Three years ago, I found out my daughter’s school was going to allow kids to bring ereaders to class. I was ecstatic! As a children’s book writer who’d recently taken the indie plunge, I felt like my potential audience was about to double or triple. Well, it didn’t. All those Kindles, iPads and phones kids are bringing to class? They’re using them as calculators, handy research tools, cameras…anything but an ereader. And at home? App-city, baby.
And then there’s the challenge of being an indie author. Parents are willing to take a chance on self-pubbed books for themselves, but they are much more careful with what their children read. And I can’t blame them. Call me elitist, but if the author hasn’t been vetted by “the system,” I’m going to have to vet them myself (and who has the time?). I’ve read too many reviews of indie middle grade books where the main characters cuss (?!?). Is the system perfect? No, not by a long shot. Are there some really awesome indie books out there? You betcha. But it’s another hurdle to jump.
But don’t think my daughter doesn’t read. She DEVOURS books. It’s just that 90% of them are physical. Still. Even though her mother writes ebooks. Hmmm… Kids are the most tech-savvy people on the planet. Ask any six year old, and I’ll bet they can reprogram your phone. But read a book on that thing? Nah. I know, I know…there ARE kids who read on ereaders–especially if all they have is an old school Kindle that can’t access the internet. But numbers don’t lie. One look at Hugh Howey’s author earnings report and that measly 3% tells you everything you need to know. (scroll down and look at the first pie chart)
So last year, I sat on that dry, dry beach, waiting for the wave that never came. It was then that I decided to reinvent myself as a mystery writer for adults, despite my great interest in kid lit. There’s a market for adult mysteries. Readers are ready and waiting for material. New waves are available daily.
Oh, I still write children’s books. I just released a picture book last month (The Easter Hound) and I’m noodling around with Doom & Gloom Book 2. But it’s a labor of love, not something I do to, you know, make money. Will I ever quit writing kid books? Yes, when I run out of ideas, which will happen…never.
Now! Since this post is a part of a blog hop, I need to answer four questions about my writing process, after which I will introduce you to three great authors. Vivian Kirkfield was kind enough to invite me along for the hop. You should definitely go check out her site when you have the time. She has lots of great advice for writers and the occasional giveaway.
What am I working on now?
I am outlining my next adult mystery, The Black Cats (Book 2 in the Cattarina Mystery series). As for my “kid project,” I am half-way through illustrating a zany chapter book I wrote a few years ago. I hope to release both in time for summer reading.
How does my work differ from others in my genre?
My work tends to be outside the mainstream. So if you’re looking for something a little off-beat, you’ve come to the right place. When I bring a new project to my critique group, they normally say, “How on earth did you come up with THAT idea?” (they mean this in the best way possible…I think) Anyway, my books are full of characters who doubt themselves, who question convention, who reach higher, and who sometimes succeed. There are no easy answers in my books.
Why do I write what I do?
Because I can’t, just CAN’T, write what everyone else is writing. If it’s already been done, why do it again?
How does my writing process work?
For novels, I have to think about them for weeks before I begin writing, mull them over, hash them out. I like to have a solid direction before I even start page one. Letting the plot germinate helps me immensely. For picture books, I wait for inspiration to strike and get them down on paper when they arrive in a flash. This usually happens two or three times a year, and always when I’m doing something completely removed from writing.
Now! Let me introduce you to three awesome kid lit authors you should definitely check out. Two have physical books available and one has eComics for kids.
Dee Leone – Dee Leone enjoys writing fiction, non-fiction, and silly verse. She has written several reproducible books for the educational market, covering themes such as science, language arts, and holidays. The author taught at the elementary level in several states and was also a gifted program aide. Her interests include amateur photography, traveling, and scrapbooking.She also enjoys devouring books and chocolate. Her leveled reader, Bizz and Buzz Make Honey Buns (Grosset & Dunlap/Penguin) has a June 26, 2014 release date and is available for pre-order. Free worksheets can be found on Dee’s website.
DeeDee Andrews – DeeDee Andrews worked for many years in Marketing and Graphic Design for a manufacturing company. She created catalogs and advertisements that made industrial widgets and gizmos look cool. Through marketing she was given the opportunity to travel the world. Eventually DeeDee married and became the mother of twin boys. After their twins had too much fun in first grade and didn’t learn anything, DeeDee and her husband decided to home-school. During that 7 year home-schooling period the “Domino Park Comics” were born. Drawing on a life time love of comic books and newspaper comic strips, and DeeDee’s Graphic Design background, she drew comic strips to encourage her kids to read. She began her blog in January 2014 and feels she is still in the process on introducing herself. Her house is filling with crazy sketches and scraps of paper with wonderful ideas for the blogs and books. The fun is just beginning. Her comic books are available at Amazon, here and here.