Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's Summer. Let's Read with 5 Indie-Debut Authors

This has been a super fun and exciting summer series, and ending it with these five fabulous debut authors has made it even more special. Thanks, wonderful writers and great good luck with your books. Aik, if you'll contact Donna McDine with your address YOU, my dear, get the SWAG.

Welcome to the final post in this Debut series. 
 Indie-Debut 2010 is a group of debut children’s authors who've joined together to spread the word about their books, all of which hail from small presses. At a time when the book world continues to struggle economically, there are many small publishers redefining the business. Business Week reports, "Without the marketing muscle or resources of the large houses, small publishers have innovated in order to successfully bring their authors to market.” The idea of Indie-Debut 2010 was to form a group to exercise that “marketing muscle” together, combining efforts and sharing resources and experiences.

Indie-Debut 2010 books are being published by a spectrum of small presses from across America and range from picture books to middle grade to young adult. Five Indie Debut authors are featured here:

This is a long post, but oh so worth it!

Lori’s The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade
ages 4-8
Dragonfly Publishers

Available at Amazon
Lori Calabrese is an award-winning children’s author. Her first picture book, The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade, was named Dragonfly Publishing Inc.’s 2009 Best Children’s Book. She writes for various children’s magazines, is the National Children’s Books Examiner at, and enjoys sharing her passion for children’s books at festivals, schools and events. Visit her WEBSITE to learn more.


Danika’s fantasy adventure Brigitta of the White Forest
ages 8-12
en theos press
Available at Amazon.

Danika's WEBSITE
Danika Dinsmore has been working and playing with children in a variety of settings for eighteen years. She co-created Washington State’s first youth poetry slam and developed a curriculum guide for teaching poetry. She also produced the Seattle Poetry Festival’s Emerging Voice spokenword program for teens. She has worked as an artist-in-the-schools for Learning Through the Arts and teaches writing courses at Vancouver Film School, Capilano University, and Creative Writing for Children. Brigitta of the White Forest is her first novel, adapted from her original feature screenplay of the same name.

Donna’s The Golden Pathway
ages 9-12
Guardian Angel Publishing
Donna McDine is an award-winning children's author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions. Donna’s stories have been published in many print and online publications, and her first book, The Golden Pathway, will be published through Guardian Angel Publishing as well as her second book, The Hockey Agony. Ms. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, Musing Our Children, and The National Writing for Children Center. Sign the GUESTBOOK ON HER WEBSITE and you’ll receive a FREE e-Book Write What Inspires You.

Jo’s Connection
Young Adult
Jupiter Gardens, Publisher

Jo Ramsey is a former teacher and current "paperwork person" who has been writing since age five. She has many manuscripts for teenagers sitting in a filing cabinet, and hopes to someday see them published. Connection is Jo's first published YA novel, and books 2 and 3 in the series will be released in October 2010 and March 2011 respectively. She also writes romance under a pen name. Jo lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, her amazingly supportive husband, and two cats, one of whom occasionally tries to help her write.


Beth’s In My Bath and A Wish and a Prayer
Ages 2-6
4RV Publishing
In My Bath on Amazon & B&N 

A Wish and a Prayer on Amazon
Beth Bence Reinke is an author and registered dietitian from Pennsylvania. In addition to children’s books, she writes magazine articles about food and nutrition. Beth loves to read and runs the library at her church. For fun, she enjoys watching NASCAR races and football games. You can visit her at her  WEBSITE.

Their Advice

What’s the most memorable thing about your journey to publication?

Lori: The most memorable thing about my journey to publication is when my editor, Pat Gaines, called me to say my book had been awarded DFP's 2009 Best Children's Book Award. Needless to say, it was very rewarding!

Danika: I think it was working with my focus group of young readers at Puget Sound Community School before the final edit of the book. To sit with the kids and discuss the book was surreal. The fact that they really enjoyed it made all the hard work worthwhile.

