How I Became an Award-Winning Children’s Author
by Mark Pichora
Like many first-time authors out there, I knew almost nothing about the publishing process when I started out. I had no contacts, no references, and no prior knowledge about the publishing industry. I only had my precious manuscript. It was a great one, of course - a manuscript that would soon transform into a beautifully bound book and start flying off the shelves in only a few short weeks! Right?
Well, as it turns out, there is a bit more to it than that. It’s hard to rein in the excitement of finally publishing your book, but patience pays. No matter how beautiful and captivating your words are, there are always ways to make your story better. With 2,000-3,000 titles being published every day in the US alone, it’s well worth the investment to make your work the best it can be. Editing, layout, packaging and promotion are essential to making your book stand out, and to maximize its potential for success.
FriesenPress helped me with that. I admit that it tested my patience to walk (and not run), through the process, but it was definitely worth it. Each round of editing enriched the story. Each tweak to the layout made it more visually appealing and polished as a product. And finally, if your goal is to maximize sales, taking the time to think about your Book Promotion Plan is essential. Even if you’ve written the best book in the universe, it will not succeed if it isn’t seen. On the flipside, there are some pretty lousy books out there that sell well purely due to marketing.
From my very first call with FriesenPress, I was impressed. I had three main contacts through the various phases of publication - Debbie, Vanessa, and James. Debbie was my Publishing Consultant, who helped get me started. She looked at my goals, timelines, etc, and helped me to identify the services that I would need to successfully launch my book. Vanessa was my Author Account Manager, who represented me through editing and layout, right up until publication. And, last, but not least, James, my Book Promotion Specialist, who walked me through the various options and avenues of book promotion. There are many ways to promote a book, some free, others not, and his expertise was crucial in weighing those options and building my own marketing plan.
Now, months after publication, I can start to look back and see proof that I made the right choice in choosing FriesenPress as a publishing partner. I’ve been thrilled and honored to have hit a few very exciting milestones by working the Promotion Plan that FriesenPress helped me to develop!
First, back in June, I got my review back from Kirkus Reviews. It was a terrifying moment. This was one of those “not free” approaches to book promotion, and Kirkus is a big name with a reputation for being difficult to please, so there was a lot at stake and I was very stressed about how it might turn out. Then I read the review, and I did a double take. Not only was it entirely positive, but it was also a starred review! Only about 2% of their indie book submissions get the esteemed Kirkus star, so I was ecstatic! Then, in October, they proceeded to tell me that my story had also been selected for their “Best Books of 2016” list, so by that point I was completely over the moon.
On another front, I had also been doing in-store signings at various Chapters-Indigo locations around Montreal and Toronto, and the staff were raving about my book, which was very reassuring. They were also visibly impressed by the sales numbers at each event, as if they hadn’t seen anything like it before. Finally, in November, the chain started carrying my book at 18 locations in the region, which is very exciting!
Now, I’m not sharing all of this just to toot my own horn. The fact is that I wouldn’t have made it this far without my team at FriesenPress and their professional touch. So, thank you, FriesenPress! You were a much-needed guide in uncharted territory, and I am looking forward to working with you again on my next book!
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