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Readers ask burning question about the writing world and experts share their expertise.

Q.

I have self-published a picture book. Any suggestions as to how I can get it reviewed by parents, teachers, and librarians?

 

asked by Barbara

A.

Kayla Lake, kindergarten teacher and picture book blogger: (@illustrationstellthestory)

The way I learn about new and self published books is through social media, mostly Instagram and Twitter. I would recommend reaching out to some of the fabulous bookstagram people who run accounts that feature picture books. Teachers and parents seem to learn about books through the social media accounts they follow and trust for recommendations. Also, if you do reach out and they decline to review, don't be hurt or offended.  Bookstagram reviewers very carefully curate their content and want to ensure what they recommend is right for their audience. Good luck with your book!

Helen Kubiw, Canlit for LittleCanadians blogger:

My advice is to start local and ask. Check out your local bookstore, public library and schools, as well as the local school board library coordinator and ask if they are interested in reviewing your book. It might be a shelf marker, a review in their newsletter or a shout-out on social media. Even teaching and parent organizations have magazines with reviews of relevant books. Also, slip a note in the book or attach a funky sticky note asking them to send you a copy of their review or comments for posting to your own social media. Then you can try bigger venues like blogs that are geared to your specific type of book. But always ask first. Unless you have a relationship with someone, an unsolicited book to a reviewer may or may not get you what you want.

 


 

Q.

Should I do school visits for free to get the practice?

 

asked by Christine

A.

Kristin Cashore, author: I might do one or two school visits for free, just for practice, if I felt I needed practice. But you’ll get a sense of things pretty quickly, and your contribution is valuable, so I think it’s reasonable after that to charge a fee (which can be changeable, of course, depending on the situation!)

 

Kathy Kacer, author: Not everyone will agree with me on this, but I don't believe in doing school visits for free (unless you are donating your visit to the school for some personal reason, e.g. your kid/grandkid goes there, you are part of some fundraising campaign, etc.). You provide great value by speaking at a school, even if it's early in your career, and that should be acknowledged in some monetary way. You decide on how much; a small honorarium may be adequate. But the school should pay something

 

Teresa Toten, author: I learned this excellent tip from Loris Lesynski many years ago and have used it with devotion ever since. If a school visit is a freebie for whatever reason, you should still bill the going rate ($300 CDN as recommended by The Writers Union of Canada). Have the school sign an invoice saying that you have made a donation. That way it’s good for your records and the school is aware of the cost of a writer’s time.