Saturday, May 10, 2014

Featured In The Gaurdian Witness! Plus, representing underrepresented characters.

Destiny and Faith love to explore and love to learn. But there's something else that makes these girls and their friends unique. They are rare in children's books.

"Mixed race twins go on a ghost hunt, accompanied by a friend who happens to be deaf. Lots of fun, with useful ghost hunting hints plus a sign language diagram." is how Destiny And Faith's Summer Adventures is described on the GuardianWitness site, submitted by Magiciansfire.

Why were the twins featured on this website. Because they are the answer to a question that many readers have been asking. Why aren't there more characters like me?

Not too long ago there was a huge Twitter campaign with the hashtag #weneeddiversebooks and many Tweeters sent in reasons why they think we need more diverse books!

The Guardian's campaign has extended to include #diversifyyourshelves and is having people send in their books with underrepresented characters.

You can see a list of their featured diverse books here.

You can visit my friend Magiciansfire here.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

13 Crazy Promotion Ideas For Your Book!


I try to dream up ways to get a book noticed. I am thinking of them all the time. Here are a few things (not all are crazy) that I have thought up, some of which I've tried and some of which, I have not.

# Donate a copy to the library

# Request small or second hand book shops carry a few copies and share the profit. (This would probably work best with the smallest, personally owned book shops.)
Shops that carry my books
(Notice they're not all book stores? Not every place you approach has to be a bookshop!)

# Slip flyers, bookmarks, or business cards with your website/book name on them into similar books at the library. (For example, if you write mystery then slip it in a mystery book)

# Ask the library if you can do a reading. My local children's library likes to have people come in and read picture books to the children.

# Email everybody in your address book about your new book or your website

# Blog about it (Isn't this one mentioned way too much)

# Make trailers (using copyright free material) and post them on Youtube. I actually did this for Tokka Tuomela: Sixth Grader At Large

# Someone in this forum mentioned standing near a stop-light and selling books to passing cars. People in my town sell newspapers this way and I would consider also handing out flyers to passing cars (since it's quicker and flyers are free)

# Have an author website. If you don't have one you should get one. I use weebly as a host. They have a very user-friendly interface.

# Have an eBay auction with a signed copy of your book as the prize. You could also include other prizes such as related bookmarks and a signed photo of the author. You could include a better known book (and auction it off as a two book set). You could consider giving all or part of the money won to a charity.
#Consider Doing a giveaway with a noteworthy blogger. I did a giveaway of a signed Tell Me How You Say Good Night with Marilyn Panton of Storywraps.

# Ask local bookshops and your library to post flyers in their windows/on their bulletin boards. A lot of the places in my small town have bulletin boards full of flyers. In some small towns, especially where the internet is still not in every household, a flyer may be worth more than a website.

# Ask review sites/review blogs to review your book. It's better to go to the smaller, independent blogs. They have more time and are more likely to get to your book. They tend to have dedicated readers as well.

