Happy 2nd Birthday Gertie!

As a former teacher, I believe that there is a lesson in most things. The lessons I have learned from Gertie Saves the Day could fill a notebook or two. Hard as it is to believe, it has been two years since Gertie Saves the Day was published. Happy 2nd Birthday Gertie! My launch date was September 8th and it was a day that changed my life for the better. It has been a both a journey and an exciting adventure. Gertie has helped me to launch my career as a children’s book author. At the time, I did not realize that there’s so much more to learn about being a children’s book author. 

Lesson #1 – Keep Writing

I have always wanted to be a children’s book author. Over the years I have written, edited, revised and submitted my stories to traditional publishers only to receive those dreaded rejection letters. I never let those rejection letters stop me from writing children’s stories. I tend to take things too personally and a rejection letter would send me into a tailspin. Here are some things to try. It is okay to be sad and to be upset when you receive a rejection letter. It is important to acknowledge your disappointment. Look for the silver lining in the letter. They are not saying that you are a bad writer, nor are they saying that your story is terrible. Most times, it is not what they are looking for at this time. It is not typical, but I have received a handwritten message at the bottom of the letter with words of encouragement to keep writing. That’s exactly what you should do. Writing is very subjective and not everyone is going to like your story, but don’t let that stop you from writing.

Lesson #2 – Find Your Writing Community 

Writing is typically a solo endeavor, but finding a community of writers that support each other can be a great source of inspiration and encouragement. Groups of writers can offer a supportive environment of like-minded people who share a passion for telling stories. A writing group is a circle of people who meet regularly to read, discuss, and critique one another’s work. Group members offer constructive feedback to help their peers improve their stories. A writing group can be an in-person gathering, or participants might convene online. I met some wonderful picture book writers who have helped me to become a stronger more confident writer. Picture book writers are the friendliest and most supportive group I have ever met. SCBWI website is one place to search for local critique groups, Facebook and even your local librarian may have some suggestions for you.

Lesson #3 – Trust Yourself

I am learning to trust myself as an author. Trust is the toughest step to success. There is always that little voice in your head telling you that your story is not good enough. I worry am I telling too much? Am I telling too little? Am I following all of the rules for writing a picture book?I am an over thinker. Overthinking can be challenging to overcome. Overthinking can affect your ability to make decisions, assess situations objectively, and the overall quality of your writing. Building confidence in your writing takes time. Be kind to yourself, focus on your strengths and find your voice that will help you bounce back from setbacks.

Lesson #4 – Competition 

Picture book writing is not a competition. When my book was first published I was concerned that I was not selling enough copies of my book. Others were selling more books. I was not selling as many. One of the lessons I have learned from Gertie Saves the Day is it is not about how many books you sell or who has a better book. Your book may be on the same topic as another, but it is your story and your story is unique. It will find the right audience. That sometimes takes longer than your think. Comparing yourself to other authors is not a great practice. Writing is a craft and the only competition should be with yourself to become a better writer.

Lesson #5 – Writing Skills 

After you launch your book there is an awkward pause. You begin to think about “What’s next?” For a year or more you have focused on your book. After the launch you start the marketing phase, which is very different from the writing, revising and editing phases. I still felt like something was missing. I was missing writing. As an author you want to improve your writing skills and the only way to do that is to write. Over the past year I have written more than 15 drafts of stories. Will they all become books, probably not, but hopefully some of them will become books. Writing is what I love to do and I have found the more I write the better my writing becomes. 

Lesson #6 – Take a Shot 

On my desk I have a hockey puck and in large gold letters it reads TAKE A SHOT! This is a lesson I incorporated into Gertie Saves the Day – “Gertie closed her eyes and took the shot.” That sums up this year. I am glad that I decide to take a shot. Gertie Saves the Day has been well received and I am proud of the fact that Gertie has won two awards. Applying for those awards is another example of taking a shot. You can reach out to schools for author visits, you can approach bookstores to carry your books, and you can learn a great deal about marketing your book and try new ideas. What is the worst thing that can happen? Someone says, “NO”, but I have found the more you say, “No”, the more you miss out on!

There you have it, a few lessons from Gertie Saves the Day. I am sure there will be more lessons to be learned this coming year. Happy 2nd Birthday Gertie!  

With gratitude …

I am so glad you’re here. Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I am grateful that I can share my writing journey with you. It is an endless journey of learning and growing. A journey that I am enjoying. 

I am now booking author visits for the 2023 -2024 school year. If you are a classroom teacher, teacher assistant, Parent Teacher Association President, or After school Director I can work with you to create a visit that will meet the needs of your students. Please contact me to book your visit. 

My website has been updates and it is now interactive. There are surprises everywhere. Click on the balloons and see where they take you. Can you find two writing videos? Freebies? A chocolate chip recipe? There’s even a special freebie to anyone who subscribes to my newsletter. Check out the resources for childrenparents and teachers, librarians and homeschooling families. 

Please consider purchasing a copy of Two Wins for Wiley or Gertie Saves the Dayfor gifts. If you are going to a baby shower, birthday party or thinking about books for summer reading. It is my wish to get as many books as I can into the hands of children. Children need to hear all kinds of stories. A book is the best gift I can think of for both children and adults!

A request … 

You can really help this author by leaving a book review on Amazon or Goodreads. You can leave a review for Gertie Saves the Day here or here. Two Wins for Wiley here or here.  Reviews can be as easy as 2-3 sentences. It should take about 30 seconds to leave and would make a huge difference for me. Need help writing a review? Click here.

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