For Christmas my daughter (8 year old) and I each received a Kindle Fire. I needed one for myself for work and I thought I would get her one as well thinking that it was time for her to upgrade from her original Kindle. However, her older Kindle, which I had purchased back in 2012 still works, amazingly! I had written a post a while back on it, which you can read here. It is still going without any issues, scratches, or cracks.
Now, she has two.
Her newer Kindle is smaller in size, yet has some really neat features that her older Kindle does not have. There are two profiles you can switch to; a kid side and the regular side. The regular side you are able to set up a pin code to use to log into it. You can also have the parental controls set on this side as well, which is an awesome feature that I love! Thank you, Amazon!
The kid side is brightly colorful and very kid friendly. It has five features; home, books, videos, apps, characters, plus a camera and a search bar. The books feature is one of my favs, as well as my daughter’s. She can download whatever children’s ebook she wants to her kindle and read it anywhere we go. It’s just like using the Kindle Unlimited program, but with children’s books. You can download as many ebooks onto the Kindle, then once you’re done reading them, you can delete them off of the device.
My only recommendations is that if your child loves to read or play games, get the Kindle with more space, or buy an SD card (which is a new feature compared to her older Kindle that I love). Also, you can purchase a shock proof case with a handle, which is a nifty tool as my kiddo carries it easily wherever she goes.
In 2013, I had published my children’s picture book, Dana’s First Fish with Tate Publishing. At first, it was a pleasant experience. But after my book was published, I began to find discrepancies, which I had blogged about; another author’s picture and bio posted on most websites (there is more than one author named Jennifer Adams out there), was my biggest issue as it was never corrected no matter how much I complained. Another complaint I had was that they did not want to print 100 books within a few weeks for a book signing event I was to have at Barnes and Noble. Barnes and Noble then told me that they could not work with me. I’m crossing my fingers that I would have better luck with them with my next book.
It wasn’t long before I stopped receiving my royalties check, yet I was constantly asked if I wanted to purchase more books for book signing events, or to possibly consider publishing another book with them. I continued to pass on every offer that they had sent my way and am so glad that I did.
In January of this year, Tate Publishing had closed their doors. A lawsuit was filed against on embezzlement and fraud. There are over 35,000 authors who used Tate Publishing. Most of us had not received our royalties in years. Most authors had not received books that they had ordered. I was fortunate to have received my shipment of books that I had ordered.
Before Tate closed, I was sent an email request that I send them $50 for my files, copyright info, etc, oh, and to sign a waiver saying that I will not sue them. I didn’t bother signing it, nor did I bother to send them any more money.
It’s a hard life/job being a small time published author, especially when you first start out. You continue to market yourself time and time again, in hopes of getting your work out there. My first year as a published author went really well. I had quite a few book signing events, which led to being invited to other events where I was able to set up a table for more book signings. I’ve sold quite a few books by myself alone; through social media, emails, word of mouth, leaving postcards here and there. But that’s just small marketing. it takes a lot more effort, time, and money to really get noticed.
Recently, I’ve been doing some research on how to boost sales, broaden my marketing area, and strengthen my marketing skills. A very good friend of mine can tell you straight away, that I’m not very good with computers, yet I try and I am a quick learner.
Social media alone is the largest self-marketing tool that I know of, but word of mouth from readers can be a much bigger step in having your work noticed.
“After you hit 50 (ratings), you get more visibility on Amazon.”
In this line of work, I believe reviews from readers are extremely important. It helps me, the author, know that my work is being purchased, that my work is being seen by others. It also lets me know what people actually think of what I have written. It also lets me know that my work is getting out there.
It takes a lot of time and and a lot effort to put a book together and get it out on the market, yet it takes little effort to write up a review.
If you read a book and truly love it, be sure to let the author know. There’s many webpages out there where their work is being sold. Be kind and leave a quick review. I’m a big Goodreads user and love to rate author’s books. I also click which ones I’ve read, want to read, and have purchased. I then write up a short review on what I thought of each book I’ve read. And if I loved a particular book, I let them know.
