Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"I Am Special" Review and Interview

"I am Special", written by Lai Yit Loong and Catherine Lai, is a picture book relating the life of Benjy, a boy with autism. The reader gets a glimpse at what he can do and his accomplishments thus far. As a parent of a special needs child I was encouraged by the letters and poems written by Benjy's older sisters. 

I had the opportunity to this great couple a few months ago. When I heard that they had published a book, I immediately wanted to ask them loads of questions regarding publishing. So, below are the questions and answers by Yit Loong.

1. How did you decide which publisher to use?
Since I had not published a book before, I wanted a publisher who could offer a complete range of services with few or no restrictions and conditions, was flexible and accommodating, and willing to publish anything for a fee. I wanted to fully experience the journey of writing and publishing a book from the initial draft all the way thru to having the book finally printed and featured on Amazon.com.
I came across Authorhouse from a friend who had published a cookbook a couple of months before I decided to start the project.

2. What did you find to be the most difficult part in publishing?
The most challenging part was to decide the target audience of the book. The book grew and evolved as we got deeper into the project. I started with a simple idea of writing a story for my son's birthday present. Just for him to read. Then the idea expanded. I thought, wound't it be nice if the parents could read the book together with the child ? So I added my story and Cat's story for the parents. Then the idea grew again: why not make it into a family book that everyone in the family could express how they feel towards Benjy ? So I added stories from my girls. The next question came: why not make it into a book that we could share with our friends and family? So we added a bunch of photos. Finally, I thought it would be so cool if we added some illustrations to add more colors and variations. So writing this book has taught me many things, especially how to develop and turn a simple idea into the book. The most important thing I have learnt is an idea will remain an idea locked in your head, and rather meaningless until you do something about it. Wonderful experience and great results will follow when you act.
3. How have you marketed your book?
Authorhouse helps to put the book on google search and makes it available on the online stores. We discuss and share our work on Facebook with our friends. Cat shares it with other TAS mothers and friends. Thanks to TAS PTA (Parent Teacher Association) to help promote it. We also promote it at the school's Spring fair. We are grateful for friends and families who have supported us.

4. What do you feel has been the best way to market your book?
We find reaching out and openly talking about our experience raising Benjy and why we have written the book very effective in connecting with people. Benjy did a good job trying to autograph every book we have sold. We have been pleasantly surprised and extremely grateful at the level of support we have received so far.

5. Any advise to those seeking publishing?
Start with a passion to write. Then just do it. There are a lot of people and resources out there offering to help.

6. Plan to write more books in the future?
Yes...I would like to write an anthology on my family stories, a family cookbook and a business book.

I liked Yit Loong's advise, "Then just do it." 

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ways to Get Back into Writing


Life gets busy.
Kids need to be fed. Floors need to be swept. Child forgets lunch for school. A mountain of laundry is forming in front of your eyes. Oh, and the kids need to be fed again.
End of day, tired, no writing done.

Or the motivation to write anything is just gone, but you want it back.
Here are a few ways that I have used to help pull me back into the writer's chair.

1. Enter a critique giveaway. I entered Marcia's  January critique and won. I was forced to edit my first 1000 words of the novel I had shelved to submit to her. It was exactly what I needed. If you are interested she seems to have them every few months. Next week Amy will be giving away one to celebrate her birthday, so if you are needing a nudge here is a great way to start.
2. Enter a critique blog fest. I entered Sharon's blog fest last week. It led me to pull out an old PB manuscript that I had been working on. Now I'm polishing that up. This was just the first 100 words, so how hard was that? I've seen these around in the blog world, so keep your eyes open. It was my first one and so much fun.
3. Enter a writing contest. Find a writing contest that interests you and polish something up or create something totally new to enter.
4. Journal. Go back to write your own personal story. I find that writing is therapeutic for me. It just helps me to shut down and reflect on the situation(s).
5. And when all else fails - Block time and sit bottom in chair and start typing. That is what I just did to finish up the PB manuscript for critiquing and to write this post.

What do you do to motivate you to get back in the writer's chair?

*Photo by xlibber on flickr

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy Easter!

I've been absent since New Year's Eve. Wow....is this becoming a Holiday only blogsite?
No. At least I don't plan on that.
I could give lots of reasons why I've not been writing here, or there, or really anywhere...but instead I'll just post a few pics of our Easter weekend.
We colored eggs!

We painted eggs and hung them on our
Easter Tree!

Our church put on an Easter party. We hunted
for eggs, fished in a water pond, jumped in jumpy
castles, played games, got faces painted, and did the
"Chicken Dance!" Great time!

I and my lovely friend from South Africa getting ready
to have a match off....

Neither one of us got our hose off our heads. We were
both declared winners and Jie Jie got to pick a prize.
Hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend!  

And I promise to write a few blog posts before the next major holiday...;)