Author and Illustrator Interview: Maria Knier

The BezertTHE BEZERT BY MARIA KNIER

1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about.
 The Bezert is a unique, imaginative and poetic parable about the value of trust. The main character, Bezert, has never left the safety and comfort of his island home. But when a box magically appears below his window, it proves too tempting not to take a look. By entering the box, the Bezert begins a journey of self-discovery in a dreamlike world of unknowns and mysterious inhabitants. Ultimately expanding the view of himself, his world and learning the value of trusting himself.

2) What inspired you to write this book?
I was working as a freelance editorial illustrator when I created this book many years ago. At the time I also had just begun studying Ayurveda, a timeless   healing philosophy and sister science to Yoga. This book was inspired by a combination of other books I was reading at the time based on universal truths. I first created 8-10 illustrations based on these concepts, spread them on the floor of my studio and sat down to write about each one of them. The end result was the outline and origin of  The Bezert.

3) Why did you pick this genre? How did you come to be a children’s picture book author?
I have always considered myself to be a ‘conceptual communicator’. In other words, I love to take words, stories or verses and bring them to life in a visual way. This book is the result of the interplay between my own writings and my own visual interpretations. I really decided I wanted to be ‘an artist” when I was about 4 or 5 years old so that has been a pretty solid path for me, but although I have always enjoyed writing, I never really considered myself to be ‘a writer’. Now in hindsight, the combination seems perfectly appropriate! I also consider this book to be appropriate for “kids of all ages”. Although it appears to be for children, adults sometimes need colorful illustrations and poetic verse to help tap into their creative side as well.

4) Tell us about the illustrations. What is your style and how did the artwork come to be? What inspired you?
I have always been drawn to a mixed media type style. Collage was my medium of choice in art school and the more I worked, my style morphed into a collage/mixed media combination. I like to use as many tools as I can get my hands on. It keeps things fresh and interesting for me and I doubt that will ever change. Most of my work is still done by hand because it wouldn’t feel right if I couldn’t get my hands dirty and work with paint and pencils, but I also enjoy the polish of digital media and the ease of integrating pictures and images into hand rendered work.

5) As a child, what books and/or authors influenced you the most and why?
I have always loved C.S. Lewis/Alice in Wonderland, Roald Dahl/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, L. Frank Baum/Wizard of Oz and especially everything by Madeline L’Engle. A Wrinkle In Time is one of my all time favorites! All of these books opened up my world and conjured a certain special magical quality within me. It is what has inspired me and has helped me to create a healthy creative process.

6) Tell us about your audio book campaign for The Bezert.
As of October 21st, 2015 we have officially released the audio book version of The Bezert! It has been a long road to get here as we started work on the audio book shortly after The Bezert was published one full year ago. I had no trouble finding a brilliant narrator almost immediately. He was an artist ‘friend of a friend’ from Santa Barbara with the perfect voice, great character skills and a strong desire to narrate a book. We began work in the studio shortly before I learned that my publisher was going out of business and needed to close their doors. Needless to say, I then ran into some challenges with the many other extra financial expenses necessary to keep The Bezert promotion alive. After just coming off of winning 2 indie book awards in NY, and a fantastic book tour event in CA, I realized I was tapped out and needed to start an Indiegogo campaign in order to raise enough funds to complete the Audio Book project. I humbly asked 30 friends and supporters to play small roles in a video I produced and we pulled together a fabulous campaign earning over 60% of the necessary funds to complete the project and finalize the music & studio contracts. Through this process I wholeheartedly learned the importance of support, collaboration and trust.

7) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author?
I really love the opportunity to go to schools and read to classrooms. Each experience is unique but always inspiring. I have yet to come home without being artfully challenged in some way by the kids, their fabulous questions and their insightful comments.

I also have really enjoyed each of the different creative events we have put together to bring The Bezert further in to the public eye. We have had dramatic readings by kids wearing masks, circus type events with actors miming along with the audio version, social media campaigns with people taking pictures of Bezert all over the world, and someday I’d love to create an interactive art experience where people can walk through an installation of the book and be fully immersed in the sensory experience through sight, sound, scent and touch.

8) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book/s?
I hope this book inspires children (and adults) to dig deep into their own creativity. I hope it challenges them emotionally and gets them to think about concepts bigger than themselves. I also hope it gives them the reassurance that they too can write their own story and share it with the world in their own special way. And in the end maybe they will learn to trust just a little more, in both themselves and the greater world.

9) What advice do you have for aspiring author and illustrators on how to navigate this world of publishing?
Although it is a nine month process in itself, the actual act of publishing a book is just a very small part of the picture. The bigger job comes when you need to tirelessly promote yourself and your book at every given opportunity for as long as you possibly can. The thing I have found to be helpful is to use as much creativity as you can when you do this. To try not to seek out the way that your book fits in, but rather find out how it stands apart from the rest and market yourself from that platform. If it is a book filled with flowers, market to unique gift stores and garden shops, if it is about animals, find creative ways to talk to businesses who work with animals, humane society events, farms etc. In a bookstore you are just one book among thousands, but standing alone you can get much more positive attention and help build awareness in the process. And then never, never give up. Make the book your passion. Embrace it and intuitively follow every possible opportunity that presents itself.

