Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Back! And with an Interview with Graham Best

I'm so glad to be home. I love to leave and I love to return. When I arrived, I had mail . . . real mail and in the mix was a box with my copies of Graham Best's The Tightrope Walker's Dream. How wonderful to come back to a treat like this.

I thought that while I clear my head from all the Easter Bunny excitement and before I settle in to do some writing of my own I'd post Graham's interview and let you see what a great book he's created. So, here it is. Enjoy. (BTW, and this is absolutely true, Graham and I met online a little over a week ago.)

The Tightrope Walker’s Dream is about trusting your heart to guide you.  The story begins with a tightrope walker who can’t walk anymore, not until he makes sense of some puzzling advice from a daring trapeze artist who also performs ceaseless demonstrative acrobatics for him.  Following his example, the tightrope walker rises to new heights of mastery and walks on the stars.  His immense gratitude concludes story.

WriteGame: I loved your story when I first read it online, Graham and I loved it again today when I received my copies and could actually hold one and turn the pages. Can you tell us what inspired you to write The Tightrope Walker's Dream?

Graham: My heart wanted to tell me something.  It wanted to tell me to trust it and follow it.  It wanted to remind me.   So it spoke to me as a deep children’s book about trusting your heart, and I listened.  I hope my readers will too.  I know from their responses that a lot of people are inspired by the book’s message (and the illustrations), and I’m moved by that feedback.   I think this message is a perfect thing to share with children so they follow their hearts all along.  Imagine a world where everyone behaves that way.  I call it the future.  

My heart just said, "Yes." And I suppose that's because I think your message is truly from your heart.

WriteGame: Why did you decide to use online marketing? Can you share how you set it up? 

Graham: As the internet transforms the publishing industry and increases the distribution channels available for authors, my attitude is to embrace and celebrate multiplicity.  Publishing a book with a big-name publisher is great.  Generating an online presence for your work is also great.  Do both.  Do them in whichever order is available to you.  I’m one of those oddball artists with a wide technical streak, so I can make the geeky portion happen with my own hands, and I like to. Look out for the iPhone app of The Tightrope Walker’s Dream in early June 2010.  It will be part of the PicPocket Books catalog, where Pic is a pun about images for the web.

I set up my online presence by making the book’s website.  My case is a bit unusual. I had a full website for the book where you could read it for free in its entirety before I had a printed version of the book for sale.  There was no printed version of the book, but there was a full website offering the entire thing!  I wanted to share it that badly.  I still do.  You can still read it at my website for free, but now you can also click a link there to buy a printed copy.  Ultimately there’s no substitute for a printed copy of the books you love.

But where did the printed copy come from?  I used Blurb.com to make the book, a San Francisco based print-on-demand company that delivers high quality books that rival anything you buy in the store.  In my case, because my book is very rich in illustrations, it cost too much to stay with Blurb, so I created a version with CreateSpace.com.  I managed to keep the quality up, but significantly lower the price.  I am now charging market rate for my book and it is selling well, especially when I pay attention to marketing it.

I have a mailing list, a lot of social network channels, some literary blogs, I’m on amazon, and I’m part of a blind distribution network where I often sell multiple copies of the books and I don’t have any idea who bought them, which is actually a lot of fun.  Whenever I read those sales report, I guess to myself that my book is gracing a shelf in a library somewhere in a town run by brilliant children.

WriteGame: Is this your first book? Any W.I.P.'s?

Graham: This is my first children’s book.  I have others in progress.  I’ll give you a hint what they’re about.  See if these glimpses stimulate your imagination to write your own.  Imagine: angry sheep, whale helicopters, philosophical vegetables, and gleeful pig farmers.  Go!

WriteGame: I can imagine them all and I'll expect to see them pop up as you complete them. What led you to writing for children?

Graham: I’ve always taken deep delight in those rare children’s books that speak on both levels at once, the ones that satisfy the   wondering child in me and the thoughtful adult.

WriteGame: What are your favorite children's books?

The Little Prince, The Phantom Tollbooth, Horton Hatches a Who.  One illustration in my book has four elephants in the corners as a tacit tribute to the four climactic lines from Horton Hatches A Who: I meant what I said./ I said what I meant./ An elephant’s faithful/ one hundred percent.”

WriteGame: You were inspired by the BEST . . . Wait! I think I just made something like a pun, didn't I? 

Readers, buy Graham Best's book because it is wonderful. Give one to your kids. Give one to your good friend. Keep a copy for yourself, just in case you need to be reminded about following those whispers in your heart. 


  1. sounds like a wonderful book. I love the cover!

  2. That really sounds like a wonderful book! Thanks for the link :)

  3. Wow! Great interview. Thanks Lee.

  4. Your first two sentences say it all for me: It's great to leave, but it's so great to get home again.

  5. I'm waiting for Graham to pop in and say hi. Where is that writer?

    I think his book is great . . . obviously.

  6. Welcome back, Lee. Wonderful interview, esp for Graham's insights on becoming your own marketing engine.

  7. Lee, you conduct a sharp interview! I am so proud of us for that session and very grateful to you for conducting it and celebrating my lovely book. LA LA LA!

  8. Ah, the author! Great to see you here. Now I needs some signed bookplates--three!

  9. Great cover! So wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

  10. What a wonderful cover! I love the theme of the book. Sounds inspirational.


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