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Monday, July 8, 2013

"10 Things I Wish I'd Known About Being An Author That I Didn't Know Before" by Laura Overdeck

I am happy to have Ms Overdeck back with us.  It was an honor to be invited to be part of this blog tour.  Today, I asked her to talk about "10 Things I Wish I'd Known About Being An Author That I Didn't Know Before".  Let's see what she said ...

Oh, be sure to stop by the other blogs on the tour for more fun facts and maybe surprises.  See tour stops below.

Oh, oh, be sure to swing by the Bedtime Math website to get daily math problems by email, get the app, interesting posts, and of course to get the book (Amazon link provided below)!

Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late (Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, 2013)
By Laura Overdeck; illustrated by Jim Paillot

Our mission: to make math a fun part of kids’ everyday lives.

We all know it’s wonderful to read bedtime stories to kids, but what about doing math? Many adults are uncomfortable with math and numbers, and too often we hear the phrase, “I’m just not good at math!” For decades, this attitude has trickled down from parents to their kids, and we now have a culture that finds math dry, intimidating, and just not cool.

Bedtime Math wants to change all that. Inside this book, families will find fun, mischief-making math problems to tackle—math that isn’t just kid-friendly, but actually kid-appealing. With over 100 math riddles on topics from jalapeños and submarines to roller coasters and flamingos, this book bursts with math that looks nothing like school. And with three different levels of challenge (wee ones, little kids, and big kids), there’s something for everyone. We can make numbers fun, and change the world, one Bedtime Math puzzle at a time.

Learn more about Bedtime Math at!

10 Things I Wish I’d Known About Being An Author That I Didn’t Know Before

There are some things that we all know about being an author, whether we’re authors ourselves or not. “Write what you know,” set a routine, create a quiet space – these are common wisdom. But upon beginning my adventure first as a daily math blogger and then as a book author, I quickly learned a few new lessons – some amusing, some painful, and some downright surprising. Bedtime Math began as a fun daily math problem that my husband and I did (and still do) with our kids. Once I started writing them down for the public, that daily commitment introduced a huge new pressure in my life. The project eventually led to a book deal with Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group - a very happy outcome, but with some lessons along the way.

1. Writing gets better if you look at it twice - preferably with a night of sleep in between. I suspected this after grinding through last-minute deadlines in college, but this truth really hit home when I had to generate a new piece of writing every single day.

2. Writing gets better when another person looks at it. No matter how passionate you are about your content and your style, honest critics will take it to a new level, if you’re willing to endure whatever discomfort that brings.

3. Writers need a thick skin. When you write from the heart, you’re really putting yourself out there in a vulnerable way. Will people like what you write? Will they think it’s funny, poignant, whatever else you’re aiming for? To handle that vulnerability you have to have conviction about your mission, because not everyone will be on your side.

4. Test out your ideas on the public before diving in. Writing a book is a huge undertaking, and it’s better to make that investment already knowing whether your idea has market appeal. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean running it past family and friends who love you. A second opinion from people in the business, such as agents or already successful writers, is a huge help. Or try writing a blog, and see what reactions you get from online strangers. This is how my blog became a book: people liked the material, so by the time I approached publishers, I had emails from readers asking me to write a book.

5. You can’t always be creative on command. It’s great to have a general routine, but there has to be flexibility in it. I’ve learned the hard way that “creative mode” is a fickle, fleeting thing, and forcing creativity when the juices aren’t flowing can be unproductive and frustrating.

6. Stay well ahead of deadlines. If you have to write frequently, it’s really important to give yourself a buffer, to allow for those non-creative spells that surface at inconvenient times.

7. There’s a higher standard for online content. These days everything you write becomes permanent and public, and your words will follow you the rest of your life. It’s good to think about possible repercussions at all times!

8. There’s a higher standard for technical content. Anything with numbers or facts can be officially wrong, so therefore people will pounce on you if it is. That can be humiliating, so for those who are tackling writing that’s fact-based, it‘s essential to show drafts to sharp-eyed reviewers.

9. The importance of saying no. It’s really important as a new author to establish your brand – really, as if you were an Oreo or a new car model. In this day and age, there are so many opportunities to write online alongside a hard-copy book. These venues give great exposure, but that doesn’t necessarily help if a site doesn’t mesh with your mission and material. It’s good to decide up front what kinds of sites you aren’t willing to tackle, so you have the discipline to say no if and when they do crop up.

10. Virality can be evasive. One always hopes that great writing showcased online will be forwarded to others. However, this depends on the target market. My Bedtime Math blog is only mildly viral, with about 1% subscriber growth weekly. Why isn’t it better? A children’s media property finally explained that if you’re targeting 30-something and 40-something parents, your material is unlikely to go viral because they didn’t grow up with social media. This crowd doesn’t “like” things, share them, or post comments as frequently as younger readers. Depending on your target market, you may or may not benefit from virality
~Laura Overdeck, Author, Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late (Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, 2013)

Thank you for sharing your experience, Ms Overdeck.  Looks like you've had many trials and errors and have grown from them (I especially wouldn't have thought about #10).  I sense that an author ought to have a specific mission statement in mind so as to have a central focus and be diligent in not compromising it.  Overall, great insights!  Continued success to you.  Our household definitely enjoy Bedtime Math and telling friends all about it. :)

Tour Stops:

1. Monday, July 8 - Jinky 
2. Tuesday, July 9 - Susan
3. Wednesday, July 10 - Ken  
4. Thursday, July 11 - Bekah 
5. Friday, July 12 - Samantha 
6. Friday, July 19 - Christopher

1 comment:

  1. I really agree with #4 and plan to get more input before I start my second novel on the general marketability and feasibility of the story line before I dive in to the draft.


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