by admin on December 30th, 2010
This year has been one of our best yet! No, it has been our BEST YEAR EVER! There are so many great memories and here are a few we would like to share with you.
Most favorite moment: A little girl who was afraid of crocodiles coming out of the toilet came to our book launch with her mom who we had met at a show the previous week. We had promised her mom that if she brought her daughter we would promise her that no crocodiles would ever come out of her toilet. Not only did we promise but Anastasia pinky-swear promised and Jo-Anne drew a very special illustration for her in her new Crocodiles and Crumpets book showing how much crocodiles don’t like swimming in toilets or the plumbing!
Best celebration: Our book launch for Crocodiles and Crumpets was the best celebration we have ever had for anything at My Pempek Publishing. We are so very thankful for everyone who made this event come together and be a success! The people we worked with at the Shenkman Arts Centre were incredible and provided a beautiful venue for our launch. We were so happy to have entertainment from Monkey Rock Music to add some dancing, singing and instrument playing to a fun event! Not only that but little Naomi chose to celebrate her birthday with us that day and she brought all of her friends who had a great time! Don Douglas from My One Thousand Photography took some great candid photos and truly captured the fun filled excitement at the event . We had some great friends and family volunteer to help with the games, coloring stations and book signing. THANK YOU THANK YOU everyone!
Most embarrassing moment: As you know Anastasia and Jo-Anne were working on the book up to and after Anastasia gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Two days before the birth while travelling to our last creative meeting we covered Jo-Anne’s front car seat with a tarp just in case Anastasia’s water broke.
Fun Media Moments: We had some great media moments including meeting Charelle from EMC Ottawa in a local Starbucks for a fun interview and an appearance by Anastasia on Rogers Daytime while her baby daughter slept beautifully in the greenroom with papa (baby slept, papa was awake).
Great family and friend moments: Some of our friends and family have asked if characters in Crocodiles and Crumpets were modeled after them including Larry the grumpy crocodile and Elmer the croc that eats all of the crumpets. We will never tell!
Great Partners: Our retail partners like G. Whilikers in Ottawa and our printing partner MCRL have been instrumental in making our company a success! We thank you so much for the partnerships and the quality and reliability of your work. Surrounding ourselves with amazing people and partners makes our work a pleasure!
And YOU our customers, our readers and our friends in the publishing world. Thank you for letting us meet you, get to know you and supporting us this year and we can’t wait to bring you more in 2011!
Happy new year and we wish everyone the best in 2011!
by admin on October 25th, 2010
We have had such a great response to our Journey from Idea to Print series that follows authors throughout their journey of publishing their books. If you have always wanted to publish or be published keep reading this great series!
The third installment follows Kathy Troidle Jackson, who has written “White Dog Haiku and Things I Learned from my Westie”, a series of three line “one breath” poems in the 5-7-5 syllable format – about the White Dog. The book is inspired by her 5 ½ year old rescued Westie, Islay Bear who brings so much joy to her every day as he demonstrates what it means to truly live in the moment. The great thing about this book is that all proceeds from go to Westie Rescue. What a great cause!
The Influence of Social Media
The idea for White Dog Haiku came, from of all places, Twitter. On Twitter you only have 140 characters a tweet so the three line haiku format of 5-7-5 syllables lends itself perfectly to the medium. Her husband David saw people writing haikus on Twitter and one day while Kathy was away on a business trip and he wrote few funny White Dog haikus about their dog to make her laugh. From there she caught the bug. A writer on twitter (@baffled) started a Haiku Challenge where you could write any haiku you wanted but it had to have a specific word in it. This is where the daily White Dog haiku’s started!
Social media not only influenced Kathy to create her book but also enables her to easily connect with other authors and see how they are publicize their works and support each other.
Kathy has found that she has been thinking in haiku lately and writes them down whenever something touches or amuses her. This form of poetry helps her focus on the now and capture a moment in time in a really fun and meaningful way. She has discovered that haiku’s are more than simply three line poems with a 5-7-5 syllable structure. Good ones will invite the reader to bring their own imagery to the poems. Her muse is her rescued Westie, Islay Bear, who reminds us to find joy in every moment, every season, and every experience.
