A year of being published, 2 years on the journey.

Right after we picked up my books from Bang Printing. At that moment, I realized it was all worth it.

I published my first children’s book in May of 2018 and my second in June of 2019. I officially started my author journey spring of 2017. I literally knew NOTHING about this process. So, I like to write. I’ve written since I was a kid. I’ve always wanted to be published. I still remember that day in April 2017, when I sat down with my laptop and brainstormed a list of funny things my kids have done and thought how I would use that list to create a fun series. My first book stemmed from my then 3 year old daughter Cami sneaking treats and getting cavities at her first dentist appointment. In earlier blog posts, I wrote about my journey in detail. In this one, I’m going to make a quick list of things I’ve learned over the last couple of years. I’ll probably forget some, but my purpose is to use this list to remind myself not to get discouraged or to give up, but to keep taking the next step and to remember and be proud of how far I’ve come.

Signing books at Fitger’s Bookstore in Duluth, MN. August 2019.

So here they are (in no particular order)- the things I’ve learned how to do in the past 2 years:

  1. to create and run a wordpress blog website
  2. to find and work with an illustrator
  3. to make a storyboard
  4. use Canva to create graphics
  5. created a business facebook account
  6. set up different types of ads on FB
  7. joined instagram
  8. learned how to use hashtags
  9. to use influencers on IG
  10. just last week, I learned how to use IG stories
  11. Facebook stories
  12. 2 weeks ago, I learned I can convert excel docs to google sheets, since I have an Apple and was having trouble with Numbers
  13. How to post on IG from my laptop (just learned last week)
  14. Created a sell sheet for my books
  15. created a wholesale order form
  16. created a school visit order form
  17. how to list my books on Amazon
  18. how to send my books to Amazon
  19. to use keywords to create ads on Amazon
  20. to find and use different editors and beta readers for my rough drafts
  21. that a book cover is pretty much the most important part of a children’s book
  22. to become a risk taker
  23. opened a business checking account and how to bank from my phone
  24. how to run a kickstarter campaign to raise money to publish my books (this is a BIG one- read this post to see how I did that)
  25. to make decisions about printing: paper type, cover type, number of pages, binding type, shape of book etc.
  26. how to run a Book Bub and Fussy Librarian promo for my books
  27. how to run a free kindle promotion
  28. I created e-book versions of both of my books and uploaded them to Amazon
  29. how to embed links in these posts, on kickstarter etc!
  30. how to use mailchimp for website subscribers
  31. to create and send emails to my subscribers
  32. started my business email
  33. paypal
  34. use square on my phone to take orders
  35. used different printing companies to create bookmarks, stickers, tablecloth runner etc
  36. how to find an audience for my books
  37. using KDP Rocket to help find keywords, categories etc
  38. Using google docs to share my rough drafts with beta readers and editors
  39. finding and participating in vendor events
  40. how to participate in a TV interview
  41. use Google slides to create a slideshow for school visits
  42. how to purchase and use IBSN’s and bar codes for my books
  43. copyright my books
  44. what to say on the copyright page
  45. finding the right people to help with things I’m not good at: designing a logo, the illustrations, editing, marketing etc.
My first school visit ever- May, 2018.
Some of the stores that sell my books.
More stores that sell my books.
My first daycare visit. So much fun!
I love hosting library storytimes too!
Many of my second graders from last year (2019) supported me by buying my new book!
On WCCO for the second time!

The most important things I’ve learned:

  1. To ask for help
  2. If I don’t feel confident, at least act like I am.
  3. Research- there’s always someone out there who knows how to do it!
  4. Be friendly- introduce myself, say I’m the author, ask if people want to see my book.
  5. Try to balance my time (HARD and still in progress!).
  6. Share what I’ve learned with others.
  7. I can’t control everything, especially Amazon!
  8. Be patient! (does NOT come naturally to me)
  9. Push myself out of my comfort zone and sell my books!

***I’m sure I’m forgetting MANY things and I will need to add to this list, but that’s the beauty of pushing yourself into a new journey- you’re always learning new things. It keeps you going, motivated, happy, fulfilled and excited! What’s your dream? Are you living it? I’ve always wanted to be a wife, mother, teacher and author and now, because of a TON of hard work, encouragement and courage, I’m lucky and blessed enough to be living those dreams. You can do it too!

My family, friends and supporters- wouldn’t be where I am today without them!
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