One Writer’s Journey

March 16, 2020

Four Things Authors Can Do During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Ipad, Girl, Tablet, Internet, Technology, ComputerFor the next 8 weeks, schools and most churches in my area will be closed because of the coronavirus.  Some employers have people working from home.  More will follow.  This means that lots of kids and adults are going to be at home and authors have had their school visits and book events canceled.  Here’s are four things you can do.

Facebook Live.  Are you a young adult author? Set up a time every day and read a chapter from one of your books.  Or teach them how to employ a fun writing technique in their own work.  Your readers can message you with questions and impressions.  Everyone is going to be craving human connection. Give them a chance to interact with you, the author.

Youtube.  Do you have a Youtube Channel?  If you write for younger readers, record yourself reading from your books and post the videos.   If parents or teachers contact you with questions, you can record and Q&A video to post.

Activities.  Recently I learned that the best way to get your book into classrooms and libraries is to write a teacher’s guide.  You create the activities and get the word out and the teachers will request your book.  Now is the time to reach out to the parents of young readers.  Create fun learning opportunities for their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Give Aways.  Host give aways.  It could be a copy of your book or a game that connects thematically with yoru book.  Or maybe the winner gets to pick the topic for your next poem or picture book.   Or you name a character after someone and post the story on your web page.

This is your opportunity to be creative while reaching out to make a good impression on young readers and the adults who love them.




June 5, 2019

YouTube: The Quest to Make a Video

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:25 am
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Making a video for Youtube.  How complicated could it be?  Oh, it is to laugh.

We just got a new movie camera.  Yes, we can record short videos on our digital camera but we wanted to be able to record 15 minutes plus.  Not that I am in any danger of needing 10 minutes let alone 15, but we wanted a camera that would give us options.  Everyone in the house wants it for a different reason but my husband did the research and picked out a really good camera.

As is so often the case, I am the last one to get my hands on the technology.  First I couldn’t get it to record.  I found the twenty year old and made him come help.  “You just push this button, Mom.  Wait.  Why isn’t it coming on?  Will you step back so it isn’t caught in your whatever.”  Self check out at the library sometimes gets strange if I stand too close.  and apparently the camera works on the same frequency.  Whatever.  It finally decided that it would record for me.

Then I accidentally turned on the light.  And how do you play the recording back? Once I figured that out I realized that somehow I hadn’t recorded any sound.  The microphone has a seperate on switch.  I’m sure in someone’s world that makes sense but really?

Once again, I hit record.  Sadly it was trash day and the windows were open.  Then the senior cat noticed I wasn’t in my office.  She had to search for me, calling throughout the house.  Mwow!

Just as I finished a hopefully passable recording, my son stepped into the room.  “Remember, your first couple of videos will be really bad.  You sound ridiculous.”

The glare must have been warning enough but he still started laughing.  “Mom, we all sound ridiculous when we start.  You’ll get better.”

Editing is an important step but that meant I had to look at myself on camera.  First, my computer tried to reformat the memory card.  Once I won that argument, I hit play.  Here are the things that I learned.

  • Make sure the top of your head is in the shot.
  • Do not chew gum even if your mouth keeps going dry.
  • I can say UM 592 times throughout a 10 word sentence.
  • I want to find a way to insert slides so that I am not holding the book up in front of my face.
  • I was going to say that I don’t want to look at notes because then you have an amazing video of me looking down.  But maybe that’s when I should insert those slides.

Except for the very top of my head not being in the video, this really wasn’t too bad.  That said, I will record one more time before I edit the video.  I want to try a different background which may simply mean cleaning off my dining room table.



February 1, 2019

World Read Aloud Day: Making My Own Short Video

Wednesday my son helped me make my video for World Read Aloud Day. You can see it above.  For a first video, it isn’t bad.

These are the things I did right.

Background. I picked a quiet place in the house.  I thought the window shade would make an okay background.  I don’t want people looking at my fridge or the laundry I need to fold.

Script. I didn’t write a formal script but I knew where I would start reading (the beginning of the book) and where I would stop (second page).  And I practiced which is important with formal taxonomic names for the various animals.

Camera.  We used a descent camera.  This is actually my son’s phone. I’m not sure why he decided it would be “best ” but it does have a really good camera.

This doesn’t mean that everything was perfect.  There are things I would do differently next time.

Closeup.  I think the camera angle is too wide.  A narrower angle would have used the shade as the background or the light blue dining room wall.  I’ll push for this next time.

Script. There will be an actual script so that the videographer knows when I’m done.

Cue!  He wants a silent way to signal me so that everyone doesn’t hear him at the very beginning saying “go.”

Video description.  I need to remember to tell people that they can click the link in the video description to go to the publisher’s page an order it.

Wrap up.  I want to come up with some clever little line to end with. Something that will encourage reading.

All in all, I think I did a pretty good job for a first effort.  I have a Youtube channel so I had to get that all prettied up. The photo now matches my author photo.  The background is the cover of my book.  And the description tells what kinds of videos I make.

What videos to make next?  My goal is to work up to one a week. If there is something book related you would like to see, let me know in the comments.


December 11, 2013

Platform: What to Do When You Decide to Take the Plunge

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:24 am
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Use every means at your disposal to promote yourself and your work.

I know you’ve heard that advice.  Then people go on to list an number of ways you can take advantage of the electronic world in which we live:  Youtube, pod casts, blogs, web sites, Facebook, Twitter, and more and more.

There are so many different things you can do that you can’t take advantage of them all and hope to do a good job.  This means that you need to pick and choose what works for you.  For illustrators like Phyllis Harris and other people whose work is highly visual, video is a natural choice.  Check out this video and see what a great job Phyllis does.

There are so many things that Phyllis does right.  Her work is visual, so she chooses to use a visual medium.  But video offers more than the visual, including an audio component which Phyllis also uses to it’s fullest including both her soft-spoken commentary and soothing music, both of which are well suited to her work.

No matter which means you chose to promote your work, you have to go above and beyond.  Why?  Because there is so much out there.  People like to know how creative types work and what inspires us and Phyllis gives them that, but that isn’t all.  A portion of the profit from every illustration sold through her web site goes to support Children’s Mercy hospital.

This doesn’t mean that you have to link your work to a charity although if your work is a good fit and it is a cause you believe in, why not?

Consider what form of electronic media best suits you and some aspect of your work and then think about how to make it a little more.  Your viewers will sit up and take notice.



May 5, 2009

LOC on YouTube

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:09 am
Tags: , ,

locNot quite a month ago, I posted about plans for the Library of Congress (LOC) to begin putting info up on YouTube. 

For those  of you who haven’t found it yet, click here to visit the LOC YouTube channel.  At this time, the channel includes 13 videos on the 2008 National Book Festival; 21 videos from the Westinghouse Works, 1904; 20 more from the Edison companies; and much more.  

Stop on by and learn a bit more history as well as what this amazing library has to offer.


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