Author Interviews

Photo by Donald Tong on Pexels.com

This week marks the beginning of a series of interviews I’ll be doing with self-published authors on my podcast. If you’re interested in what the journey into self-publishing is like, feel free to tune in to Tee’s Talk Time on Spotify this Saturday. My podcast is visual on Spotify and audio only on all other major platforms such as Apple, Amazon, Audible, etc. This is a new dimension for me to be going in front of the camera, instead of behind it. So wish me luck.

The first author I’ll be interviewing is Mr. Stephen Murray. He hails from Nevada and he writes books in multiple genres. I highly recommend his book, Discovering the Christmas Spirit, after reading it last month myself. His development of the characters and subplots in this book is amazing. Check out his website, authorstephenmurray.com, when you have time.

In weeks to come, I’ll be interviewing a children’s book author, a mystery writer, and a self-help author. If you’re an avid reader or are interested in becoming an author, you’ll get some valuable tips and information from these episodes. I hope you give a listen, and leave a comment, or a rating. In addition, you can talk to me directly on the Wisdom app now. The Wisdom app is available in the App store.

Although I’m booking guests through a fairly new service called PodMatch right now, you can contact me through this blog’s comment section if you are an author who would like to be interviewed. So, take good care til next time and stay safe.

An Author’s Journey

When I reexamine my life’s journey, I realize that my path to becoming an author and illustrator began in my childhood. I’ve always been a very imaginative person. In fact, on the elementary school level I was given a book by my school as a creative writing award. The title of that book was The Planet of Junior Brown by Virginia Hamilton. The funny thing about that is I never read the book as I grew up, but I remember constantly reading the inscription to me placed inside the front cover. I also always remembered the cover of the book as well. The words were so powerful to me. I had been given the book because I was a good writer. That thought resonated with me.

Earlier this year, I borrowed the book from the public library online. What a story! It moved me to tears at times. Everyone should read that book. The message is as powerful today as it was when it was written. No spoiler alert here, but the concept of homelessness is a major part of the plot. I digress.

In my preteen years, I was reminded that I was a pretty good artist too. I attended a gifted school on the intermediate level, and I decided to take a specialized school test to get into a high school where artistic ability was a must. I remember drawing a beautiful bird. As you probably guessed, I got into the high school of my choice.

I would go on to become a teacher and use both skills constantly throughout my career. Today, I’m announcing the release of my first children’s picture book, Blue, where I get to showcase myself as both author and illustrator of my book. I hope you will give my book as a gift during this holiday season. I hope it lifts your spirit, makes you think, and turns you into a bird watcher. Happy holidays from my heart to yours!

Corrie Cocker Spaniel, my first children’s book is also available on Amazon and at Barnes and Nobles.

Click the book cover for more information.

Summer Fun

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

I haven’t written in a while, because I was making sure my child had a summer of fun. Days quickly turned into weeks as we attended basketball camp, went to the movie theater, and played at the park. We sampled fine cuisines at restaurants and communicated more with family and friends. In between all those fun activities, my son started drawing again, and it amazed me at how his innate gift is getting even better with time. I did a little podcasting and created four android apps in my spare time. It’s been a wonderfully productive summer. I hope yours was fun too.

On the flip side, they assigned my son summer reading and has to read two books, one fiction and one nonfiction, so I’ve been monitoring his reading habits. He finished the fiction book already. Now he’s working his way through the nonfiction book. His assignment includes listing definitions of challenging words and using them in sentences. He also has to analyze each book’s style, genre, etc. So we are still trying to infuse more fun into the last month of his summer vacation. I’m sure we’ll succeed at doing just that.

I also completed my second children’s book. I’m now awaiting my copyright certificate before publishing it. This will complete my goal for 2019. My goal was to publish two books this year. So right now I feel like I’m batting a thousand.

An update on podcasting, I’ve started a series on how to plan for retirement as you begin your very first job. This series was born out of a conversation with my nephew. So far, I’ve covered 401k. The next topic will be the IRA. You can listen to my podcast on Stitcher at the link below:

https://www.stitcher.co/podcast/anchor-podcasts/tees-talk-time

My apps are available in the Google Play Store at the links below:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=apinventor.ai_teresa_tq_27.WalkYourOwnerPedometer

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=appinventor.ai_teresa_tq_27.DoggyDo

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=appinventor.ai_teresa_tq_27.teresawsmithauthorapp

Any feedback on any of my work is always welcome. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Summer Reading Kickoff 2019

Taylor and I at the Summer Reading Kickoff 2019

The summer Reading Kickoff 2019 was an awesome experience. I met so many interesting people at the Saratoga Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. The children and their parents from the community made me feel right at home. In addition, the staff was welcoming and helpful to boot. They had so many wonderful activities for the children to engage in at this event.

Saniyah and I posed together for pictures.

Reading my book to the children at my childhood library was a dream come true. I feel like I’ve come full circle in my life now in more ways than one. Just seeing the smiles on the children’s faces makes me very happy. They colored coloring pages of my book’s main character and engaged in conversation with me about my book. It was an unforgettable day!

These two beautiful sisters had their faces painted and also visited me with their mom.
We had lots of fun at my very first author event.
Thanks to Mr. Herbert for allowing me to participate in this event!

Mr. Herbert gave me this incredible opportunity to share my work in the community where I grew up. I am forever thankful to him for his kindness. I would also like to thank Ms. Pace who organized the event along with Mr. Herbert and Ms. Monica Williams who is the manager of the Saratoga Branch of the Public Library. They are all serving this community very well. Keep up the good work!

