Learning By Doing

I’ve always been one who learned best through doing an activity. There’s nothing more educating than going through the actual experience. I have recently applied this thought to my writing career.

See, I want to know as much as possible about the industry. Learning about the writing process is just one step of the whole picture.

After having four picture books traditionally published, I once again stepped out of my comfort zone and wrote a tween novel. I finished the first draft in January. Just comprising the novel was a whole other process. Then I started paying attention to some indie publishing groups on Facebook. I’ve studied them for a few years- watching what they do, the questions they ask, the tips they suggest and I knew one thing: independently publishing was hard, back breaking work. Yet I wanted to try it.

Why? For one,the route allows you more creative control. You also earn out better royalties.

As my novel is finishing up the final editing stages, I decided to prepare for the next hurdle: the print run. Ideally, it is best to have enough funds for a decent first run – at least 1,000 books.

How do you come up with the money to fund such a project? This is when I learned another new thing about publishing independently. If you don’t have the funds to do this, you need to look into crowdfunding. Much like I stated before, I have been following authors who have been working on these crowdfunding campaigns and I have seen how much work they are.

But, I decided to go ahead and try it. I could still publish by way of Print on Demand if I didn’t raise enough for the print run. Before I committed to that, I did what I often do: educate, educate, educate myself.

I found a course that helped me strategically plan out my campaign. A friend of mine suggested I contact Lisa Ferland and check out her course. I am glad I did because even my small successes are due to her tips. (If you’re considering a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign, see if she can help you.)

As I am halfway through this campaign, I am learning so many lessons at once. I’ve learned that I love every bit of the creative process from creating the book to hiring my own hand selected artist.

I’ve learned the rest of it is hard work, but it is an interesting side to publishing that I haven’t experienced closely before. What I am finding tough is that it is taking away from my writing time. This is a huge drawback for a writer. Is independently publishing something I might do again in the future? It’s possible- I am still mid process right now, but I just don’t like how much time I haven’t been writing. So, we’ll see what my final thoughts on this are in a few weeks.

As for now, if this is something you are considering, definitely do your research. Join several writing communities on Facebook. Build your audience. I’ll say that again as this was a weaknesses for me. BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE. And if publishing independently is an option for you, definitely get a head start on your crowdfunding by checking out sites like Lisa’s.

Get a FREE Copy of Souled

This morning we were at 12% funded. Now we’re at 15%.

This means another Giveaway has been unlocked! This will be ongoing and in addition to any other ongoing perks.

Image may contain: text

What’s the deal?

Simple. When you send people to the SOULED campaign and they contribute, you will earn a referrer credit. When 5 people contribute from your referral, you earn a FREE HARDCOVER!

How will this work?

1.) Log into your Indiegogo Account

2.) Go to the Souled Campaign

3.) USE the Indiegogo Share tool- URL LINK.

  • Right under the pledge option is a SHARE tool
  • Click the LINK button.
  • SHARE and encourage others to join the campaign

4.) When they contribute, you get credit as a referrer

5) That’s it! 5 contributions credited to you = a free book.

Pixie and the Green Book Mystery Book Review

Pixie and the Green Book Mystery
Author: Coraline Grace
Illustrator: Encarna Dorado

Author Coraline Grace introduces us to Pixie, also known as Marigold. Pixie is an elementary school student who loves books and the library. After a bad day at school, Pixie visits the library and discovers a mysterious green book. When she opens the book, familiar characters begin to speak to her.  We see Cindi, Alice and the White Rabbit who are all trapped in mixed up fairy tales. Pixie agreed to help the characters and stop their enemy known as The Book Guardian.

I love books with a little bit of magic in them, so this was a treat to read.  I had trouble understanding why Pixie had two names. But other than that I loved it. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next one. Overall it was a cute and fun book to read.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

What’s in your Bookshelf?

Summer. It’s a time to unwind and relax a little – whether you’re just out of school for 2 months or are looking forward to a few days away from work. My summer days gave me time to catch up on things that I let slide during the busy year such as reading and writing.

I’ve been reading many things so far this summer, but for this post I narrowed it down to three: 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status by Cynthia Toney, Emerge, by Heather Sunseri and A Faerie’s Secret by Rachel Morgan. Yes, there is quite a variety in themes for these books, but I do that on purpose. I like to mix things up when I read and explore different worlds. 

