Saturday, February 3, 2007

Gramma Makes Best Seller List!

When I saw the words "Best Sellers list for large print children's books" with my first book, Flying Hugs and Kisses on a Google search list the day after Christmas, I could not believe my eyes. I quickly clicked on the web link and to my amazement there it was, book cover and all on Amazon.com.

My very first book has only been out since April 2006 and on Amazon.com since June. Now, some of you are probably wondering how I did this in only six months. I do not have a lot of money to hire someone to market and promote my book. I must admit for two years I have focused mostly on the grief recovery issues of small children and how I could help them through the grief process by writing a children's book. I am only a grandmother by choice and now a best selling author for large print children's books by divine intervention!

What I can share with you is, I have followed the advise I gleaned from a couple of marketing books, one of which is called "The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't" written by a great author, Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Additionally, I have to say that I have followed the advice of my sweet supporting husband, family, friends, and the inner nudging's of the good Lord above.

To be honest with you I have NO idea how Flying Hugs and Kisses received placement on Amazon’s Best Sellers list for large print children’s books. If there is anyone who can shed some light on how Amazon ratings work, I would really appreciate it. However, I LOVE the attention I am receiving. To learn more about what else I did to promote my book visit my publisher’s featured article; “Taking the First Step: Moving your book forward,” in his January 2007 Lifevest Publi-zine .

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Gramma! I Just Wrote A Book!

Today I discovered Hans Wilhelm, a prolific author/illustrator of 200 children’s books placed on his website, Children’s Books Forever.com, his out of print classic stories as free downloads for readers to enjoy. Simply why would an author want to give away his creative work?

While pondering my question, my seven-year-old granddaughter came bouncing into my office and said, "Gramma, I just wrote a book! I write like you now, see-ee!" Smiling from ear to ear with her toothless grin, she shows me the front of her bright pink mitten shaped constructed book. The words, “The Mitten” caught my eye as I glanced at the page and took in her hand written title boldly displayed in magic marker colors of Red, Black and Blue. “Gramma, please read it now, begs my granddaughter, “You have to see what the girl does in my story.”

Knowing I could not turn down such an opportunity, I quickly slid my key board under the computer as she bounced up into my lap. My granddaughter promptly opened her creative work as she said, “Gramma, I think I better read this to you because there might be some words you don’t know yet. I just learned them today.”

Not waiting for my reply, she began reading aloud her own hand printed words; “A girl went outside and lost her mitten.” Then with her pointer finger, my granddaughter swiftly drew an imaginary line across the mitten shaped page to a magic marker drawing of a girl. Tapping her finger on the page, my granddaughter said the words under the drawing, “A girl,” then turned her head and smiled at me. I smiled back, as she quickly slid the pages between her fingers to turn to the next page. She continued to read aloud her story, “In the forest and a mouse went in the mitten. A raccoon went in the mitten. A fox went in the mitten. A chicken, hound, bear, hogs, cow, horses, moose, and a rabbit. Then the MITTEN POPPED! All the animals ran away. The girl found the pieces. She had her mom sew it together.”

Once again, my granddaughter slid her fingers onto the next page to another creative pencil drawing of a very small mouse inside a very small mitten. Tapping against the page with her fingers, she explained that all the mitten shaped lines were showing how the big mitten became very small. So small, it would only hold a mouse.

By then I had learned my job was to listen, so I nodded my head, as she turned to the last page. “This page is the very best page,” said my granddaughter. Immediately I noticed her pencil sketch of a girl with mittens on her hands and snow stars falling all around her. I asked her what the girl was thinking in the picture. My granddaughter looked intently in my eyes and said, “She is thinking she is very happy because her mom sewed her mitten back together. And. And she is thinking she did a very good job writing a story. Did you like my story Gramma?” “Of course, sweetie” I replied with a big smile, “I like your story. It was fun reading about what happened to the girl. You did a very good job writing your story. Thank you for sharing it with me.”

Just as I finished the last word in my sentence, my granddaughter jumped off my lap and bounced out of the room, yelling back at me, “Gramma can I have a cookie? I need a snack.” At that moment, I knew that my granddaughter had given me the answer to why authors give their creative work away. It is for the very thrill of experiencing the reader’s enjoyment in visiting another’s world of adventure.

Hans Wilhelm makes it known on his web pages the main reason he is sharing his classics is to keep his books alive. I could not agree more with Wilhelm’s idea that children’s books should be available forever. Yes indeed, Children’s Books Forever.com is a WONDERFUL way to thank readers who share the same love for children’s books as he; and it is free.