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  • Writer's pictureKali Kuzma

Where are They Now? Two Authors Share Their Experiences after Self-Publishing


What Happens After You Publish?

Over the last few years, I've found myself connecting with many self-published authors. Many of which have written a post here on the blog speaking about their experiences of self-publishing for the first time.


I know after I self-published my first children's book, Princess Gabriella and the Never-Ending Kiss, I had many fun opportunities as well as some downers. For today's blog, I thought it would be fun to reconnect with some of these authors to what they have been up to since self-publishing their first books. Let's see what they have to say.

 


Bright Eyes, Bushy Tail, and the Nutty Narrows Bridge


By Donna Howard


When Kali invited me to look back on my publishing journey it seemed a perfect time to do so. My first book, Bright-Eyes, Bushy-Tail, and the Nutty Narrows Bridge has been out almost two years! Gosh, that's hard to believe! My second book, Thank You, Mr. Jack, has just gone to the editor and I have secured an illustrator, yay! So, here we go!


To begin with I started a list of the highs and as I was compiling it, a pattern was becoming evident. Almost all my highs had to do with the incredible people who were a part of my journey.


To be sure, nothing quite compares to pushing publish, or holding that first copy of your book in your hands. It is unreal to say, I am a published children's book author.

A book is a dream that you hold in your hands.

-Neil Gaimen


Next, I cannot even describe the joy of sharing with my great grandson a book that I wrote and dedicated to him! Michael and I spent many walks and much outdoor time observing and talking about the quarrels as he called them.

Then, too, the people of Longview, WA have responded with open hearts and have generously supported my book. Folks at the museum, offered to host a book launch/reading when I came to town to do Squirrel Fest. Seeing my name on their outdoor event sign was a thrill! This was at the start of the pandemic, so events were just getting going and Cowlitz County had been particularly hard hit, so we were not sure of attendance or even if it would happen at all, but I so appreciate the effort they made on my behalf.


One of the things I really wanted was to meet members of Amos Peters' family, but they were very hard to reach. I asked at the museum, at the newspaper who did a write up on my book, and finally, I mentioned it to a schoolteacher who I had arranged a virtual reading for the second graders of a local elementary school. Turns out, she had taught the grandson of Amos Peters and knew she could contact them. Eager, I sent her a book and my card.


Then, at a reading for the library I was approached by a man who was Amos Peters' son. He and his wife, his brother and his wife, were so generous in sharing many artifacts and mementos and their fond memories, they even made copies of some letters and documents to give me. Later, they sent pictures to me. Marc Peters praised my book and thanked me for capturing his father so well. Wow.


Lows? To be honest, there have not been many. I have not sold as many books as I might have hoped to (800) but given the pandemic, and the fact things were just slowly opening up when my book was published, I think I've done fairly well.


I pride myself on being a lifelong learner, but man, the learning curve on becoming an Indie author is steep! So much to learn! Marketing, canva and designing, business side, taxes, social media etc. I must admit I find it, at times, overwhelming. To avoid burn out, I tell myself I'm in a marathon, not a sprint. I have started saying the magic word, Yet! As in, I cannot do blank, Yet! I have not reached this goal, Yet! I also remind myself that comparison is the thief of joy.

In conclusion, let me encourage any of you thinking or dreaming of publishing a children's book, to go for it! Bring the dream to fruition, and see what happens, Enjoy the journey!


 

The Magic of Misty Nook

By Christine Skippins


I started my journey as an author this time last year and now seems like a really good time to take stock and reflect on my first year and everything I have learned.


This time last year, I had just left my corporate role and was looking around for a way to get involved with a local charity. I wanted to give something back, and as I always have and always will adore animals, the local animal rescue center was always going to be first on my list!


That decision opened up a whole new world for me. I have met amazing people, made some really good friends, and met many beautiful animals with their own stories to tell! As well as helping to raise some funds to contribute towards the spiraling costs of rescuing, rehoming, and rehabilitating them.


It was whilst I was volunteering at the animal center the inspiration for Misty Nook came to me. Woody, the chief elf, is based on the center manager's dog who is such a character, and takes his receptionist duties really seriously, nothing happens without Woody's involvement.


Sometimes a little love is all it takes to transform a broken animal into the beloved pet it was born to be. The Magic of Misty Nook is a youth series that talks about the journeys of the dogs and cats found in this safe space and how a little kindness—and magic—can help them flourish.


Twelve months on, I have made many new friends and helped some true professionals to support the animals in their care. I have learned about animal welfare, and the publishing/book production and marketing industry!


My key learns so far are:


· The importance of sharing up-to-date information about my characters and books with my readers in a regular newsletter. I have created the Misty Nook times, which you can sign up for at www.christineskippinsauthor.com/FreeBook

You can also read Bear's story for free as a thank you for signing up.

· The value of working with other authors and arranging newsletter swaps and guest blogs. We are a creative community that all love books and so do our customers!

· Don’t be afraid to seek expert guidance, I am truly grateful to JR Caines of Caines design, for his guidance with cover designs, keywords, copy, algorithms, and so much more! https://cainesdesign.com/

· I have learned how to manage and run my website, keeping it up to date with reviews and news about me and upcoming books, and telling all my readers where they can purchase my books. www.christineskippinsauthor.com

· Reviews are the backbone of any author’s marketing plan, readers who enjoy our stories share our stories, and then look out for the next book launch.

· Social Media is a tool, not a master! When I first started, I was a slave to posting, sharing, and liking, but as time has passed, I have realized the value of quality of engagement rather than quantity of likes! I now enjoy relevant and engaging interactions with the writing, reading, and animal-loving community on all platforms.


· And finally understand my market, and give my readers a choice as to how they wish to buy and read my books. Not everyone will see, or buy my book from Amazon, so I have needed to get out there, be visible, and do book signings, storytime or meet the author engagements with local schools, children’s farms, and cafés. And sell the books directly at those events, or via my Magical Misty Nook Etsy shop to personalize the experience. I have also found it really useful to work with The Book Dragon because they specialize in supporting independent authors just like me.


So, in summary, in just twelve months, I have written and published four books, all inspired by the animals and people I have met, with little Franks Story to be launched next week, and two more already in the pipeline for 2023.

Learned a whole new set of skills and have a work-life balance that I could only have dreamed of 18 months ago!



 
Final Thoughts

It was so great to hear about everything Donna and Chris have done since launching their first children's book! If you are new to blog, you can check out their past guest posts speaking on their experience:

Subscribe to the blog to get updates on the latest posts as well as exciting updates!

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