I have been writing for kids for over two decades. In that time I have had periods of flood and drought, feast and famine. There were wonderful years when everything I wrote was picked up immediately. Others, when it took more than a decade to find a publisher for a particular ‘orphan’.
This meant I had to ask myself if I had sent out that ms out at the wrong time, or to the wrong place, or in the wrong format? Perhaps the market wasn’t ready for it. Sometimes, on rereading, I realised that the ms needed more work, and then I would rewrite and resubmit. I certainly kept redrafting until that ms was finally sold. The synopsis and opening pages were vital. If I couldn’t attract a submissions editor, I was in trouble. Sometimes changing a title, or even cannibalizing the ms, could prove fruitful. Thus several lengthy stories were condensed to join my three short story collections. I never sent out an ms without first checking if it needed cutting, fleshing out, or more on line editing.
These days with so many publishers either combining or going under, it would seem as if we have returned to a time of famine. Except for the ebook. So an agent might more willing to pick up an ms and a publisher happier so if s/he knows that s/he won’t have the added expense of printing, paper and storage. The ebook also allows the creator to bypass the agent and publisher completely. However, the question still remains; how to market this work? Once this was done by professionals. These days it is up to us. And what’s more, we have to do this without spending lots of money on a professional marketer.
My primary technique is through my website. I regard this as my ‘shopwindow’ and of greatest importance. As it has been updated by a young webmaster into a completely new design, I feel he knows what will appeal to other young people. Other creators have helped promote my latest YA novel as many have blogs and seem happy to interview me, particularly as I make it easy by always emailing a list of questions and answers they only have to ‘cut and paste’. I write articles for the better ezines which keeps my brand, AKA my name, in the public eye, and I feature other writers on my blog.