In This Issue:
< How to Tackle an Elephant: Coordinating and editing a book with many contributors
< The World of Mind Mapping
< Feeds, Tweets and Posts: Social networking as a free marketing tool
< Pray: Ethiopia Publisher Training
< Enter the LetraViva Writing Competition
Join us in learning how to tackle an elephant-size book project from Ian Darke, MAI's regional trainer for Latin America and coordinator of the Latin America Bible Commentary. And glean tips on how to increase your creative thinking from a couple of hip Filipinos. Plus juice up your marketing abilities with free online tools.
-Dawn Herzog Jewell, editor
How to Tackle an Elephant:
Coordinating and editing a book with many contributors
We needed to produce a guide for writers on how to get published, including tips on writing for the press, how to approach publishers, and how contracts and royalties work. The range of content made the project daunting for any one person to tackle.
The natural option was to compile the book with contributions from several writers, each sharing their own viewpoints and areas of expertise. The result was MAI’s La aventura de publicar.
Producing a book with many contributors has advantages. Each writer pens just one article within a reasonable timeframe. New or unknown writers have the opportunity to mix with well-known names. The end result can provide extensive coverage of a subject and encourage everyone involved.
Not that it’s simple. One challenge is to maintain coherence and focus. Someone must ensure that all writers address the same audience at a similar level and style. The role of the coordinator or editor is vital: know the subject well, hold a clear vision of content and relate well to everyone.
Complicated projects may require a united team of sub-editors and an administrator. For example, I serve on the editorial team of the Latin America Bible Commentary. We have one chief editor and two assistant editors; I am the coordinator. (See photo below.)
The four of us comprise the decision-making team. We choose the additional articles, the space given to each commentary and the invited writers. We provide guides for contributing writers that include a focus statement, a style sheet and other resources. My assistant handles contracts with each author and monitors the documents arriving from authors and going to editors. We also have an advisory board that offers points of reference and advice.
Regardless of your book’s length, a simple contract should set out the rights of the authors, including payment and deadlines. A one-time payment is normally easier than a share in royalties.
Deadlines are critical for contributing authors and editors. Staggered deadlines prevent editors from getting overwhelmed with work. Hold writers accountable; it can be frustrating to find everything in place except that one key chapter. Particularly with larger projects, editors may face an author’s illness or even death, resulting in incomplete sections. An emergency or back-up plan can be useful.
An African proverb asks, "How do you eat an elephant?" The simple answer is, "One bite at a time." Coordinating a book with many contributors can be a manageable team adventure.
by Ian Darke, MAI Latin America regional trainer
From left: Ian Darke, coordinator; René Padilla, chief editor; Rosalee Velloso, New Testament editor; Milton Acosta, Old Testament editor; and in back Gilbert Montero, Ian's assistant.
The World of Mind Mapping
Eric Villarama (right in photo) and Ardy Roberto (left in photo) introduced dozens of writers and publishing leaders to “Mind Mapping” at MAI’s LittWorld 2009 conference during breaks and meals. Eric leads Mind Mapping workshops with Salt and Light Ventures, Ardy’s publishing and learning events company based in the Philippines. Learn how Mind Mapping might benefit you in this MAI interview.
Q: What is Mind Mapping?
Eric: Mind Mapping is a simple written or digital tool to get whatever is in your head into an organic yet organized structure. Instead of documenting thoughts linearly, Mind Mapping uses radial thinking with colors, word associations and images. Thus, Mind Mapping allows individuals to use both the left and right sides of their brain.
Q: How do you use Mind Mapping?
Eric: I use Mind Mapping for brainstorming, problem-solving, planning and organizing. I love it because I can do so much in so little time, as well as improve the quality of my work. Who wouldn't want that?
Ardy: Here is a picture of my notes from author Jennifer Su's workshop at LittWorld. I use a Mind Map of my book, The Heart of Healing, as a cheat sheet when doing talks or presentations.
Q: How can Mind Mapping benefit writers or publishers?
Eric: You can use Mind Mapping to come up with book titles, create new stories, outline chapters and more. Mind Mapping allows writers to see the overall picture of their ideas.
Feeds, Tweets and Posts: Social networking as a free marketing tool
Social networking websites make valuable marketing tools for authors, editors and publishers to attract an audience, get feedback and keep up with colleagues.
enables you to create and communicate with a network of readers. Set up a group
or fan page
to reach out to both current and potential readers. Use an event page
to let group members and fans know about book releases, signings, and other public events. When Facebook users join your group, become your fan or plan to attend your event, Facebook notifies their friends through a news feed. Their friends may then become your friends – and readers!
Choose from over 65 languages at the bottom of the sign-in page; only 30% of Facebook users are North Americans.
See how fiction author and MAI Board member Robin Jones Gunn
uses Facebook to relate with her readers.
is a service that allows you to send a quick, engaging sentence to cell phones or the web profiles of a group of people interested in your book," says MAI Board member Jon Hirst. Use Twitter to give your readers quick updates, reminders, and links to new blog posts. (Use Tiny URL
to shorten links.) You can also conduct polls, ask a question and see who tweets back.
Twitter, currently available in English and Japanese, is expanding to French, Italian, German and Spanish; it is now being used in China, Brazil, Australia and beyond.
See how Brazilian publisher Mundo Cristão
uses Twitter to promote books and authors.
allow you to post more in-depth writing and news updates. Readers can respond by writing comments. Commenting on other blogs not only connects you with other writers and publishers but also attracts new readers to your own blog. Choose from over 45 languages from the menu at the top of Blogger’s sign-in page; or use WordPress in any of 65 languages
See how Dr. Ned and Ardy Roberto use their blog
to answer readers’ marketing questions.
See how MAI Board member Jon Hirst combines social networking tools to promote his book Innovation in Mission
via his blog
, Facebook group
, and Twitter
by Alyssa Keysor, MAI intern
Pray: Ethiopia Publisher Training
MAI will lead workshops in marketing and magazine production June 10-12 for publishers in the Ethiopian Christian Literature Ministry (ECLMA).
Leading the marketing workshop for book publishers will be MAI Trainer Barine Kirimi, CEO of Evangel Publishing in Nairobi. Lawrence Darmani, MAI Africa regional trainer, will lead the magazine workshop.
Pray that these workshops stimulate cooperation among publishers and get more books and articles into the hands of eager readers. Read more.
Enter the LetraViva Writing Competition
Submit a biographical article in Spanish that features "an exemplary Christian life" in Latin America. The 10 best articles will be published, and each winner will receive a cash prize of $400 USD. Deadline: June 30, 2010. MAI is a sponsor of the competition. Read more.
>>Please forward this to your Latin American friends.