I’ve even written reviews on books and posted them here on my blog, tagging their name and a link to where you can purchase that book or see other works by that author. This all helps us authors in many ways. It gets our name out there. Word of mouth goes a long way, it is a small part of marketing, and it does help the author. You never know when someone is actually reading that review; it helps make that decision for them to purchase that book.
He’s right. Just by posting on my blog here, I’ve been able to bring attention to my work and what I do. I’ve had guess blog spots where I talked about what I do and how I got started and why. Other author’s, whom I have reviewed and shared their work here on my blog, have seen my posts and have thanked me.
Small steps can lead to big adventures, yet you have to take those small steps.
With all that said, if you have purchased my book and would like to leave a review, click here and it will take you to Amazon. Also, feel free to purchase a copy if you haven’t already. If you would like a personal signed copy made out to someone, click here. To rate my book on Goodreads, click here.
I will be finishing up my last round of edits on my last chapter of my young adult novel and will be sending it to my editor very, very soon. After the last draft is finalized, I will be sending it off to the publisher. As always, I’ll keep everyone posted.
A few weeks ago, I had started reading a book by Elizabeth Gaskell, called North and South. I had seen the movie first, then later I learned it was adapted from a book. I loved the movie so much, that I had to find the book; I purchased it off of Amazon.
This Monday began my Spring Break, to which I desperately looked forward to. Those of you who are currently in college, or have been to college, know that your mind requires rest from your studies. This gave me the opportunity to spend more time with my daughter and more time reading for leisure, instead of reading for this class and that class.
Just last night I had finally finished reading Gaskell’s book, North and South. Usually movies adapted from books aren’t all that great. They don’t follow along with the book, or they miss so much important information, that either you don’t feel like reading the book ever again or the movie, sometimes both. However, the movie followed right along with the book. Plus, I could not help but see Richard Armitage each time I was reading about John Thornton; Armitage played Thornton in the movie and very well I might add! (Yes, I’m a huge fan of Armitage’s work!)
I fell even more in love with the characters, the time period, and the book, that I have added it to the pile of books that I’ll definitely read again; along that pile is the Hobbit, Jane Eyre, some Austen, and several Karen Marie Moning’s books.
North and South was published in 1855, so I would put this right along with other classical writers, such as Bronte, Austen, and M. Shelly (I’m a fan of that era of female authors); also, Gaskell was a close friend of Charlotte Bronte. If you haven’t read it, you should pick it up today. It’s one of those ‘hard to put down’ novels. And if you haven’t seen the movie, you can find that on amazon as well – it’s the BBC version.
I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday…old habits are hard to break; it’s next door to Toys R Us, the place I was actually destined to stop. I walked around the shelves, stopping by the Science Fiction, as always, and found a few Doctor Who books, as well as a few Supernatural books (also a TV show; both are my favorites). I picked out a Doctor Who book and started to look for Torchwood, they had several books the last time I was here, but I wasn’t able to get one at that time. I looked all around and even asked, but no luck, they were only on e-readers. No worries, I’ll just check Amazon and see what I can find.
I continued walking around and ended up in the main center aisle where all the eye catchers are. Up front are the huge displays with the New Releases, then the tables with Best Sellers, and then the small tables with the holiday selections. I wasn’t interested in holiday selections, so I walked right passed it. Something familiar caught my eye. I turned, and there was a small display of the Elf on the Shelf. I let out a small laugh. There are two ornaments out for this little guy and two different books. I didn’t find the Elf on the Shelf itself, though I wouldn’t have bought it anyway, or would I?
I’ve been reading about this little guy here and there and I know the Elf on the Shelf is supposed to keep an eye out around the house and report all naughtiness back to Santa, that’s the whole purpose. But, the funny stories parents share about the things they do with their Elf on the Shelf, had me laughing. Some share pictures, which were too funny. Some of them were like pulling pranks on their own kids. It’s almost better than watching the Jimmy Kimmel YouTube challenges. I thought to myself, how much fun this would be if I had more than one child. Actually, with my one child and the shenanigans she gets into, it would probably be a lot of fun…probably too much fun! My grandpa was well known for his practical jokes; maybe I too should get an Elf on the Shelf and have a few laughs myself. Many of my friends and some family members are getting one or already have one.
How long has Elf on the Shelf been out? Do you have an Elf on the Shelf?
It took me about a week to write the story for a children’s book. I had a friend proofread it for errors. I searched the internet and spent a lot of time browsing the shelves at the book stores. I would thumb through Writer’s Digest magazines, Self Help books, publishing books, how to publish books, whatever I could find to help me learn the process to get to my next step.
The next thing I needed to know was if I need to illustrate the pictures in my children’s book myself or will the publisher’s do that for me? This was also another thing I spent many exhaustive hours trying to find the answer to. Finally I found my Eureka moment. I didn’t need to draw the pictures myself, or hire anyone; the publisher’s had an illustrator that does that kind of work.
The next step, finding a publisher; this was another reason why I spent time in the book stores. I would flip the book to the inside cover to find the publisher’s name. I would then write the information down in my notebook. I would look them up online and see what all they had to offer, what Better Business Bureau said about them, then also, how many of their books did I see on the shelves?
After finding a publishing company of the genre I’m writing, I’ll pick one of the publisher’s and write down their names and email addresses. I also make sure the publisher is also interested in the genre that I’m writing about. Next would be to work on a query letter.
- A query letter talks about your book and a little bit about yourself all on one page. Make sure your query letter is in Times New Roman, size 12 and submit it to the publisher. You don’t necessarily have to send to one publisher, you can send to more than one at a time.
- When they accept your query letter and wish to read your manuscript, make sure it is in Times New Roman, size 12, double spaced, also your name, address, phone number, email address in the top left corner, then email it to that publisher. Sometimes they may request the first ten pages or the first chapter or the first three chapters. Each publisher is different.
I was lucky, I made a phone call and left a message on the publisher’s machine, she was on vacation at the time. The next day she called me and I told her that I was curious what all they had to offer, that I had a manuscript finished and was looking for a publisher. She told me a little about their company that wasn’t listed on their website. She told me some pricing information, also not listed on their website. She asked me how many words are in my story, I told her almost 700 words (children’s book requirements 24-40 pgs). Then she asked me if I would be willing to email her my manuscript so she could read it. I told her I would. The next morning, the phone rang really early in the morning; she had called to tell me she loved my story and wanted to publish it if I was willing to accept them (her company). I said sure!
Something about her company is that they don’t just accept everyone that sends query letters or manuscripts to them. So I was really lucky to be accepted.
She had sent an email and then the UPS had sent me a contract. My grandma and I went over the contract and I signed it. The next thing I had to do was break into my savings. It cost a nice chunk of change to get a book published, so be prepared. She had emailed me when they received my contract and then told me that I will be assigned an adviser. I then got an email from my adviser telling me what all I needed to do next.
She continues to email me every other week with tidbits of useful info about publishing and writing. Then she sends me the email to tell me when my book will begin production; which is in September. She told me that it’ll take 180 days to go through production. She also has sent me emails telling me what all to expect during that time and what I should do during my last month of production. I am really pleased with this company that I chose. How helpful they are. They are even most helpful in answering any questions that I have and I had many. I told the publisher that I would have many books after this one, as they are a series, she told me that she would offer me a discount, but if my books are popular I would get a much bigger discount.
I chose to go with this company because of the offers they give and the royalties are much greater than most of the companies out there. They also have a good standing record with BBB. I’ve also seen quite a lot of their books on shelves at bookstores and on amazon and not to mention, I met one of their authors during a book signing.
It was a dream of mine to finally become a published author. I have finished another book, a Young Adult novel and am in the editing process. I’m planning on finding a literary agent, hopefully this summer. I will let you know how the process of that goes as I did here with the publisher. I imagine it will be the same.