Many writers have key techniques and practices to keep the creative juices flowing. Some are conscious and planned whereas some just occur naturally and organically. Kathy has always written funny stories and poems to get a rise out of her sisters for as long as she can remember. Her consistent practice of journaling brings out undiscovered beauty on paper that may have been tucked away in her heart and mind. In addition to her daily writing journal she also keeps a daily gratitude journal where she writes done five things for which she is grateful each day before she goes to sleep. This evening practice often inspires a haiku or two before she turns out the light. The Haiku Challenge on Twitter gives Kathy a nice diversion in the middle of the day to take the challenge and write a haiku about a white dog using that day’s word.
What People are Saying
“Delightful! Between the expressive Westie photos and the delightful haiku, the book will be a hit with all dog lovers.”
“I love your book! I no sooner opened the package when my 7th grade daughter ripped it out of my hands to bring to school because they are learning haiku this year. I had to go back and order another one for me.”
“You have captured the essence of Westie spirit with these haiku.”
“White Dog Haikus and Things We’ve Learned from our Westie by Kathy Troidle Jackson is another great book for all ages. … This a light-hearted read that I’d recommend to any dog-owner.” – exerpts from a critique by Michael Colbert, fellow SCWBI member on his blog.
Getting her book into the hands of the right peeps is of major importance to the success of the book. She sent a complimentary copy to the Islay Bear’s rescue foster mom who loved it so much she featured it at the annual Westie National Breed Competition and Parade of Rescue event. Kathy has sold more books there than all other previous venues combined. This goes to show that writers should consider non-traditional events and ways to market and sell their book in addition to the traditional book stores and book related venues.
Peer Author Support
Kathy is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). This group provides the opportunity to participate in peer and agent critiques, marketing reviews, attend conferences and writing workshops. She also enjoys doing public readings of her book with children at schools, libraries, book fairs and art shows to get some instant feedback. She has submitted her work to publishers and reads every word of rejection letters where they often have very useful tidbits of information that help her continuously improve her already beautiful writing.
The Importance of the Support of Family & Friends
Kathy originally set out to put something together for family in order to share pictures of Islay Bear in a fun way where she could leverage the ever growing collection of haiku she had amassed. Her family loved it so much and encouraged her to take it further and put it out there in the world! The encouragement of her friends and family that kept her writing. Entrepreneurial friends got her to admit that in fact she is a writer, not just a budding one. Through their support she gained the confidence to take imperfect action, self-publish and seek places to debut her work.
Her first book was self published as a Christmas gift to family and friends but Kathy had never expected to take it farther than that. Since then her book has been submitted to several publishers and individual haiku have been submitted to a few online publications and magazines. While she has received some rejections, some constructive criticism and suggestions she is waiting for the publishing process to take its course although the publish by publisher process is very slow and frustrating if the publisher only accepts agent represented works. Self publishing provided her with a faster way to get her book in the hands of her readers and almost immediate sense accomplishment because she had a copy of the book within just a few weeks of finishing it at lulu.com. For this first book she used a predefined poetry book template. It has space for the poems and photos, a lovely Japanese style design, and was an easy way to get it done quickly.
There were a few lessons learned through this process including to “Just do it!” Kathy reinforces that minute you write something down you are a writer! Her advice is to write it down and get it out there in the world including entering writing contests, take writing challenges. She maintains the industry is changing fast and it’s less about being published by a big name publishing house and more about building and marketing to a community of “peeps” or followers that love what you have to say and eat up your material. No one is marketing your book for you in the world of self publishing. This means you must line up book signings yourself and establish your own connections with store owners and libraries.
Most importantly Kathy wants other writers not to get discouraged by the process and celebrate all successes! Even a rejection is something to celebrate because it means someone looked at your work and if you are lucky has put some thinking into how it could be improved and shared that with you in the rejection letter.