10) What are you working on now?
I always have a few irons in the fire, but my main project after nearly a year of promoting The Bezert, is getting back in the studio and illustrating a second book in this series. Many years ago when I wrote The Bezert, I also penned a sequel. My next project is to illustrate and publish the second part of Bezert’s journey. As I said at the end of the first book…”Not The End” now I need to follow through on that promise.

Maria Knier

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

Website: Maria Knier
Where to purchase her book: Indiebound, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Maria’s social media connections:

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Illustrator Interview: Alison Edgson

Alison EdgsonPROFESSIONAL BIO:
Alison Edgson was born in County Down in Northern Ireland. She worked in the computer department of a bank before studying Visual Communication at the University of Ulster in Belfast. After graduating with a First, she and her husband Jeff moved to an old chapel in the Usk Valley in Wales where she now paints and illustrates children’s books and greetings cards. She spends most of her free time trying to tame the tangle of Welsh hillside that is her ‘garden’, indulging the cat and walking her two energetic Labradors, and loves running and generally getting involved in village life.

1) How did you become an illustrator of children’s books or similar works?
It was a career change after 15 years working in the bank in IT – I got voluntary redundancy and took the opportunity to fulfil a long held dream to go to Art College. I completed a foundation year, followed by a 3 year honours degree in Visual Communication at the University of Ulster, graduating with a first in 2000. After that we moved to Wales and I started to pick up illustration work here and there until my agent Advocate offered to represent me. I’ve illustrated lots of children’s books since then and still love what I do – I’m very lucky!

2) Describe your illustration style and creative process. What makes your illustrations unique and different?
My work is colourful and usually quite atmospheric and I also hope it’s humorous – that’s what I strive for. I work in acrylics with coloured pencils at the moment but am always trying to develop and try new things and am currently working on a new style which is really challenging me as it is very different and fresh and right out of my comfort zone!

3) When did you realise you could make a living from your talent?
Really not until I began to get real offers of work – before that I hoped I could but never felt confident that it would work out as I knew there was a lot of competition in the field.

4) Has technology changed your trade and the way you work?
I’ve always used a computer to some extent with my work although it is painted in a traditional way. My work is reproduced digitally and I am comfortable with using traditional methods as a starting point for an illustration that can be worked on further in Photoshop if necessary. Coming from an IT background I’m okay with that and technology is useful for me in other ways too – simplifying the early stages of a project and reducing the need to dash to the post office with bundles of artwork every week!

5) Who are your biggest influences in your artistic career and why?
My family were all artistic especially my Mum who was able to draw horses beautifully – such a tricky subject! My Dad used to do big funny posters for his am-dram society too.

6) When collaborating with an author or a client, how do you ensure you are able to translate their words into art and convey the message they are trying to portray?
Once I’ve read their words (and I nearly always love the stories and get very excited when I read them for the first time) I try to  trust my instincts as I can usually visualise the story as I read it. Getting it down as I see it is the challenge!

7) Tell us about the proudest piece of work you have done.
I was very chuffed to win the Picture Book category of the Red House Children’s Book Awards for Yuck, That’s not a Monster – it was especially nice as the winning books were chosen entirely by children, and I got to meet Michael Morpurgo at the award ceremony!

8) What advice do you have for aspiring illustrators?
Try to find out as much as you can about the industry and keep up to date with what’s popular – there’s lots of good information in the annual Writers and Artists yearbooks, and the Association of Illustrators is well worth joining to get free portfolio consultations and they run workshops and offer useful publications on the business side of things as well.

9) Please provide a short brief of each of the pictures you have submitted.
This is a spread from Waiting for Santa – I loved painting this atmospheric scene where the friends settle down in the snow and hope that Santa will see their tree and bring them presents

Waiting for Santa

This illustration is from I Want my Mummy, the challenge here was to make an interesting, warm and colourful bedroom scene and as it was the opening spread for the book to introduce the characters of Arthur and his mummy. Adding the little details – the toys and the décor are the fun part!

I Want my Mummy

Should you wish to know more about Alison, here are her pertinent details.

Website: Alison Edgson
Alison’s social media connections:

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Author & Illustrator Interview: Carin Bramsen

Just A Duck by Carin BramsenJUST A DUCK? BY CARIN BRAMSEN

1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about.
Duck has decided to be a cat, and tries to show his good friend, Cat, that he’s just like her. He strives gamely to climb a tree, but when his best efforts fail him, his confidence begins to ebb. In an attempt to cheer him, Cat accidentally lands in deep water, where they both learn just how lucky they are that Duck is a duck. This book is a sequel to Hey, Duck!, told in rhyming dialogue.

