Monday, July 31, 2006

That last ALA conference session ...

Finally. I unearthed my handouts from the session I had starred before even getting on the plane as one I wanted to attend on Sunday in NOLA! ACRL's New Publications Committee & the ACRL-CLS Research Committee co-sponsored a program; Publish, Don't Perish: Helpful Hints for Authors. Since I am waiting, oh so patiently, for my first article to be published and loving the peer review process that makes the article now over a year old before print, I decided this would be a good professional development session for me. With luck, the session would be more than the ever popular "write what you know" rah-rah, blah, blah, blah. Luckily, two of the session speakers were not only informative, but also had common sense tips on publishing.

Marie L. Radford, PhD - School of Communication, Information, and Library Studies Rutgers University

Dr. Radford was a particulary engaging speaker who didn't pull any punches. Beyond her handouts detailing her Radford Rules for Increasing Writing Productivity and Enjoyment, she addressed time management and barriers keeping potential authors from actually writing. What resonated with me the most was her assurance each person in attendance was already involved in an interesting project at work that would be suitable for an article. Additionally, she stressed the importance of writing every day. That, coupled with writing what I know (sigh) had an effect on how the entries on this blog have changed.

At first, I created this blog because I could, because it was fun, and because I was curious to see how a personal blog would differ and/or evolve differently from my various professional blogs. The professional blogs have topics of news and information (plus collection development), educational technology resources, and a new childrens book review blog. Of the three, only one will be collaborative in nature with a children's literature professor adding book reviews and class work to the project. Generally speaking, beyond blog spam, none of the three as of yet have any comments. Quite honestly, two of the three do not lend themselves to comments as they are of an informational nature.

This blog has moved beyond the personal only to a cross between personal (baseball, sci-fi, and blogging) and professional (conference, technology, books) with a few snarky personal comments thrown in for good measure. I am attempting to use it as a way to move beyond the barriers Dr. Radford detailed that everyone must overcome to write. With luck, looking back over the topics I've written about and discussed, one or more will stand out and give me a starting point for my next professional article. Right now I appear to be working true to form and blogging mostly about children's books, adult books (not that kind), technology, and professional development opportunities such as the conference and presenting a poster session.

What do I hope to write about? There are a few things at the forefront right now:

  • The children's literature review blog and collaboration project
  • Beginning a new professional blog with another librarian in Ohio, also a collaborative effort.
  • Honing my skills writing children's book reviews.
  • Working with a partner to writer about conference planning. We have been talking about this particular project for a year now. I sent her the copies of this session and we really need to move beyond the talking stage.

Patricia Glass Schuman, Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.

Ms. Schuman is the President and Founder of Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc. I remember thinking, a publisher definitely is someone to assist would be authors concerning the "ins and outs" of library publishing. Trite, I know, but definitely true. Two different aspects of Ms. Schuman's portion of the program stuck with me: the craft of writing and the process of publishing.

With writing, she suggested the following:

  • Think about what you are reading that is interesting and what audience it speaks to and about, professionally.
  • Find your personal passion. If you are not interested in what you are writing no one else will be either.
  • You have to practice the art of writing. What do you have to say?
  • Consider outlines and sample chapters.

Concerning publishing, she made the following comments:

  • Are you qualified to write a book? What, if anything, have you previously published in the library science field?
  • Look at publishers catalogs. Is what you want to write something they are publishing? Has it already been done and if so, how is your offering different?
  • Make contact with publishers early in the process.
  • Think about what rights you have as an author regarding intellectual property and translation writes.
  • What rights do you have as an author regarding your work?

I have to admit that right now, publishing beyond articles is something I am not really ready to do ... but you never know. I will keep authoring this blog to work on my writing and continue to be in the habit of writing daily, even a short blog entry. Naturally, I started reading one of the Alex Award winners at lunch this afternoon and it will more than likely be the topic of my next entry.

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