Describe your business:
I am an author and I’m self-publishing my first children’s book, Nonni’s Moon. It’s a picture book aimed at children 4-8 years old. It’s about a little girl who lives far away from her grandmother and misses her terribly. But with a little creativity she figures out she can send messages back and forth using the moon. It will be released on Amazon on June 12th. The Kindle is available for only $2.99 right now during pre-sales, and the hardback and paperback will be up for pre-sales soon as well. In order to get the book to the level of publishing it is now, a lot of hard work was put in from many different parties. For example, I had to hire a children’s book editor to check everything over before even considering publishing!
If you want a sneak-peek at the book, check out my new book trailer on YouTube here:
What is the most important piece of your business?
Well, I’d love to say that it’s writing clever engaging stories, but I think it’s really about marketing those clever engaging stories. Writing them is the “easy” part. Then the rest of your energy, time and money, gets spent on marketing and getting your book in front of potential readers. And marketing anything is all about making connections. But you can’t make those connections without making efforts and taking risks.
But like anything, there needs to be a balance. If you don’t have a great story to tell, then all the marketing in the world won’t help you. And conversely, if you have a wonderful tale, but have no marketing plans, it probably won’t get seen. I think if you want to succeed as an author, you have to commit to becoming proficient in both writing and marketing.
Give some recommendations to moms from your perspective:
Almost everyone I talk to says they’ve always wanted to write a book, or they have a drawer full of first drafts, or they just know that the story they’ve been telling their kids since they were born would be a best-seller if they just knew how to get it published. And all of those could be true but if you really want to succeed you need to take that dream and embrace it fully. Believe in yourself. Do your research, read tons of children’s books and see what works and what doesn’t.
Self-publishing is a long journey if you do it right. In truth, you could write a book, illustrate it, and get it up on Amazon in a weekend. But if you want to sell that book, and want to feel proud of that book, then you need to nurture it. You need to write clear concise language, get it professionally edited, hire a professional illustrator, and then start marketing your book before it’s even complete. It needs to be an investment of time as well as money with a whole lot of faith thrown in. I’ve been reading and researching book marketing now for over six months and I’m still finding things I can do and work on. And marketing doesn’t end when the book comes out. Ideally it starts months before and continues for months after.
What mindset change have you had after you began your practice?
I truly had no idea how long it would take to publish a good book. It’s been about 18 months since I sat in my car after school drop-off one morning, and wrote out the first draft of Nonni’s Moon. At the time, had you told me it would take 18 months before I would see my book, I might not have continued. But looking back (hindsight is so helpful) I know it was all worth it to produce a book I am so proud of.
The good thing going forward is that I have learned so much over these 18 months that publishing my next book (and yes, I already have two being edited and have my illustrator starting her magic on them) will be much smoother and quicker. Doing this the first time was such a learning experience with a lot of false starts and dead ends. I’d love to say these next two books will be out in less than a year, but I’m not making any promises. But at least I know a lot of hurdles I can bypass this time.
How can people start this same journey?
Read, read, read. Read children’s books and see what you like. Then figure out your strengths. If writing in rhyme is difficult for you, then don’t do it. There’s nothing more painful as a reader than reading a poorly-rhymed book. But if it comes easily, then run with it. Study how many words an average children’s picture book has (it’s amazing few). Notice how the illustrations enhance the story. The story needs to be able to stand on its own, but adding in illustrations will take it to a whole new level.
And there are lots of books out now, and blogs and Facebook groups, dedicated to teaching the art of writing for children. Study these, ask questions, take notes. I have notes pouring out of my ears for everything from word-count, to page-layout, to marketing plans, to author platforms. There’s almost too much info, so I make sure to note where I read or learned something so if needed, I can find it again. And connect with other writers. I’ve learned so much from others who are on this journey. Share the information you’ve found and learn from each other. Self-publishing is a viable option today and it can produce books that can stand spine-to-spine against traditionally published works. But like anything, you have to put the time and effort in.
How can people best support you?
Well, if you can afford it buy the book from Amazon. And buy one for a friend. 🙂 Tell others about the book and see if they’d like to get their own copy. Most importantly, please leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. As a new author, this can really help me out and can have a direct impact on sales and rankings. It also helps out potential readers. I know I always look at reviews before buying a new book.
Find me on social media:
I have an active website and blog at www.juliainserro.com. If anyone would like some free coloring pages from Nonni’s Moon, just hop over and subscribe. My newsletters are only monthly and I’ll share what’s going on with the latest launch or the newest draft. It’s all fun stuff.