Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 9, 2017

Book Review and Giveaway – WRITING IT RIGHT!

Sandy Asher has agreed to give a copy of her book WRITING RIGHT away. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.

Book Review by Linda Swingle

In the continuing series of “how-to” book reviews, it is a pleasure to include a book written by Sandy Asher. Earlier this year, Kathy conducted a wonderful interview featuring children’s author Sandy Asher and the creation of her book: CHICKEN STORY TIME (May 10, 2017). Sandy’s professional approach and unyielding enthusiasm led me to discover her book WRITING IT RIGHT! How Successful Children’s Authors Revise and Sell Their Stories. (http://www.writersbookstore.com)

Sandy presents nine essential questions that guide, motivate, and inspire a writer while navigating through the revision process. Sandy breaks down aspects relating to each of the nine questions that truly provide opportunity to pause and consider the driving force behind the development of a story.

Included are twenty-one actual accounts in which Sandy shows how the nine essential questions apply to the process. Whether developing manuscripts for concept books, picture books, chapter books, YA novels, or magazine submissions, the nine essential questions apply.

As an example, contributing author Kate McMullan takes the reader through her revision process for her delightful concept book, I STINK! From first draft to final draft, Kate’s process demonstrates the importance of revisions resulting in the completion of a manuscript ready for submission and eventually publication. Within this same example, Sandy demonstrates how the nine essential questions apply so to give the reader a better understanding.

Additional insightful information includes interviews conducted with each contributing author. Included in the treasure trove of information, Sandy shares advice given by three editors, an agent, and a manuscript consultant.

With regard to the information provided by Sandy and the array of contributing professionals, WRITING IT RIGHT is a valuable asset. Consider this book a speed course in understanding how-to properly tackle the revision process and make your manuscript shine!

About Sandy Asher:

Sandy Asher is a very active and busy woman in the publishing world. Editor of five collections of fiction and author to more than twenty books for young readers, including the award winning book, TOO MANY FROGS and companion books, WHAT A PARTY and HERE COME GOSLING, Sandy has published three dozen plays in addition to receiving the American Alliance for Theatre and Education’s Charlotte Chorpenning Award. Continued distinctions include teaching creative writing and leading writing workshops for Drury University, the Institute of Children’s Literature, SCBWI, and the Highlights Foundation.

What inspired you to create and write WRITING IT RIGHT!?

After many classroom presentations, teachers thanked me profusely for talking about the importance of the revision process and sharing various drafts of my work. They stated they experienced difficulty with their students revising anything and I had provided proof that revision remains a vital part of writing. I thought about that for years. Certainly, as a young writer, I had no interest in revision. My first attempt to tell a story was golden! Many rejections later, I finally understood that it was not. Why were those students, those teachers, and I all struggling with that simple truth?

I finally figured out that while storytelling is instinctive, revision is an acquired taste and there are no natural ways to acquire it. No one ever gets to watch a professional writer revise a manuscript. We know dancers, actors, and musicians take classes, practice, and rehearse before they perform. We know paint and clay don’t always go where you want them to go on the first try. All the juggling of words, sentences, characters, and plot that a writer endures happens behind closed doors, or many times, inside the writer’s head, where no one can see the process. What we see instead is a produced book, proofread, polished, and flawless. We assume that’s the way it fell out of the writer’s head.

I originally conceived WRITING IT RIGHT as a tool for teachers and their students. It wasn’t long before I expanded my thinking to tailor the book to adult writers who would benefit from “studio visits” with professionals and witness up close the normally unseen process of revision.

Did you pitch the publisher prior to writing your first draft of this book?

Yes, I wrote a proposal. Thankfully, I enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the previous owners and staff of the Institute for Children’s Literature, (ICL). I taught as an instructor and developed course materials for them so there was the opportunity for mutual brainstorming as well.

How many published books had you written before pitching this book?

If you count “written and edited,” there were 29. I created anthologies before, which mattered in selling this one.

Did you have an agent at the time?

Yes, I did, but in this case, the relationship with the publisher started with me because of my history with ICL.

