This post contains a shameless plug for my new children’s picture book…
What’s cuter than kitties in bunny costumes?
Post your favorite bunny picture on my Facebook page, and you are entered to win a free hard cover book and the audio book CD (US residents).
Meanwhile, the real Easter bunny will be kissing winter good-bye…hello razors!
Posted by Michelle R. Eastman in absolutely agggie, dust fairy tales, Dust Fairy Tales: Absolutely Aggie, freebie, giveaway, Michelle Eastman, new author, new release, Uncategorized, writing for kids Tags: #kidlit, bedtime stories, book promotion, children's book, children's literature, children's picture book, fairy tale, freebie, giveaway, kids' books, picture book
MARCHing Books to Kids is underway! Throughout the month of March, I am reaching out to all of the book lovers, reviewers, bloggers, and authors who’d like to help get quality books into the hands of deserving kids. Happily ever after starts with one book and one child…
Last year, I started the literacy initiative, “MARCHing Books to Kids” to raise awareness and collect books for children of incarcerated parents. I was delighted to have authors and lit lovers from all over the world support this cause. In fact, we received books from generous people in 11 different states and 4 countries! I hope this year will be just as great! The feedback from the participating families was incredible. They were especially touched that authors signed books for their children. That was a new experience for most of the families.
According to Reading is Fundamental (RIF), Nearly two-thirds of low-income families in the U.S. DO NOT own books. That is just plain wrong. But, we can help fix it.
I believe that every child’s Bill of Rights should be indelibly inked with the right to have picture books read to him/her and to own their very own books. Many of us take for granted the sacred ritual of cracking open a picture book, and cuddling together while the words and pictures collectively take us away. You can probably recall having been read to by your parents or caregivers. You likely hold a special picture book, from your childhood, close to your heart. And, until now, you’ve probably not given much thought to how profound that experience can be.
Imagine, never having that.
I CAN imagine a child, growing up, never knowing the power of a picture book. I WAS that child. I DO want to lead the charge to ink “Picture Book” on every child’s Bill of Rights. I’m a mom, teacher, and children’s author who believes, passionately, that we should never, ever, underestimate the power of a picture book.
I celebrate the power of the picture book through my Picture Book Pass it On (#PBPiO) project where I share literacy information and resources and encourage people to donate books to kids in need.
Throughout the month of March I invite you to participate in a special initiative called “MARCHing Books to Kids”. Book lovers can donate a favorite children’s book, and we invite children’s authors to donate signed copies of their books to the Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.
The Storybook Project recruits, screens and trains volunteers to work with incarcerated parents and/or grandparents at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women (ICIW) in Mitchellville, Iowa and the Newton Correctional Release Center (CNRC) in Newton, Iowa. Once per month, volunteers work with the mother, grandmother or father. The parent/grandparent and volunteer choose a book from the Storybook library that is appropriate for the child. The parent or grandparent reads the book while the volunteer records the reading onto a digital voice recorder. The book and CD are mailed to the child.
To participate in MARCHing Books to Kids, please follow the 3 calls to action:
#1 Pledge to donate a new picture book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project. Authors are invited to sign their books. We accept books for kids birth-17 years of age, so the sky is the limit!
Books may be mailed or sent via Amazon to:
VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project
c/o Tabby Kuehl (MARCHing Books to Kids)
1111 9th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50314
Share it on your blog and on social media. Please include our badge (see below) and #PBPiO, and #MARCHingBookstoKids.
#3 Pass it on. When you post about your pledge, challenge one or more friends to join your #PBPiO giving chain. Encourage them to take the pledge and keep passing it on…
If distance prohibits your ability to mail books to the Storybook Project. Please consider donating books to children in need in your own community. Oh, and be sure to share your giving story on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO We love to see how books are reaching kids all over the globe.
Please feel free to contact me at www.michelleeastmanbooks.com
I appreciate your help spreading the word! Please share on your blogs and social media. Thank you for making the difference in the lives of children and families!
