A Brand New Day: A Banana Split Story by A. S. Chung and Illustrated by Paula Bossio

A Brand New Day, children’s picture book about divorce receives a beautiful review from The Picture Book Review!

The Picture Book Review

A Brand New Day is an uplifting and beautifully illustrated story about a little girl’s life with her parents after the divorce.  It does a marvelous job of reminding us all that a parent’s marital status has nothing to do with how much they love their children.

Title: A Brand New Day:  A Banana Split Story

Author:  A. S. Chung

Illustrator:  Paula Bossio

Pigeonhole Books, July 2014, Fiction. ISBN: 978-0992538200

Suitable For Ages: 3 – 8+

Themes/Topics:

Family, Divorce, Parents

Opening:   

“I love Mondays and Tuesdays when I get to stay with my Dad.  I get to help make dinner with recipes from his notepad.”

Brief Synopsis:

A little girl tells us, in verse, about what her life is like on the alternating days that she spends with her mother and father.

From A Brand New Day. Images Courtesy of A.S. Chung.

From A Brand New Day. Images Courtesy…

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I’ve Written My Book, Now What? Where To From Here?

Posted by Deb Hockenberry.
Deb Hockenberry is the children’s picture book author of Where Can We Have The Party? Deb always wanted to write for children since she was a child myself! Deb also blogs about her writing journey and what happens after you’ve written your masterpiece!

I’VE WRITTEN MY BOOK, NOW WHAT? WHERE TO FROM HERE?
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Milan Book Stall by Weldon Kennedy

YAY! I did it! My picture book is being just about ready to go to print. Okay, that’s great news for me but now what? I know I have to market and promote my book but exactly how do I do that?

I’ve found a few things out. First, it’s very important to have a web presence. Start a blog, a website, or both. If you want to do both, Weebly is a very good webhost. It’s a WYSIWYG website and that makes it very friendly for a non – techie person like myself. So is GoDaddy. There are also free ones out there like Blogger and WordPress. All of these are what-you-see-is-what-you-get sites.

Unfortunately, I’ve only found one book on how to market and promote a children’s book. That book is called: How To Promote Your Children’s Book: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets To A Best Seller.  This book is chock full of information. I can tell you from experience that you really should read this eBook with a pen and notebook next to you!

From this book I’ve found out a few things.

  1. Join social networking sites. Yep, let yourself be known. I don’t mean to constantly talk about your book. That’s spamming. Just socialize—that’s the key word in social networking. Then when you get your book cover or box of books, take a picture and share it on those sites. Now, you can talk about your book. But again, don’t talk about it every day. You might get a sale this way!
  2. Pull up a spreadsheet (or write this down) of your plan to market your book. Are you going to ask your online friends to review your book? That’s always fun. I’ve been involved in many blog-hops! Do you plan on going through a paid publicity site like World of Ink? Are you going to contact the Author’s Showcase to see when you can be on that internet radio show? How about where you can do book signings and book readings? You can put an ad in the newspaper announcing your book. You can also have you friends who review books interview you. Actually, this can be any friend you blogs. Write all this down so you don’t forget your plan.
  3. Google the subject of your book in your town. For instance, my book subject is a birthday party. Google “birthday party + your town. I was so surprised at the amount of links I received for this! I had no idea there was a place specifically for parties in this town. You can use you phone book to look these places up.
  4. Have a media kit (media release) prepared. I’m still working on mine since my picture book won’t be out for a few months but here’s what you need: On one sheet of paper you should scan a picture of the book, have a short bio of yourself, and a blurb of the book. Also on this page you should have the pertinent information about your book (ISBN number, number of pages, price, and the buy links). Don’t forget you contact information on that page! This includes your mailing information, website, and email address. On a separate page have your publicity picture.
  5. Read marketing blogs and books. They’re full of advice. True they aren’t specifically geared to children’s writing but to marketing in general. I’ve found an excellent marketing website called The Publicity Hound by Joan Stewart. Don’t forget to sign up for her free ezine. It’s full of advice!
  6. Learn to make a video. Videos promote you and your book much better than plain text. I’ve found this out by using Facebook. It dawned on me one night when I was thinking about how to market my upcoming book, that I always stop at the videos on Facebook to watch them.

