When I write for children, most
of my stories feature an animal as the main character. My characters are
based on the four-legged creatures that I've read about or the animals that
I've known and love. In my upcoming children's bookMaggie and the Summer Vacation Show
and Tellone of the main
characters is a dog called Trooper.
Trooper is based on a lovable dog called Charlie (check out his adorable picture to the right). Charlie
belongs to a good friend of mine. His coat is warm brown and and eyes full of
expression that say "come give me a hug." On our first meeting,
Charlie gave me with lots of wet kisses. With his big loving personality
I knew he'd make a perfect character for one of my stories.
The other character in the book is a little girl named Maggie.
Unlike Trooper, Maggie is purely invented. She popped into my head
(more like barged in) when I began to write the story about Trooper.
Maggie is a kind of Charlie Brown-like character, a woe is me, down on
her luck kind of kid. Every time I sat down to write, her voice was loud
and clear. It wasn't long before Maggie told me she wanted to be Trooper's
In my book, these two characters interact naturally which is
pretty cool given that one character is based on something real and the other
character is invented. Both characters have a problem. One problem has a
good chance of being resolved, the other situation cannot be resolved.
Yet despite the problems, there's this chemistry, a real devotion
between the two that brings magic to the story. So, you may have surmised
that one of the themes of the story is love.
Now that you know a little about the characters, I invite you to
meet Trooper and Maggie this summer. You will be able to see how their
personalities play off one another in a story that is sad, funny, and joyous.
Last December I signed a book
contract with Cactus Moon Publishing. The creative director suggested
that I get started marketing my book right away. Yikes! Though I
have been a children's writer for over twenty years, I didn't know much about
marketing a book for kids. The only thing I knew was promoting a book
should be done well before the release date.
Over the Christmas break, I started working on a marketing plan for my upcoming
children's book Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show and Tell which
will be released this summer. My publisher sent me a helpful marketing guidelines book. I also studied websites on marketing. Here's one of my favorite sites: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/book-promotion/
Ask to be interviewed by the local paper and local radio host
Marketing a children's book is overwhelming to me. Writing is all I've ever known. But I'm eager to learn and I'm ready for the challenge. If you've
had some experience or have ideas on getting the word out about a book, I
welcome for your suggestions and comments.
This blog has been closed for
four years. I had reached the end of my "hoping to get published
journey" with a story that featured a rescue dog and Maggie, his little
human. The piece had been submitted to 30 publishers and 15 agents and
though it received three awards, I shelved it after so many rejections.
During the summer of 2016, I felt compelled to re-read the manuscript again.
I still loved the story. But the problem was...it was 1000 words.
It was way too long. Five hundred words needed to be cut—half of the
story! Then it needed to be critiqued and edited.
After spending several months revising the manuscript, I submitted it to a
handful of publishers and agents. A month later I received a few rejections,
but one publisher texted me that she loved the book! Within a few days I
received a book contract.
Since then I've received an outpouring of good wishes from friends and family,
and I'm thankful for their support. But who knows what's ahead?
This is all new to me. I'm assuming the road to publication will
take dedication and hard work. But I am thrilled and up to the challenge.
And so...this blog is reopening. I invite you to come with me on this new
journey of taking a manuscript that I had always loved on the road to
The Maggie Project is officially closed, but I've started a new blog with a tighter focus on writing for children. Thank you to all of my friends and followers of The Maggie Project. I hope you'll check out and follow Children's Writer's World at www.childrenswritersworld.blogspot.com
Today Laura Smith shares the inspiration behind her book In All Things: Giving Thanks When Hope Seems Lost.
What inspired me to write and actually have my story
published was an accumulation of numerous events. My original intent was never
to publish a book however; when I had one person read it and then another, and
another, the feedback was amazing! It was like a sense of urgency that the
message within was something people needed to hear. And even the men who have
read it have been profoundly affected.
When I was very young, I remember sitting in my
grandmother’s kitchen on the floor while my grandparents and their friends sat
at the table playing cards. They would play for hours and hours and often times
into the night. While I would sit there on the floor, I was very content in
doing so because I was in my own little world doing what I never imagined would
be my heart’s desire later in life. I was writing stories and songs and reading
them or singing them out loud for my card-playing family to adore. Now, thinking
back to that time (I was only about 4-years old and had no
idea how to even write my name let alone a story or a song), I have concluded that
it had to be God planting within me the inspiration and desire to write.
The life events that sparked this book began in my teen
years where I remember wondering why I was even on this earth, or why would God
put me in a family that didn’t seem to even want me. I was always called a
mistake and they would tease me when I was younger saying that they found me on the
streets of St. Paul. It’s no wonder that I married the town rebel two weeks
after my high school graduation! Finally someone loved me and I wasn’t going to
let that go. Fast forward 18 years, two daughters later and a divorce, I re-married. I had found out that my youngest daughter was molested by her
biological dad when she was only two years old. She was diagnosed with PTSD
(post-traumatic stress disorder) and Bipolar disorder. My oldest daughter was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis and she faces numerous back surgeries and many other
trials. Then I was told that my husband and I would never have a child of our
own. But wait! After weeks of being sick and a random pregnancy test to rule out
that possibility, I’m PREGNANT! A miracle! It took us weeks to absorb this
miracle and the growing excitement from our entire family. But, I lost the baby 3
months into the pregnancy.
While some write to entertain, I found the writing process
was very healing for me. Journaling through trials helped me to empty the pain
of the day from my heart onto paper so I could start fresh the next day. This
was the case when I initially started writing In All Things. It was simply in
a journal and was a way for me to try and process the grief of going through
miscarriage. I write very honestly and hold nothing back. I believe that by the
power of our testimony others can find healing. I also believe sugar coating
things makes for a nice story but has no impact. The first editor I contacted
to go through my book wanted me to remove a lot of life events because it
wasn’t “Christian” like. Well, I’m sorry
but I’m a real person and I experience real life issues and others need to hear
the real stuff.
Since the publishing of this book, I have had inspiration
for another book to be the second in the “In All Things” series. The next one
will be In All Things: Expect A Miracle which will be an account of the
amazing two years going through my dad’s cancer journey with him. Also since publishing,
I have been asked to speak at a few local events and my desire is to be able to
do that more. I feel that when you can share your story in person, it can touch
people more profoundly. At one of the events
where I shared my story, there was a lady in the audience that was healed
instantly from the pain of miscarriage she was suffering from for two years! I
would love the opportunity to see others find that same healing and freedom to
live again. I encourage others with a personal story to get it out there. The
reward and I don’t mean monetary is far greater than the fear.
Author Bio: Laura
works as a medical coding and reimbursement specialist in Northern Minnesota.In
All Things is a witty and raw account of an otherwise normal life filled with
incredible challenges that will make you laugh out loud and cry tears of joy
and tears of sorrow. Her little
family had no idea that the life experiences they walked through early on and
one life altering event would prepare them for the near death of her oldest daughter.
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