Today, AuthorHouse Author’s Digest presents the conclusion of our interview with self-published writer Margi Smith. For our final installment, we turn things over to Margi to talk about… well, anything she wants to talk about.
Check out the Author Blogs section of this site to read the previous parts of this discussion.
So without further ado, some final words with Margi Smith:
It was scary to take the first step of putting my work out in the world but I knew it was something I always wanted to try. Stories and reading have always been a centering party of my life. I grew up being read to by my mom every night, and when I visited my grandparents, my Grammy would read to me by the fireplace at night and my Papa would take me on hikes through the woods and tell me all kinds of stories. When we had our own children, my husband and I had a nightly routine of reading to our girls and my husband would make up stories and tell the girls adventures of these wonderful characters.
The first step was followed by many little baby steps in learning how to get a story to come to life between the covers of a book. I tried sending my stories to agents and publishing houses and got back many very nice “thanks but no thanks at this time” letters. I learned that in itself was an accomplishment and tried to look at it from that angle. I submitted writing for contests at Highlights Magazine and sent the first 500 words of a story to a children’s editor for review, which was very helpful. I joined SCWBI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), attending their workshops and meeting other aspiring and successful children’s authors.
I volunteered at the Boston Book Festival and attended several author readings, giving myself the chance to talk directly to someone who had gone through the publishing journey. I took a workshop on writing a query letter and researched what agents and publishing houses were looking for. I sought out those publishing houses that were in the children’s book publishing field, researching on their sites the editors and reviewers of stories that fit the category I was writing in.
After learning as much as I could about the business side, I realized that I was ready to get my story out in the world to readers and that it might just have to be me that made that happen. After all, there are only so many titles that a finite number of publishing houses put out every year, and if I was lucky enough to get their attention, I would have to surrender to one of their illustrators. This particular project was one that already had a wonderful illustrator and I wanted to keep control over the look and feel of this project at this time.
So I interviewed two self-publishing houses: AuthorRight out of the UK and AuthorHouse out of Indianapolis, and decided to take the leap one January afternoon as I was making my New Years Resolutions. AuthorHouse got the call and they were amazing at setting me up with a whole team of experts. I now had a team behind me that really helped to keep me on track with my deadlines and provide the knowledge and manpower to get me this far today.
My first book was published in August of this year and they have continued to call, check in, and help with the marketing elements of the process. Make no mistake, a self-published author still must do the leg work of getting out there to promote their work, although having the support and know-how that AuthorHouse brings to the table helps make it happen.
Thank you for your time, Margi. We’ve enjoyed having you as our guest here at Author’s Digest, and we look forward to your next project! Margi’s book, Sometimes I Feel Blue, is available in the AuthorHouse Bookstore.