What is the Canadian Children's Book Centre, you ask? It's a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to encouraging, promoting and supporting the reading, writing, illustrating, and publishing of Canadian books for young readers. You don't have to be a writer or illustrator to join; just someone who loves children's books and wants to promote reading. If you do become a member, you'll get the nifty publications pictured below. You can check out my profile and the workshops I offer here.
Our local newspaper, the Kimberley Bulletin, was kind enough to do a story on me and my recent books. You can read it here.
I'm so excited to get people reading Unlimited that I'm willing to give away five signed copies for FREE.
Sound too good to be true? It is. To qualify for a FREE copy, you must:
1. Finder a clever way to work "unlimited" into a sentence and then post that sentence, along with a link to this blog post (http://www.kevinmillerxi.com/blog/free-book-giveaway-contest) and the hashtag #Unlimited, on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. Each social media platform you post on counts as one entry. Winners will be chosen based on cleverness, but if there's a tie, those extra social media platforms could prove to be the tipping point. :)
2. If you are lucky enough to receive a FREE signed copy (!), all I ask is that you post a brief review on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca after you're done reading it.
Sound simple? Then get to it. Winners will be announced Friday, September 22, 2017.
On October 2-3, I'll be in Herbert and Gladmar, SK, to do writing workshops and promote Unlimited. I'm also talking to several other schools in SK, Alberta, and BC about a tour in November. If you're interested in having me at your school, just hit me up through the contact page on this website. I work with all age groups, and I love doing it, so drop me a line!
From November 2016 to the end of August 2017, I had one main focus: finish Unlimited and get it published. Immediately, my focused shifted to an entirely new goal: making people aware of the book.
When you don't have a big publishing company behind you, marketing a book falls solely on the author. Therefore, over the past couple of weeks, I've spent countless hours sending thousands of emails to teachers, librarians, and other "gatekeepers" who can alert children about the book (kids are hard to reach directly online). I've also submitted the book to contests, advertised on social media, given out a few free copies in exchange for reviews, reached out to organizations to see if they'll recommend it to their members, sent press releases to newspapers and magazines, and pretty much everything else I can think of to get the book noticed. It's a daunting task, which I've only just begun, and I dare say by the time I'm done, I'll probably have spent more time marketing the book than I did writing it.
Meanwhile, I've also been laying the groundwork for book 3 in the Milligan Creek series, The Water War. It involves a game Matt, Chad, Andrew, and Dean come up with to help get them through a long, hot summer. We even got a chance to test a version of the game at my son's birthday a couple of weeks ago. I've decided I'm going to tackle the narrative structure a bit differently than in previous books, adopting a non-linear approach. I'll experiment with the first few chapters and see how it goes.
In the meantime, dozens of copies of Unlimited have gone out into the world, and I can't wait to start hearing back from readers. Now it's back to the emails . . .
You know you're down to the final stages of editing when you're obsessing over things like capitalization of bird names (Do I go with the dictionary method or the ornithological method?), the frequency with which certain words or phrases appear in the text, and how to cut at least one more incidence of "he said." (I like to avoid dialogue attributions if at all possible.)
I've also been reading the book backward--starting with the last chapter and working my way to the front. This is a good strategy in the latter stages of editing and proofing, because, typically, the first chapters are the most polished and receive the most attention, seeing as most editing passes start at the front and work toward the end, which means, unless I do it in stages, by the time I reach the final chapters, I'm not nearly as sharp as I was when I started.
There's also the fear of introducing new errors in the process of making revisions, so I tend to operate in a constant state of paranoia at this stage, checking and double checking each change before I move on to the next.
This is also where a second and third pair of eyes comes in handy. At present, those belong to my wife and my oldest daughter, Gretchen (15), an avid reader. I'm currently awaiting her second read before I finally put a bow on this book--hopefully by the end of this week. Stay tuned!
After doing a final edit and running the manuscript through three spellcheckers--during which I realized I had misspelled "Saskatchewan" on the back cover!--Unlimited is finally off to the printer. The next step is to do a final review of a physical copy of the book. Once that's done, we'll be in business. With any luck, the book will be available within the next three weeks. Excited!
SLOWLY working my way through my second edit of Unlimited. My strategy is to read a couple of chapters out loud to my son, Zeph, each night, making notes as I go. It's amazing what you discover about your writing by doing that. Zeph loves the story. So does Gretchen, who has already read it and given her notes. Then it's on to my wife, Heidi. One more final pass from me after that, and it's time to do the typesetting. Exciting!
Plus, I'm already developing the story for book three in the Milligan Creek series, which I'm calling The Water War. More on that one soon!