I admire the author A.A. Riley. When faced with the lack of black heroes in children’s books, she set out to write her own. And so “Introducing Sophia Firecracker” was born.
In order to follow her dream, Ms. Riley decided to self publish the book. Then she set out to give away 3000 books across Canada and the U.S. to ethnically diverse students. The superkid tour was born. Wow, she’s as energetic as her main character, Sophia!
I had three questions for the author about self publishing. Read further for some tips and inspirational words from her.
1. Why did you decide to self-publish?
I worked on and off on “Introducing Sophia Firecracker” for eleven years, sending the book out to publishers many times during those years. Sometimes I received excellent feedback and many times nothing. Funny enough, after watching the movie “The Social Network”, I realized that I could do it myself. The message that I got from the movie was that I didn’t have to make myself fit into the conventional way of doing things. The world, especially technology had changed, and I was no longer dependent on anyone else believing in me to make my publishing dreams happen. I had a vision for my book and could pursue it on my own.
2. What are the pros of self-publishing?
The pros of self-publishing are making your own decisions and working with who you want. I hired my own editor, illustrator and book designer to make the book something I was proud of. I hired the right people, told them what I wanted and then left them alone to do what they were good at. Nadja (designer) and Christine (illustrator) took the book further than I could have dreamed and imagined.
3. What are the cons of self-publishing?
There is a huge learning curve! There are many opportunities that I missed out on just because I didn’t know about them. Things such as awards and contests that would have gotten the book recognized and out there. Also, there is a lot of work. 90% of my days are promotion and marketing. There is also a reluctance of some (publishers, contest, writer’s organizations, bookstores etc.) to recognize the quality of some self-published books. If you are going to self-publish, prepare yourself to work.
Ms. Riley has created a loveable and unconventional character in Sophia, a nine-year-old who thinks that she is a superhero.
I enjoyed reading the book to my daughter and know that it will appeal to both children and adults. As a mother, I appreciated the little truths that are peppered throughout the book, such as how best friends feel about each other or on taking responsibility for yourself. My daughter became enamoured by the “hush-hush book of secrets” and so made her own. What was in it? Well that, my friends, remains a secret even today…
For more information on Sophia Firecracker, A.A. Riley and her superkid tour, visit the Introducing Sophia Firecracker website.