2) What inspired you to write this book?
A mental image of Duck trying to slink like his friend, Cat, was the first spark for Just a Duck. I already had a strong sense of Duck’s character from my previous book, Hey, Duck!. He is wildly enthusiastic, inclined to silliness, but with some instinctive wisdom, too. I could imagine his giving his all to being a cat, and struggling to prove it when challenged. I sympathized, suspecting this new goal might not serve him well – and that’s when I thought there might be a story in it.

3) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book?
I’d love to help kids understand there are many, many different ways to shine, all eminently worthwhile.

4) How did you come to write and illustrate and why did you pick this genre?
My first picture book project was illustrating The Yellow Tutu, by my sister, Kirsten Bramsen. From then on, I was hooked on the possibilities and demands of the picture book form: the dance of words and images to tell a story, and the challenge of doing so in such a short space.

5) When you have an idea for a new book, what comes first? The words or the illustrations and what is your process of putting them together?
So far, my books have all started with a nascent sense of a scenario and a feeling for the characters involved. That might come to me with some words or an image attached, but at first it’s more about the general dynamics and where they might lead.

From there, words, images and plot ideas arrive, higgledy-piggledy – during a walk or shower or some household chore. I usually jot or sketch whatever pops up, knowing the selection and sorting will come later. At some point early on, I set up sixteen two-page spread templates in Photoshop. This will become my working dummy: the sketched version of the book. I scan sketches in, alter or move them as the story evolves, or sketch directly into the computer with a digital stylus and tablet. I can type right on the Photoshop dummy page – that’s sometimes where I write and rewrite the story. Words and pictures continually change and inform each other as I develop the book.

6) As a child, what books and/or authors/illustrators influenced you the most and why?
My first book love was Dr. Seuss. Oh, the places he drew! I felt he threw the world wide open with his wild spaces and infinite invention. I still want books to do that for me.

7) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author?
The most fulfilling by far is hearing that a child enjoys my book, and feeling that maybe I’ve added a little happiness to someones life. I also relish the first stages of writing and sketching a book – that primal buzz when something new begins to take shape.

8) Describe your illustration style and when did you realise you could make a living from your talent?
My published illustrations so far are brightly colored, with tangible-looking textures and volumes. Recently, I’ve been playing around with a more linear style. Regardless of style, I love most to show character through expressions and movement. As to the second half of the question, I’m still trying to figure that out.

9) What are you working on now?
I’m now working on the third Duck and Cat book for Random House, as well as some other seedling projects.

THCarin BramsenANK YOU FOR LETTING US GETTING TO KNOW YOU!
Should you wish to know more about Carin Bramsen and would like to purchase her book, here are all her pertinent details.

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

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Have you Joined The Goodreads Author Program Yet?

A.S. Chung B&WPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

HAVE YOU JOINED THE GOODREADS AUTHOR PROGRAM YET?
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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Goodreads Otis Chandler

Otis Chandler Goodreads Founder by Christopher Michel

As an author, I am sure you have joined Goodreads as part of your online marketing strategy. Known as the Facebook for book lovers, it is an extremely  large digital library that every author should be a part of.

Now that you have navigated your way through the website, please venture your way to the bottom of the page and click on Author Program. If you haven’t already set this up, please take some time to do so. As it is a site which is dedicated to all things books, it is an invaluable tool to take advantage of it. It is completely free so you have absolutely no excuse!

It is important because under all the books listed on Goodreads, there is an option to click on the name of the author to find out more about you. You need to make sure you give them a dynamic snapshot of you so that curious readers can get to know you.

Features available in the Author Program:

  • Create a profile by adding a photo of yourself that best reflects you as an author. I suggest a fairly professional looking image and not one that is cropped from a family photo.
  • Write a compelling bio about yourself. Only limited by your imagination!
  • This feature enables you to share with your fans what you are currently reading. Makes for a good conversation piece.
  • This feature also allows you to list your favourite books.  Avid readers can form opinions about your personality just by the books you read.
  • You can advertise any upcoming events such as book launches, readings or book signings.
  • You can share a small excerpt of your book to entice readers.
  • If you maintain a blog, you can add it to your profile for greater exposure. All posts on your blog will automatically be uploaded on your profile so no additional work required.
  • You can add the Goodreads Author Widget to your website or blog to showcase all your hard earned reviews.
  • Promote your books by participating in discussions that may be relevant to the book genre or topic.

A.S. Chung Goodreads Author Page

There is no harm in joining this program. According to Goodreads, they are the world’s largest site for book readers and book recommendations. With over 20 million users and now acquired by Amazon, it is a truly useful site to be a part of.

