Can you guess what time it is? Of course you know…Its Author Interview Thursday! Today’s special guest has a very full plate but took some time out of her busy schedule to be with us today. I met her on a book giveaway we were both involved in earlier this year. Her popular book series about the Wunderkind Family has been shared with multiple audiences at book events and schools. Her mission is to create books that promote self-awareness, self-development, creative learning and leadership with the family in mind. She runs two successful blogs and its been a delight getting to know her in the build up to today’s interview. Please join me in welcoming Melissa Moraja.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written?
First, I’d like to thank you for this wonderful opportunity! Your children’s books are such a fun read, with learning lessons that add great value to parenting. Thank you again! And now a little bit about me…
I’m a Mom to four active kids, an author and illustrator, and social media and digital marketing strategist. I also coach soccer and fast pitch softball, hand paint wine glasses, and blog!
The first time someone complemented my writing. I would say it was in 2007. I had sent my very first manuscript titled “Empower Your Soul” to James Van Praagh, Spiritual Medium, author and producer who said it was the most comprehensive self-help book he ever read. He was right! I had a lot of content in it.
Every book I have written is focused on self-development, including my children’s books. The way I teach it to children is through humor.
What role would you say social media plays in building an author’s platform and have you found it helpful in marketing your book?
Social Media is key in every profession, especially authors and illustrators. It helps spread the word without a huge investment to your target audience. What better medium can you use to be able to simply use a #hashtag to bring awareness to your brand. If someone finds your product or brand of interest, then they will share it with their friends who hopefully will share it with more friends. It has endless possibilities such as gaining a following and fan base, to obtaining reviews, to learning more about other’s successes!
What were some of your favorite books as a child?
I loved Dr. Seuss. But who doesn’t? I also have always been a fan of Judy Blume’s books. It was the Fourth Grade Nothing that caught my interest in reading.
I actually am fortunate that I haven’t had to hire an illustrator. I illustrate and design all my books. However, when I first started, I did look into hiring someone and then chose to do it myself. While I was looking, one of the most important things for me was the illustrators style. You have to like their style of art. In addition, you need to be able to work and communicate effectively together. This is a relationship and the illustrations on the page need to fit the authors writing style.
How do you reward yourself once your book is published?
My biggest reward has been showing my published books to my four kids and seeing their reaction! I have an 11 year old boy, 10 year old boy, 10 year old girl, and 3 year old girl. They have been my biggest fans and supporters. They’ll jump around a bit and then they run over to me to give me a big hug! Later in the evening, I treat myself to a nice glass of wine and a big Cadbury chocolate bar!
Toy Story or Shrek?
Definitely Shrek! I love the old classic tales with a spin. Shrek is just funny, where I found Toy Story to be much more serious. I also wasn’t a huge fan on the voices of the characters in Toy Story.
They are so proud of me! And its inspired them and their friends to write and draw. My daughter tells everyone that her mom can do anything if she puts her mind to it. I’ve been telling her that since she was a little toddler. I want my kids (and other kids) to know and believe that they can create any dream that they have. Some dreams and goals may take longer to create because they don’t have all the skills or resources. But if they put their mind to it, they can accomplish anything!
You have several active blogs. Can you give us some tips on maintaining a blog and attracting a loyal readership?
Content is one of the most important things. Some of my blog posts get a lot of views while others don’t. I pay attention to that, writing what my followers and friends like to read. Another is getting involved with reviews and giveaways. It’s another way of attracting visitors who then can become followers and may even end up as friends!
What can we expect from Melissa Moraja in the next 12 months?
I’m a little behind on the Wunderkind Family chapter books. Come the new year, I’ll be rolling up my sleeves to begin writing and illustrating two books – the first will be a chapter book starring Josh and the Gumshoe News Crew; the second will be another Wunderkind Family picture book starring Isabella and Baxter which I plan to publish fall of 2015.
Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?
Don’t give up! It takes time. One of the first things I suggest is try to figure out why you want to be published. Are you looking to have a career in writing or is this just a hobby? That can help a lot with determining your next steps such as should you find a literary agent or self-publish. Also, make sure you have someone edit and review before you publish. Critique groups are extremely beneficial to new writers and illustrators. There are many online Critique groups now.
Thanks for sharing so much with us today Melissa. I like the fact you ended by encouraging us not to give up and to be aware that success sometimes (dare I say, most times) does take time and to have a clear reason and focus as to why we do what we do. Please connect with Melissa at the links she provided and share this interview using the social media buttons below. I believe one of her books would make an ideal Christmas gift so click the link below to grab one for a loved one.