Where Have I Been? So Much News!

Helllllllooo Everyone!

So, it’s been an ETERNITY since I’ve written a blog post, but so much has been going on! (Horray-sies!) Last we met, Mr. Cool was signed on with the wonderful Kirchoff/Wohlberg and then it was out for submission.

Well, I’m so happy to report that in January we got an offer! And I’m even MORE EXCITED to report that we signed that contract in June with POW! Books! My editor is the super awesome Sharyn Rosart (previously from Quark Books) and she’s gearing up to make Mr. Cool a reality!

Pow! is an amazing independent publisher based in Brooklyn, NY. They have two independent bookstores: powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn and powerHouse on 8th. They distribute through Random House so I’m excited to get the best of both worlds: a small publishing house that focuses directly on their clients, as well as the experience of a huge distributor. Triple Coolness! I’ve already learned a TON so far and I didn’t realize that I was so in the dark about a lot of this printing stuff…

Right now we are finishing up the art files and edits- the book is scheduled to be available in January 2015 (insert tears of joy here) and I just can’t wait for you all to get your copy. So far, I would say it’s about having a great team coming together to make the book the best it can be. I feel especially lucky to have these people on my team for my book. Let’s get to work!

Aspiring authors: Keep working, keep working! You’re almost there! (HIGH FIVES!)

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It FINALLY happened!

Ok folks- it finally happened!

After years of hard work, several manuscripts, hundreds of rejections and thousands of tears, hard work has finally paid off!

I am now a repped picture book author! I’ve been crying tears of joy for a week! (They are much better than the sad kind that comes in this business…) I’m now with Kirchoff/Wohlberg, an agency that’s represented the children’s genre (baby to YA) for over 28 years. My wonderful agent, Ron Zollshan, believed in my manuscript, Mr. Cool and after a few rewrites and edits, we’ve teamed up to take over the world! I’m super excited to share this news with all my favorite people (that’s YOU). You’ve all been instrumental in helping me in everything I do in this field.

So…know that with hard work and never giving up, someone out there WILL believe in you and your manuscript! It’s right within your grasp! Now let’s hope this baby gets sold!

Whoa! So much is going on and I’m FLIPPING OUT! (In a good way…)

Hello my beautiful peeps! I’ve missed you.

Sorry I’ve not had the chance to write on my blog in a while but things have been BIIIZZZZ-EEEEE.

Here’s a quick run-down:

1. I taught at DFWCon this year and it was super rad! Met many nice folks and pitched an agent which was super fun!

2. Came back inspired and ran a Kickstarter campaign for my newest children’s book, Mr. Cool. We needed to raise $3K and ended up raising $3,700! It was a super-intense process, but the support I was shown and the people who donated to my book really made me feel happily overwhelmed with gratitude. It was really interesting to learn what really goes into running a successful KS campaign and it was a lot harder than I thought! Kudos to all those others out there who have done the same. It’s alotta work!

3. Since then, I’ve been finding a publisher to print 100 copies of Mr. Cool to give back to the people who showed me such support on KS. The last few months have been quoting, pricing and overall FINDING the write (get it?) publisher for this book. We’re doing a completely custom-made design idea, so it’s been a very crazy process of finding those who can meet our needs and weeding out those who can’t. We’ve finally nailed down the publisher and now it’s time to put this baby into action! It’s time for Mr. Cool to be born.

4. In other news, The Harry Potter Insults book has been doing spectacularly well on Amazon and Createspace. Since December of 2012, we’ve sold about 2,000 copies which makes me flip out with joy! Thank you to all who have supported this book and spread the love!

So, all in all, it’s been an intense few months filled with positivity and support. It’s really been amazing. Choose to look at the opportunities in front of you, instead of all the negativity that can be out there, and you will see great things happening!

MUAH! I will update soon with progress on Mr. Cool!cover

I Am A DFWCon 2013 Instructor!!!

Hi all!

