"I didn't score one point the entire summer. Not one. I was 10, 11, years old. Playing against other 10-11 year olds. I was in the game. But I was terrible. I remember crying about it, being upset about it, and my father just gave me a hug and said, 'Listen, whether you score 0 or score 60, I'm gonna love you no matter what.' Now that is the most important thing you can say to a child. Because from there I was like, 'Okay, that gives me all the confidence in the world to fail. Right? I have the security there.' But, to hell with that, I'm scoring 60! Let's go! And from there I just went to work. And I stayed with it and I kept practicing, kept practicing, kept practicing."
- Kobe Bryant
It's been an exciting month of pre-orders for our first children's board book, "Oh Mother How Funny" written by Vicki Toups Sheaffer and illustrated by Kristie Kaiser Frudden. There's been a strong local presence in the orders (coming from Mahtomedi / Minneapolis / St. Paul area where Vicki and Kristie live), but 20 other states are represented! Great to see this community coming together!
In case you missed last month's newsletter, here's the inspiring story of how the book came about and here's where you can pre-order the book or the gift bundle. Oh, and here's Vicki reading to the unofficial star of the book, her grandson Jack 👶
We'll do a deeper dive in next month's newsletter, but here's a sneak preview of our latest service: Feedback Circle.
What is it in two sentences: After a writer completes their rough draft, they pick 3-5 of their friends/fans + 1-2 readers from our team who then read the manuscript and answer 10 questions about the work. Long Overdue compiles the feedback, makes everything anonymous, and presents the notes in an organized way to the author + sets up a Zoom call for everyone to hop on and discuss together.
Who is it for: Anyone who's goal is to publish and/or improve their work. This can be especially helpful for writers who just completed National Novel Writing Month and are now entering the editing stage. It's not genre specific, could be a book of essays, a novel, short stories, non-fiction, etc.
What does it cost? Standard price is $600. Could be more expensive depending on how long the manuscript is (rule of thumb - If longer than 200 standard book pages, price goes up)
How to get started - Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can setup a call.
Creative Writing 101
Start with Where
This creative writing lesson is again inspired by the great author and great Creative Writing Professor, Heather Sellers. In her class back at Hope, she referred to this as, "Starting with town." Treating your location as a character in your story before working on anything else.
We're modifying to "Where" simply because your story might be in a town, a city, or a distant galaxy. Whatever the case, sometimes it's best to start with the location even before you have a plot or characters in mind. Pick a street. There's the butcher shop. The drugstore. The local bar. Who owns these places? Who goes to these spots? Is this a college town? What's this street like on a Saturday morning? On a Saturday night?
Start with a few of these stories, a few of these characters (real or fiction), and let them build on each other.
I feel a little ashamed not to be referencing books here, especially since we're called "Long Overdue Books", but two shows that do town really well are Gilmore Girls and Friday Night Lights. Both have their towns serve as a character in the story.
What We're Working On
This isn't the full list, but we wanted to share a few of the stories/books we're working on right now in hopes our list may inspire some of your own projects.
The Next Children's Book - An author in Barrington, Illinois. An artist in Israel. They've never met before and are now collaborating on a children's book. This is what Long Overdue Books is all about! We're actually hopping on a call with them later this morning.
Thriller series + Skinny Books - Working with author D.L. Karabin on her latest thriller. More to come on this, but one of the coolest parts of this project is her concept of "The Skinny Book." This is a helpful concept for authors who might want to write a book but are intimidated by a 100-200+ page length.
Cave Story - Three friends joined us on a Zoom call to retell an epic snow cave story from 3+ decades ago. We're transcribing the interview, adding photos, creating a magazine style article. Plus the video/audio, could almost be like a personal podcast.
Launching a restaurant - Held a Zoom call with a husband and wife. Timur is from Azerbaijan. Ksenia is from Russia. They've opened a new spot in Chicago called House of Fire. We're doing a magazine feature story article about their story and some food reviews. Similar to above, looking at ways to utilize the video/audio too.
"Blah blah blah. Newsletter looks fine. Now whaddaya say you shut that laptop and let's get back in the snow!"
- Crash the Dog, Team Dog*
*Crash recently stepped down from his role as "Chief Marketing Officer" to take on a lighter work load as "Team Dog." Since the transition, he's often been found "sleeping on the job."
The best place to keep up with all things Long Overdue is via our monthly newsletter.
Second best place: Our website - Long Overdue Books. The one-sentence summary: Long Overdue Books is the social network for creating books. It's a place for authors, editors, artists, and book designers to come together and move ideas from rough draft to published work.
Our next newsletter will be Tuesday, March 16th. As always, we'd love to hear from you in between.
You can reach Cal the Librarian at - email@example.com