Author Interview: Michelle Worthington

My Brother Tom1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about.
This picture book is Tom’s story through the eyes of his big brother and was written to help brothers and sisters of the 20,000 premature babies born in Australia every year understand what is happening and encourage open and age appropriate discussion between family members. Proceeds of the sale of this book are donated to The Life’s Little Treasures Foundation.

2) What inspired you to write this book?
I am the mother of 3 boys, all born prematurely. My youngest son, Tom, was born by emergency caesarean at 28 weeks with a birth weight of 1350g. He developed respiratory distress syndrome soon after birth and was ventilated. Subsequently, he developed bilateral pneumothoraces and a broncho-pleural fistula with total of 4 intercostal catheters inserted.  He also suffered a mild pulmonary haemorrhage. Tom was extremely unwell, fragile and distressed and stayed in hospital for 58 days. Tom is our little miracle.

3) Why did you pick this genre? How did you become a children’s book author?
Tom is one of many little babies who are born early in Australia every year. Older brothers and sisters of sick babies can be scared and confused, especially if parents find it hard to explain to them what is happening in an age appropriate way. This picture book is designed to be a tool to help parents and caregivers of older siblings talk about what is happening, know that their little brother or sister is in the safest and best place for them at that time and have hope that everything is going to be alright. I started writing children’s books because I believe in the power of words. My stories are empowering for kids and give hope and courage to be anything you want to be, as long as you believe in yourself.

4) How do the illustrations complement your book? What was important to you as an author?
Ann-Marie Finn did an amazing job on the illustrations for Tom’s book, considering how difficult the subject matter is to portray in a child friendly and colourful way. Her insight and compassion into the story are evident in the time and talent she shows throughout the creation process of working with an author on a book that is very special to them. It was important to me that Ann-Marie felt as much ownership of the picture book as I do.

5) As a child, what books and/or authors influenced you the most and why?
Most of the stories I read when I was little were fantasy stories about escaping up faraway trees, living on a prairie or having a best friend named Diana. I used books to escape. The authors that influenced me then are not the same ones that influence me now as a picture book writer instead of a chapter book or novel writer. I love to learn more about writers who were the pioneers of picture books to see how they overcame obstacles, such as Beatrix Potter and Dr Seuss.

6) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author and why do you believe picture books can change the world?
Sharing your stories with children all around the world is an amazing privilege. With modern technology making international connections a daily occurrence, I can skype with kids at an international school in Beijing, then read stories to a group of kindy kids 5 minutes from home. Picture books can change the world because there are no rules or restrictions on what you can write about. Anything is possible.

7) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book?
I hope children stay children for just a little bit longer after reading my books, and not be in such a hurry to grow up. It takes courage to be yourself and I hope they get confidence from my stories.

8) Tell us about your blog and what do you write about?
On my blog, I share insights into how I became a published author, current trends and changes in publishing and literacy and tips on marketing your books via social media. I love connecting with my readers and hope they find some inspiration in my blogs. More than anything, I want my blog to be useful.

9) What are you working on now?
My boys said to me I write too many books for girls. I told them before I was a Mum, I used to be a girl, So now, I am working on stories that help boys break gender stereotypes and give them confidence to follow their talents, no matter what they are. I always have some idea for a story spinning around my head, so I hope to share may more books with you in the future.

Michelle Worthington

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

Website: Michelle Worthington
Where to purchase her book: Michelle Worthington and Dragontales
Michelle’s social media connections:

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How To Turn Your Book Marketing Into A Book

Susan DayGuest Posting by Susan Day.
Susan Day is a children’s author of over 20 print and eBooks. She has been working her social media presence for over five years and feels her head is just bursting with tips and advice. To alleviate this condition she has decided to blog a non-fiction book one post at a time entitled How to Publish a Children’s Book at Little or No Cost.

HOW TO TURN YOUR BOOK MARKETING INTO A BOOK
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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Bookstore

Book by Ian Muttoo

A few weeks ago I was hit with a revelation that really blew my mind. The idea to write a non-fiction book about what I have learnt in the publishing industry had been ticking over in my brain for some time. However, I didn’t want to spend hours and hours writing, creating and publishing another self-help book that would languish at the bottom of an Amazon’s list.

Then one day, I came across an article by Nina Amir titled How to Blog a Book. This was the answer I was looking for. Blogging a book, one post at a time, would help me not only get my book completed but it would open up many other opportunities.

So, I sat down one Sunday and, following Nina’s advice, I created a Tab le of Contents which I use as a guide so I know what to write next. Under that, I started writing my book. Then I set up a website and a sign up from for newsletters. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, it is.

I post short pieces that will go into my books as chapters. If the information is too long I simply break it up. I also post other things that are related to my topic but might not make it into my book. I plan to invite other authors and guests, as well.

I have to say I have found the whole process very rewarding and lots of fun. I don’t feel like I’m stuck writing something that might not go anywhere. Already, there are a lot of people signed up to my RSS feed and my newsletter.