Donna: The day my daughters’ chimed in unison, “Our mom is a children’s author.” With their quick interjection of the same exact words you would have thought they rehearsed this. To get recognition by my two daughters’ in such a manner and learning they see me much more than “just their mom” makes me walk lighter and beam with delight. So yes, this is my most memorable moment to date.

Jo: The most memorable thing would be the day I got the "Yes, I love this book and I want to publish it" from Jupiter Gardens.

Beth: It has been a joy to see my books come to life through the illustrations of  Ginger Nielson – she does beautiful work. Ginger also made promotional pages and trailers for  In My Bath and A Wish and a Prayer.

What was the most challenging?

Lori: I think the most challenging thing about my journey to publication was the editing process and making sure that The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade turned out to be the best book it could be.

Danika: Having patience during the pre-publication process. The launch was postponed once and it was sheer torture.  Although, I only had to wait about a year for publication. I know authors who wait 2 or more. Going over the manuscript again and again with the copy editor was tedious, but in the end, well worth it!

Donna: To write first thing in the morning before checking email, laundry, dishes, etc. I've been doing this for a while now and it has become a great habit. Now that we are on summer vacation, I've been getting up earlier than the girls to get my writing/marketing in for the day.

Jo: Revising Connection to meet the publisher's standards. The story was good, but there were things that needed to be fixed and things that she wanted changed, and some days I felt like I'd wind up bald from pulling my hair out over her suggestions. In the long run, though, her requests made it a stronger story.

Beth: For me, the hardest thing has been learning to market my books. As writers, we’re not trained in promotion, so we have to learn on the fly - by reading articles, networking with other authors and through trial-and-error.

Anything amusing / funny happen along the way?

Lori: I don't know if I'd call it funny, but I realized how buggy one's eyes can get when you're on the computer for so long!

Danika: After the book was published I taught an Imaginary Worlds class. One student borrowed a copy of my book and another student bought one. Two days later they were basically competing with their knowledge of Brigitta’s world and kept pointing things out that I didn’t even remember about the story.

Donna: While conducting a school visit at my fraternal twin sister’s school she introduced me as her twin sister the children’s author and the students jaws dropped. They started hollering saying no way, you look absolutely nothing alike. Prove it. They wouldn’t take answering the same questions privately stating we probably set them up. So we had to call our mother and put her on the speaker phone. They then believed us.

Jo: Nothing funny happened on the way to publication. However, now that I am published, Connection was put on my town high school's required summer reading list this year. All 550 students have to read it. I've had a running, rather humorous debate with one of those students for the past few months, because she claims she shouldn't have to read it. Of course, she's my she's already read it.

What’s something you suggest debut authors should avoid?

Lori: Writers should avoid the fear of rejection. It's part of the game, every writer deals with it, and the way I see, it, Hey, at least they're getting back to you!

Danika: Getting published is a very humbling experience if you are an unknown author. After all your friends and family buy copies of your book, you have to convince complete strangers to purchase it! Try not to be hard on yourself. It’s a tough haul. There is really no such thing as an overnight success. Keep on putting yourself out there and stay positive. I always say, I’m selling one book at a time!

Donna: Don’t get wrapped up in comparing yourself to other writers. Just write and your true authenticate voice will spill from the pages.

Jo: I'd recommend people avoid any path to publication that seems too quick and easy. As I've often heard quoted, money should flow *to* the author; in other words, you should never have to pay to be published. If your stuff is good enough, a publisher will pay you. If
you're getting rejections, then taking time to improve your craft and getting help from other authors is better than spending money just to be able to hold a book in your hands.

Beth: When you get an acceptance from a reputable small publisher, celebrate it! No matter what anyone else insinuates, don’t think your books are not as good because they don’t come from a “big” publisher. Small presses get lots of submissions and your book has to be good in order to make it out of their slush pile, too.  

Their Swag
Includes books Brigitta of the White Forest and The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade, a tote bag for The Golden Pathway, and magnets with cover art from Connection and its sequel Filtration System. 