In your computer is a free movie maker. If you have Windows, you’ll have Movie Maker, for a Mac it’s called iMovie or iMovie Maker. Windows also has free music included with Movie Maker called All Free Music. The point is that you can make your own book trailer by yourself and for free. Book trailers raise interest in your book and that means more possible sales.

This is what I’ve learned so far with the most important being a web presence. You can advertise and even sell your book there. So, get one! Read those marketing books and form your own ideas. Join the many different social networking sites, get to know the people, and let them know you!

Author Interview: Michelle R. Eastman

The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale by Michelle R. Eastman

THE LEGEND OF DUST BUNNIES, A FAIRY’S TALE
BY MICHELLE R. EASTMAN

1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about.
The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale is a light-hearted story about a serious topic: Being Yourself.

The Legend of Dust Bunnies will open your eyes to a world of dirt and dust that you never knew could be so magical and fun! Did you know that Dust Fairies come into our homes at night and spread dust, drape spider webs, and even spit crumbs into the carpet? They do!  It’s true!  Well, not all fairies. Artie is different. He doesn’t like messes, and he doesn’t fit in. At first, Artie is lonely and unsure of what to do, but then he takes matters into his own hands. When given lemons you’re supposed to make lemonade, right? This story does one better, it turns DUST into DUST BUNNIES. The Legend of Dust Bunnies is the story about how and why a misfit Dust Fairy turns dust into cuddly dust bunnies and the joyful aftermath that follows. It will have families looking at dust bunnies in a new light, and may actually give kids an excuse NOT to clean their rooms.

2) What inspired you to write this book?
My story’s main character, Artie, was inspired by my eight-year old son’s habit of collecting things.  He notices and appreciates the beauty in items that most of us would cast off as trash.  Artie uses found items to create unique treasures and happily shares them with his fellow Dust Fairies.

3) Why did you pick this genre?
Rhyming picture books are my favorite books to read. My son and I make a trip to the library once a week to fill our bag. He is now 9, and I still read aloud to him each night. I have wanted to write a picture book for most of my adult life. Publishing this book has been an incredible experience.

4) How do the illustrations complement your book? What was important to you as an author?
The book’s illustrator, Kevin Richter, created the cover and the entire layout and design of the book. I connected with Kevin via Elance. He is an incredibly talented guy, and he’s a pleasure to work with. He is in the UK, and I am in Iowa. All of our communication has been via email. Despite the distance, it has been a wonderful collaborative partnership. Kevin “got” the story immediately. Not only did he bring my vision to life; he brought elements to the story I hadn’t even imagined. Kevin is an experienced comic book illustrator, and I think his experience with that genre gave the characters and scenes an action-packed quality that further enhanced the story.

5) As a child, what books and/or authors influenced you the most and why?
I grew up in a low-income household with teen-aged parents. Books were not a priority in our house.  I am pretty sure I was never read to as a baby or as a small child. When I started school, I began to develop a love for books. It was exciting when the book-mobile rolled into our neighborhood and I could climb on board and check out a few books. One of my favorite books was Charlotte’s Web. I won a copy of it as part of a RIF sponsored contest at school. I cherished that book. I also loved Beverly Cleary books and anything relating to history and biographies.

6) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author?
Visiting schools and libraries and interacting with kids is the very best part of the whole author experience. I am also proud of a literacy initiative I started called Picture Book Pass it On.  I encourage people to collect/donate books to kids in need. This past March, I hosted a special drive called MARCHing Books to Kids. We collected over 300 books for children of incarcerated parents. Children’s authors from around the world donated signed copies of their books to the project.

7) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book?
The main character, Artie, has a hard time finding his place among the other Dust Fairies. He wants to be accepted, but he isn’t willing to change who he is to do that. Although there is a take-away message, I try to subtly weave it into the story. Kids are smart cookies-they take away what is meaningful to them and their life experiences.

8) Who is/are your favourite author/s as an adult and why?
I spend a lot of time reading children’s picture books. I enjoy reading them and I find them comforting and inspiring. I like to read short stories (especially sci-fi from the 50’s and 60’s). It is fascinating to see how many of the futuristic elements are now commonplace. I also like reading and re-reading poetry from Langston Hughes.

