Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Official Bookmark

Drum roll please...


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.   

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.

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.