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Darcy Pattison’s Pollen Gets a Boost from Junior Library Guild

Thursday, January 24, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Christopher Locke
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Author publisher Darcy Pattison displays both of her books that have been selected by the Junior Library Guild.

“I was thrilled,” said author publisher and IBPA member Darcy Pattison about finding out that her book, Pollen: Darwin’s 130-Year Prediction, had been selected by the Junior Library Guild (JLG). “The process of selection can be lengthy with submissions to the JLG 4-6 months ahead of publication. Each book is competing with the best coming out from all the major presses. I loved the illustrations by Peter Willis [in Pollen] and thought it would be a strong book, but it’s always nice to have someone back up your opinion.”

“The Junior Library Guild (JLG) is a book collection subscription service for libraries that focuses on juvenile literature,” explained Darcy. “They offer 78 categories, from Pre-K to Adult Crossover, for which they choose books and ship to the libraries. Librarians love it because the books are vetted, and it makes their collection development easy. JLG selects books pre-publication and it’s an important indicator of a book’s eventual success. Beyond the prestige, though, it’s a significant pre-publication purchase of 2,600 books, giving a book a jumpstart on moving into the black.”

Darcy put years of work into getting one of her books selected by the Junior Library Guild. “I sent review copies [of my books] for four years before a book was finally selected. All along, though, I included JLG in mailings about other successes. For example, we have four books named National Science Teachers Association Outstanding Science Trade Books. Each time we received that award, we made sure the JLG was aware of it. Finally, [the Junior Library Guild] accepted The Nantucket Sea Monster: A Fake News Story. Of all our books, that was the most likely book for them because the issue of fake news was timely.”

Upcoming 2019 books from Mims House written by author publisher Darcy Pattison.

There’s a good reason Darcy put so much effort into getting one of her books recognized by the Junior Library Guild. “Since Mims House [Darcy’s publishing company] publishes children’s books, the JLG audience is our audience, but their strength is libraries. This selection means the books will receive more attention from libraries, which builds our reputation and makes future books more profitable. We love when books are popular with readers and the JLG helps make that happen.”

Mims House has five books coming out in 2019. Three nonfiction science books (Rosie the Ribeter: The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, Pollen: Darwin’s 130-Year Prediction, and Eclipse: How the 1919 Solar Eclipse Proved Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity) and two middle grade fantasy novels (The Wayfinder and The Falconer). Darcy also has a teaching workshop, Self or Indie Publishing: Answering the Big Questions, at Highlights Foundation on March 25-28.

Two Questions with Author Publisher Darcy Pattison

IBPA: Can you list three key lessons you’ve learned about how one can succeed as an author publisher?

Darcy Pattison (DP):

  1. Optimism. I was confident that my books told interesting stories for kids, and I never lost my optimism that the books and Mims House would succeed.

  2. Persistence. On the other hand, it took four years of submissions before the JLG selected one of our titles. I kept submitting because the only way to succeed is to keep trying.

  3. Problem-Solving. The acceptance by JLG presented its own set of challenges. Because I usually use POD services, I suddenly had to find an offset-printer for this large order. Being able to tackle and solve a challenge is a crucial skill for success.

IBPA: Can you give marketing tips to other author publishers out there who are hoping to spread the word about their books?

DP: The children’s book world has a variety of awards that help bring attention to your books. We submit to as many as make sense. The ones awarded by teachers, such as the National Science Teachers awards, are somewhat easier because they fit my niche-focused books. I also make sure we have distribution from the major educational distributors, such as Follett School Solutions, to take advantage of any successes. If you’re only on Amazon, you’re losing out on significant sales.

IBPA: Thank you, Darcy, for sharing your story and insight with the IBPA community!

Click here to learn more about author publisher Darcy Pattison!

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