9) What are you working on now?
Kevin and I just released our newest book, Dust Fairy Tales: Absolutely Aggie. This book takes a light-hearted approach to the compelling desire kids have to fit-in. The story validates the need we feel for acceptance, while imparting a gentle take-away message of the joy that can come from embracing one’s individuality.

Here is the synopsis:
Fairies, music, and dust! Oh my! Aggie is a little Dust Fairy with a big problem. She wants to join the fairy band, but they do not approve of her offbeat style. Aggie is determined to impress them, but that turns out to be harder than she imagined. Just when she thinks she will never find a way to fit in, Aggie discovers it might be more fun to stand out.

Michelle R. Eastman

THANK YOU FOR LETTING US GETTING TO KNOW YOU!
Should you wish to know more about Michelle R. Eastman and would like to purchase her book, here are all her pertinent details.

Website: Michelle R.Eastman
Where to purchase her book: Michelle R.Eastman, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Michelle’s social media connections:

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A Brand New Day Review: by C.J. Anaya

A Brand New Day receives a 5 STAR review from author C.J. Anaya of The Healer Series. She began writing short stories for family and friends when she was thirteen years old. This soon morphed into an extensive project every year during Christmas as a way to create a fun and inexpensive Christmas gift. Her passion for reading and writing led her to following her own dreams of becoming a published author.

C.J. also contributes her book reviews every fortnight for the Skin Deep Exposures online magazine. SDE Magazine is a quarterly publication committed to meeting women where they are and then inspiring and uplifting them as they discover where they are meant to be. Please find the original posting here.

Here is her most generous review:
Hello to all of you voracious readers. Today I’ve highlighted a story that takes on a difficult aspect of life and helps to search out the positives for children and parents alike. A Brand New Day introduces the issue of divorce and addresses the outcome in a way that helps children transition into their new and sometimes overwhelming circumstances.

I adored this children’s book. From the delightful illustrations to the sweet, poignant message, I think the author has provided families with a special treasure we should all add to our children’s book collection. Divorce is a difficult matter to take on, and finding the positives in this situation is a refreshing approach. I think the poetic lines of the poem break down the different moments spent with separate parents in a happy, feel good way, and the message of this book encourages little ones going through such a difficult experience to remember that separate doesn’t equal unloved. It simply means they are being loved in two different homes with two different families.

I’ve never experienced a divorce myself, but other parents going through it have mentioned to me their worries and concerns about their children and the negative emotional consequences they must suffer. It’s for this reason that I decided to highlight this book on my blog and SDE magazine in the hopes that it will help those of you who are going through a divorce to find a comforting resource within the pages of this book.

The author used a beautiful poem that is easily understood by children while being intricate enough for adults to appreciate the innate beauty in the words themselves. This story is meant to help parents in their quest to ease their children into that transition from one household to two. I highly recommend this children’s book to all families everywhere.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About iBooks

A.J. CosmoGuest Posting by A.J. Cosmo.
A.J. Cosmo is the author & illustrator of 40 children’s books for Kindle. Some have monsters in them, some have fairies, some have aliens that lost their way home, some have pet dinosaurs that tear up homes. A.J. Cosmo recently released Miss Molly’s Magical Mystery Meals on iBooks.

5 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT IBOOKS
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eBook Reader

The Future of Books by Johan Larsson

While most independent authors work exclusively with Amazon and the Kindle, Apple’s iBooks offers not only a consistent format, but also a host of tools that Kindle does not yet have. Here are five things about creating iBooks that you probably didn’t know.

