GLVWG’s Rebecca Bartlett interviewed Hana Haatainen Caye, who will be presenting at the 2016 Write Stuff Conference. Hana is an author, copy editor and actor who specializes in voice over work. Her sessions include: Fictional Characters Anonymous, The Business of Writing – Ways to make money as a freelance writer, and From Blog To Book.
Q: You do a lot of voice over work. Are there any similarities between building a successful character on the page and building one through the microphone?
Hana: Whether I’m writing or voicing a character, I have to find a way to become that character somehow. Of course, a lot more goes into the writing of characters, but acting out characters requires some understanding of who they are and the traits that make them unique.
Q: What are your views on the current state of publishing right now? What are the hot themes for children’s and YA literature?
Hana: As we all know, the publishing industry has changed dramatically. I’ve published over 90 children’s books with the same publisher for the iStoryBooks platform and have not ventured past them at this point. Since the books are all part of an app, I don’t have any actual books to put on my shelves. So I’m hoping to publish a few of my books with a traditional publisher, but I haven’t explored that route yet.
I can’t address YA, but I’m finding biographies and the retelling of fairy tales, fables, and folk tales to be extremely popular right now.
Q: Do you recommend pitching to established publishing houses or, in the age of the Internet, should everyone learn to self-publish?
Hana: There are advantages and disadvantages to both. I self-published my non-fiction book, Green Grandma’s Vinegar Fridays because I already had a following through my blog, which has over 20,000 followers. I didn’t even try to pursue a publishing house. Of course, there are so many small presses out there that take your money and promise little in return. I recommend self-publishing over paying anyone to publish your book for you.
Like I said, I haven’t tried to pitch any of the publishing houses at this point, so I can’t address that based on my experience.
Q: Everybody needs a copy editor. What tips would you like your future clients to follow?
Hana: Present as clean a copy as possible. And then trust your editor. Don’t argue over every change. Plus, figure out ahead of time whether you need a copy editor or actually need a developmental editor.
Q: What biographies have you written or are you working on?
Hana: I just completed a biography for first graders about Margaret Brown (inaccurately known as Molly Brown). She was a fascinating woman who has not achieved nearly enough attention. I’m also under contract to write biographies of Rachel Carson, Jane Goodall, Sacagawea, and Princess Di. Past biographies include: Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Pablo Picasso, and Albert Einstein. I like to find something about the people that kids can identify with. For instance, my chapter book about Lincoln starts with the sentence, “Abraham Lincoln had a stepmother.”
Hana Haatainen-Caye is an award-winning author, editor, and voice-over talent. She teaches writing at Carnegie Mellon University through their Osher program and at writers’ conferences throughout the year. She’s published nine stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and over 90 children’s books with iMarvel’s iStorybooks, which she also narrates under the name Maya Ray. Additionally, Hana has ghostwritten several books and offers copywriting services to clients worldwide.
You can visit Hana’s award-winning blog, Green Grandma, which focuses on common sense greener and healthier living for people of all ages.
Interviewer Rebecca Bartlett is a long time GLVWG member and has served as Secretary, Treasurer, and President. She is the author of several books including the Adventures of a Teenage Muse Trilogy. Her most recent novel is a mystery: The Great Circus Detective Agency.