  They were, coincidentally, my sandals.

The last 24 hours had been more than a little book crazy.  At almost 10 pm, I got a rewrite request.  I’ve been waiting for a rewrite request but this wasn’t from the same author.  It seems that the publisher had reviewed this particular book after it had gone through design.  He wanted changes and I can’t say that I disagree.  They will definitely improve the whole.  But that’s not what I was expecting to work on today.

Fortunately, I got the changes in and then had another e-mail.  Rewrite request?  Nope.  Just letting me know that I’d have it in about a week.

Then we had dinner and then I found out my books had arrived.  Aren’t they fantastic?  That’s Women in Sports to the left and Women in Science  to the right.  I have to say that the book design is quite nice and I was surprised by how many of the photographs I recognized from Women in Sports.  They didn’t ask for suggestions so they independently picked out photos I found while researching the topic.

The only book for which I’ve made photo suggestions so far has been Ancient Maya.  That was tricky because they couldn’t always get the photos I had found and had to use something else.  Since I had also written photo captions, that meant having to rewrite photo captions.  That’s one of the things about series writing.  I submit my best possible manuscript, incorporating changes they requested based on the outline.  They read my manuscript and all of the others in the series.  They ask for changes, sometimes because a topic was extensively covered in another book.

Speaking of which, I wonder what changes they’ll want on the last manuscript?  Until I find out, I’ll have to find something else to do.  Maybe I should start by putting up my shoes?


September 2, 2011

Author’s Copies

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:36 am

A box o' author's copies

I got a surprise package in the mail last week — a box full of author’s copies from Gryphon House.  You can find some of my activities in three of their recently published volumes — Learn Every Day about Social Studies, Learn Every Day about Seasons and The Budding Gardener. Its like Christmas at 90 degrees and sunny!


June 28, 2011

Look at Me!

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:42 am
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Me and my copies!

A couple of week ago, Thriving Family  (Summer 2011) came in the mail. I vaguely remembered requesting the free subscription — possible market and all that.  As I read though it, I thought, “I can write like this.”

Then I turned the page to “Faith on the Go.”  On June 11th, I saw a familiar looking activity.  “Hey, I did do this!  It’s my activity!”

I had already deposited the check and was patiently awaiting my author’s copies but didn’t remember which issue was going to run my work. What a fun surprise!

My author’s copies have since arrived.  Now to come up with something new for this market.


February 26, 2010

Some Days . . . You Get Author’s Copies

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 3:25 am

I know I’ve said it before — writers write.  That’s what makes you a writer.

Of course, it also means that some days, like when your kiddo stays home sick from school, it is very hard to feel like a writer because you get very little writing done.  Sure, I rewrote a brochure but that was it.

But look what the UPS man brought me — author’s copies!

These are the first of the Gryphon House books that contain my activities.  So even though I didn’t get much actual writing done, I must be an author.  I have the copies to prove it.


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