  1. It’s easy to use.
    While you have to use a mac to create anything for Apple’s platforms, iBooks Author, the app that you use to format the books, is actually easy to use. The program works a lot like Keynotes (Powerpoint to Windows users) and has much of that easy to use, slick interface that Apple is famous for.
  2. You can add music.
    iBooks has what are called “widgets.” Widgets add functionality to the eBooks. One such function is sound and can be added to the book in the form of a button that plays an audio file when pressed, or a background sound that triggers when the user lands on the page. This is great for children’s books because when a child touches a cow they can hear a moo (you can even hide the buttons under the picture!) It would also be neat for a horror book to play a chilling song while the user reads a scary passage.
  3. You can create a custom glossary.
    iBooks has a built in dictionary and wikipedia link, however, creators can also add a custom glossary. Any word or phrase can be highlighted in the book and added to the glossary. Once there, creators can add lengthy notes to the keyword including different definitions, story meaning, or even creator commentary! It’s up to you and this feature makes iBooks similar to the special features on DVDs.
  4. Books can have video.
    Another of the widgets is the video widget. iBooks supports Quicktime and MPEG4 natively. The video frame can be scaled and placed just like any other object in the book, it can even be full screen! Objects can be layered (stacked on top of each other) in iBooks, so here’s a place where magic can happen: you can layer text and images on top of video! The text and images will disappear when the user plays the video, but this could be to your advantage. Imagine a children’s book where a static page suddenly comes alive. The background and characters start moving and a voice reads the text as it appears. How cool!
  5. Titles publish quickly. iBook on iTunes
    One of the criticisms of publishing on iBooks is that titles take much longer to get to the store than they do on Amazon. While it is true that Apple checks every title for consistency (what you say is in the book in your description, has to be in the book) and functionality (links, videos, sounds all play) doing so does not take as long as you might think. On average, titles publish to the store in less than a day. So where do the much talked about delays come from? Nine times out of ten it’s user error. Though some of the interface is difficult, Apple has tremendous technical support, and if you find your title stuck, getting it unstuck is as simple as giving them a call.

I hope that this list has inspired you to create an iBook of your own. The platform is powerful, and while Amazon has the largest user base, the tools Apple offers are hard to ignore. So if you have a title that could use some of these extra features, consider creating an iBooks version.

Author Interview: Hazel Edwards

SLEUTH ASTRID; LOST VOICE OF THE GRAND FINAL BY HAZEL EDWARDS Sleuth Astrid - Lost Voice of The Grand Final by Hazel Edwards

1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about.
Sleuth Astrid, a hi-tech, mind-reading chook rides a Harley, plays e-games and finds lost things. Illustrated (with visual clues) by Jane Connory, this e-version of the original popular print book includes a new story The Lost Voice of the Grand Final.

In Book 1, The Mind Reading Chook, the Magician has lost his sense of humour. Astrid must find that before the 3pm show.

In Book 2, The Lost Voice of the Grand Final, Astrid has to find the Voice of the Coach in time for the Saturday Grand Final. Was the Voice captured in the TV ‘Footy’ studio? Lost down his throat? Was a Voice Coach any use? What about the Speakeasy? or the Voice-over on the TV Footy panel or on Talk-back? And then there’s the Bird Wedding of the Year. Carrot was supposed to be the MC (Master of Ceremonies) As usual, Sleuth Astrid the Mind-Reading Chook, solves the problem.

2) What inspired you to write this book?
When staying at Varuna, the writers’ retreat in the Blue Mountains, I was introduced to a ‘chook’ who used to belong to a stage magician. They said the chook could mind-read and was part of the magician’s act. I believe in observation, not mind reading,so thought the chook could become a very observant sleuth. So Astrid has unusual things to find, like a lost sense of humour.

3) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book?
That it’s ok to see things differently. Use your imagination.

4) With your picture books, how do you ensure the message of your book is conveyed succinctly through to the illustrations and how do you ensure it is a smooth and productive collaboration?
I choose an illustrator like Jane Connory, who has a quirky sense of humour. I don’t always have a ‘message’ but I like to encourage unusual problem-solving. Creativity depends upon putting together things which have not been in that combination before.

5) Tell us about some of your extra challenges you have experienced in pitching controversial subjects for junior books.
f2m;the boy within the YA novel about coming of age and transitioning gender from female to male has been the most controversial for the subject, not the way we wrote the book. Check out the Youtube clip which interviews us as co-authors. Ryan Kennedy, my co-author is an ftm. And a family friend.

Currently I’m writing a junior chapter series Hijabi Girl , with a Muslim children’s librarian Ozge. Our character is s feisty 8 year old girl who wears a hijab and starts an Aussie Rules girls team. Plus there’s Rastus Rastus the Reading rat, soccer-mad Zac and the new girl who cartoons everybody. Just a fun school-based  story.

