Friday, February 07, 2014

Guest post by Children's Author Penelope Anne Cole


   I love being a writer and being introduced as a published children’s author always gets attention. Most everyone admires someone who stuck it out, completed a book, and actually got it published. The questions that follow are pretty predictable, such as:  How did you get your story idea? When my neighbor’s autistic son turned ten years old, the magical “double digits” inspired my story of a boy with magical powers to fix things secretly. How did you find your illustrator? I searched online for an artist whose work I liked and contacted Kevin Scott Collier through his website. Was it hard to get published? Not for me, since Kevin Collier, my artist, introduced me to his publisher, Lynda Burch, Guardian Angel Publishing. How did you find your publisher? Kevin’s introduction, the quality of his artwork, and my “cute” story led to a contract.

     Those questions are pretty easy for me to answer. Harder for me are ones are like:  What’s it like being a published author? On the one hand, I’m “pleased as punch” that I’m published and love seeing and holding my books, reading them to kids, and having people want to buy them. On the other hand, publication is just another step in the process. After publication you need to get book reviews, interviews, and promote your book. What do you do for promotion and marketing? You need to do as many school author visits as you can. You need to enter award competitions. You need an online presence, a website, a blog, if you can keep it up, a Facebook page, plus a Twitter account, lots of Linked-in connections, a Pinterest account, a Skype account. You need to post on your blog, comment on others’ blogs. You need to tweet, share on Linked-in and Facebook, post on Goodreads (if you review books like I do), and pin to Pinterest. You need to continue to build your social media and online presence and constantly sell, sell, sell. Don’t forget the flyers, media releases, bookmarks, business cards, conferences, workshops, meetups, parties, fairs, writers groups, library and bookstore visits, and critique groups you have to have. The business part of being a published author was what I wasn’t prepared for at all, and it is neverending.

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Before writing and reviewing children’s books, Penelope Anne Cole taught every grade level. She tutors elementary, middle, and high school students. Reading to children to help them read on their own and love books is a special joy for Ms. Cole. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Fremont Area Writers Group of the California Writers Club, and is a Certified Phonographix Reading Therapist with Read America, has a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, a Liberal Arts B.A. (English Major), and an M.A. in Education.  She lives in Santa Clara, California with her family and their rescued dogs and cats.

Ms. Cole's Magical Matthew (2012) is the first in her Magical series. Magical Mea is second (2013). Mágico Mateo (2013) is the Spanish Version of Magical Matthew. Next is Magical Mea Goes to School, with Magical M and M to follow. Magical Matthew won a Readers' Favorite Bronze Medal, Creative Child Magazine’s Book of the Year Award, and NABE’s Pinnacle Book Achievement Award. Magical Mea won Creative Child Magazine’s Preferred Choice Award, NABE’s Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, and was a Readers' Favorite Finalist.

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