There are a few do’s and don’ts which you can find in Nina’s book. However, I can’t see why you couldn’t blog a book on any subject, even a fiction title. I’m sure you’ll find the whole experience just as rewarding as I have and who knows, perhaps you’ll build a significant fan base before your book is even published. I know I have.

Catch up with my journey at: www.howtopublishachildrensbookatnocost.com

30 Facebook Groups Every Author Needs…..And It’s Free!

A.S. Chung B&WPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

30 FACEBOOK GROUPS EVERY AUTHOR NEEDS…..AND IT’S FREE!
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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Photo Montage

Facebook Groups continue to evolve over time to support writers and authors in a myriad of ways. I have collated a list of Facebook Groups to help indie authors in all facets of the self-publishing journey. If you are searching for the following, you have come to the right place:

  • Support for self-publishing authors.
  • Book marketing ideas.
  • A space to promote your book/s.
  • Author support through discussions and forums.
  • Improve your writing and manuscript assistance.
  • Lover of books in general.

1. Amazon Book Club
Download free e-books, join our book loving platform, or read our daily reviews. If you are a published author, go ahead and announce yourself and your book(s) on this site. Readers, please go ahead and leave your reviews and recommendations.
28,237 members.

2. Aspiring Authors
If your dream is to become a published storyteller (novelist, screenwriter, poet, short story writer etc.), you’ve come to the right place! What we’re all about: books, novels, stories, writing, writers, plays, screenplays, short stories, plot, creative, creativity, fiction, interactive story.
26,996 members.

3. Authors
Anything about writing.
Stories, experiences, advice and tips.
Any new books, promotions or book cover designs.
27,769 members

4. Authors 99¢ e-Books Promotion
This is a group for .99 e-books only. Please promote your books here if they are .99 cents or free!
9,259 members.

5. Authors and Book Lovers Discussion Group
This is a discussion group for authors and book lovers to chat about their favourite books. All Authors are welcome to promote here!
21,778 members.

6. Authors, Agents, and Aspiring Writers
We welcome authors at every stage of their career. Here are the rules for this group: This group is for all things WRITING! You are free to promo new releases, your books, your writing blogs, your thoughts on writing and always ask for help from others to improve your craft. If you have information that you think will be beneficial to writers, please share.
18,750 members.

7. Authors, Bloggers, Writers, Readers and Books
Geared to Christian content. Space for authors, bloggers, writers, readers and books to post information about their blogs, books, reviews and their websites, etc. A group for sharing our interests and activities regarding our page title. – we encourage those of any faith or beliefs to join in the sharing. Only God knows where our seeds might be planted.
13,898 members.

8. Author Meeting Place
A place to meet and greet other authors. You might be able to share marketing ideas and/or events in your area if you meet someone close to you. Authors unite!
4,715 members.

9. Authors Promoting Authors
Authors Promoting Authors community group. This group serves as a forum for discussion, promotion and sharing
16,956 members.

10. Books, Books and more Books!!!
Where authors and readers can post to help promote their books and giveaways.
32,618 members.

11. Book Promotion
The goal of this page is to help you the author to accomplish your goals. It is similar to our mission at Best Seller Publishing – “To make our clients best-selling authors and launch them to a life of independence, generous income, and meaningful impact.” So from time to time we will be offering FREE training in the form of videos, webinars and recordings. They will be specifically focused on helping you become a best selling author and monetize your books.
25,808 members.

12. Book Review & Promotion
Writer · Books · Publishing
29,839 members.

13. Children’s Authors and Illustrators on Facebook
A group for authors and illustrators of children’s books, from picture books to YA, in all genres, plus aspiring writers and all readers who love children’s literature.
5,542 members.

14. Free ebooks for Kindle, Nook, and More
Welcome readers and authors! This page is for listing free ebooks only. Authors, join this group to post notice of ebooks that you are giving away freely to everyone. This is a great way to promote “free ebook” days in Kindle’s KDP Select program, but please list your book only when it’s free to all Amazon customers.
2,540 members.

15. Free Kindle and Nook eBooks For Readers
This is a group for readers to come and find free Ebooks. Anyone can join and post links to the free Ebooks they have found; we especially love when authors join this group and post links to their free Ebooks! There are no limits for genres or where an Ebook can be read. Most of the Ebooks posted are available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Nobles’ Nook, Smashwords or even a plain PDF file.
33,013 members.

16. Free Today on Amazon
This group is for free books only!
18,578 members.

17. Free Today on Kindle & Beyond
Authors: Announce your free books here.
Readers: Learn which books are free today.
14,821 members.

18. Go Indie
All things book-related are welcome, including articles from author blogs and websites, announcements for free and discounted books, book discussions and more. Posts related to services being offered to authors are welcome as well, provided the owner/poster contact the admin beforehand.
5,756 members.