Feymouse about a large and clumsy cat born into a family of highly talented mice is a different way of showing how to cope with being different. Now a picture book app on Itunes but previously a rock pop musical and a print book.

6) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author?
That your book may go into the lives of readers and let them be a little more tolerant of others who are coping successfully with being different. PLUS be an enjoyable read.

7) Tell us about your adventure to Casey Station in the Antarctic and how that inspired you into writing your YA books.
As an expeditioner with the Australian Antarctic Division, I became beset in the polar ice when our ship got stuck en route to Casey Station. So lucky to be with some of the greatest experts on Antarctica who all wanted to talk to me and helped me plot the YA novel Antarctica’s Frozen Chosen and the other plays and books. We did get rescued after several weeks. Check out the ‘cool’ Antarctic stories here.

8) What are you working on now? 
My memoir ; Not Just a Piece of Cake: Being an Author

THHazel EdwardsANK YOU FOR LETTING US GETTING TO KNOW YOU!
Should you wish to know more about Hazel Edwards and would like to purchase her book, here are all her pertinent details.

Website: Hazel Edwards
Where to purchase her book: Hazel Edwards and Port Campbell Press
Hazel’s social media connections:

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Author Interview: Beth Ferry

STICK AND STONE BY BETH FERRY Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry

1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about.
Stick and Stone is a short, rhyming story about friendship.

2) What inspired you to write this book? Did it take you long to translate your idea into words and subsequently into a book?
A song by the band Train, called “Drops of Jupiter” was the inspiration behind Stick and Stone. There is a line in the song about friends sticking up for one another and that sparked the idea of a stick sticking up for a friend, namely, a stone. Friendship is a common theme in picture books, but an important one. I began writing the story in prose and wasn’t having much success. When I switched to rhyme, the story developed quickly.

3) Why did you pick this genre and how did you come to be a writer?
I chose to write picture books because of their beauty and importance to the youngest of readers. I also think picture books transcend age ranges and can speak to people of every age. I love the bond they offer parent and child. I’ve always loved to write, but I became a write in 2011 when I challenged myself to write a picture book that was under 200 words. That was the genesis for Stick and Stone.

4) How do the illustrations complement your book? What was important to you as an author?
Well, the illustrations of Stick and Stone are phenomenal!! Tom Lichtenheld created characters are that sweet and cuddly and utterly perfect – quite an achievement for a stick and a stone. His illustration process shows the extreme care and time he put into making the illustrations a perfect match for the text. I couldn’t be happier!

5) As a child, what books and/or authors influenced you the most and why?
The picture books I remember loving the most are Maurice Sendak’s Nutshell Library. As a child I adored miniatures and so this tiny set of books was right up my alley. I had every story memorized. I also loved Miriam Young’s Miss Suzy. I think the dollhouse aspect also appealed to my love of miniatures.  As I grew up, I read all the classics – Nancy Drew, Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables and A Wrinkle in Time.

6) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author? Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring children’s authors?
Having a child tell me they love my book are some of the sweetest words I’ve heard. It floors me every time. Interacting with children at schools and bookstores is the most fulfilling aspect of being a children’s book author. The kids themselves are the best reward for being a picture book author. There are so many wonderful blogs that give advice to kidlit writers. My advice is to join SCBWI, and to check out taralazar.com, kathyteam.wordpress.com, and lauriewallmark.blogspot.com. Also, to write, write and then write some more. Don’t give up. This business requires a supreme amount of patience.

7) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book? What do your children think of it?
I hope they will see how good friendships require a bit of effort and that friends help each other – it’s not a one-way street. I hope they also see that we all might act like Pinecone now and again, but it’s important to forgive those prickly characters in our lives. My children are all teenagers, but happily, they love the book. There’s nothing better than overhearing them tell their friends that their mom wrote a book.

8) What are you working on now? We wait with great anticipation!
My next book, Land Shark, is being released on August 4, 2015. As I’m waiting for that, I’m working on a few stories involving a scarecrow and an alligator, but not in the same story. Although that might be interesting . . . Thanks for asking!

THBeth FerryANK YOU FOR LETTING US GETTING TO KNOW YOU!
Should you wish to know more about Beth Ferry and would like to purchase her book, here are all her pertinent details.

