What is the title of your debut children's book?
It is called "The Girl and the Dragonfly."
Exciting! The title immediately has piqued my curiosity. Can you tell me a little about it?
Dragonflies usually represent change and living in the moment. “The Girl and the Dragonfly” is a story about a little girl who meets a dragonfly. The dragonfly helps the little girl learn how to live in the moment while also bringing her happiness.
Your story has a beautiful message, one for children and adults alike. What inspired you to write "The Girl and the Dragonfly"?
The Girl and the Dragonfly” was inspired by my mom and this story is also dedicated to her. My mom was diagnosed with an incurable disease when I was younger and has been battling non-alcoholic liver disease for more than 15 years. Every year I attend a charity 5K to walk in honor of mom and help raise money and awareness about the disease. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic hit this year, the annual 5K had to be canceled. Since the event was canceled, I wanted to find another way to raise money for the American Liver Foundation in honor of my mom. This is when I decided to write a children’s book and donate a portion of the profits made from book sales to the American Liver Foundation. Every purchase of “The Girl and the Dragonfly” will help me raise money for the American Liver Foundation in honor of my mom. I hope this book will also make children everywhere smile no matter what they may be going through in their life.
This is truly touching and such an honorable way to support not only your mother but everyone connected to the American Liver Foundation. I, too, have a loved one affected by a non-alcoholic liver disease, and I wholeheartedly thank you for your work. Do you have any plans for another book?
I have actually already written and published second children’s book titled “Leo the Dragonfly.” My second book released in January 2021. I am thinking about creating an entire children’s book series based on the dragonfly character, Leo, who is introduced in “The Girl and the Dragonfly.”
That is amazing! I'm so glad to hear Leo's character continues in stories that we can all fall in love with. Thank you for taking the time to share about your books. I look forward to seeing more from you in the future!
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Janet Gurtler has been an author for ten years! Her most popular book, I'm Not Her, was published traditionally in 2011. Since then, she has published several books but has recently started publishing her first indie picture books!
Janet started Eman Books in 2020 with a vision to produce personalized books for children and dogs! Yes, dogs! Janet has enjoyed embarking on the indie frontier and finding helpful tips along the way from Bethany Stahl's content.
What is the name of your newest book?
I have two! First is Who's a Good Dog which is the customizable name of the dog book written to the dog. The second is I Love My Mom, the customizable title of the dog book written to the dog owner!
Wow! I love the personalization aspect! I read all of my books to my furbabies, but I love how your book is created just for them! Can you tell me a little more about your books?
These personalized books are adorably illustrated and intended as gifts for dog owners! The books are easy to read and feature the recipient's cartooned dog on the cover and the name of the dog in the book as they try to figure out who the good dog is, with the help of some other cartoon dogs along the way. They review some behaviors, and there is a little worry, but then the big reveal comes at the end!
I know my dog would enjoy finding out who's a good dog! So what inspired you to write this story?
My dog Betty White, I love her a little too much. And I love books. And the thought of making her a cartoon and putting her in a book gave me so much happiness. I looked around at the personalized books available, and there are some that feature pets in stories. I wanted a book that was actually about a dog instead of putting them in a fictionalized story. So I created a new one. I think it’s a great gift for spoiled dogs. And the humans who love them.
I am all about honoring pets through putting them in stories, but making yours personal is such a sweet touch that everyone can enjoy, and I agree your books would make phenomenal gifts! So how long did it take you to write these books?
I’ve written many novels, so I was surprised how long it took me to get it to the point where I was happy with my picture book prose! Of course, with this book, I also had to hire an illustrator, designers and figure out how to put it all together, so it was a lot of work in a different way. I don’t feel like these dog books will be completely done, as I personalize the content, and still need to still slowly add more dogs for the covers and big reveal!
Writing in any aspect is no easy feat, so congratulations! It sounds like it has a lot of room to grow in the future. Is this book apart of a series, or do you have any future plans?
Similarly, I also have a series of personalized books about kids as they discover a new sport. The first is done, and it's called A Swimmer's Best Time, written for competitive swimmers. The next books are Hockey Goals, Soccer Goals, and Dancing Feats. They're all personalized with the child's name and the name of the team they are on.
Amazing! Thank you for taking the time to share about your books. I look forward to seeing more from you in the future!
Tell me a little bit about your book Arturo's Workshop.
The story is about a kind old man named Arturo who has a magical workshop where he fixes broken hearts. Hearts come in many sizes and break in different ways, but when a frightened heart arrives and hides under his workbench, Arturo tries everything to help the scared little heart to heal and grow.
That is a beautiful concept! How long did it take you to write this book?
It was written, illustrated, and published in less than three months.
That is amazing, especially since you illustrated the book yourself! What do you hope to achieve with Arturo's Workshop?
I want to give hope to people. Everyone in every culture at any age knows what a broken heart feels like. I wanted to create a character that people could believe in. That's it's okay to be sad, and someone out there cares and wants to help.
Hope is a beautiful gift to give, and I love the message. Was there a point when you wanted to give up on writing your book?
There were a few moments of self-doubt. Was the story good enough? Were my illustrations stupid? I had never written a children's book before, was I doing it right? I remember working on an illustration, thinking about giving up, but as I worked on I started noticing little tweaks I could make, and when I looked at the finished product, I thought, "Whoa, I did that? That's not bad." and I kept going. It was then I learned to stop worrying about the what-if and trust that I was making something good.
I am delighted to hear you didn't give up! Overcoming self-doubt is so tricky, but I've heard the response to your book has been outstanding. Can you tell me a bit about the reader's reactions to Arturo's Workshop?
In a little over a month since it's been published, it has gotten positive feedback. Friends have been sharing videos and pictures of their kids reading the book. People have been buying extra copies and donating them to local libraries (including the libraries of the city I grew up in. Which blew my mind). Friends who are teachers have been buying copies for their classrooms. It's a wonderful feeling that the book is being read and loved by both children and adults.
Thank you for taking the time to share about your book Stanley! I look forward to seeing more from you in the future!
A Few Tips:
As authors, we are always looking for new ways to get our books in front of a new audience! I have compiled a list of resources that will promote your free e-book for free! Some of them do offer paid promotions, but that is up to you and your relationship with the resources. I haven't tried any paid options yet, and still, see considerable numbers in downloads.
For each resource, there may be a few different rules, so before you submit your book, make sure it meets the requirements (ex. reviews, pages, subject, etc.) I've listed the requirements I've found but they may change!
I will add more as I find more over time!
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