The Review

Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

Early in the morning, on April 18, 2019, I received a text message from a company I submitted my book to for a free review. It announced my book review was ready. They astonished me since the site noted that they received thousands of manuscripts daily. They further noted that it sometimes takes over five months for a manuscript review. So I was content to wait awhile for mine. I quickly retrieved the link from my email and held my breath wondering what kind of review I would find. I hoped the review would be positive since I put my all into this second edition of the book. 

After logging in, the first thing I saw was a five-star rating. Then I read the review slowly and carefully taking in every word and storing each jewel in my memory vault. It was so awesome to know that the reviewer was talking about me as an established author. A huge smile creeped across my face and I jumped up and down, saying, “I did it!”  It stoked me and it wired me for the rest of the day. That is why I’m up this late or early writing this post. I didn’t want the day to be over.

I emailed and texted everyone I knew letting them know about my book review. I am so glad someone appreciates my book and all the hard work I put into it. I’m a little emotional just thinking about it.

.

Paperback

Here is the cover of my paperback book.

Three of the five paperback books I ordered arrived yesterday evening, and I’m quite impressed. The cover was way more impactful than the first edition. The story was deeper and more insightful than the first. All the tinkering and tweaking I’ve done really paid off. This time my dream of writing and publishing a book was more real than surreal. I can envision this product being sold in a bookstore, sitting on a shelf in a library, and then selected by a child eagerly waiting to read my book. Yes, I said it my book.

I thought of all the books I read as a child and all the books I read as an adult. I could see in my mind the many libraries I’d been to throughout my life and imagine what others would think when picking up my book from a shelf to read. Wow! What an amazing feeling! It’s a feeling of pride in one’s work I’m experiencing this time around. I wish I could share this feeling with the world!

Now it’s your turn to live your dream and develop your passions. Go for it!

Here is the cover of my Kindle ebook.

Leave comments below about how you think I can advertise my book for free outside of placing it on Amazon for sale.

Promotion and Advertising

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Now that I have finished making revisions on my children’s book; I want to promote and advertise it. So I have to decide how much to spend on promotions. Promoting the book for free is also an option. Right now I will start tiny and just give out some bookmarks I designed. Since the book is for younger children, I know younger children will use bookmarks. Later, I can expand my promotion by creating an ad about the book. On the bookmark, I’ll include a link to my Author Central site. The author’s site has links to Amazon, where my book is on sale.

I am also working on my second children’s book. So I will place polls on my blog to get feedback about the children’s books in demand. I took a while last night to figure out just how to add a poll to my blog. I edited my last post just so I could try to include a poll on the page. However, I took much longer than I thought it would. So I will place the same poll under this blog post again today. Answer the questions as I will monitor your answers for feedback. I’ll use the feedback data when starting my third children’s book this summer. Thanks again to those who like and follow my blog.

Published!

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I did it! I finally published the revised second edition of my children’s book. My Author Central page is up and running, too. If you’d like to look at it, click on the link below. Wish me luck!

Click this image of my book cover to see my Author Central page.

At of this moment I don’t have my copy in my hands. I’ll have it soon, though. I’ve learned so much more about writing and publishing a book this time around. I know my next book will be easier to publish because of the knowledge I’ve gained. Remember my goal was to publish at least two books in 2019, so I’m well on my way to achieving my goal.

Book Proof

Photo by Dzenina Lukac on Pexels.com

My proof arrived in the mail just two business days after I purchased it. I quickly opened the envelope to find my treasure, I thought, wrapped in bubble wrap. My first impression was, Wow! How professional this book looks! Then I looked inside the book and found the spacing was not right. So I quickly closed the cover and examined every inch. I took a photo of it and sent it to one of my friends who agreed the old cover was more appealing to children. However, I wanted the cover to look more professional than the first edition’s cover. I could easily fix these two items, I thought. Well, one day’s work quickly turned into 3-4 days of work.

About four days later after editing my spacing and reinserting new illustrations into the text, I searched for a photo that would bring my book cover to a new level. Ironically, I already had it in my photo files. So I uploaded the picture, changed the layout and Voila: I had the perfect professional looking cover I dreamed of. Next, I uploaded all the files I edited and previewed everything in the previewers before saving them. So I was ready to publish my book again. 

Days later, I created my author’s page and saw the icons for paperback and eBook on Amazon. I was so excited. Then I looked for a way to make an audible book. After much research I decided I’d rehearse and try narrating the book myself. After my first rehearsal, I flipped over my book and found a letter missing from a word in the book summary on the back of the book. So I went back to the book cover online and added the letter to the word. While doing this, I found I needed to edit my author’s photo. I quickly edited it and uploaded the edited photo to complete the cover. Now, the book is ready for the world to see. I sure hope it’s ready! Writing is hard work!

So You Want to Self-Publish a Book!

My first book was self-published on Createspace years ago. As of 2019, Createspace has merged with Kindle Direct Publishing. So I’ll revisit my first manuscript today and make a decision about whether or not I want to pay for editing, formatting, and a new privately owned ISBN number. I want to take my book to the next level this time. So it’s time to take the book out of the attic so to speak, dust it off, and make it ready for resale.

For those of you out there who are considering following suit, that is you are trying to publish a book through a free source you can watch the video below for a few tips.

Here’s to happy writing! I’ll be back with updates on how far I’ve gone in the process soon. Until then keep writing!