This year I was asked to speak about self-publishing and co-authoring at the 2013 Dallas-Fort Worth Writer’s Convention! *Does Pee-Wee Herman Bar Dance* I’m so excited! Last year, I worked very hard with Laura J. Moss to self-publish “The Unofficial Harry Potter Insults Handbook” and through diligence and persistence, showed that a agent-rejected book could sell and make money! And now my reward is to share this knowledge with others like me: those who have many ideas, who are self-starters, who are focused and ready to get their boots dirty. Because, believe me, this route isn’t an easy one.

I hope to see all you sparkly writers (not sparkly vampires) at the Con this year. There is a great line-up of wonderful agents, editors, publishers and speakers. And from my experience attending DFWCon last year, I can tell you it’s a great motivator to get your book finished- not to mention all the networking opportunities you will have!

Hope to see you there and take my classes! I would love to meet you and hear your stories!

http://www.dfwcon.org

Love, Birdy

The Harry Potter Insults book is now available in PAPERBACK!

For all of you who still like to actually hold a book (pick me! pick me!) we feel you! The Unofficial Harry Potter Insults Handbook: 101 Comebacks for the Slytherin in Your Life is now available in paperback!

Thank you for your patience as we got this book up and running on the e-book platform for Nook and Kindle.

Here is the link for the paperback version:

https://www.createspace.com/3955249
It will debut this week on Amazon.com in paperback as well, but is available immediately on Createspace’s e-store.

A side note about Createspace: I must say, they were exceptionally great to work with. I’ve never seen such an easy platform to self-pub physical books. They are fast, efficient and thorough. They even send you proofs of your paperback for a very small fee. I’m talking like, a few bucks. That’s crazy! And fabulous! As a writer who has self-pubbed “the old fashioned way,” I was seriously amazed at how simple this process has become. If you have any questions at all about the process, please let me know and I’ll try to help you as much as I can. (I’ve learned quite a lot) and sharing the love is what I live for.

So, if you’ve been rejected by an agent, DO NOT DESPAIR! Createspace is waiting patiently for your precious words!

Keep on keepin’ on!

Birdy

THE UNOFFICIAL HARRY POTTER INSULTS BOOK IS HERE!

Hello everyone!

Laura J. Moss and I have been on a very exciting venture these last few months bringing our little creation into the world!

It is now for sale on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook!
And here are the links:

Our home site: http://www.harrypotterinsults.com

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Unofficial-Potter-Insults-Handbook-ebook/dp/B008WAD59S/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1351736376&sr=8-2&keywords=harry+potter+insults

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/harry-potter-insults?keyword=harry+potter+insults&store=nookstore

If you are a Harry Potter nerd like we are, you gotta check it out! Don’t have a Nook or Kindle? Don’t fret! You can still buy the book through Amazon and Amazon will allow you to read it directly off of their site for FREE. Gotta love the times we are living in. The Harry Potter Insults Handbook: 101 Comebacks for the Slytherin in Your Life is all about learning valuable social skills using Harry Potter language. (NERD ALERT!) Harry Potter always helps with life skills. If you don’t believe me, go away now!

Here is a little description of our book:

Are you tormented in Transfiguration? Are you mocked for your muggle mum? Do you long for a Time-Turner so you can always deliver a killer comeback?

Whether you’re a N.E.W.T.-level wizard or a wide-eyed witch still awaiting your Hogwarts acceptance letter, you’ve probably encountered a merciless Malfoy or despicable Dursley who makes your magical blood boil. If you’ve ever stood speechless as someone called you a talentless squib, a worthless git or a filthy mudblood, this is the book for you!

Study these magical pages closely, and with a little Hufflepuff hard work you’ll soon brave any bully with the courage of a Gryffindor and be able to outwit even the smartest Ravenclaw or the most-cunning Slytherin!

If you would like to join our social media pages, we’d ABSOLUTELY love to have you!

Twitter (@HPcomebacks), Pinterest (pinterest.com/hpinsults/) and Tumblr (hpinsults.tumblr.com/)

Your support in this endeavor means so much to us and we appreciate you spreading the word to all those in your life who love Harry Potter!

Never stop writing and creating!

Welcome to the world of Kindle & Nook!

Hello peeps!

I’m so excited to report that I’ve been really hard at work making my book creations realities! May I finally present to you my children’s book, “Mr. Cool,” in e-book format!