Website: Beth Ferry
Where to purchase her book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indie Bound
Beth’s social media connections:

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Author Interview: Pat Zietlow Miller

WHEREVER YOU GO BY PAT ZIETLOW MILLER Wherever You Go by Pat Zietlow Miller

1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about.
Wherever You Go is about all the paths you can take in life and finding joy in the journey.

2) What inspired you to write this book and why did you pick this genre?
I wrote this book as a love letter to my oldest daughter. It contains some of the things I want her to take with her as she leaves for college and moves further into the world.

3) How do the illustrations complement your book? What was important to you as an author?
Eliza Wheeler did a magnificent job with the illustrations. I couldn’t be more pleased. I think they make the book something you want to walk across the room to see. In picture books, words are only half the story. And, the illustrations are often what first catches a potential reader’s eye. So they have to be good.

4) All your books have very different themes and subject matters. How do these stories come to you and how do you know they will be well received?
I write about topics that interest me. Things I find curious or noteworthy or funny. I hope that if I write a story I’d like to read, others will find it appealing too. But I never know if what I write will be well received. All I can do is give a story everything I have, send it off into the world and then hope it will find its audience.

5) As a child, what books and/or authors influenced you the most and why?
I loved THE WESTING GAME and other books by Ellen Raskin. It was a great story set in Wisconsin, where I lived, and I just adored it. I read it many, many times.

6) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author?
To know that kids and teachers and parents and booksellers and librarians are reading your book, and that sometimes they think enough of it that they reach out to you to tell you why it’s their favorite or how they used it in their classroom or to see what else you’re working on.

7) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book?
That life isn’t a straight line. It can take you on a lot of unexpected journeys – some fun and others not so much – but that no matter where you are, you have the ability to make choices and head toward where you’d really like to be.

8) What advice can you give to aspiring children’s picture book authors that you have learned over the years?
Success is a combination of writing skill, perseverance and luck. You can control two of these factors. And, if you focus on improving your skill and increasing your perseverance, luck often takes care of itself. You may have to recalibrate your definition of perseverance, though. I’ve heard writers say, “I’ve spent weeks on this manuscript and it keeps getting rejected!” If you wanted to be a professional athlete or musician or surgeon, you’d need to spend more than weeks honing your skills if you expected to be hired. The same is true with writing at a professional level. It may take years of practice and perseverance.

9) What are you working on now?
An early middle grade novel set in Wisconsin. Its plot involves Harry Houdini, Tony Bennett, basketball, cooking and the weather. Will it ever see the light of day? I’m not sure, but I’m working on making it as good as it can be.

THPat Zietlow MillerANK YOU FOR LETTING US GETTING TO KNOW YOU!
Should you wish to know more about Pat Zietlow Miller and would like to purchase her book, here are all her pertinent details.

Website: Pat Zietlow Miller
Where to purchase her book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble & Mystery To Me
Pat’s social media connections:

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Why eBook Editions Are Vital for Every Indie Author

Goldie Alexander

Guest Posting by Goldie Alexander.
Goldie Alexander writes  for adults and children of all ages. Her work includes 85 novels and non fictions, plus prizewinning short stories, plays, and articles. She writes historical fiction, fantasy, crime, science fiction and collections of short stories.

eBook Readers

ebooks en ereaders by Maria Elena

WHY EBOOK EDITIONS ARE VITAL FOR EVERY INDIE AUTHOR
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I enjoy picturing po-faced commuters reading the latest crime or romance in their mobiles, tablets and Kindles as they head to their dreary jobs in banks and IT companies.  When I was a kid we read comics. Perhaps this is the contemporary adult equivalent.

The major advantage about eBooks is that they are so easily downloaded; there are no forests being cut down, no problem with storage, no hanging around waiting for that copy in the library, and no roaming the streets trying to find a book shop that might still be in business.

Yet there’s never been a time when it’s harder to get big publishers to take on unknown authors. Most seem to be waiting for the next JK Rowling. So how does this affect the unknown writer who can’t find a company to take his book? The answer seems to be to publish digitally. But unless this occurs under the auspices of a big company, it carries the unfortunate label of ‘vanity published.’ Vanity publishing has a bad name because sometimes money has been saved on editing, design and interesting covers. It is assumed that if a book hasn’t been picked up by a well-known publisher that it can’t be any good. Rest assured that big time publishers don’t always know what they are doing. One reader for a distinguished firm told me that she had never ever recommended anything in case she made a mistake.