19. Indie Author Book Promotion Page
Welcome to the open group for Indie Author book promotions.
26,545 members.

20. Indie Authors International
READERS and WRITERS from EVERYWHERE, across borders, without barriers. EVERYONE WELCOME.
12,058 members.

21. KIDLIT411
A Facebook group of children’s writers and illustrators run by the founders of the website http://www.Kidlit411.com. Share your information and kid lit news and join a fun community.
2,037 members.

22. Kindle Authors Helping Authors
Welcome to a FB group that actually helps authors. Please take the time to visit other author’s pages and like them on Amazon FB and outside web blogs and websites. We also love receiving tips on what has helped authors sell books, receive helpful reviews or set up their platforms.
4,043 members.

23. Marketing for Authors
Written the book? Now what? Now it’s the hard part, now you have to market it….
This group is for fellow authors to swap marketing ideas with other authors and ask questions.
11,782 members.

24. Passion for Books
Everything related to books. Authors of books are welcome to post photos of your books. You can also post your videos. And talk about your books.
31,165 members.

25. Ready To Read
Open group to promote your new release. It is acceptable to promote a ready to read book, for blog posts that are about a ready to read book, and events for ready to read books.
13,369 members.

26. Review Seekers
This is where authors and publishers meet readers and users who write and post reviews of books and apps on Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and blogs. Members are invited to request a review if they indicate they will provide free copy to reviewer
12,037 members.

27. The Literary Lounge Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Illustrators
Calling all authors … is there a book in you? This is the place to be if you want to learn about writing, creating, strategizing, developing, publishing and selling your book. If you want to create a book that has pizzazz, punch and panache…
15,154 members.

28. We Love Books
Save money and time by buying on line. If you love books, please feel free to tell us about your book that you wrote, a recent one that you read or something you would like to recommend.
3,655 members.

29. Writers and Readers Unite
Invite all of your friends to a place for authors and readers to come together. Authors may post about their new books and readers may post review or comments Poems and personal blogs post are welcome
25,398 members.

30. Writer’s Group
This group is for writers and those interested in the craft of writing, to mingle, meet, inform, learn and cooperate (https://www.facebook.com/groups/memberswritersgroup). Writers of all skill levels and experience are encouraged to help each other through problem spots in their writing, bounce ideas off other members, and talk about the latest news affecting the industry/craft; exchange leads to discovery. Readers and fans are also welcome to participate. Anyone may submit passages of written work for group critiques. Surveys, both by post and software application, as well as thought experiments are also welcome.
30,892 members.

Author Interview: Kirstin Lenane

Charlie and the CreatureCHARLIE AND THE CREATURE BY KIRSTIN LENANE

1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about
Charlie is a mouse who lives in a small town and works at the local diner.  One day, a creature comes in for a cup of coffee.  Needless to say, the regular customers aren’t quite sure what to make of him.  But Charlie, being the service professional that he is, tries to make the creature feel at home.  The creature explains that he is on his way to see the world and can’t stay long.  This comment sets Charlie’s imagination spinning and inspires him to seek out an adventure of his own.

2) What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired by the day-to-day life in a small-town diner and the pleasure that comes from being part of such a community.  To the diner patrons, Charlie is more than just a waiter.  He is someone they count on seeing and speaking to every day.

When the creature enters the diner, he throws off the town’s homeostasis:  “They weren’t used to outsiders in town.  No one ever did much coming or going.”  Rather than shutting the creature out, I decided to have Charlie (and the other diner regulars) make the more interesting choice to invite the creature into their lives, to experience the initial discomfort of the unknown, and then to reap the benefits of being open to new people and new ideas.

3) How did you come up with the title or series of your book?
The title comes from the encounter between the two main characters, Charlie and the creature.  This encounter sets the story in motion.

4) Why did you pick this genre?
I used to write short stories for adult readers, but found that I had a lot more fun when I started adding pictures.  Combining drawings with writing seems to place me in a more natural place as a writer.  The drawings help the writing flow and vice versa.

At this time, I’m a little less clear about how to market an illustrated picture book for “all ages,” so I’ve been trying to write more for children, where there is a clear market.  I have a two-year-old son and I work as a counselor at two elementary schools, so this helps me get out of my adult head and into the world of children, but this is not always easy.  I think I am still learning who my audience is and how to write for them.

5) How do the illustrations complement your book? What was important to you as an author?
When I am creating a story, I begin by drawing pictures.  Because I am not a professionally trained illustrator by any means, the drawings often come out looking a little funny.  For example, a hat on a mouse’s head might end up looking more like a pancake.  Why is there a pancake on his head?  And so it begins….

If I had my way, I would draw with pencils and markers, and create books using paper, cardboard and glue.  However, in today’s “modern age,” I’ve also enjoyed the capacity to reach readers by creating books that can be digital.