Is this book your most successful book to date?

No. I don’t keep exact numbers, but I’d probably divide that honor between the YA novel JUST LIKE JENNY (out of print, yet enjoying a new life on Kindle) and the picture book TOO MANY FROGS. WRITING IT RIGHT experienced a bit of a rough go, actually. You’ll note that it came out in 2009. Although the folks at ICL poured their hearts into producing it and did a beautiful job, 2008 happened and the company experienced what our country experienced at that time. It was impossible to finance their usual terrific marketing effort, and good reviews helped balance that for a while. Eventually, the company was sold and everything changed. While the book is still available to purchase through http://www.writersbookstore.com, it’s no longer on Amazon.com except through used book sellers which gives the impression it’s out of print. It’s not! It’s alive and well.

Tell us a bit about your first published book.

For years, I thought of myself as a short distance runner: I published lots of poetry, short stories, articles, and one-act plays. I wanted to write a novel, but it just wouldn’t come together for me. Many drafts, years of rejection, and then, my brother-in-law landed some sort of low-level job at Grosset & Dunlap and told me his editor was looking for someone to write a nonfiction book about peanuts.

Jimmy Carter was just starting his campaign for the Democratic nomination at that time, and the editor saw a future in peanuts! She wanted everything — history, how-to-grow, recipes, whatever. I went to the library and pulled together everything I could find. There wasn’t a single book about peanuts, just mentions here and there, from jokes to George Washington Carver. I constructed an outline, landed the job, and given four months in which to complete the book! This was around 1975 or ’76 and no internet!

I wrote to every company, organization, and festival dealing with peanuts that I could find. My son and I dug deeper at the local library. (He was about 10 years old, but a dedicated researcher. I really could not have done it without him.) For four months, I read about peanuts, wrote about peanuts, dreamed about peanuts, and ate peanuts…and in the end, got the job done! That showed me I really could go the distance. I went back to my novel attempts, revised some more, and the first, SUMMER BEGINS, came out in 1980, three years after THE GREAT AMERICAN PEANUT BOOK. Unfortunately for the latter, Jimmy Carter’s approval rating went downhill fast and sales went with it. However, SUMMER BEGINS was the start of my long and happy life as a children’s book author.

You currently have a newly published book, please share a bit about this book with our readers.

It’s been eight years now since our son-in-law and two of our grandchildren came to live with us while my daughter ventured off to Ethiopia to tend to our third grandchild and finish the complicated adoption process. For four months, the kids and I, along with a lovely au pair from Columbia, attended weekly Storytime at the Lancaster Public Library. The kids were delighted; I was charmed. I wanted to honor that experience in a book but that inkling of an idea and the chickens didn’t come together for quite some time.

Actually, Froggie, of TOO MANY FROGS fame, was supposed to go to the library with his extended family, but after HERE COMES GOSLING!, contracts for books about Froggie and Rabbit fell by the wayside. What’s as funny as too many frogs? Too many cows perhaps? Wouldn’t fit into a library very well. Too many pigs? Not a good fit either. Too many mice, donkeys, sheep . . .? Meh. Chickens! Chickens are funny! Hence, CHICKEN STORY TIME. Thanks to Mark Fearing’s hilarious illustrations, chickens are funny, indeed . . . and they love Storytime at the library. As do I! Mark added a Reading Dog to the story — brilliantly! I now have a real Reading Dog of my own, a rescued dog named Gracie. Together, we visit the Lancaster Public Library once a month in addition to a few school visits during the school year — to be read to by children.

Thank you, Sandy, for such a delightful experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to conduct an interview with you!

To learn more about Sandy and review the long list of Sandy’s literary accomplishments, visit http://www.sandyasher.com

BOOK GIVE-AWAY! Leave a comment to enter your chance to win a copy of Sandy’s book WRITING IT RIGHT! Please post this article on your blog, website, or Twitter to spread the word regarding this marvelous book!

Please note: Book Give-away is for residents within the United States.

