Friday, June 16, 2017

FAQs About My Book

Just before the school year ended, I was able to go to my daughter's school and read Bubble Wrap Girl to all three kindergarten classes.  It was a lot of fun and the kids had some great questions.

Based on what they had been learning in their class writing time, they wanted to know who my book was dedicated to (Thomas, Esme, and Reid) and if it had a copyright (yes).  They also had lots of stories to tell me about times they had played with bubble wrap or an owie they got while playing.

But many of their questions are the same ones adults ask when they learn I have written and published a book. So I thought it would be fun to chronicle those questions here in case someone else reading this is wondering the same thing.

What's it about?
Bubble Wrap Girl is about a girl named Izzy Magee, who gets hurt doing lots of things she enjoys. Like most kids, she doesn't like getting hurt, so one day, her parents wrap her up in bubble wrap. While wrapped in bubble wrap, Izzy doesn't get hurt as often, but she realizes she can't do the things she likes to do either.  Eventually, she decides that having fun and trying new things is better than trying not to get hurt.

I wrote this story to encourage kids to try new things, be brave, and to show them that they can do great things.  It's a story that celebrates resilience and the inner-greatness that is inherent in each of us.

How long did it take you to write the book?
Although I had the idea in my head for awhile before I finally put pen to paper, I wrote the book in October 2015 on a flight to Portland.  After that, I tweaked the manuscript a bit, and I spent a lot of time researching my publishing options.  In the spring of 2016 I had an initial meeting with my editor at Beaver's Pond Press, and then in July 2016, I met with her and my illustrator to really get the process started.  On June 2, 2017, my books were finally delivered to the warehouse, where I got to see the finalized product for the first time since this all began.

How did you choose a publisher?
I decided to work with Beaver's Pond Press in Edina, MN, due to a great recommendation, but also because I could meet with them in person throughout the process, which to me, is huge.  They were great to work with, and very helpful.  Throughout the process, my vision for Bubble Wrap Girl was completely honored, and they just helped make it better.

As I was trying to find a publisher, I explored several publishing companies, many of them that I found on the children's books we have at home.  Through my research, I learned that most traditional publishers only work with authors who have an agent.  There are many online options for self-publishing, but some of them felt more like a sales pitch than someone to work with, and others used computer generated images for illustrations.  For me, the illustrations are key in a children's book, so I didn't want them to be glorified clip-art.

Who drew the pictures?
The illustrator for Bubble Wrap Girl is CA Nobens, a woman I met through Beaver's Pond Press.  She was new to their pool of illustrators, but based on her sample drawings, her style seemed like a great fit for what I envisioned for the book.  And boy, was I right.  CA made Bubble Wrap Girl come to life and I am so pleased with her work.

Where can I buy the book, and are you in charge of all the marketing?
Bubble Wrap Girl is for sale on Amazon, itascabooks.com, and barnesandnoble.com, as well as at Cherry Street Books in Alexandria, MN.  And of course, in my living room!  Though I am working with Itasca Books for distribution to bookstores and libraries, it is up to me to set up book signings, school visits, and to talk to book stores to see if they are interested in selling my book.

One of the great things that Beaver's Pond Press had me do while I waited for the illustrations to be completed was develop a marketing plan.  This plan is extremely helpful to keep going back to in order to remind myself just how I am going to get all my inventory sold.  Self-publishing is expensive, but I believed in this book, and bringing it to life is a dream come true.

Will you write other books?
I'd love to, and I have some ideas in mind, but I need to get this first book sold first!

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