Associations and Memberships
Joining a children’s book association such as the SCWBI or an association that lends its support for your genre of writing gives a new author the chance to learn the craft, understand what makes a book worthy of a second look by a publishing house, a chance to network with other authors and facilitates intros to agents and publishers that a new author wouldn’t get otherwise. Often the speakers at association events accept non-agented submissions from people who were at their talk even if the policy at their publishing house is to accept only agented material.
Being able to say she is an author and having something to submit into calls for authors at book fairs, art events are great. What is even more important to Kathy is to sell to make money for her favorite cause – the Westie Rescue!
In the Works!
Kathy has many projects in the works and ideas for new books. Her most active ones revolve around the white dog – a series of haiku poetry books geared to different ages and different themes. She now has hundreds of haiku and is looking to build on what has been started with the first book. She also has a collection of picture book style manuscripts in various stages of readiness inspired by her collection of stuffed animals.
Stay tuned to the work of Kathy Troidle Jackson. She has some great things coming your way including her haiku being published in magazines and a novel or two just waiting to be harvested!
- Click here to preview and purchase White Dog Haiku and Things I Learned From my Westie
- Follow The White Dog on Twitter at @cocowinedog
- Don’t forget to “Like” The White Dog fan page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/whitedoghaiku
by admin on September 30th, 2010
Many people ask us, “How did you publish a book?” or “ I have an idea for a book but don’t know how to get started.” Over the next few weeks we will be showcasing authors who have taken various routes to publishing. Some are published by My Pempek Publishing and some are friends in the author/publishing world who we greatly admire and who have created beautiful works we just had to share their Journey from Idea to Print.
Today we are featuring a trio of creative ladies who have created a trio of fabulous children’s stories from Little Witch Press in Ottawa, Ontario Canada. We are pleased to introduce you to Susan Atkinson, Author, Elizabeth Todd-Doyle, Illustrator, Kim Dalrymple, Graphic Designer/Web Designer.
They have published the most lovely books entitled:
- Where Do Witches Go?
- What Do Witches Do?
- Witches Don’t Do Ballet
Every author begins with an idea but when a group of creative individuals come together to create books for children there are many sources of inspiration. In fact, the team at Little Witch Press says that “Everything can be an inspiration if you let it in!” They also stress the importance of surrounding yourself with things that make you happy to enhance the creative process.
A solid network of peers including authors, illustrators and other self publishers provide feedback and brainstorm and talk about direction and ideas. While this type of network is important it is equally if not more important is having the support of their family and friends, especially the ones who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth.
Establishing the balance between the creativity of book writing and the demands of daily life requires massive multi-tasking which is a skill they have acquired on their life’s journey as women and mothers. Even though they all have busy schedules, they ensure they make time to be creative.
With all of the options available for authors to publish their works these days such as finding a publisher, self publishing and print on demand, Little Witch Press felt that they would have most control over their product if they self published. This included leveraging their graphic design expertise and superior project management skills for all aspects of the printed product. Soft cover books are the book style of choice as it is easier to handle for their target market of 4-8 year olds.
Like many authors, the business side off book publishing is not necessarily as exciting as the creative process albeit necessary. The creative process is more enjoyable for the Little Witch Press than the process of selling their creative work, however, when it results in a smiling child it is certainly all worth it. They don’t have an established customer list but do have contacts in the media, radio, TV and bookstores to promote their books which are available both from their website and from bricks and mortar stores. In fact, TV appearances are the most effective method in gaining awareness and PR for their books. Getting their books on shelves in book stores is not at all challenging for them but rather having to make them available on consignment requires much follow-up and delayed cash flow.
The most rewarding part of being a published author is reading to the children and seeing their excitement for the books that they create. With more stories and projects in the work from Little Witch Press I am sure that the children can’t wait to read more.
To find more about Little Witch Press, visit their website at www.littlewitchpress.com.
Want to use our content in your E-zine or web site?