10 Steps by Cynthia Toney is a coming of age YA novel. While the title makes you wonder if the main character is superficial, you’ll soon see that is not the case. This is the second book in the Birdface series where we follow Wendy through achieving her goals, uncovering a conspiracy, and helping others. Her helpfulness may come at a cost to the people already in her life. I recommend
giving this book a try. No worries if you didn’t read book one. While 10 Steps continues where book one left off, it certainly can stand alone. 

Emerge, by Heather Sunseri is a compelling mysterious drama mixed with medical conspiracies. When a deadly virus destroys 90% of the country, the airtight city of New Caelum was born to protect the people from the disease. Christina, the only person to contract the virus and survive, flees New Caelum leaving behind West, her first love and best friend. When it becomes clear the virus is returning and West’s sister contracts the virus, he sets out to find Christina. What follows is a race against time to defeat a deadly virus
and revive a city destroyed by corruption. If you’re looking for something different, give this book a try.

A Faerie’s Secret by Rachel Morgan is the fourth book from the Creepy Hollow series. This is the first of  three detailing Calla’s story. The Creepy Hollow books are set in a magical fantasy world filled with Faeries and other magical beings. Calla wants nothing more than to become a heroic guardian like her brother Ryn ( who we meet in books 1-3). However, her overprotective mother and her unique magical ability(classified by the makes Calla’s goal of becoming a Guardian even more difficult. I enjoyed all the surprises and twists and turns in this book as Calla learns that not everything is as it seems and there is more than one way to be a hero.

So as you see, all three I found intriguing and engaging, yet they all have very different premises. Up next for me are:

Uprising by Heather Sunseri
A Faerie’s Curse by Rachel Morgan
Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors by H.L Burke

Now it’s your turn. What’s in your bookshelf this summer?

Just a Book

Is a book just a book? Ask any avid reader, and you might unexpectedly wander into Lecture Territory. Anyone who reads a good book knows that books are so much more than a few (all too fast) hours of reading, or just a way to spend time.  

When you read a good book it is so much more than watching a movie in your head. Yes, that happens: we see and hear the characters and all that is going on in the scenes. However, when you read, you not only are passively watching, but you are EXPERIENCING everything the main character is. By the time you finish reading the book, you have bonded with the characters. You have learned and grown with them. They feel like a new best friend – after all they’ve shared things with you that they shared with nobody else in the book. 

So after going through a good book, we are often not left untouched. Some small part of you learns and grows too. Maybe you are battling some issues that your favorite character was battling. Maybe you’re taking notes in case you’re ever in such a constant-life-threatening-situation.  We often gain new perspectives and learn life lessons. This is where a book is more than just a book.  It is often why we see memes like this: 

I will be going through that tonight. I’m about 50 pages before the end of the book. Yes. I am stalling. Stalling because I’m in the NO-IT-CAN’T-END-YET stage. Just a few more pages… This could be why I am currently addicted to trilogies. I just don’t want to let go of the characters I grow to love.

So no. A book is definitely not just a book. It is fun.  It is entertainment. It is growing. It is learning. It is experiencing. It is living. It is loving. And yes, when it ends, it is grieving. Have no fear, though. There’s more out there! 

Funding an Author Visit

Summer 2013 is coming to a close at a speed faster than lightning. Pretty soon new classes will form and friendships will be made. As the school year begins and routines take shape, it is important to spark and encourage the children’s interest. It may be challenging, as students may still be thinking about the beach. Or their thoughts may turn more toward Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. One way to spark some interest is to host an author visit.  It brings the world of books alive for children and integrates language arts skills.

As much as an author visit sounds like a fairy tale come true, funding it can be as tricky as a Harry Potter spell. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Check with organizations such as the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) or the American Library Association (ALA) for grants  that may be available. This is most helpful if you are hosting an out of town author where expenses can triple.
  • Hold classroom fundraisers to raise money for the visit: hold a bake sale, art sale, Movie Night, etc. —-Be creative.
  • See if a local business will help sponsor a visit
  • Auction off an autographed copy of one of the author’s books -contact me and I can help with any of my books-just ask!

Need more ideas, check out my fundraising tips!

To contact me for your next author visit, please visit my Author Website contact me via e-mail.

