“My son’s adventures inspired my writing. Working in schools inspired my desire to share these stories with other children. I felt I needed to share these stories of self confidence and family values. After doing research with some online self-publishing companies and with some publishers in the area, I decided, “why not?” Why not start my own publishing company and invest in myself?”
Why did you become a book publisher? My son's adventures inspired my writing. Working in schools inspired my desire to share these stories with other children. I felt I needed to share these stories of self confidence and family values. After doing research with some online self-publishing companies and with some publishers in the area, I decided, "why not?" Why not start my own publishing company and invest in myself? I already had an illustrator, I had the drive to make things happen, so why not? We are never too old to learn something new and I promise you, being a small business owner, especially a publisher, I am learning something new every day.
What do you like best about publishing? It is a rewarding albeit exhausting experience. There is an important balance between being a full-time mother and wife, and being a publisher, publicist, accountant, sales person, shipping and receiving, marketing, and social media manager. I love the fact that we are selling books to retail locations across the nation. I absolutely enjoy doing author visits. You never know who you are going to touch with your words. Make an impact.
What do you publish? Illustrated children's book inpsired by actual events in my son's life in rural Texas. They have the message of family security and self-confidence. Our stories include an interactive coloring page where children can express themselves. It also creates conversations around the table and in classrooms. The Christmas Pumpkin, release date June 2009. The Worst Day Ever, release date September 2014
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? Face to face communication seems to be the best selling tool. Which is a challenge in this technology driven world. When I travel to the large gift shows and sell to retail locations in a specific region, my sales increase significantly as opposed to simply sending a brochure, or placing an ad in a magazine that caters to that retail environment. The store owners like to meet the author, know their story, and feel the genuine compassion and purpose of the story, and the company. It is difficult to convey that compassion and sincerity in a letter to a buyer at a retail location that you can only communicate with via mail or even email. The personal connection really does help sell my children's books to retailers nationwide.
How do you define a successful title? For our genre, a successful title piques interest and curiosity in the child while having content that they can relate to. The titles may even touch a memory or familiar place within.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. It is like asking which is my favorite child. I love The Christmas Pumpkin. It is about a green pumpkin neglected for Halloween and a boy that decides to use for Christmas. My son used to pick green pumpkins for Halloween and my preschool class wanted to decorate their room with pumpkins for Christmas that year. I wrote that story, that day, while the children took their nap. The Worst Day Ever, has a special place in my heart because it is based on actual events that all happened the same day to my son in early elementary school. Those were my son's words at the end of that school day. Children know that feeling. After comforting him and making sure he was feeling better, I sat down and wrote the story. I am proud of both because I know they are creating conversations for families and in classrooms.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? I find PR to be a challenge. It seems the press releases that I send do not get the same attention as the press releases sent from an outside source. Getting air time on TV or radio either locally or nationally is a challenge. I have had success with magazines and newspapers that do reach my target audience. It is difficult to connect with some larger businesses. They have become so automated and disconnected from personal contact. Sometimes they don't have a direct person to reach out to, or a way to make a personal human connection. It is a lot of "send us what you have, if we like it we will call you." However, not knowing their desires for discounts, or simply the ability to have a meet and greet seems to keep the distance. It is merely a roadblock. One that I will continue to work on. I am pleased that I have sold over 18,000 books nationwide in 5 years.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? If you simply want to publish a book, that can be done in a short amount of time. If you anticipate selling your book outside your circle of friends and family, that requires time, effort, and money. Even just using social media requires a lot of time to prepare posts, research relevant groups to connect to and stay connected with. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, vines, LinkedIn, blogging, a website, all of these social media opportunities can be free or low cost, but they require a lot of time to maintain to stay in front of your potential customer's eyes. Consider the time involved with marketing, designing marketing material, researching potential locations and events, promoting your book, advertising, selling, shipping, and maintaining the business side of your publishing business. All of these factors take time. Think about your target audience, then think outside the box. I bet you can think of unique locations to sell your book in addition to our favorite bookstores
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? It is hard to answer this question. When I started the business 5 years ago, I didn't know where I would be today. But I decided that "we are never too old to learn something new." So after an enlightening and very educational journey into publishing, I am releasing my second book this year and will probably have the third book published five years from now. There is still much to learn. Things like granting licensing, how to connect with national retail chains, and creating merchandising. I hope to have merchandise to accompany my first book, The Christmas Pumpkin. Perhaps these books will be in some of the larger locations that I am targeting on a national level. One thing I do know is that I will continue to enjoy being a mother, a wife, and a successful small business owner.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? I like to spend time with my family and friends. I enjoy watching my son play baseball and basketball. I like to ride bikes, go swimming, do puzzles, and play board games. Occasionally we break into some Dance Central on the Xbox. We go to movies, concerts and sporting events, cook together, and just like to relax around the house. Life is good, we should take time to enjoy it. For that I am thankful.
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