Friday, April 11, 2014

Be My Guest: The Accidental Author: My Journey to Being a Published Author by Hayley Rose #published


Today our guest blogger is Hayley Rose, author of the children's picture book, The Do's and Don'ts.  Hayley is here to talk about her journey as a published author.  Enjoy!



The Accidental Author: My Journey to Being a Published Author.
By Hayley Rose

My journey to becoming a published author wasn’t necessarily a path I had originally planned to take. It was more of an opportunity that fell into my lap and I took a risk to carry it through.

It started with a trip to Chicago to visit family and to meet my cousins for the first time. Although I loved to travel I wasn’t a fan of plane rides and on the way back to Los Angeles I needed an activity to take my mind off the turbulent flight.

I had been a song writer and I enjoyed putting my thoughts together in lyrical prose, even though many never ended up accompanied by a single tune. Some people write their thoughts in a journal, but I preferred to create songs with mine. It was on this flight, however, that I thought of my young cousins and the life they were about to experience; all of the wonderful things they would enjoy and the lessons they would learn. I
couldn’t help but think of my own amazing childhood experiences and decided to draft up a story that I could share with them when we met again. 

And so Fifo the Bear was born.

I worked in the entertainment business management field with general accounting being part of the game. The name “Fifo” was derived from “first in, first out”, an accounting term used to track money that’s tied up in inventory. I liked the uniqueness of the name, if nothing more.

The life of Fifo began to emerge and I took him on a journey as he prepared for his first day of school, something my cousins would experience in the years to come. My mother would often ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, so over breakfast, and with his trusty dog by his side, Fifo dreamt of all of the things he could be.  A doctor or teacher, a firefighter or pilot, maybe even the President of the United States, the possibilities are endless.  Fifo’s imagination helped ease his fears of starting a new phase in his life.

When I returned home the story of Fifo actually went into a drawer and stayed there for years. It was one day while having lunch with my mother that the restaurant owner, who also owned a small publishing company, told us about a new book one of his authors had just launched. Learning about his publishing business I told him that I had once written a story about a bear, but I never did anything with it. He encouraged me to bring it in so he could read it and after a week he offered me a contract.  It all happened so fast.  It was really exciting.

I come from a long line of entrepreneurs and being able to spot an opportunity was an innate trait. The thought of taking a risk and bringing Fifo to life for others to enjoy seemed well worth the time I would have to sacrifice to become a published author.  I was excited and up for the challenge in this new chapter of my life.  But now what?  I was naive to the whole business side of publishing having only been the consumer.  My impression from the outside was one of a dreamer.  I’d write it, they’d publish it, and the masses would flock to it.  Wrong!  It took another two years for the book to finally be published.  Picture books don’t just happen overnight.  There are countless rewrites and edits to be done, storyboards to be designed and illustrations to be executed.  It was a very long process, especially for someone like me who seemed to lack a bit of patience at times, but one I grew to enjoy as each step brought me closer to the finished product.

The next phase in the world of publishing would actually turn out to be my favorite, marketing and promotion.  Once I had the finished product I learned my job was just beginning.  Whether you’re self published, with a small press or major publishing house, you have got to get out there and tell the world you have a book that they will want to read and share with their loved ones.  Like with any business, this takes time and money, and it is the author’s responsibility.  The first thing I did was create my own website where I could share information about my book, start a Fifo blog and post reviews.  I participated in radio and internet interviews, signed up for a virtual book tour, and donated books to reviewers in exchange for honest book reviews.  I entered book contests and signed up at internet websites for authors including Goodreads.com, Amazon’s Author Central and Authorsden.com.  In 2012 I was named as one of the “Top 50 Writers You Should Be Reading” by TheAuthorsShow.com.   I participated in local charity events such as Reading is Fundamental SoCal and numerous school events reading to students.

In 2002, about ten years after that fateful plane ride, Fifo,“When I Grow Up”, the story I wrote for my cousins, came out of the drawer and sat nestled on store book shelves for other kids to enjoy. Since its release Fifo, “When I Grow Up”, has been honored by the Readers Favorite International Book Awards and the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards.  In 2010, I launched Fifo,“50 States”, a geography reference-like book, told in rhyme about Fifo’s travels through every state in our incredible country.  Since its release, Fifo,“50 States” has been honored with fifteen literary awards including the prestigious, Mom’s Choice Awards, Readers Favorite International Book Awards, The 2012 International Book Awards and Creative Child Magazine’s Preferred Choice Award, just to name a few. My third book “The Do’s and Don’ts” was released in late 2013.  A departure from the Fifo series, “The Do’s and Don’ts” is an etiquette book geared towards kindness, safety and diversity, and stars a new band of characters, Zack, Chloe and Louis the Manner Monster. The follow up book to “The Do’s and Don’ts,” “Today I Feel Emotion,” will be released in the summer of 2014 along with a plush stuffed toy of Louis the Manner Monster.

Be open to the opportunities that may come your way.  Embrace them and enjoy the ride. My journey has been remarkable and one that I am blessed to be taking.

About the Book:
The Do’s and Don’ts is a whimsical lesson book aimed at teaching young readers the difference between good and bad behavior/etiquette. In the book Zack and Chloe go from being manner monsters to well-behaved children as they provide samples of typical scenarios that not only young children encounter but can relate to. For example, Zack becomes a Manner Monster when he loses a game, kicking and pouting like a poor sport. In contract, good behavior is then modeled depicting Zack congratulating the winning team. Unlike other etiquette books for children that tell a story or just communicate positive behavior, The Do’s and Don’ts compares and contrasts between good and bad behavior. Simply, yet colorfully displayed, are examples of inappropriate behavior and decisions young children may display followed by behavior and decisions that are more socially accepted. Each compare and contrast anecdote is set in the same scene so that young readers can instantly see the differences between good and poor behavior.
Buy the Book at Amazon

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE