Friday, September 15, 2017

Book signing



For those who are unable to join the festivities, 
you can still meet Maggie.
Order the book from Amazon.  
Or, get an autographed copy at www.randilynnmrvos.com 

And check back on the Maggie Project...
we hope to post pictures of the event!



Friday, September 1, 2017

Maggie's Dog


Isn't he adorable?  

 Charlie is the model for Maggie's dog Trooper in Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell.  

His remarkable story is included as well as a discussion guide. 


Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell 
is now available! 

You can purchase Maggie at Amazon or get an autographed copy at  http://www.randilynnmrvos.com 



Friday, August 25, 2017


MAGGIE IS HERE!

MAGGIE AND THE SUMMER VACATION SHOW-AND-TELL


the story of a little girl and the rescue dog that changed her life




I’m excited to announce the release of my debut children’s book 
Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell.


Meet Maggie, a spunky little girl in Ms. Madison’s first grade class. 
Featuring whimsical illustrations by Italian artist Emiliano Billai, here comes a heart-warming story for kids ages four to eight and pet lovers of all ages.


Get to know Maggie by clicking on this link:  Meet Maggie

You can take her home through Amazon.com:   Click here  

If you would like an autographed copy, contact me at my website: www.randilynnmrvos.com




Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Magic


Italian artist Emiliano Billai works his magic on the pages of 
Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell.





Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell 
tentative release date: August 24, 2017

Check out the jazzy website for more details:  http://randilynnmrvos.com 



Monday, July 31, 2017

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Maggie Book Launch


The Maggie Book Launch is underway!

  We have a terrific team that is creating buzz for Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell.  This children's picture book is illustrated by the amazingly talented Emiliano Billai.   

Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell is for ages 4 - 8 
and will be available in August.


               


To the Maggie Book Launch Team:


I am honored that you've joined me on this journey.  Thank you for spreading the word about Maggie.  


Amy Miller

Geary Smith

Sharon Blumberg 

Agnes Zimmer

Jennifer Provost

Rosa L'amour

Kim DeCoste

Betsy Lang

Sarah Kazenmeir

Andrea Kay

Kris Swoveland

Karen Kearney Sheetz 



For more information, visit:  http://www.randilynnmrvos.com 






Saturday, July 1, 2017

Give 'em a Problem

Want to get an agent interested in your children's story?  Give the protagonist a problem. This is what drives the plot.  Sure, you can write a piece for kids that has a lyrical language and a beautiful setting.  But without a problem, readers won't root for the main character.  There is no conflict.  The protagonist has nothing to go after or achieve.  


There are four types of story conflict:  person vs. person, person vs. self, person vs. nature, and person vs. society. Harry Potter vs. Voldermort is an example of person vs. person conflict.  In the book  Number the Stars,  the conflict falls into the last category.  For more examples, click on this link: https://catchingreaders.com/2012/01/06/four-types-of-story-conflicts/

The best children's literature contains a problem that kids can relate to and understand.  It's important that the protagonist finds a way to deal with it. In the end, she must not rely on parents, adults, or friends to help her.  She must solve the problem by herself.

In my upcoming book Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell, the protagonist is Maggie. She's a bit like Charlie Brown, a kid down on her luck.  She has a big problem at school.  She's the only kid in her class who has nothing to bring for show-and-tell.  Maggie's conflict is person vs. self.

Maggie thinks out loud and comes up with unrealistic outrageous solutions. Midway through the story, she is filled with self-doubt and begins to lose hope.  This is a big deal for Maggie.  She doesn't want to come to class embarrassed and empty-handed.  

When there is conflict, your story has a better chance of attracting an agent.  Agents know that readers want to care about the main character. Readers want to learn how the problem is going to be solved. 

And Maggie's problem?  What is she going to do?

You can find out what happens to Maggie this summer.  Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell will be released in August.  





Thursday, June 15, 2017

Finding Reviewers


Clueless.  Nervous.  That's how I felt when my editor told me I would need to find reviewers for my upcoming book Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell.  I had never done this before.  But that's no excuse.  It was time to figure it all out.

Since I'm a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, I turned to the SCBWI book reviewers directory, a comprehensive reliable source.  As I studied the directory, I made a list of reviewers who accepted picture books.  Next, I visited their websites to learn more about their submission policies.

Afterwards, I goggled "reviewers and picture books."  Some of these reviewers like Publisher's Weekly, The Picture Book Review, and New Pages were added those to my list.  Then, I began to fine-tune the list based on three points.  First, a reviewer could not charge a fee. Secondly, the reviewer must guarantee a timely and a fair review. Lastly, reviewers had to have updated websites.