From a strictly personal perspective, eBooks are wonderful. After a recent accident, I think I would have gone insane had it not been for my Kindle. I downloaded wonderful, and some not so wonderful novels, at a third of the price I would have paid for hard covers. Considering that I read at least two hundred samples and at least half of these as whole books while stuck in hospital, how else could I have managed to tackle a whole library? I could never have afforded it. Nor would anyone have been prepared to bring me that many books.

However Amazon, Kobo and Apple only list about twenty top sellers amongst the thousands of available books. To compensate, if a particular book or author is typed in – and you have to know who you are looking for – that book or author will come up, even if all the books that author has written are not there. My latest is both available in print and on Amazon and/or Kobo, but it certainly isn’t everything I have written because many of my books were published before this digital revolution.

The problem as I see it is that unless a book is displayed on these top lists, no one will ever know anything about it. I once thought good writing deserved to be recommended, or a popular topic would win readers, but this isn’t always the case. And as far as I can see, these lists are quite random.  I think the crux of eBook publishing is: How do we get our books onto that ‘A list’? Social media seems to be the answer. Your name has to be known. You have to become a ‘brand’. So if you want to sell your eBooks, it’s a good idea to blog, twitter, Facebook using all social media as often as you can stand. At least several times a week.

Author Interview: Karen Kaufman Orloff

I WANNA GO HOME BY KAREN KAUFMAN ORLOFF I Wanna Go Home by Karen Kaufman Orloff

1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about
Alex is not happy about being sent to his grandparents’ retirement community while his parents go on a fabulous vacation. What could be worse than tagging along to Grandma’s boring bridge game or enduring the sight of Grandpa’s dentures?  But as the week goes on, Alex’s desperate emails to his parents turn into stories about ice cream before dinner and stickball with Grandpa. Before he knows it, Alex has made a surprising discovery: grandparents are way cooler than he thought!

2) What inspired you to write this book? 
I guess I was thinking about my own experiences visiting my grandparents in their retirement village in Florida back in the Seventies.  There were so many activities for the residents to do!  I thought it would be fun to put Alex (and his siblings) there, and to have Alex slowly come around to the idea that his grandparents are pretty fun to hang around with.

3) Why did you pick this genre? 
I love writing for kids. I write for older children as well as toddlers and elementary age kids. Probably because I’m a kid a heart, myself! And kids are the best audience.

4) How do the illustrations complement your book? What was important to you as an author?
The illustrations, done by the wonderful David Catrow, really add another dimension to all the “I Wanna” books. Dave just seems to know how to be funny and he makes my words look good!  The right illustrator can make or break a book, and I feel very lucky.

5) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author?
I love knowing that people — especially kids, parents and grandparents — are enjoying my books together.

6) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book?
I hope they learn that people don’t get boring just because they age. Maybe they will enjoy time with their own grandparents.

7) What advice do you give to aspiring writers at your adult workshops on how to succeed in this highly competitive market? 
I always tell people to just keep writing, learning, and improving.  If you stay at it and learn your craft (and keep submitting) you will eventually find success.

8) School visits are a big part of your writing career. What are the benefits for you personally and professionally?
It’s so great going into the schools and meeting the kids and teachers. It’s really my core audience! I have learned what they like and what they don’t; what they laugh at and what they don’t laugh at.  I’ve learned so much by visiting and I’m always humbled when they applaud me! I would encourage every children’s author to get out and meet the kids in the schools.

9) What are you working on now?
I am working on a series of middle grade novels that I hope to get published.  I also have a new rhyming picture book coming out next spring from Sterling Publishing. It’s called “Miles of Smiles.”

Karen Kaufman OrloffTHANK YOU FOR LETTING US GETTING TO KNOW YOU!
Should you wish to know more about Karen Kaufman Orloff and would like to purchase her book, here are all her pertinent details.

Website: Karen Kaufman Orloff
Where to purchase her book: AmazonBarnes & Noble and Merritt Books
Karen’s social media connections:

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