Posted by Michelle R. Eastman in #MARCHingBookstoKids, #PBPiO, authors giving back, charity, families, helping, https://www.facebook.com/PBPiO, kidlit, kids in need, Literacy, Michelle Eastman, Picture Book Pass it On, poverty, reading Tags: #kidlit, #PBPiO, author, children's book, children's literature, children's picture book, early literacy, kids in need, kids' books, picture book
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,800 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.
To say the past year has been a whirlwind would be an understatement.
I self-published my first children’s picture book around this time in 2014. Aside from my first year teaching, I have never worked so hard, or felt more inept. But, in both cases, I was determined to learn what I needed to know in order to be successful.
I set out to learn the best way to publish my book, but I gained much more than that. I started this blog, fumbled my way around Twitter and a few other social sites, and met a lot of truly wonderful people along the way.
Success is a relative term. And, for me, it has been a dichotomy. I have enjoyed many successful moments. But, for whatever reason, I still beat myself up about my shortcomings (not sure if that is an indie author thing or just an all-around author thing).
They say success breeds success, and despite my attempts to sabotage my own, I’ve managed to publish a second children’s book. I was blessed to work with the same illustrator on what we both feel is our best work to date.
I’ll host the book launch party for my second book tomorrow. And, I’ll also celebrate the one-year anniversary of the book that started me on this wild and winding path.
To mark the event, I am offering both books for $.99 on Kindle from December 4-11.
I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to all of my online friends and colleagues. Being part of this community has definitely been one of the best aspects of becoming an author.
I wish each of you joy in the things you love to do. I’d love to hear about your experiences. Please feel free to leave a reply about your joyful moments.
Here are some of the moments that have brought me joy:
Posted by Michelle R. Eastman in absolutely agggie, author, blogging, dust fairy tales, giveaway, indie author, kidlit, Michelle Eastman, new author, new release, Self-Publishing, The Legend of Dust Bunnies: a fairy's tale, Uncategorized, writing for kids Tags: #kidlit, author, blogging, book birthday, children's book, children's literature, children's picture book, dust fairy tales, legend of dust bunnies, michelle eastman, picture book
I have followed New York Media Works Kid Lit TV since I began the journey to publish my first children’s book. Their site is a wealth of information, inspiration, and support for the kid lit community. Imagine my delight when I was “picked” to be this month’s Featured Member. I was interviewed by kid lit champion Katya Szewczuk. You should really check her out on her many social media sites. She is a dynamo!
We discuss the importance of reading picture books to older children as well as how we can all take action to get books to kids in need. http://kidlit.tv/2015/11/featured-member-michelle-eastman-pbpio/
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
Posted by Michelle R. Eastman in #PBPiO, author, authors giving back, interview, Kid Lit TV, kidlit, Michelle Eastman, new author, Picture Book Pass it On, writing for kids Tags: katya szewczuk, KId Lit TV, michelle eastman books, new yourk media works
Traveling the indie publishing road can be a daunting and lonely journey. For the novice, there are plenty of opportunities to take a wrong turn, stumble, or lose sight of your destination. The entire experience practically begs you to throw yourself an occasional Pity Party, or two, or three.
I have hosted some killer woe-is-me celebrations. Instead of a hangover, these blow outs always leave me in a funk. My last, and most impressive, fete was a month-long celebration after the rush of my book launch abruptly came to a halt. I won’t liken it to post-par tum depression (not out loud anyway), but it was pretty miserable.
Everything leading up to the launch of my book was exhilarating. I had the launch party to plan, books to order, swag to buy. The launch party was a huge success. I sold hundreds of books that month and scheduled a handful of author visits. I received scads of 5-star reviews, and my book was featured on a few blogs. People were buzzing about my book, and I was on cloud nine. Then…crickets. Nothing happened. I went from living and breathing my book to staring at a pile of them. Cue the Pity-Party music and back-up dancers.
