So, the coolest thing about this author gig so far? Connecting with other writers!
Meet Annie Sorensen. Her mom works with my MIL and we recently began emailing back and forth. It didn’t take long for us to realize how much we have in common, and form a ‘virtual’ friendship! While I hope to one day meet Annie IRL, I’ve been so happy to communicate with someone who is just as new to this self-publishing world as I am.
Annie published her first children’s book last month. A BOY NAMED LOVE is the sweet story about a young boy who comes to the realization that it’s okay to be different. The illustrations are groovy (yes, groovy!) and the message is inspiring.
Check out my Q&A with Annie below:
Annie Sorensen Q&A
Q: What was the inspiration for A Boy Named Love?
A: This is going to sound ridiculous, but I came up with the general outline for Love while in the shower! The whole thing popped into my head all at once. Like a lot of writers, I have a very active voice in my head that’s constantly babbling on and on. When the Love outline came through, I got awesome instead of lazy and actually recorded it. Several months passed before I reviewed it again. I realized that a children’s book about embracing your true self might be something readers would be interested in, especially now that bullying seems so prevalent (or broadcasted, or both) in schools.
Q: What was the most challenging thing you encountered when it came to publishing A Boy Named Love?
A: My biggest challenge was overcoming my fear of making the wrong decisions. I self-published the book, so every, single choice was mine to make. Should I use this cover design or that one? Will readers be able to read this font better than that one? Will black read better than blue? Are the colors in this image annoying to the eye? Should I write a dedication? An acknowledgements section? What content should I put on the back cover? What type of content should my Amazon blurb include to help reader’s take the plunge in purchasing the book? Should I price it higher to increase profits or lower to increase sales? Should I buy my own ISBN’s or use Amazon’s? Ahhhh the decisions were endless. And I had no publishing team to fall back on. Some of the decisions I would debate endlessly, then others I would just tire of thinking about and make a quick choice. In the end, I had to keep moving forward in spite of my fear. A good friend once told me that instead of trying to be fearless, simply fear less so that you can keep moving forward, especially when what you want (a published book!) is waiting for you at the end of the path.
Q: What children’s author do you look up to? Why?
A: Mo Willems (Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, the Elephant & Piggie series, etc). His creativity in writing simple books that are funny and effective is aspiring. I get the impression that the words Mo does not use in his books are just as carefully selected as the words he does. You know what I mean? I also love everything by Patrick McDonnell. His books aren’t afraid to take huge life lessons (Ex: The gift of your time and attention is the most important gift you can ever give to someone!) and package them into beautiful, simply illustrated little children’s book gems. Finally, John Grisham. He obviously writes mostly for adults, but he is so disciplined with his writing, I once read. He keeps defined office hours. Every January 1st and July 1st he starts a new book, apparently. Amazing! I strive to be that dedicated someday.
Q: What were your favorite children’s books growing up?
A: I loved Berenstain Bears, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and anything by Shel Silverstein.
Q: What do you love most about writing?
A: It satiates my need for creativity. And, some days, it provides a confidence boost. If I’m emotional, stressed, or just having a down day, sitting down to write, even when I don’t have a clue what I want to write about, always makes me feel better. For me, writing begets more writing. The more I write, the more great stuff my inner voice churns out, and the more I try to get recorded before it vanishes from my head. I feel productive when I actually listen to that voice! And that feeling carries over into other areas of my day-to-day life. I just wrote a great blog post, I bet I can tackle a homemade meal and cleaning out my Inbox, too! Mua ha ha ha haaa! Also, I’m a stay at home mom of two littles, and writing is my outlet. (I love home decor, too, for a creative outlet, but writing is free and home decor tends to stray way off the free path. Ha!) I tend to be Type A in most other areas of my life, so allowing my creative spirit to run wild, even for just a few minutes a day, makes me happy.