Writer’s Cafe – a Cool Writer’s Hangout

How did I not know about this before? Was I living under a rock? I recently discovered a great site from a teacher friend (gotta love those teachers) called Writer’s Cafe. It is a free writing community where writers can post their work, get reviews, make connections, etc.

I am just getting familiar with it as it is a recent discovery for me. It has the option of connecting with Facebook (another way to promote your books, etc with out the BUY MY BOOK post we occasionally come up with). At times, it is difficult to get reliable critique partners, so this can be a nice alternative. 
However, as a published children’s author, I want to remind my readers to be careful what you put up there. If you’re looking for critiques on work you will send to a publisher, do not put it online as it could be viewed as “already published” or seen in its entirety publicly, which greatly reduces the ability to sell your work. If you are honing your craft or are writing a piece just to write, this is a great place to start. Other experienced authors will give you positive and constructive feedback. 
When the time comes you want to write something to submit to a publisher, pick a few of your most trusted critiquers either from your Writer’s Cafe friends or your own private critique group and privately send your work to be critiqued. 
For authors of books, you can use this as another way to promote your books. Just go in to the Add Writing section and from the drop down menu select “book”. This is meant for people to write a book there, but you can do what I did and just add your book’s blurb. If you connected your account to Facebook, it will show on your  Facebook newsfeed. 
My blurb on A Star in the Night at Writer’s Cafe

There’s plenty to do there at Writer’s Cafe. If you’re there, look me up at   http://www.writerscafe.org/jengladen

See ya there!

The April 2011 VBT Writers on the Move Tour

Writers on the Move’s April 2011 Tour Schedule

It’s that time already. Another month flew by. We are now preparing for the April 2011 tour.  Please stop by and visit all the authors to see what they have to say. In following the tour I’ve learned about fascinating books, health tips, book activites, writing and promoting tips and so much more. So dive on in April first and see what everyone has to say.

                                               APRIL 2011

1st Karen Cioffi is featuring Elysabeth Eldering

2nd Kathy Stemke is featuring Robert Medak

3rd Stephen Tremp is featuring Karen Cioffi 4th Margaret Fieland is featuring Jennifer Turner

5th Carolyn Howard-Johnson is featuring Martha Swirzinski

6th Nancy Famolari is featuring Jennifer Gladen

7th Debra Eckerling is featuring Virginia Grenier 8th Martha Swirzinski is featuring Mari Taylor

9th Heidi Thomas is featuring Kevin McNamee 10th Dallas Woodburn is featuring Carolyn Howard-Johnson

11th Maggie Ball is featuring Kathy Stemke 12th Virginia Grenier is featuring Stephen Tremp

13th Kevin McNamee is featuring Nancy Famolari

14th Elysabeth Eldering is featuring Donna McDine

15th Marietta Taylor is featuring Shelby Patrick

16th Robert Medak is featuring Margaret Fieland

17th Donna McDine is featuring Heidi Thomas

18th Shelby Patrick is featuring Dallas Woodburn

19th Jennifer Gladen is featuring Jennifer Wylie

20th Jenny Turner is featuring Maggie Ball

21st Jennifer Wylie is featuring Deb Eckerling

Interview with A Star in the Night’s David

I had a chance to talk with David, the main character in Jennifer Gladen’s Christmas book, “A Star in the Night” on Thanksgiving Day. Here’s what David had to say:

JG: Thanks for joining me David on this Thanksgiving Day. I won’t take up too much of your time since it is a holiday.

David: Thank you. I’m glad to be here.

JG: Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas Season. How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

David: (Smiling) We have so much fun. Mom, Dad, me and baby Jesse all visit Grandmom’s house. She cooks a huge turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and lots of cranberry sauce. At the end of the night, Grandmom gives me some early Christmas money. She does this every year.

JG: What do you do with the early Christmas money?

David: I love to go to the mall. Sometimes I even have enough money left to buy some of Mr. Rennetti’s Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve.

JG: That’s right. We read about those cookies in A Star in the Night. They sound yummy.

David: They’re the best!

JG: In A Star in the Night, you seem to have a companion on your way home. Tell me, what did you think about it?

David: What? Oh you mean that star. Yes, that was a beautiful star. I never seen anything like it before. I felt like it followed me home that night.