Gloom and Doom became my BFF’s. I beat myself up for not selling more books. I couldn’t think of anything to write. And, to make matters worse, I had spent a lot of money on self-publishing a book I was sure would never again see the light of day.
Since I couldn’t write, I read. I went to the library. I started reading picture books again. I found solace in the kid lit community. I read blog posts and articles, tweets and memes.
One of the articles I stumbled upon helped me kick those heifers, Gloom and Doom, to the curb.
The author’s message helped me alter how I perceive my success and allow myself to appreciate the little moments as much as the big ones. That paradigm shift removed a huge roadblock in my writing career-a roadblock constructed by me.
My Pity-Parties are now (mostly) Pinch-Me Parties.
Instead of complaining that only 5 people showed up at my Barnes and Noble author event, I pinch myself. I look around and think, “OMG! My book is on the shelf at Barnes and Noble!” Rather than beating myself up that my online sales are not in the thousands, I take pride knowing a book I wrote is in the hands of hundreds of people around the world.
Not that I’m a masochist, but I kind of like this whole pinching thing. It seems the more I do it, the more “pinch able” moments come my way. My book is on the shelves of several book stores and libraries (pinch). I’ve been interviewed by our local TV and newspaper (pinch, pinch). The Horn Book Magazine reviewed a collection of indie books for the first time in the history of the magazine, and my book was included (bad pinch on that one-Roger Sutton is not a fairy fan). School children in the UK chose to dress up as Dust Fairies (complete with matching dust bunny dolls) for World Book Day (pinch). My book has been a #1 Kindle on Amazon (pinch). I started a successful literacy initiative, and we’ve collected more than 300 books for children of incarcerated parents (pinch).
But, the best “pinches” by far, are all of the incredibly kind, gifted, generous people I have met on this journey. Thanks for your inspiration, humor, and support.
I love hearing from you. Tell me your best pity or pinch party story!
Here’s my original blog post from last December:
I am a writer. I have met a lot of writers. Most of us are very hard on ourselves. Working in solitude affords us the time to self-reflect, which often leads to self-loathing. For many of us, our goals start small…finish a novel, get a book published, get a review, etc. Unfortunately, rather than savoring the small fruits of our labor, we are compelled to reach for the next branch. This New York Times article is a fitting reminder that those clusters of fruit, we take for granted, are a delicacy some will never taste.
As the Eagles proclaimed, “…Now it seems to me, some fine things
Have been laid upon your table
But you only want the ones that you can’t get
Don’t quit your day dream. Pull up a chair, heap your plate full, and enjoy your fruit-no matter how small.
By HARLAN COBENNOV. 28, 2014
RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — THANKSGIVING weekend in 1990, I spent two hours at the loneliest place in the world for an obscure novelist — the book-signing table at a Waldenbooks in a suburban New Jersey mall.
I sat at the table smiling like a game show host. Store patrons scurried past me, doing all they could to avoid eye contact. I kept smiling. I straightened out my pile of free bookmarks for the umpteenth time, though so far none had been taken. I played with my pen. Authors at signings like this get good at playing with their pens. I pushed it to and fro. I curled my upper lip around the pen and made it into a makeshift mustache. I clipped it to my lower lip, pinching said lip in an almost masochistic way, and was able to click the pen open by moving my jaw and pressing it against my nose. You can’t teach that skill, by the way. Practice. At one point, I took out a second pen, rolled up a spitball, and then let the two pens play hockey against each other. The Rollerball beat the Sharpie in overtime.
During the first hour of my signing, a grand total of four people approached me. Two asked me where the bathroom was. The third explained his conspiracy theory linking the J.F.K. assassination with the decision by General Mills to add Crunch Berries to Cap’n Crunch breakfast cereal. The fourth asked me if we had a copy of the new Stephen King.
