Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ready, Set...Draw!

Being new to the children's lit world, the biggest concern I had/have is finding an illustrator. A friend turned me on to the person I chose, and she did a great job. But I know how daunting it is to start. A great place is the Society of Children's Book Illustrators. I didn't know about this wonderful society, but there is someone in that group that will fit your idea and budget.

Speaking of budget, the hiring of an illustrator is one of the greatest expenses I incurred while publishing. However, they are artists too, and deserve to be paid as such. If you have a finite budget, you can still have wonderful illustrations, just as if you had oodles of money to spend. Be realistic about your budget for that illustrator. I wanted this one illustrator, I won't name names, but her reality was 400 a picture, my reality was, well let's just say I live and write on a teacher's salary. Oh what I wouldn't have given for her work...again, reality. 

Once you find that illustrator that trips the light fantastic for your words, let them create the final dream. Oh yes, you have your ideas to shoot at them, but if you can, let them have as much vision as you can muster...worst case, you sell 1000 books...best case...you are now a star and are appearing on the Today show on their author segment.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Promote, Promote, Promote

So, you have that book written, you have typed "The End" what now? That is/was my big question, so I set out to see what the most common steps are to Indy publishing marketing. 

1.  Promote Early.
During all stages of our books, we make contacts along the way. Keep track of who has helped you research your book. Use them as a constant support through out your writing journey. If they have a great interest in your book, due to their vested time, shoot them an email or tweet updating them on progress. Celebrate each milestone you reach and have a party, including all those involved from the beginning. Everyone loves a promotion party.

2.  Use the Web.
This seems like a no-brainer, but one we need to access heavily for promoting. find communities and forums that support your research or book ideas. Ask questions, contribute to others, get advice, and give it. We are all experts in something and novices at others. Don't be afraid to reach out. Make sure you add your links to your emails or web page. 

3. Blog, Blog, Start a Blog.
Create that spot where you jot your process of your book down. Promote others on your blog as well as self promote. Create interviews, have fun... show off! It's yours. 

4. Don't Stop at The End.
Do you have 25 wonderful, amazing reviews of your book? No? Well, that's ok, keep working on it until your friends, experts and significant others say "Wow, best book ever!" Then, ask them to do the real review on places you will have your book, like Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Goodreads. Speaking of reviews, have you reviewed my book? Here is the link to buy it and leave an amazing review. 

5.  Media Kits.
Invest a bit of your money, since you have already invested your time, Ina nice head shot, some nice business cards ( not the ones you print yourself, you are a professional now) a glossy bio card with your book cover on one side and you and your information on the other side.

6. Have fun.
Go into the promotional part of your book with a positive attitude. It is necessary, as books won't sell themselves. Even James Patterson is out there shamelessly peddling his wares!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Reluctant Reader...What?.

"I hate to read." " Do I have to read?" " It's booooring." These are quotes from actual students, year after year, it's the samething, when it comes to reading class. Especially the classes that I teach...6th grade reading. There will be a special place in heaven for 6th grade teachers, and Homeschool moms that have this age group. Reading, is the last thing on many of these kiddos minds. However, I have a soft spot for them, and know that I can open up a world full of books for them by the time they leave my class.  I always say, you might not love to read when you leave my class, but you will love to appreciate reading when I am done with you.

I have come up with a list of my favorite tips that you, parents, can help with if you have a young guy or gal that is a bit ehh, when it comes to the dreaded R word...reading.

Tip 1: Connect with their passion.
Watch what your kiddos are in to...skateboards, gardens, sports, pets, yodeling? There is a book for that!  Help them find some books that have their passion and focus.

Tip 2:  Books with funny pictures and silly stories.
Who doesn't like to laugh? Find some books that are silly and tickle your funny bone as well as theirs. Captain Underpants anyone?

Tip 3:  Series books are a good start. 
A great series of books is akin to a good television show, even better in most cases. Maze Runner, Hunger Games, Little House on the Praire...give em a try.

Tip 4:  Explore books that are not required to read in a classroom setting.
Sometimes finding a love for reading has to be cultivated in a library or bookstore. Try to encourage your child to foster reading for pure enjoyment and not a grade.

Tip 5:  Explore books with learning as a hidden gem.
Caring for pets, build a birdhouse, learn a magic trick, build a soda bottle rocket, just to spark an interest, have these books accidentally lying on your coffee table.

Tip 6:  Search Indy Authors.
Let me tell you, there are so many great books written by authors that don't have a big publisher behind them, but know what it takes to write a great book. A lot of books out there written specifically for reluctant reading kiddos.

Tip 7:  Model, Model, Model.
You can be reading's biggest advocate. Have books and magazines not only on your end tables, but hold them in your hands. Look at the words, smile while you read and...say "Hey Johnny, guess what I just read..."

I do want to mention some authors that have great books out there, of course I shamelessly plug myself.  Amzn.to/1qV6JaC

Mrs. D is a worthy picture book author with great stories and fun book trailers that hook kiddos. Meaghan Fisher, excellent lessons in her books. Laura Lee Scott, Cat Michaels are great ones to search. Tierney James sends you a zombie message with a twist...nutrition! K.Lamb sends you a fun mystery series starring Dani, kids love it! Tim Davis gives you a kindle copy when you purchase his book Sea Cutter.

Happy Reading.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


During the last blog, I was talking about how much time social media sucked out of my day. However, this author has decided that Twitter has become a time tool. I allow myself two full hours to work on this site. Sometimes a bit more, but it is working to get my name out there. 

I have made so many contacts in the last few days, that I know it is going to pay off. I hope that payoff is sooner rather than later. :)

My book In My Closet Amzn.to/1qV6JaC has been seen or mentioned in about 50 tweets. My name has been tweeted or mentioned in about double that. 

Currently, my WIP is my sequel, In My Backyard and a new concept, Brooding School...Melba the little chick is afraid of her first day at brooding school, and Bert the big bro is going to help. 

Speaking, or rather tweeting with so many Indy authors, as well as publishing house authors this last week has kept me inspired, and well...liked. I have gotten many compliments and really love working with these new "tweeps". 

Next week, I will be blogging about middle school reading tips. Until next time...happy reading!