Regional SCBWI conference was inspiring.

The Missouri’s regional SCBWI conference was held just outside of St. Louis in St. Charles, Missouri last weekend. Our Regional Advisor Kim Piddington, Asst. Regional Advisor Shannon Moore and Regional Illustrator Coordinator, Katie Wools did a professional job organizing the event. The key-note speaker was Artistrator (fine artist and illustrator) E.B. Lewis, other presenters were: Author Peggy Archer, Author Jennifer Brown, Agent Melissa Edwards, Agent Kristen Hall, Editor Connie Hsu, Agent Brianne Johnson and Editor Kate Sullivan.

Scottie dog swimming

It was an exciting and stimulating experience for me. I am now full of enthusiasm to start new projects and spiff-up old ones. I will start by tightening my Penelope Picture books using suggestions I was given in my critiques. I have two written and have an idea for a third. I am also going to work on a story I wrote years ago about my Scottie puppy Ghillis learning to swim. That illustration garnered some interest about the story behind the illustration.

In October I will be posting an interview with Author Diane Gronas, author of Star Seeker: The Flower of Tameroon

 

“There’s a Mouse On my Head! is officially on sale today!

delivery of books

My puppy Ghillis is “helping.”

Today is P-Day or publishing day for us. Our book, There’s a Mouse on My Head! is finally able to ship. Amazon listed it earlier, but held up shipping until today. My front hall is filled with books for Donna Warwick and me to sign. My puppy Ghillis “helped” with the unwrapping.

Right now the only way to get a signed book is directly from one of us. Hard cover books are $14.99, Soft Cover books are $9.99.

MOYH 3d_BookCoverWe did a lot of running around like crazy people at the last minute. I have to admit the website site is not quite up. The author Donna Warwick has a few more things to write and finalize. I have posted activities pages and coloring sheets for parents and teachers to download for their kids. We will be setting up school visits and library visits for this Fall and Spring. Hopefully the website will be up and running by Wednesday, August 19, 2015. Contact us directly: DonnaWarwickAuthor(at)gmail.com or Dayne.Design(at)gmail.com 

 Here is the website link, be sure to wait until August 19th to visit:  www.DonnaWarwickAuthor.com

The Amazon listing for our book & the B&N.com listing. “There’s a Mouse on My Head” is also available by special order from your local independent store book.

I’m so excited! Self-published books have arrived.

MOYH_coversOur self-published picture books (sample run) have arrived!!! They look great and I’m so excited! IngramSpark prints a very quality book.

OK, I keep telling myself to act like the “cool girl.” You know the one who doesn’t show she is excited, who is cool and collected and blasé about something like this happening. The girl who doesn’t use exclamation points after every sentence when she does something like this!!! Well, I never was that girl (now woman) and I will never will be that sophisticated cool girl, because I’m really, really excited about this!!!!

I have illustrated many children’s books for other authors, but never been as closely involved in the whole process. Donna Warwick, the author of There’s a Mouse on My Head! is a good friend. She is also a member of my SCBWI picture book critique group here in St. Louis. When I first read her poem, which was very much shorter than this book, I was hooked. I loved the idea of the clever boy who doesn’t want to eat his veggies and comes up with a way to win over his grandmother. Donna listened when our critique group advised her to lengthen the story and bring more action and characters into the mix. I loved this story so much I suggested we work together to bring this book to the world.

The books, a 8 1/2 by 10 1/2″ hardcover version $14.99  and a soft cover version at the same size for $9.99 will be distributed through IngramSpark to independent bookstores and Barnes & Noble’s online store. They will be available for special order from Barnes & Noble brick and mortar stores. They will also be printed by CreateSpace for distribution on Amazon.com at a 8″ x 10″ size. There is a good reason for the two printers, I will go into later. I did quite a lot of research and had a lot to learn about this whole process.

Our publication date is set for August 17th. We are setting up a website right now, where we should soon be able to  take pre-orders and eventually sell the books.  We are planning free activity sheets and lesson plans available to teachers and homeschoolers.  We are scheduling school visits, library visits and even senior center visits for this Fall. We also are presenting our book at a Jewish Book Festival luncheon in St. Louis this October and the Jewish Book Festival Book Store in November. So much to do, so little time.

Yes, I’m having fun!!!

Pre-orders at Amazon.com, just search for “There’s a Mouse on My Head!” WordPress won’t let me put links to Amazon on this site. B&N.com will have our book by August 17th.

Reviews are the  lifeblood of authors and illustrators, please leave honest reviews on Amazon, B&N and GoodReads.

 

 

7 Steps for Marketing a Children’s Picture Book

MOYH_9780996561518-Perfect.indd

Back Cover, There’s a Mouse on My Head!

Everything I’ve read says it’s a lot of work to market any book, much less a self-published children’s picture book. Donna Warwick the author of “There’s a Mouse on My Head!” and I, as the illustrator, are starting down this long road to what we hope is success.