I kept smiling. Four copies of my brand-spanking-new first novel — Waldenbooks knew not to order too many — stood limply on the shelf behind me. I missed the Barcalounger in my den. I longed for home and hearth, for stuffing my face with leftover turkey, for half-watching football games in which I had no rooting interest. Instead I slow-baked under the fluorescent Waldenbooks lights, the Early Hipster booksellers glaring at me as though I was some kind of pedantic squatter. I had become the literary equivalent of a poster child — “you could buy his book or you could turn the page …”
Time didn’t just pass slowly. It seemed to be moonwalking backward.
Then, with maybe 15 minutes left before I could scrape up the scraps of my dignity and head home, an old man shuffled toward me. He wiped his nose with what I hoped was a beige hankie. His eyes were runny. Odds were this was going to be a where’s-the-bathroom question, but this guy had all the makings of another conspiracy theorist.
The old man’s gaze drifted over my shoulder. “What’s that like?”
“That’s your novel, right?”
He gestured at the four books on the shelf behind me.
“Right,” I said.
He shook his head in awe. “That’s my dream, man. Seeing my book on a shelf in a bookstore.” He lowered his gaze and met my eye. “So what’s that like?”
I paused, letting the question sink in, but before I could reply, the old man lifted his eyes back to the bookshelf, smiled, and shook his head again. “Lucky,” he said, before turning and walking away.
He didn’t buy a book. He didn’t have to.
Posted by Michelle R. Eastman in amwriting, authors giving back, blogging, indie author, kidlit, Michelle Eastman, Self-Publishing, writers' blues Tags: #1 book, #booknerd, #kidlit, amazon, amwriting, appreciation, author, author support, bestseller, blessed, blogging, book sales, boys' books, children's authors, children's literature, christian, fables, families, favorite bedtime stories, fiction, generosity, grateful, kids' books, kindle, legends, preschool, read aloud, rhyming, self-publishing indie author, top picture book
WARNING-Shameless Plug to follow…
I’m celebrating the 6 month birthday of my first published children’s book. The whole experience has been more than a bit surreal. I never dreamed I’d see my self-published book on the shelves of libraries and bookstores, let alone that people would ask me to sign copies. I also never thought I’d come up with another idea for a book. But, Kevin Richter and I are currently working on book #2 in what has now become a series of Dust Fairy books. Needless to say, I am blessed.
The star of our newest book is Absolutely Aggie. She longs to join the fairy band, but she is too loud, too bold, and just too much for the more dainty fairies in the group. Aggie follows her heart, and she eventually discovers you don’t have to be perfect to find your perfect fit. You can read the latest Dust Fairy updates on Facebook.
I’m also blessed to enjoy the company of my awesome blogging buddies. Your support and encouragement means a lot to me.
So, here comes the plug.
In honor of the 6 month anniversary of my book, I am offering the Kindle version for 99 cents for 6 days. If you enjoy picture books with colorful pictures and subtle, yet sincere take-away messages, you won’t be disappointed in The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale.
Thanks to Chris, The Story Reading Ape for pointing out that I previously did not include the Amazon link. Be sure to check out his blog. It’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for Indie authors! He is amazingly generous (not sure he’ll let you eat his dishes, though).
Here is the US Amazon link to get your .99 cent Kindle book:
The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NT6MXM0/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_awdm_KZKvvb1XC9JFF via @amazon
Here’s a preview of the book I created using Animoto:
Are you celebrating something special? I’d love to hear about it. Don’t be shy, leave a reply!
Posted by Michelle R. Eastman in amwriting, blogging, book marketing, fairies, families, indie author, Kevin Richter, Michelle Eastman, Self-Publishing, writing for kids Tags: #booknerd, #kidlit, 99 cents, a Fairy's Tale, amazon, author, bedtime stories, bestseller, book birthday, book marketing, book promotion, children's authors, children's book, children's literature, indie author, kids' books, kindle, picture book, self-publishing indie author, writing for kids