Please do! Just be sure to include this complete blurb with it:
My Pempek Publishing is a boutique publishing house specializing in high quality, affordable children’s books for children of all ages. A strong supporter and advocate of children’s literacy and cultural awareness, My Pempek Publishing participates in many events and activities that nurture a child’s desire to learn in the local and greater community. For grown ups, you will find tips and techniques the creative writing process and publishing as well as updates on great events that you and the little ones in your care can participate in. Visit us at our online home at www.mypempek.com and sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription of My Pempek Publishing, Navel Gazing e-zine.
by admin on September 21st, 2010
It is so important for us to showcase the people behind the products and behind the scenes at My Pempek Publishing. We are very fortunate to be surrounded with some great customers and partners who make doing what we do a delight! We are more than a website, more than books, but people who are always accessible and committed to creating the type products and services that we as parents, caregivers and creative people would support and want to buy.
Let us introduce you to some of our peeps and give you a sneak peek behind a recent photo shoot for our latest book to be released this fall, Crocodiles and Crumpets!
The setting was the dining room of our author Anastasia Valentine and we were all able to fit! Anastasia, Jo-Anne Guindon (our fabulous illustrator), Don Douglas from My One Thousand Photography, the photo equipment and a visit from Anastasia’s cat Dante…who refused to leave so we kept him in the photos.
We wanted to have an atmosphere that promoted some of the activities in the book and also showcased our author and illustrator in a natural setting! We picked out the right tea set, the right tea and set everything up. While Anastasia was supposed to make the crumpets, knowing her culinary skills Anastasia’s husband made a run to the grocery store in search for crumpets and actually found them!
This photo was used as our cover photo for Crocodiles and Crumpets. On the left is Jo-Anne Guindon the illustrator, center is Dante the cat who wanted his 15 minutes of fame and on the right is Anastasia Valentine, the author.
Photos will be used for press and upcoming book signings.
The crumpets went over quite well for the people breakfast the next morning but Dante didn’t appear to like them too too much during the shoot.
Thank you so much for reading and for virtually meeting us! Stay tuned for more updates on publishing tips, author interviews and details on our exciting fall schedule so you can come out and meet us!
Special thanks to Don Douglas who in the scorching heat and an air conditioning unit that conked out did a great job on our photos, Marty for doing an emergency crumpet buying run and for our living room full of kids who brushed up on their Lego Batman skills on the xbox and behaved beautifully while we had our shoot!
Stay in touch with this by signing up now for our For the Love of Reading and Writing eZine for tips for authors and authors at heart, updates on our book releases and events and PRIZES and contests, because we love contests and to give prizes!
by admin on September 13th, 2010
Welcome to the new virtual home of My Pempek Publishing! We have had the most excellent summer and hope that you have had the same. Our summer was spent enjoying the weather and of course preparing for our latest book release entitled Crocodiles and Crumpets. Crocodiles and Crumpets is a book about the importance of telling the truth, friendship and independent decision making with a dash of mystery and whimsy that is sure to delight children of all ages! Here is a photo of the proof that came back from our printer and it looks fabulous!
Crocodiles and Crumpets or “Crocs” as we affectionately call it here at My Pempek, will be released November 1st at our retail partners and online. We are very excited to be offering special pre-order price for the month of October so stay tuned to our blog and subscribe to our newsletter for the latest news on availability.
Recently we made our books available in e-book format. Thank you so much to our wonderful usability testers who made sure that the book would read well on various e-book readers and computer systems! Thanks to all of the parents and children who participated! MUAH! The e-books are definitely a must for you tech savvy parents and children who are always on the go. Consider our children’s books in e-book format to put in your parental bag of tricks for your next outing, vacation or roadtrip! We have even had one parent who gave one of our e-books as a reward for great behavior…hmmm they may be on to something here.
This fall we will be having our authors and illustrators at a number of events for in person book signings, so please stay tuned for details. We would love to meet you!
Don’t’ forget to sign up for our e-zine My Pempek Publishing – Navel Gazing for the latest updates including information on events, book release news, tips on writing and publishing and of course exclusive offers and contests for our loyal customer and subscribers.
We will be picking a lucky subscriber at random for our first contest and giveaway, so sign up to our newsletter today!
Till next time, have a great day and keep reading!