JG: You ran into some interesting people that Christmas Eve.

David: Yes, they were. And wonderful people who I’m grateful to know. You’ll have to read the book to learn more about them.

JG: That’s fair. We’re about out of time. Is there anything you’d like me to share with our readers?

David: Enjoy your Thanksgiving and be sure to share my story with your families.

JG: Okay, will do. Happy Thanksgiving. Now go on back with your family.

A CRASH! Course on Author Mayra Calvani

The first day of the Bounding for Books Blog Tour is here. Author Mayra Calvani stopped by and shared all on her latest book CRASH!

Be sure to stop by her blog www.crashthepuppy.blogspot.com
and leave a comment. At the end of the tour one lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of the print version of CRASH.

Multi-genre author, reviewer, dog lover and animal advocate Mayra Calvani hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She’s a regular contributor to Blogcritics Magazine and Suite101. When she is not writing, she enjoys reading, playing the violin, interviewing other authors for her blogs and newsletters and watching too many reruns of Gilmore Girls and I Dream of Jeannie. She’s the author of the picture book, The Magic Violin, also published by Guardian Angel Publishing. She’s also the Latino Books Examiner for Examiner.com:

Mayra Calvani’s book, CRASH! is a must-read for dog fans. We follow along as Marcelo tries to pick out the “perfect” name for his new, furry friend. The colorful, realistic illustrations done by Anna PylypchuK completes the book. Many reviewers enjoyed the CRASH! as well.

Since I will be hosting such successful authors as Mayra Calvani on this tour, I’m asking each one of them some questions. Check out what Ms. Calvani had to say:

Jennifer Gladen (JG): Tell us more about CRASH!

Mayra Calvani (MC): Crash is a humorous and heart-warming story about a little boy and his
first puppy. The boy learns the responsibilities that comes with owning a dog, and finds out that choosing the perfect name for a puppy
can be a very hard job! Readers can find all about it at
www.crashthepuppy.blogspot.com. The book will be available in Spanish
soon. I’m also donating 50% of my royalties to a golden retriever
rescue and sanctuary.

JG: Where did you get your idea for the story? Did something inspire you?

MC: Yes. Several years ago we had to give away our first golden retriever
puppy because my daughter was allergic and got very sick. His name was
Crash. Writing the book was a healing experience and helped me come to
terms with his leaving. A book is a very powerful thing.

JG: Yes, it’s sad to lose a pet. I’m glad writing the book helped heal you.
What is the best trait about your main character? What is the worst?

MC: The best? I’m loyal. The worst? I’m not as hardworking as I’d like.

JG: Describe the world through your character’s eyes. What do you see,
hear, feel and think?

MC: As Marcelo, the little boy in the story, the only thing I see, hear
and think about is CRASH!

JG: Do you have any upcoming books or projects you are working on?

MC: I have three other children’s picture books coming soon from Guardian
Angel Publishing. I’m also working on various works in progress in the
adult, young adult and children’s categories. In addition, I have
several finished manuscripts doing the publisher roundup. I keep
myself pretty busy!

JG: I’ve started offering tips on my blog to other authors. What is one
can’t-live-without-tip you have for beginning authors.

MC: ‘Leap, and the net will appear.’ You have to believe in yourself and
your dreams; you have to keep trying; you have to ‘just do it’. Don’t
talk about writing the novel or story. Just sit and write it. The only
person who can start the wheel moving is YOU.

JG: Excellent advice, Mayra. Thank you for visiting us! Good luck with all your projects!

Think you might want to buy CRASH? I have great news for you. Mayra Calvani is donating 50% of her author royalties to Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary

Purchase info:

by Mayra Calvani
Illustrated by Anna Pylypchuk
Guardian Angel Publishing
Tel: 314 276 8482
ISBN: 1-933090-54-5
April 2008
Paperback, 32 pages, $10.95
Picture Book, Ages 2-6

The Spanish Version is coming out this summer. Watch for it!

Links where you’ll find Mayra:

*Pets and Their Authors: www.petsandauthors.blogspot.com

*Mayra Calvani is the Latino Books Examiner

*Blog for Crash! www.crashthepuppy.blogspot.com

Crash! isn’t the only place you’ll see Mayra’s love of animals. Check out these articles on dogs: