Two Special Days Celebrating Books

Normally I do my posts on Wednesday, but today is a special day in both Canada and America.
In Canada, it is “Family Literacy Day”. Click here for some suggestions how you can promote literacy in your home.
In America, it is “Multicultural Children’s Book Day”. Click here for some suggestions of multicultural books you can read.

One of my most recent favourite children’s book is called “Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas” by Natasha Yim.
“Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas” is a hilarious mashup of Goldilocks and Chinese new year traditions. Watch the video trailer below for a preview.

Click here for an interview with the author Natasha Yim, posted to celebrate “Multicultural Children’s Book Day”.

The GROG blog has posted reviews of three books written by Icy Smith about Asian history, also to celebrate “Multicultural Children’s Book Day”.

Enjoy celebrating either “Family Literacy Day” or “Multicultural Children’s Book Day” or even both!

Finding your Author Brand

I am currently taking Julie Hedlund’s course called “How to Make Money as a Writer”. The course is self paced, and I am taking my time working through it, because of all the other things I have to do.
In lesson two, Julie talked about the importance of having a website even before you are a published author. Furthermore, it is important to build your author brand before you become published. Too many authors have dashed about finding their brand after they have published their book, and the result is a brand that feels rushed.
So I am going to take some time to figure out how I want to brand myself. The first step is to look through my stories and find some common themes.
For more tips about building your author brand, click here.
Have you started building your author brand? How did you go about doing it?

Here are some tips about building your personal brand:

A Gratitude Book

I was delighted when I won “Before I Sleep I Say Thank You” by Carol Gordon Ekster through a giveaway on Carrie Charley Brown’s blog. I entered the contest because I have been looking for a tool to help my daughter and I form a daily gratitude practice.

In “Before I Sleep I Say Thank You” the main character goes through his bedtime routine, starting with brushing his teeth. After he is tucked in, he and his mom take a brief moment to think about their day. They both say something they are sorry for and then the boy names five things he is thankful for.

The book is based on the Examen prayer. However, most religions have some form of nightly prayer and gratitude, so it can be adapted according to your needs.
Since reading the book the first time, my daughter and I have followed the routine suggested in the book every night. Each of us say one thing we are sorry for and five things we are grateful for before she goes to bed. In fact, often my daughter suggests we say more things we are grateful for.

I am grateful for this book. I highly recommend it.

Today’s writing gratitude for me:
1. I am grateful that I sent my manuscript away for the Highlights Fiction Contest last week.
2. I am grateful that I was able to join 12X12 this year at the gold level.
3. I am grateful that I am participating in ReviMo this week.
4. I am grateful that I won a calendar of art from Julie Hedlund’s book “My Love for You is the Sun”.

5. I am grateful that I am able to use my 7-year-old as a sounding board for my writing, often provoking much mirth.

By the way, Carrie Charley Brown is running ReFoReMo in March. Click here for the details.

What are you grateful for?

A Good Tool to Fight Bullying

and…Three Questions for Melissa Gijsbers

Teachers and parents are always looking for an effective tool to fight bullying. Enter the chapter book called “Swallow Me, Now”.

The book is about grade 5 student Samantha, who has relocated to Australia after spending three years in Nepal. Unfortunately, she is bullied, first by exclusion and then by teasing.

There are several things I love about this book:
1. What bullying is and is not is thoroughly explained.
2. What to do when you are bullied is explored in an effective manner.
3. The parents play a bigger role than in many of today’s books. Although Sam does solve her own problem, her parents do give her advice and guidance.

The author, Melissa Gijsbers, is a member of the chapter book challenge, a challenge I have participated in for the last two years. When she announced that she was going to crowdfund her book , so that she could self publish it, I admired her for her determination.

It used to be self publishing was looked down upon. The quality of the books wasn’t very high. But that is no longer the case. These days self publishing is very good at getting books that don’t necessarily fit into the norm. Books that are not being published not because they are not good, but because they don’t fit a publisher’s specifications. A lot of much needed books are being published that way.

Since you can go to Melissa’s website to read answers to questions about various aspects of the book (like this one), I decided to ask her three questions about self publishing.

1. What are the pros/cons of self publishing?
“There are many pros and cons. For me, the pros include publishing at a timeline that suited me and creative control over the book to get the look and feel I wanted. Cons include financing the production, including editing, but if you are creative, it can be done (I ran a crowdfunding campaign).”

2. Why did you decide to self publish?
“There are two main reasons, the first is that I had teachers telling me there needed to be more bullying books available now. The second is a bit silly in that I thought it would be cool to celebrate my birthday this year with a book launch! While the official launch was a few weeks after my birthday, the book went live on Amazon on the day.”

3. Do you recommend self publishing?
“It’s not for everyone, and it is a lot of work. Before you decide to self publish, do your research and weigh up all the pros and cons to see if it’s right for you, and get a great team around you to produce the best book you possibly can.”

Thank you so much for answering my questions, Melissa. I wish you continued success with your writing.

For more information on how you can buy a signed copy of “Swallow Me Now” from Melissa’s website, click here. You may also click on the picture above to order an unsigned copy directly from Amazon.

If you are interested in reading about another author’s self publishing experience, click here.