You might think that's all there is to it.  List completed.  But there's one more step.  I learned that an author should comment on a reviewer's website.  So, once a week I read the reviewer's blogs and try to leave a comment.  This step is all about making connections. 

For now, there are about fifteen to twenty reviewers on my list.  My publisher Saturn's Moon Press will probably step in as well, because some reviewers require that the publishing house, not the author, send an advanced copy of the book for review.

Clueless?  Nervous?  Yes, but not as much as when I first started.  I'm still learning.  However, the more I read about reviewers and connect with them, the more confident I'll be when it's time to get reviews.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Official Bookmark

Drum roll please...


Introducing...

The Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show and Tell Bookmark



Making the bookmark was fun, but challenging.  I needed to think about spacing, fonts, text color, and overall design.  This took multiple trials, trying to get it just right and weighing the opinions and suggestions of my family. 

I hope the fans of The Maggie Project like the bookmark.  We hope to include it with the purchase of the book which will be released this summer.  




Monday, May 1, 2017

Timeline from Creation to Publication


Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show and Tell was conceived in 2011.  Ever since signing the book contract, I've kept a record of the steps taken to prepare for the release of Maggie.  

Below chronicles the journey of a debut picture book.   

Querying:
Wrote the first version of Maggie 2011
Edited, edited, edited and submitted from 2012 - 2015 
Shelved the manuscript for a year 2015 - 2016
Re-edited 2016
Queried late Oct. 2016

Connecting with a publisher:  Fall and Winter 2016
Received an e-mail from an interested publisher:  Nov. 3
Sent an e-mail to thank publisher:  Nov. 3
Spoke to publisher:  Nov. 10
Signed contract:  Nov. 11

Promoting: Winter and Spring 2017
Edited and embellished ending of the story:  Dec. 11
Created a bio and head shot: Dec. 11
Developed a website:  Dec. 15
Studied book signing and how to market the book: Dec. 15 - 30
Wrote two articles about rejection/publication: Jan.  5 - 18
Studied illo styles to give publisher the vision of the book: Jan. 19
Looked at three illustrator's renderings of the character Maggie:  Feb.1
Chose an illustrator*:  Feb. 6
Looked for reviewers:  Feb. 9
Read about school visits:  Feb. 13 -  17  
Created a discussion guide; reviewed the first illustrations:  Mar 1 - 30 
Published articles about Maggie in writer's magazines:  March
Designed gifts for giveaways: April
Guest blogged for other writer's blogs:  April
Had guest bloggers on  http://www.childrenswritersworld.blogspot.com Apr/May


WHEW!  There's been a lot going on!  And as we look forward to a release date this summer, there will be lots more to do.  Stay tuned to find out the next steps in preparing for the launch of Maggie.  


*I have the honor of working with the creative director in making decisions about the illustrations.  Not every publishing house follows this policy.






Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sneak Peak of Maggie


Here is a sneak peak of Maggie.  I am honored to be working with Creative Director Melissa Carrigee and illustrator Emiliano Billai.


Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show and Tell will be available this summer at Cactus Moon Publishing, Amazon, and other online retailers.




Thank you to my husband and daughter
and friends and writers for their wholehearted support. 



Saturday, April 1, 2017

Maggie and Trooper

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 book Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show and Tell one 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 owner.

Maggie
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.






Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Getting a Start on Marketing

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/    

This is what's been done:  

Developed a website (http://www.randilynnmrvos.com)
Joined Linked In
Created an email list 
Became a guest blogger   
Got featured in writer's newsletters
Invited writers to guest blog
Joined Goodreads 
Began commenting on blogs
Wrote how-to articles
Created a media alert letter

Here's what will need to get done:  

Create a business cards 
Create bookmarks
Create a testimonial page 
Create a fan page on Facebook
Work on planning book signings and school visits
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.  



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Questions about Maggie

Last December I signed a book contract for my picture book.  I'm so excited!! Friends and family are genuinely interested and have been asking me all kinds of questions about the story.

Here's a sampling of some of their questions followed by my answers:

What age is it written for?  The age group for the book is 4 - 8.

Are you going to illustrate it?  No, the publishing house will select the illustrator.

What is the title?  The working title is MAGGIE AND THE SUMMER VACATION SHOW AND TELL.

When will it be published?  The book will be published late July or August of 2017.

What's the story about:  This picture book is about an adorable dog, a poison dart frog, a set of dentures, and a little girl with a big school problem.

Can I get an autographed copy?  Of course:)

Is there a book two?  Book two is in the works.

What was your inspiration?  Six years ago I met a special dog named Charlie.  Trooper, Maggie's dog is based on this real life canine who was rescued by a friend of mine.

Do you have a question about Maggie?  Please leave a comment.



Sunday, January 1, 2017

For the Love of Maggie

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 publication.