# Post a free sample chapter of each book on your website or blog.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

10 Sites That Every Author Should Know About!

This list was inspired by a few author friends. So I hope you all enjoy it and find it useful!
First, I'll start off by listing the places that you need to catalog your books.
Shelfari is great because not only can you catalog your book, but you can build up the value of sharing your book there by adding fun quotes from your book and facts about your characters. There is also a place to add related tags. Readers can edit your book's listing on Shelfari and add reviews as well as quotes or tags that they think are relevant.
This is probably one of the most important sites you will catalog your book on.
There is also a nice little forum where you can exchange writing advice, swap reviews, and hang out with authors.
Shelfari is fun because it's interactive in a sense, allowing the reader to add things they feel are important.
Goodreads is the other "most important site" to list your book on. You can list your book, add information about it, write a good description (just like the others), but you can also add your book to relevant lists. If there isn't a list that your book fits into, you can always create one.
Like Shelfari, Goodreads also has a forum where you can hang out with authors, exchange writing advice, and swap reviews. Goodreads' forums seem to be a little more active than Shelfari.
Jacketflap is a great little place to list you book, because alongside your description, it also lists places your book is sold as well as the reviews you have received there. You can also add links to any site that has reviewed your books.
You can also share book trailers, readings, and interviews in the video section.
Like the others, you can share the title and description of your book. But on bookdaily, you can also share a first chapter excerpt of your book. This is great, because it gives readers the chance to get hooked.
Bookdaily has a paid option (you don't have to us it), to promote your book to 50,000 readers for about $47 USD. This could be a deal, but I have never tried it so cannot vouch for it. If anyone has tried it and found it useful, please let me know in the comments!
I can't say a whole lot about this one, because I need to investigate it some more. But it is a place to add your book, title, description, and some tags. It appears that you can add your books to lists on the site as well. It's worth at least listing your book on the site!
You've heard the old saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Get ready to ignore that advice, because the whole point of Wise Gray Owl. You are shown a selection of books and pick the ones you are interested in based on the cover. It's that simple! So go add your book.
One of the first books I saw when I entered the site was Our Poems For Kids by my friend, Melinda Kinsman
Second, places where you can lend your book out.
Book Lending is a virtual library, which I discovered the way I discover most great things, completely on accident. Booklending is essentially a virtual library where you can "check out" Kindle books. The way this works is pretty simple.
1. List books you own on Amazon so that others can borrow them.
2. Search for a book you want. If somebody owns it they can then "Loan" it to you.
3. You can keep the book for 14 days. Then is returned to its owner automatically.
The other virtual library,
This "virtual library" has the same concept as Booklending, although there is a limit to how many books you can check out before you have to upgrade to a pro account.
Why add your book to a virtual library? A few reasons.
1. It's an easy way to share with someone who might be interested in reviewing it.
2. Just like a real library, it's a great way for new potential readers to check out your work. If they love it, they may just want to keep it for more than 14 days!
3. Having your book in any kind of library increases your exposure and the possibility of new readers!
Last, but not least, book trailers!
This might be obvious to some of you, but probably not to all of you. Raise your hand if you didn't even think of creating a book trailer before I mentioned it. You should definitely consider creating (or hiring someone to create) a book trailer for your book.
It gives you exposure to a new audience (the video viewing audience which makes up a large part of the internet) and gives your fans an easy way to share your work with their friends without having to pitch it themselves, though fans are often better at that than the author!
Youtube is a good first place to upload your book trailer because of it's versatility. You can then easily share the trailer on many other sites (Facebook, Google +, Pinterest, etc)
Book Trailer Central,
This is a site that is dedicated to book trailers. So far it's pretty simple and mainly about book trailers, sharing and watching them. I believe in the future they may have book trailers compete against each other. (Feel free to correct me if I'm thinking of the wrong site.)
And that's all I have to share for now. Those are some great links to get you started! Even if you're not a new author, you're sure to find at least one or two of them handy. So go check them out. And let me know if there are any useful, important, or in your opinion, completely necessary sites for authors to be on!
Till next time,

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Inspiration Behind My Art Style


    To be perfectly honest with you, when I started out at the beginning of the long, winding road of becoming an author, I had no intention of illustrating my own books. None. I honestly did not believe I was good enough. And I think every artist is doubtful of there own work at some point in time. You just have to keep pressing forward.

Well, when it all came down to it, I ended up illustrating my own book because one of my own biggest influence's suggested it. My mom told me that I should illustrate my own books. At first I was still hesitant. Not because I didn't want to. But because of that little voice in the back of my mind.

That one that enjoys my grimace whenever it gets the chance to whisper, "You're just not quite good enough!"

But good enough by whose standards? I shared my illustrations with my circle who approved. And it was decided. I illustrated Destiny And Faith Go To Twincentric Academy myself.