The first copies of the book have been printed and shipped. They haven’t arrived yet. We need to make sure everything is perfect before we release them to the public. Publication date is set for August 10. Our book will be available on Amazon, B&N, and other Internet bookstores. Brick and mortar book stores can special order it for you directly from Ingrams. “There’s a Mouse on My Head” will also be available at the Jewish Book Festival Book Store this November. We are making hardcover books as well as soft cover books. Later we plan an e-book.

1. We are working on an author’s website. I am setting it up and doing the graphics, Donna will write all the text.

2. A Facebook fan page is in the process of being set up.

3. A Twitter account needs to be started.

4. We are also working on teacher materials, and activity sheets for parents to download from the website for their kids.

5. Donna is working on a trailer to promote the book

6. She is also working on the presentation we will give at the Jewish Book Festival luncheon in October.

7. In the Fall, both Donna and I will be setting up grade school, pre school and library visits.

So much work and so little time. Wish us luck and abundant creativity.

Proofs today for “There’s a Mouse on My Head”

Theres a Mouse on My Head!_proofIt’s so exciting to finally see this long-awaited project coming together. I have been working on the illustrations for 5 months. Today we saw the proofs for the first time from IngramSpark our printer. Donna Warwick, the author of the book “There’s a Mouse on My Head!” and I, as the illustrator, have formed a Publishing Company called Glass Pen Press. I am still working on the logo for Glass Pen Press so I can’t let you see it yet.

Starting a business is a lot of work, but it is so exciting. This is the fun part, the setting up and the creation. The real work will come later when we must do the marketing and promote the book. We are planning a presentation for a luncheon sponsored by the Book Club for the Jewish Book Festival in St. Louis. This will be in October. Before that we are working on a video presentation for the luncheon, a trailer for YouTube and a song. We will be selling the book at the bookstore at the Jewish Book Festival in November in the Missouri’s Own section.

We also plan to do School and library visits this Fall. I am working on a website for the author, where you can buy the book and find games and study guides for classrooms. I will be posting my progress on all these projects.

Are we having FUN yet? YES!!!

There’s a Mouse on My Head!

As I sit here illustrating, There is a Mouse on My Head!.. there actually is a mouse on my head. It’s an illustrated one because I’m designing a promotional bookmark we will be giving away for the release of the book. The bookmark will feature a large cartoon mouse suitable to place on your head. The book in hardcover and soft cover will be printed by August 3, 2015. We will later have an e-book available.

MOYH 3d_BookCover

The author Donna Warwick and I will be presenting our book at a Tea in October, sponsored by the Book Club for the Jewish Book Festival in St. Louis . We will also have the books available for sale at the “Missouri’s Own” section of the Jewish Book Festival bookstore in November. I have my good friend Ray Wenneker to thank for this wonderful opportunity.

The book is a fun, bedtime picture book for 2-8 year olds, featuring a grandmother as caregiver who builds a bond with her grandchildren. This charming book explores how a resourceful and creative boy uses his incredible imagination to convince Grandma that his toy mouse wants to eat his peas. Little sister, not wanting to be left out of his dinnertime game, gleefully jumps in. As their fun fantasy runs wild, their understanding grandmother is delighted to play along with the children as they brush the mouse’s teeth and put him to bed.

This joint project between author and illustrator has been an adventure. We are striking out into new territory. Ingram Spark will be publishing and distributing the books. We will be doing all of our own marketing and publicity. We have planned school and library visits as well as senior center visits where we hope to appeal to the grandmothers in the crowd. Being a part of the Jewish Book Festival is an important event for us. We have a wonderful program planned with music and a video along with our talk. Both of us can hardly wait to start visiting schools. Donna Warwick, the author works with children all the time and is very entertaining. I’ll let everyone know when the books are available. We can start taking preorders by late July.

My Entry for #PBPitch on Twitter

Today is my chance to pitch one of my picture books to a large group of picture book agents at once. All pitching authors use the #PBPitch hashtag on their 140 word pitch on Twitter. As an author/illustrator, I may post one image from my book with my pitch. What I didn’t realize was adding this image would cut down on the number of characters I had to work with by 10. Coming up short by ten characters is huge, when you only have 140 characters to start with.

Penelope_cover

I enjoy reading picture books written and illustrated by the same talented person, so I want to join their ranks.  I want to become a children’s book author and illustrator. I continue to work diligently on my writing skills when I can find the time between illustration assignments for other authors.  I take SCBWI workshops and writing classes, read books and listen to all the podcasts I can find on the subject. I also belong to a great children’s book critique group. The picture book I am pitching has been through dozens of rewrites. My critique group has seen so many revisions, they probably know the story word for word by now. Thanks to my critique group for being nurturing and honest to help me grow.

Penelope_spread_cropped