To win: 
* Follow the Write Game if you haven't already for 1 point.
* Tweet @1 point each Tweet. Be sure to tell us in your comment(s) when you Tweet so we can give you your point(s)
* Mention us on Facebook and tell us you did (1 point).
* Leave a pithy comment or two for 1 point each comment--there are 5 authors, so you can comment on each one if you like. They'd love to hear from you. Me too! Get the most points and WIN!

Debuting in 2011? There are already several authors slated to begin Indie Debut 2011! E-mail lori.calabrese AT yahoo DOT com to find out more information.


  1. Thanks for the advice, yes, it was worth reading...

  2. Thank you so much for hosting all of us today, Lee. We appreciate you!

    Beth :o)

  3. Love meeting new authors! Thanks, Lee!

  4. Thank you so much for hosting us!

  5. Lee...thanks for hosting us today.

    Carole and Lisa...thank you for stopping by today.

    Best wishes,

  6. It's great to have you all here. And thanks, readers, for the comments.

  7. WOW! I'm going to have to look at your older posts for the other authors. Thanks Lee, good job.

  8. Congratulations on your books, ladies. I enjoyed reading your experiences with your publishing careers. Best of luck to all of you. :)

  9. Thank you so much for hosting us! It's great to have my Indie Debut community. When others join in to support us it's well appreciated.

    For all you emerging writers - find your community and go for it!

  10. It's so wonderful to see children's books from independent presses. Also, it's good to see my friends here.:) I enjoyed meeting the new authors, Jo and Danika and hope to learn more about their books.:)

    I like the advice not to worry about rejections and really should follow that advice myself.:)

  11. Congratulations on your new book, Donna!! I'm very excited for you!!!

  12. Thanks, lionmother!

    It is much easier to tell others not to stress about rejections, but after a while, it becomes easier to handle them. Just keep striving to improve your work each round.

  13. Bish, Beverly, and Barbara:

    Thank you for visiting and commenting on our interview. It's been a pleasure visiting.

    Best wishes to you all,

  14. Thanks for all of the kind comments, ladies! And thanks for hosting us, Lee!

    All the best,

  15. Wow, look at all of these visitors! Thank you Carol, Lisa, Bish, Bev and Barbara for stopping by to read our interview.

  16. I love reading about Indie authors. It gives me great hope :) All of these books look fun! Congratulations to all :)

  17. They look like fun books. Good luck to the authors of Indie Debut 2010.

  18. Lee - How long does the contest go? I want to put the deadline on my blog. :-)

  19. Jan and French...thanks for stopping by and for your kind words of support!

    Best wishes,

  20. This is one of the most interesting blog posts I've read in awhile. I loved the fact you included several children's authors and received feedback from each of them. It's always interesting to me how writers approach their work. I will definitely share this on my Twitter and Facebook sites.

  21. Hi Penny:

    So happy you had a chance to stop by. Thanks for your lovely and supportive comments.

    Best wishes,

  22. Thanks for this awesome giveaway!

    +1 Follower
    +1 Tweeted:

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  23. Aik...thanks for stopping by!

    Best wishes,

  24. I love how you compiled several authors into one interview. It was interesting to read multiple answers to the same questions. Great job, as always, C! :-)

    I just posted an interview with literary agent Laurie McLean on my blog if you'd like to check it out:

    She provided awesome info, the most substantive answers I've received thus far for my interviews. I know a lot of your readers are aspiring authors (like moi), so I hoped it might be helpful info for them. Laurie is so high energy, I want to share the interview with as many writers as possible.

    Thanks, C! Can't wait to see what's next for your fabulous blog!

  25. Small publishers work! They are often quite dedicated to the books they take under their wings. Good for all of you, keep up the great work! -- Daisy @

  26. Kay and DazyDayWriter, thanks for stopping by to read and comment. All best with YOUR writing endeavors, too! :o)


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