Some people think the book's illustrations are great. Some don't think much of them at all. They are not "beautifully painted" or "masterfully created". They were simply sketched in a sketchbook. But why?
Some of my favorite reads as a kid included what I like to call "primitive" style sketches. I would stare at them for hours before trying to copy them. If these people could "sketch in books", why couldn't I?
Once of my major influences toward Destiny and Faith's style was, believe it or not, Ramona Quimby.

Louis Darling's illustrations of Ramona and her friends and family were rough and comical, exactly as I believed a chapter book illustration should be! And despite the fact that it is not a style many people would call a masterpiece, it fit Beverly Cleary's characters perfectly!

And isn't that the point of illustrating a book? To capture the character? Their personality, their essence, their humor, their overall being.

I think so.

One of the things I loved about Louis Darling's illustrations and the illustrations that I found inside many chapter books for kids was the fact that they looked like they had been sketched into the book.

Illustrators like Darling, who dared to sketch in their own unique style, are what truly inspired my artwork!

So if you are thinking about doing something, and you just keep hearing that little nagging voice in the back of your head, "You're just not good enough!" Ignore that voice! Go out and try it!

You just might find that you're better than you think!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Things To Come

Admittedly, keeping up a blog is harder than it seems. I've been to Saint Louis to help take care of my best friend (and sister-by-heart), the infamous Hope, while she underwent surgery. I am planning on going back up to Saint Louis for other reasons. So I have been traveling a lot which can make it super difficult to keep a blog. But enough with excuses!
Here are some of the things to come on this blog.
Office Tour (Yep, I'm going to give you a tour of my office because I just think it would be fun.)
More Book Trailers (I'm working on book trailers for Bristol's Big Wish and Destiny and Faith's Summer Adventures)
More Book Information (I'll be posting updates about some upcoming books and projects I am working on, as well as some updates to current books)
Please don't give up on me!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bristol's Big Wish: An Interview With Bristol!

Teddy: Hello, Bristol. Thanks for letting me interview you. I know picture book characters are very busy these days.

Bristol: The pleasure is mine. I've never been interviewed before.

Teddy: So Bristol, why don't you tell us a bit about your book? Bristol's Big Wish.

Bristol: Well, I was very lonely. I wished that my favorite doll Mallory would come to life and be my friend. Then I had to solve the problem of where Mallory was going to live!

Teddy: So it's not a secret that you get your wish granted in the book.

Bristol: No, that's what the whole book is about! The secret is more of how I deal with the wish that I was granted. I guess it's like that phrase. You know, "Watch out what you wish for."

Teddy: Great. So tell me more about you. What would you like to be when you grow up?

Bristol: I want to be a professional illustrator and illustrate lots of books. I might even write some.

Teddy: Fantastic! What else do you like to do? What's your favorite hobby?

Bristol: I really like playing outside, jumping rope, and learning new things. There is a scene in the book where Mallory and I jump rope together. 

Teddy: That is one of my favorite scenes in the book! You both look so happy.

Bristol: We were very happy that day.

Teddy: That's great. Could you tell us a bit about Mallory? What does she like to do?

Bristol: She loves math and science. They are her favorite subjects. She wants to be a scientist when she grows up. 

Teddy: That's fantastic! Mallory also dreams big.

Bristol: Yes, she does.

Teddy: Okay, I just have a few more questions for you.

Bristol: Alright.

Teddy: You are seen wearing a jumper over a pink t-shirt a lot. Would you say this is your signature outfit.

Bristol: Yes, it's my favorite outfit.

Teddy: And can you tell us why?

Bristol: Because I love jumpers and overalls. They make people look fun and friendly.

Teddy: Ah, cool! One last question. Do you hope that you achieve fame with your new book? I know you have big dreams for yourself.

Bristol: Yes! I think Mallory and I will be famous.

Teddy: I hope so! Well, that concludes our interview. Thank you for your time, Bristol.

Bristol: You're welcome.

Teddy: Do you have something you would like to say to your fans?

Bristol: Always dream big!

You can learn more about Bristol on her facebook page. Visit