About Linda Swingle

Linda has enjoyed a long and fulfilling career working as a professional artist for world renowned clientele. As a freelance artisan, Linda continues to work for select clientele while taking on new clients creating book illustrations in addition to writing and illustrating her own picture books for children. She lives in Southern California with her darling husband and their rescued canine, Tieshka. Connect with Linda on Twitter and Facebook.

Happy Writing!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 


Responses

  1. Sounds like a great book! Revision is definitely the hard part. Thanks for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind comment. The nine questions provided by Sandy provide structure during the revision process. Wishing you tremendous success!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Revision is the most difficult part of the writing process. This book looks like it will be a great help. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My pleasure Suzanne! I do encourage you to purchase a copy. I am so glad I did!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very helpful interview. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Congratulations on keeping your book alive in the marketplace.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This looks like a really helpful book. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eleanor, for those serious about properly revising a manuscript, the nine questions put everything in perspective.

      Like

  6. This looks great! Tweeted and going to link from my FB page. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • So kind of you Leslie! Thank you for passing the review along.

      Like

  7. This book has been on my “Wish List” for a loooong time! Now it’s on THIS wish list 😉 Of course, I’m sharing, Kathy 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, don’t delay…Sandy’s book will make a great addition to your library of “how-to” books.

      Like

  8. Thank you for introducing me to Sandy Asher and her book WRITING IT RIGHT. This title is added to my wish list.
    ~Suzy Leopold

    Liked by 2 people

    • Suzy, while searching for “how-to” books, Sandy’s book stood out as a winner. Once ordered, the book could not arrive fast enough. I cannot emphasize enough how helpful this book is for those aspiring to write for children.

      Like

  9. Sandy’s book for writers sounds practical and very useful with all the examples from a variety of authors. Peers can teach you so much!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. We are always learning. The process never ends and this sounds like a book to further our learning of this industry. Well done. 🎃

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Susan! The examples provided by Sandy, made possible by the gracious support of published authors, are a tremendous help. A road map to help one endure the process. (Thank you for the “Jack O’ Lantern—I love pumpkins, autumn, and Halloween!)

      Like

  11. Even seasoned writers could use reminders and new tips.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Natasha, your comment is appreciated! By the way, I cannot wait to read your book, WHEN JACKIE SAVED GRAND CENTRAL. Fabulous cover design!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Credit goes to Alexandra Boiger who also illustrated She Persisted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I look forward to viewing illustrations created by Alexandra Boiger. Thank you.

      Like

  13. What timing! I have Chicken Story Time in my library book stash right now and it is so fun. Writing it Right sounds like an amazing resource!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Amanda, thank you for your comment. Chicken Story Time is a cute, fun, and lively picture book. Regarding WRITING IT RIGHT, you will enjoy learning how the contributing authors approached the revision process. My favorite is, I STINK! … An adorable story written by Kate McMullan. Not only is the story darling but Kate’s story behind writing this story is so funny. Having grown up in a large city, I can relate to the events referred to by Kate that eventually inspired her to write the book.

      All the best to you!

      Like

  14. I had the pleasure of hearing Sandy Asher speak a couple of years ago. She is, indeed, a great resource for kid lit writers, so I’m sure Writing it Right is full of helpful advice on writing and revising. Thank you for the post!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Heather, it was my pleasure. I gained so much while reading Sandy’s book. It was a true pleasure collaborating with Sandy and creating this post for Kathy. I am grateful for the support provided by two wonderful women!

    Like

  16. Thank you everyone for your lovely comments. I wish everyone tremendous success while sending good cheer!

    Like

  17. This sounds like a must read book for aspiring pb authors, thank you for the opportunity to win a copy. I’ve also tweeted about the giveaway.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you for tweeting about the give-away! I sincerely appreciate your comment. All the best to you as you pursue your dream as an aspiring PB Author and I hope to read your PB one day soon! 😉

    Like

  19. Glad to add this one to my list. I like books that use examples and walk us through the exercises. Thanks!

    Like

  20. Sounds like an awesome book! 😀

    Like

  21. Seriously would love this advice!

    Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: