Guest Blogger: Christina Katz

If you’re a follower of my blog, then Christina Katz needs almost no introduction.   But I’m gonna do the formals, anyway!

Two years ago, I read a concise yet very informative article in Writer’s Digest on how to raise your kids while still raising your writing career. Writer Mama became a part of my vocabulary. I entered (and lost) Christina’s essay contest, which made me realize how much I needed that book. I became a regular visitor on the Writer Mama Riffs blog (before the book’s logo was even in the header!)

I applied for Christina’s scholarship to her Writing & Publishing the Short Stuff class, and lost. I applied again and Won! That was the beginning of a whirlwind of writing-related successes for me.

See, everywhere I read or browsed, I’d see Christina’s name and I wanted that for myself. Never give up, ask lots of questions and heed the advice of those who’ve been there and are going where…you want to go!

Welcome Christina. And thanks for including Writers Inspired on …

The Writer Mama Two-Year Anniversary Blog Tour Giveaway!

Post #11 Success! The Verbal Offer

Jane Friedman called me on the Friday morning before Labor Day weekend to make me the offer on my proposed book. Along the way the name of the book got changed to Writer Mama. And thank goodness!

Which title do you think is better: The Busy Mom’s Guide to Freelance or Writer Mama?

I think Writer Mama is infinitely better. And the new title also opened up some exciting writing possibilities for me. You see the world really didn’t need another freelancing book. There are plenty already. But the world really needed a book that would tackle the idea of how to grow a writing career alongside your kids. And with this new focus, I was able to craft a totally unique book. A book not just based on my personal experience but also based on the wisdom of a larger group of successful mom writers.

So, now seems like a good time to bring up the issue of collaboration. When you self-publish a book, there is only one captain steering the ship. Some people think that this is preferable. But here’s the problem: there’s only one person steering the ship. Doesn’t any book benefit from input from multiple sources? I think so. And I think a problem in some self-published books is that they would have benefited from more editorial planning at the early stages.

Please note: I’ve seen some high-quality self-published books, as well. However, they might have benefited from help in other aspects of the process. Like a better cover design. Or the insight that the photos used would become dated. Or help with distribution, promotion, and shipping. There are so many aspects of book publishing. I could have never crafted a book that would go on to receive thirty favorable reviews on Amazon if I’d had to concern myself with these other issues.

So yes, once I struck a deal with Writer’s Digest, my book became a collaborative process. And it’s such a better book because of all of that collaboration. The fact that others were doing the heavy lifting on the book production end helped me keep my focus on writing the best book I could possibly write. And that was my primary objective.

Today’s Book Drawing: To enter to win a signed, numbered copy of Writer Mama, answer the following question in this blog’s comments:

How would you feel about collaborating with a publisher about such issues as title, cover design, book content, and marketing strategies? Are you up for it?

Thanks for participating! Only US residents, or folks with a US mailing address can participate in the drawing. Please only enter once per day.

Where will the drawing be tomorrow? Visit to continue reading the rest of the Writer Mama story throughout March 2009!


Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids by Christina Katz (Writer’s Digest Books 2007)

Kids change your life, but they don’t necessarily have to end your career. Stay-at-home moms will love this handy guide to rearing a successful writing career while raising their children. The busy mom’s guide to writing life, this book gives stay-at-moms the encouragement and advice they need including everything from getting started and finding ideas to actually finding time to do the work – something not easy to do with the pitter-patter of little feet. With advice on how to network and form a business, this nurturing guide covers everything a writer mama needs to succeed at her second job.


Filed under Advice, Author Interviews, books, Get Published, Give Aways, Perseverance, writing inspiration

16 responses to “Guest Blogger: Christina Katz

  1. For sure! Every single time I have a book in my hands it is like I am holding a gem, especially if the title, cover and pages are remarkable. One of the reasons I am a writer is because I believe that a book is a piece of art, which is why I hope we always have books printed in the market and libraries full of them that we can walk into and browse.

    The idea of being part of the team to create the title, cover page, content, and marketing strategies is too often the reason I can’t fall asleep at night, because I keep coming up with new images, new ways to promote the book. For every manuscript I’ve created I think about endless ways to market the book, so that children all over would want to hold it in their hands again and again. If the writing is truly worthy, then the author won’t be the only one to feel this way. The illustrator, editor, and publisher will all want the book to succeed. As a team with the same desire we could create something closer to the goal then I could have done alone.

    That being said, I wouldn’t want my book to go out on its own. If it is well-written, then those working on the title, cover page, and marketing strategies should be able to make a go with it, but the passion of the author makes him or her the true number one fan, so it is important that the author is a key contributor in its publication.

  2. Pingback: Where The Writer Mama Two-Year Anniversary Blog Tour Giveaway Has Been Lately « The Writer Mama Riffs

  3. cathychall

    Hi Mary Jo,

    Just wanted to jump in real quick and say that I’m also a big Writer Mama fan (um, I’m not big: I’m actually just mid-sized, but you know what I mean)…and I can see why Christina’d stop by here on her blog tour! Love your blog and am inspired by all that you accomplish.

    Cathy C. Hall

  4. Hello Mary Jo, great blog!

    Oh, but to dream! I love even thinking about that possibility. There is an incredible amount of detail in that whole process. It looks great when its done, but its the work and team effort behind the scenes that makes it happen. Like most things I guess.

    Great questions, keep them coming!

  5. As writers, we’re constantly told to tell our stories to delight a readership of one — ourselves! The natural extension of that notion would certainly include collaborating with others to foster those midnight dreams of running our hands across the pages of a real life book. Every time I walk into a bookstore, the vision of an Auburn McCanta title flying off the shelf nearly knocks me over.

    My desk drawer currently contains not only a copy of my story on the best paper I could find along with its PNWA fiction award, but also my crayoned cover concept, a comprehensive Marketing Plan and a title so fluid I could drown in it.

    Yes! I’m up for the task.

  6. I think collaboration is a great idea no matter what you’re doing in your life. To me, it’s always more fun and the end product is always better when there’s more brain power (and sometimes more muscle) involved.

    I know that some writers are so attached to their words and ideas that it becomes difficult for them to let go of the reins (they feel they have too much invested). I think they do themselves more harm than good, though, when they’re afraid to let go. Just my opinion. 🙂

  7. How fun to learn of the original title for Writer Mama! To me that example is the perfect one for how we all benefit from collaborating. I’d love to collaborate with a publisher – they have the experience and insight, I have the words – that can be an amazing combination. I imagine there are struggles, too, around “letting go” but that is good learning, too!

  8. I’m very excited about the idea of collaborating with an editor and publisher.

    I am currently in the process of having business cards designed and the process of working with a professional designer has been absolutely amazing!

    Beautiful blog, Mary Jo! Thanks so much for hosting. (I am just LOVING this tour!!!)

  9. jenroland


    I spent the first 12 years of my career working as part of the editorial team on a magazine, so I learned the importance of everyone’s viewpoints in creating a better product.

    The writers submitted pieces that synthesized the best of their wisdom and experience. The editors went over them with a fine-tooth comb to ensure that the authors’ stories were presented in the most concise and relevant fashion. Then the designers went to work making the articles and the entire magazine beautiful to look at and easy to read. Finally, the marketing and fulfillment folks made sure the magazine actually had readers who received their copies every month.

    Without that team supporting the authors, no one outside of their schools or districts would have been able to read and enjoy their work.

    Jennifer Roland

  10. You know, a year ago I would have said, “Ick! An editor messing around with MY ideas and MY hard work? No thanks.” That just goes to show how much I’ve learned since taking Christina’s class last year. Now that I’m in a writing community and have worked a tiny bit with editors, I can see how the process and collaborative effort can make the finished product better. That said, I guess there are bad apples out there. I imagine I would not agree with all the ideas, especially relating to cover art, for some reason. But knowing how difficult it is to turn out quality writing, I now feel like I can use the help and, as you so nicely put it today, the help of a “heavy lifter.”

  11. I think working with editors in the newsroom is good practice for working with agents, editors and publishers for book projects.

    I recently co-started a writing group to help me get in the habit of having my fiction work critiqued and challenged. I think this will be good practice for me!

  12. It’s interesting, Christina, that you say that if you’d had to collaborate on other aspects of your book, you wouldn’t have been able to craft such a well-written and successful book. That’s kind of an eye-opening point-of-view to me. I’ve not (yet) had the luxury of writing a book, but I’d imagine that I’d fall into the camp of writers who want, or feel pressured, to be involved in the entire process. I love collaboration, to dabble in lots of different things, and to feel part of a team.

    But, your point is a great reminder that sometimes it’s best to just focus on your role and trust the others on your team to focus on their roles. Hey, it worked great for _Writer Mama_, right?! 😉

  13. Are you kidding? I would LOVE to collaborate on a book! Who wouldn’t? (grin)

  14. emilychadwick

    I recently made a new friend who happens to be a writer. We have so much fun talking about writing and possibly collaborating on a few projects. I think collaboration enhances the creative process and ideas are generated that simply would not bubble to the surface holed up, alone with my laptop. From when I sit right now, working with an editor on any aspect of a project would be a dream. I say, bring it on 🙂

  15. Love reading your comments, ladies! Hope you will stick with me as we keep rolling along with the book-writing adventure story!
    🙂 C

  16. Tomorrow’s the last day of the blog tour and the hostess gifts are in! Come on over to Robin Mizell’s blog and chime in if you have time!

    And thanks again for hosting!

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