6) As a child, what books and/or authors influenced you the most and why?
As a child, I enjoyed books that didn’t treat me like a child, but as a person.  Some of my favorites included, the Frog and Toad books, The Velveteen Rabbit, the Frances books, George and Martha, books by William Steig and Tomi Ungerer.

7) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author?
By putting my human questions into the world of a mouse who lives in a made-up place in the world of a book, I am able to grapple with some serious, difficult things, in a manner that feels less heavy, but is liberating at the same time.

Being an author helps me to take life less seriously, and more seriously at the same time.  It’s a way of creating meaning.

8) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book?
Fear can make us very resistant to trying new things or considering new ideas, especially if we seemed to be doing just fine before these new ideas walked into our lives.  One of the messages of this book is that it is much more fulfilling to keep learning and to keep growing than it is to try to keep everything the same.

9) Who is/are your favourite author/s as an adult and why?
My favourite book is To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf.  There is beauty and joy in her characters, but there is also this sense that everyone is alone, as she moves through a scene and through each character’s private thoughts.  She captures people’s moments of connection to each other, as well as their inability to truly connect and relate.

10) What are you working on now?
I am writing a children’s book about a character who is obsessed with time and keeping lists.  Fortunately, there are three pesky rabbits who live outside and teach him a thing or two about stopping to enjoy the moment.

THKirstin LenaneANK YOU FOR LETTING US GETTING TO KNOW YOU!
Should you wish to know more about Kirstin Lenane and would like to purchase her book, here are all her pertinent details.

Website: Kirstin Lenane
Where to purchase her book: Amazon
Kirstin’s social media connections:

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Illustrator Interview: Paul Kidby

Paul KidbyPROFESISONAL BIO:
Self taught artist Paul Kidby was born in West London in 1964.  He left school at 17 and worked as a commercial artist before becoming a freelance illustrator in 1986. He is best known for being the ‘artist of choice’ for the award winning writer Sir Terry Pratchett, and has designed the ‘Discworld’ book jackets since 2002 and has illustrated many ‘Discworld’ publications including ‘The Art of Discworld’ and best-selling ‘The Last Hero’.

Paul has also increasingly built himself a reputation as a sculptor and his limited edition bronzes are collected worldwide. Kidby original artwork and bronzes have been exhibited in London, Paris and widely around the U.K. Today Paul balances his output between Pratchett and his own projects and lives and works in the New Forest with his wife Vanessa.

1) How did you become an illustrator of children’s books or similar works?
I became an illustrator of books by working at various jobs in the commercial creative industry that gradually edged me another step on the ladder closer to my goal. My journey began at the age of 17 and included making false teeth, painting roller blinds, designing rice pudding and lightbulb packaging, creating greetings card designs and finally over 200 magazine covers – which paid the bills but was not  exactly creatively satisfying.  My life changed in 1994 when author Terry Pratchett was doing a book signing in the city of Bath, I queued for a few hours to meet him and handed him an envelope of my Discworld character designs.  Terry phoned me when he had completed his signing tour to say he liked my drawings and that we might work together.

2) Describe your illustration style and creative process. What makes your illustrations unique and different?
My style is traditional. I use old techniques and processes and don’t create my work digitally.  I use hard leaded pencils on smooth white paper or board and for colour I work in oils or acrylics, which I build up in thin layers.  I enjoy working tonally and my style is rather meticulous and detailed. I am inspired by The Golden Age of illustration when beautiful books were adorned by the works of Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac and their skilled contemporaries.

3) Has technology changed your trade and the way you work?
It has not changed the way I create my work but I scan my work and send digital files these days rather than sending the original artwork to the publishers.  Social networking has also changed my working habits, I now feel part of an online community rather than an isolated artist!

4) As a self-taught artist, when did you realise you could make a living from your talent?
I have always made a living from my talent since the age of 17, through hard work,  determination and my choice to initially settle for lower paid creative work rather than higher paid uncreative work.  I was, and still am, lucky to have a supportive family.

5) When collaborating with an author or a client, how do you ensure you are able to translate their words into art and convey the message they are trying to portray?
One of the best parts of illustration is the design process where the text is interpreted into line; I find this the most fun and also the most challenging aspect of the work.  I read the text carefully, make notes and, as a starting point, I often think of an actor who might play the character. Good communication with the client is important at this stage too, for example I originally drew the Discworld character Ponder Stibbons to look like John Lennon but when Terry saw my sketch he told me he imagined him to look more like Bill Gates, so I redesigned him accordingly!

6) Tell us about your collaboration with the late Terry Pratchett and what opportunities did you gain from such a partnership?
The chance to visualise the Discworld was a life changing opportunity for me.  In the early years I would meet Terry often to discuss ideas and show him my sketches.  We shared a fascination for history, folklore and a slightly off the wall sense of humour which enabled us to connect our mediums in a happy union.  The chance to illustrate the book jackets and internals for so many of his books was an amazing privilege for me and I will always be grateful to him for allowing me to wander his world with my sketchbook.

