It’s Author Interview Thursday! Woohoo. If you’re a self published author and seriously getting frustrated with the whole publishing game, then I think you’re in the right place today. Last week’s featured author said something about this publishing game being a marathon so hang in there, your big break might just be around the corner. I think that never-say-die attitude is epitomized in our featured author in the hot seat today. Her path in the publishing world has been different to most authors I’ve come across in terms of marketing. Her popular Anita Brownbag series was inspired by the many fun, awkward, testing but above all memorable experiences she had with her four children. She’s really passionate about what she does and I’m confident her work will be embraced by more and more fans in the months and years ahead. Please join me in welcoming Anita Brown.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you ended up being a children’s book author?
I’ve always loved writing and as a mom, I’ve always tried to think of creative ways to teach my kids important life lessons. Often times, it would be through funny stories and drawings, and it has proven to be quite effective. Somewhere inside me, I’ve always wanted to combine my love of writing with my parenting experience to teach children life skills in an interesting way.
What can a reader expect when they pick up an AC Brown book?
Readers can expect a funny, mischievous main character that goes through typical kid challenges. Of course, the life lessons are wrapped around a great story line filled with magical adventures to make overcoming the challenges fun and inspiring.
What inspired you to write the Anita Brownbag series and are there any more books to come in the series?
Anita Brownbag is somewhat of my inner child and through her, I bring light to common themes with which kids struggle. She is funny and witty, and seems to constantly get into trouble, despite her good intentions. She’s a good kid; she’s just going through the learning process of life. Anita Brownbag is full of mischief so there are definitely more books on the horizon! In fact, the 5th book “Anita Faces the Truth” is set to be released December 1st. You’ll hear more about it soon because we are planning a ton of fun activities and giveaways for the release!
What in your opinion makes a great children’s book?
In my opinion, great children’s books are based on simple concepts, relatable characters and awesome illustrations.
How do you handle bad reviews?
I keep things positive. Even a bad review means someone is reading your book, right? Diversity of thought and varied tastes means my book may not be the right fit for everyone. I take constructive feedback and leverage as encouragement for growth. My motto is “use what you can, and toss out the rest”. I won’t allow negativity to live in my mental space rent-free. LOL
What has been your most successful marketing method for promoting your books?
Social marketing has been very instrumental in promoting and sharing the Anita Brownbag series with the world. But I’ve also found that connecting with parents and educators, whether that’s through my blog or in person, at fairs and events, is also a crucial element.
What were some of your favorite books as a child?
Ramona Quimby series, Are you there God, It’s me Margaret, Sweet Valley twins.
What mistake(s) have you made while publishing your books that you would advise other authors against?
Fear was my number 1 mistake. I strongly encourage other authors to push aside the fear of rejection or failure, and just get out there and do it. Each time gets easier, and it really builds your confidence.
How do you reward yourself on completing a book or achieving a specific publishing goal?
I reward myself with a tall glass of Moscato wine.
Toy Story or Shrek?
That’s a tough one. I’ll vote Toy Story. As a child, I used to imagine my toys came alive when I left the room, so this resonated very well with me.
What should a first time visitor to Charlotte, North Carolina do while there?
Go Panthers! Definitely go see our hometown hero Cam Newton toss the pigskin but you better hurry, I’m not sure what next season will hold. Imaginon is a definitely a great place for kids, and Nascar Motor Speedway is the place to be for die-hard race fans.
What advice do you have for parents in dealing with their children when they throw a tantrum in public?
Definitely don’t cry! LOL I did that once, it’s actually a funny story that I’ve shared on my blog. I think it’s important to remove the audience; kids tend to calm down when there isn’t an audience, and parents feel better if there is no pressure to act immediately. Wait it out and stand your ground. My kids got no rewards for poor behaviour. Then, when things cool down for both parent and child, they should talk about it. Try not to shrug it off as your kid being tired or hungry. I find that addressing things afterwards not only helps you better understand your children, but it also assures them that emotions are okay. They didn’t get punished because they had an emotion but because of the way in which they expressed it. At the same time, if you give them something they want when they act calm, it teaches them to use words and rationale, instead of tears and screams, to communicate.
What can we expect from AC Brown in the next 12 months?
My work with schools has inspired more stories around diversity, health and wellness, anger management and communication. As I mentioned earlier, there will be some fun new activities coming soon. I’m working on a revamp of the website, some Facebook promos, Twitter giveaways, school readings, more fairs and events… There’s a lot I have in mind and I’ll try to do it all if I can. This is a passion for me so of course, I can’t wait to share more of Anita Brownbag’s challenges and triumphs!
Where can fans and readers of your books discover more about you and connect with you?
Fan and readers can connect with us on our website www.anitabrownbag.com for games, book excerpts and of course, my blog to parents. They can also find me on Twitter for some daily chatter, and on Facebook for more conversational pieces, events and promotions. If they’re in the Charlotte area, look out for parenting or book-related events. Anita and I may very well be there!
Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the publishing industry?
It can be a challenge getting others to see and believe in your vision. There’s a lot of noise out there so just getting 2 minutes of someone’s attention is a challenge, but remember that it doesn’t mean you have failed. Remain solid with your vision, push past your fears, and don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help or advice. Above all, just don’t quit!
Thanks Anita for spending some time with us today. There are just so many nuggets of wisdom you’ve shared with us today that are not only useful for success as a writer but also for everyday life. I loved your quote ‘use what you can, and toss out the rest.’ Anita has so much happening on her blog and you can follow Anita on twitter by clicking the link below
You can also grab a copy of one of her books by visiting her Amazon page
Anita has some really good advice here for beginning authors. You do a great job of finding interesting and thought-provoking authors to interview, David. I always look forward the the next interview. You inspire me!
I have to admit it’s a privilege to interview these wonderful authors. There is an authenticity that Anita brings to the table and it’s so clear to see that she loves what she does. Thanks for your kind words. Anita and I are truly appreciative.
I think her advice is very good. Although I am not an author, and don’t know much about publishing (I don’t know anything really), her advice could relate to just about anything – I think.
I’m not sure there is an easy road – and if there is one, I have never seen it. Most things take a lot of determination. People will try to stop you at every single intersection. You gotta keep going.
Thanks for this lovely interview!
Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog today. I’m so glad you enjoyed my interview with Anita. I have to agree with you that most of what she said can be applied to any sphere of life. We just have to keep pushing till something happens.
Thanks so much Kathryn and Lisa! I’m so glad you enjoyed the article, because it was such a fun interview. Special thanks to you David for helping me share Anita Brownbag and her adventures with other readers. Now I’m off to that glass of moscato!
Pleasure’s was all mine Anita! 🙂
Thanks for sharing with us and I hope you’ll be back sometime in the future.