For Kindle-heads: http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Cool-ebook/dp/B0093DFNQQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1348074078&sr=8-2&keywords=mr.+cool

For Nook Masters: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mr-cool-birdy-jones/1112757150?ean=2940015113792

The best part of this crazy-awesome-ness is that you don’t even need an e-book reader to get it! (Well, at least if you order the Kindle version, that is.) Amazon will give you a cloud player absolutely free to use on your home computer OR smart phone. I just love how easy it is for people to have e-books at their finger tips. It’s truly exciting!

Furthermore, I plan on having my other kids book called “Don’t Scream! I’m Just a Spider” available in a few weeks in e-book format!

The greatest news to report, however, is that my writing partner, Laura J. Moss, and I are in the final stages of our killer Harry Potter novelty book entitled, “The Unofficial Harry Potter Insults Handbook: 101 Comebacks for the Slytherin in Your Life.” It will launch next week on book Nook and Kindle platforms as well. EXCITMENT! ACCIO BOOKSALES!

As always, thank you readers, for all of your support and encouragement. We truly live in an amazing time of publishing and I can’t wait to see how it evolves. If you have any questions about this process, hit me up! I would also love to hear your self-pubbing stories, readers!

Keep kicking ass…

My Experience Self-Pubbing

Don’t Scream! I’m Just A Spider inside art.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions regarding my experience of self-publishing my two children’s books and I thought, “HEY! Why not share on my blog!” So here you go! I know there are a lot of authors out there exploring this option for their artistic creations, and I found the process to be quite fun an educational. First off, a little back story: I wanted to write a children’s book that addressed childhood fears. I’m super afraid of spiders, so I wrote a book called, “Don’t Scream! I’m Just A Spider” to help kids cope with a fear they may have. After that, I knew I had to find the right illustrator for it.

I went to college with a talented graphic designer/graffiti artist in Chicago, and we’ve been friends for a long time. Oddly enough, she had been wanting to illustrate a children’s book, I had just written one, so we teamed up under the name Mad Duo Books. Since then, we’ve finished two children’s books together. I do the writing, she does the artwork. We wanted to do a children’s book that appealed to what we called “the hipster’s kids” — one that was edgy and didn’t look like other kids’ books on the shelves. Her graffiti style really brought that to the table.

Once our little creation was completed, the ULTIMATE question popped up. Should we self-publish? In this case, the answer was a resounding YES. We found out pretty quickly from the responses we were getting back from agents that the children’s picture book market was in a big slump. No one was willing to pick it up with the current state of the genre being so slow in the retail market. We decided to do it ourselves and paid out of pocket to get it out there.

The next step was to figure out where the heck we were going to publish this thing. We sat down and made a list of companies we researched from the internet. Finally, we had a bunch of companies we wanted to consider.  A few were American-based companies, but the one we settled on happened to be Canadian. Our approach through this process was to take the quotes from all the companies we called, and then call them all BACK with the lowest quote we received to see if they would beat that price. If they did, we repeated the process until we got the lowest possible quote.  And that’s why we went with ArtBookbindery.com.

I should mention that initially we only chose publishing houses that could print the type of book we wanted (we had specific dimensions, paper choice and inks we wanted to use).  It is usually more pricey to do a children’s picture book because they are normally hard cover (so the kids won’t tear them apart) and they require the gamut of ink colors for all the artwork in the book. In the end, we went with the cheapest quote and the friendliest people that could help us complete the book the way we wanted.

After 4 weeks of waiting, we got our books in the mail. And oh, the joy! After we self-published the book, we knew we needed a marketing plan for it. We blasted it through social media and got our friends to buy the book and asked our friends to spread the word. We also hoofed around Chicago with the books in our hands and went to independent book shops and had them sell it consignment. We also attended a few book/art fairs to sell it and had a “book-signing party” where we invited people and signed the books for them in person. Finally, I did a few live readings to an audience of children to get the kids familiar with the book. After reading to the kids, I would set up a stand and sell the book to the parents.

Needless to say, it was a lot of work on our part, but we really had fun during this whole process. If you are on the fence about self-pubbing, I say GO FOR IT! See how it goes. If you have any questions, I will also be more than happy to help you out. Go get ’em tiger!