7) Who or what continues to inspire your work from painting to sculpturing?
I am inspired by the natural world: the flora and fauna of the landscape around me and the folklore of The British Isles. I enjoy and take inspiration from attending galleries and exhibitions of all sorts of art. I have a large collection of art and reference books and I enjoy watching  films to see how others have created characters, costumes and environments for the big screen.

8) What advice do you have for aspiring illustrators when first dealing with a publishing house?
My advice is to maintain good polite communication and be punctual with schedules and deadlines. It’s also important to remember you are working as part of a team, therefore you must expect your work to be critiqued, changes requested and digital alterations with colour tones etc made by the design team, it’s part of the process and not a reason to take umbrage!

9) Please provide a short brief of each of the pictures you have submitted
Colour artwork for the book jacket of The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett.

The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett

Colour artwork for the book jacket of Diary of a Mad Brownie by Bruce Coville.

Diary of a Mad Brownie by Bruce Coville

Discworld Massif, a large scale painting featuring over 70 favourite characters from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld

Auld Goggie, a character from The Charmed Realm book by Paul & Vanessa Kidby.

The Charmed Realm book by Paul & Vanessa Kidby

Should you wish to know more about Paul, here are his pertinent details.

Website: Paul Kidby
Paul’s social media connections:

   Linked In Icon

How Authors Are Under Utilising LinkedIn

A.S. Chung B&WPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

HOW AUTHORS ARE UNDER UTILISING LINKEDIN
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP 
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How much of LinkedIn do you actually use?

Browse through the “Interest” tab and what do you see? How many of those functions do you utilise to your advantage either for informational purposes or as a marketing tool to promote your books? Let’s explore some of these offerings.

COMPANY PAGES
A Company Page allows you to learn more about a specific company you may interested in. By following a business of interest to you, you can:

  • Learn more about the company, such as a publishing corporation, as you browse through their overview and any other information they may provide.
  • Get the latest updates and developments about a particular business and any news regarding an industry of interest such as publishing or writing.
  • Learn more about specific aspects of their business should they utilise the Showcase Pages e.g. information for illustrators, picture books, submission etc.
  • Enables you to find specific employees within the company you may wish to connect with that could possibly help you as an indie author ie editors, copywriters etc.
  • View available careers within the company that may be of interest to you if you think it may assist you with your writing career.
    Create your own Company Page should it fit the criteria.

LinkedIn Company Page

GROUPS
LinkedIn Groups are a fantastic way to get connected with like-minded professionals. There are many writers, children’s books, author and self-publishing groups that may of relevance to you. All groups are now private and you must be a member to participate in them. They are of great benefit because:

  • You can engage in professional discussion about any topic relevant to that group. E.G. What are some of the best book marketing tips for a first time self-publishing author?
  • You may start a discussion topic should you wish to find out more information.
  • Engaging regularly in conversation enables others within the same industry to get to know you and is a great networking medium.
  • Groups is not a place for self-promotion and is therefore moderated regularly which gives you a genuine platform for open discussions.
  • A good place to learn about the writing industry and anything associated with it to help you as a self-publishing author.

LinkedIn Groups

PULSE
LinkedIn’s Pulse app is a professional news app that is tailored specifically to you to bring you breaking industry news and posts published by your network or by any of your connections.

  • It is a fantastic way to get a snapshot about fellow authors, news about publishing companies or industry stories which may be relevant to you, on one medium, whilst you’re on the run.
  • You can publish a post to add you’re your connections’ feed so they may keep up to date of your breaking stories or posts.
  • An excellent tool for you to promote your work through innovative writing

LinkedIn Pulse

SLIDESHARE
SlideShare is a digital platform that joined the LinkedIn family in 2012. It started out as a means for people to upload their PowerPoint or video presentations and share with the world. This has now evolved into a content marketing medium for any type of digital content.

  • A great medium to find well-presented digital content that may be useful to you from top experts.
  • As an author you can upload your own digital content as another form of marketing to appeal to your LinkedIn followers and draw more attention to your book/s.
  • SlideShare comes with its own analytical tools so another way to monitor its worth and if it helps with you your digital marketing activities.
  • All users are able to share the digital content enabling further exposure

LinkedIn SlideShare

ONLINE LEARNING
Want to learn a new skill? Join LinkedIn’s online learning platform that gives you access to a myriad of courses from design to marketing to the web.

  • As most self-published authors would have probably learnt by now, writing the book was the easy part! Marketing the book brings about a whole new learning curve. This online learning platform would be a very useful tool.
  • You may search your online learning by author, which enables you to follow a writer you may resonate with on specific topics.
  • Documentaries by subject are also available for further learning.
  • You can save you courses and documentaries on a playlist so that you can refer to them at any given time.

LinkedIn Online Learning

If you haven’t already done so, explore these functions. You may very well find new ways of marketing your book/s!