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Magazine Story April 19, 2010

Posted by Ronica Stromberg in Uncategorized.
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I received a copy of my latest story published in Encounter teen magazine today. I’ve written for children’s magazines for years, and every time I see one of my stories in print, I experience the same rush of excitement. It never gets old.

Writing for children’s magazines continues to grow increasingly challenging as more print publications shut their doors. Writers for children’s magazines also face the challenge of providing accurate information while protecting the identity and safety of minors. When I started writing for magazines, most still published the full name and location of children interviewed. Not so any more.

I like to add a measure of safety by including parents in the room whenever I interview a child. I also secure their written permission for photographs used.

Probably my biggest challenge, though, is one most children’s writers have faced for years: finding children with stories to tell. When I do find a child with a story, usually he or she is as happy as I am to see it in print. Joy compounded!

Podcast Interview on the CBI Clubhouse April 15, 2010

Posted by Ronica Stromberg in Uncategorized.
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As an author of children’s books and stories, I’ve found Children’s Book Insider to be one of  the most helpful publications out there. I’ve maintained a subscription for years and made good use of the CBI Clubhouse, an online site where the newsletter owners provide podcasts and videos. So, I was thrilled when publisher Laura Backes said she’d like to interview me on the Clubhouse.

We talked mainly about writing for tweens and the inspirational market and about the promotional work I’ve done to get my latest books in the hands of readers. Laura has been in the publishing industry for years but said she’d never heard of anyone doing the kind of presentation I’ve been doing for kindergartners and first graders in schools (with the “You Be the Artist!” activity). She said she thought this was a great idea.

If you’re interested in listening to the podcast, I’ve copied the link below. Normally, you would need to be a paid subscriber to listen, but Laura and her husband, Jon Bard (co-owner at CBI), are providing this free to my readers.  Enjoy!

http://cbiclubhouse.com/2010/04/author-ronica-stromberg-on-writing-for-tweens-the-inspirational-market-blogging-and-more/

Breeding Contempt with Elvis April 3, 2010

Posted by Ronica Stromberg in Uncategorized.
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My oldest sister recently told me about a good book she’d read, Me & Emma, by Elizabeth Flock. I read it and liked it, too, but a few scenes puzzled me. The back of the book listed an e-mail address for the author, so I sent her my questions. She responded promptly with a letter of explanation. This, from a New York Times bestselling author.

“That was really nice,” my sister said. “I’m surprised she’d take the time to do that.”

I appreciated the time Elizabeth Flock took to respond but wasn’t overly surprised. Authors are more accessible than they’ve ever been. Even the most famous allow for direct reader contact through their Web sites or social networks. 

I sometimes wonder if all of this accessibility builds an artist’s fame or limits it. I think about Elvis Presley and how carefully Colonel Tom Parker controlled his public image and access.  So few people saw into Elvis’s day-to-day life.  Would so many fans have been clamoring at the gates of Graceland had they been able to e-mail Elvis or chat with him on Facebook?

I have to believe the old saying “Familiarity breeds contempt” bears some truth. Inaccessibility can add to the allure and mystique of a person. It’s easy to be awed by people whose foibles you never see. And you’re less likely to see those foibles the less direct contact you have with them.

I may be in the minority, but I still haven’t signed up to receive tweets from Ashton Kutcher or President Obama. I’d really like to keep it a mystery what they ate for dinner.

But, as an author, I would like to know the effect increased accessibility has on fame. What do you think?