Drumroll please…Its Author Interview Thursday! Before we delight in today’s interview, I just wanted to ask a big favor of you. At the end of the interview, I have a couple of social media buttons, please click on them and share on Facebook, Twitter, G+ etc. Something shared in today’s interview could very well help a struggling author keep pressing on, so please do share. I have to admit that I have being a big fan of our featured author ever since I started writing children’s books. Most of her books occupy the Top 10 positions on several best seller categories on the Amazon store. Its been said that success leaves a trail and I believe we can all learn something new today from her. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Ally Nathaniel.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you ended up being a children’s book author?
I’m the oldest out of 6 siblings. I grew up in a Kibbuts in Israel. A kibbuts is a small community where people live and work together. My Mom was an early childhood educator. She used to play with us and rhyme a lot. That’s where I got my passion and love for words and rhymes. Children’s books were always around me. I had a collection which I cherished and used to quote whenever I could, even when I grew up and was “too old” for children’s books. It was only natural for me to become a children’s author since I wanted to give children the experience I had as a child.
What can a reader expect when they pick up an Ally Nathaniel book?
They can expect to have fun, let their imagination go wild and to get a positive and empowering message.
The Girls Empowerment & Self Esteem Rhyming series has been very successful and the first book in the series (Sparkly Me) has been one of the top ten books in certain very competitive categories in the Amazon Kindle Children’s store this year with over 120 glowing reviews. What was the inspiration behind this series and are there more titles in the pipeline?
The inspiration is my daughter, my little princess. As a young girl, I was a tom-boy, so when she started to ask for sparkly things and act girly I kind of needed to “investigate” that through writing. Writing about it helped me like this mysterious area I wasn’t familiar with. I also wanted to inspire young girls to to be fully happy about who they are. I believe that there are too many messages that make girls feel bad about both their body and mind. My goal is to contradict those messages.
Do you believe in writer’s block and what do you do to overcome it?
It happens to people including myself so yes, I believe in it. I personally don’t fight it. Sometimes I can write three books in two weeks and then I don’t write anything for two months. I let my inspiration lead the way.
What has been your most successful marketing method for promoting your books?
Free promotion on Amazon KDP is a great way to get exposure. You have to let as many people as possible to know about it. I also keep mentioning my books on Facebook to implement the message. Facebook, in general, is a great way to create buzz and to let people know who you are and what you do.
What were some of your favorite books as a child?
Where to begin? 🙂
Since I grew up in Israel you might not know some of them:
1. A tale of five balloons by Miriam Roth
2. Once upon a potty by Alona Frankel
3. Yertel the turtle and other stories by Dr. Sues
4. An apartment for rent by Lea Goldberg
There were many more but these are my top four. I still have them on my shelf and I read it to my children.
What mistake(s) have you made while publishing your books that you would advise other authors against?
It’s hard to say. The book became a #1 best seller overnight. I didn’t know much about how things work. I was implementing all my new knowledge on the go, I didn’t have a plan, even though it worked. I wish I had someone telling me about collecting leads and point me to all the available and free authors resources out there. Now I have my strategy and much more knowledge and I think I basically did things right with my first book. My recommendation is to find authors support groups where you can get much knowledge and support. I didn’t know there are such groups so I did everything by myself, searching the internet for answers.
How do you reward yourself on completing a book or achieving a specific publishing goal?
I share it with friends. I allow my self to be fully happy and show how proud I’m at my work. Sometimes I take a day off.
Toy Story or Shrek?
Shrek. I laughed so hard the first time I saw this movie that nothing can beat that.
Have your children inspired any of the characters in your books and what do they think of Mommy the Writer?
Sure. The Emma character is based on my daughter. She is a girly girl and her love of sparkly shoes, skirts, t-shirts, tiaras and more, inspired me to write “Sparkly Me”. Her love to dance inspired me to write “Dancing With The Sun”.
My middle son inspired me to write “Who’s Under The Bed” after experiencing a really long time of being afraid of monsters.
When I need an inspiration, I just look around me, my children are always there…. The inspiration is endless. They are very proud with Mommy being an author. They share it with their friends. They like it when I come to their classroom and tell their friends they are the inspiration and the story behind the story.
Any tips or advice for parents whose children don’t like reading?
For some children reading can bring up feelings of loneliness (they don’t like to be by themselves in the room for example). For others, it might just be hard to read. I believe that reading stories out loud to your children from a young age can make all the difference. That way you can bring your excitement into the story and excitement is contagious. Reading together is also a good way to create a warm and loving environment. Your children will link reading with fun/closeness, which will stay with them forever.
What can we expect from Ally Nathaniel in in the next 12 months?
I have four books that I’m currently working on. I would like to say that you can expect at least eight new books that will empower children as well as their parents. I’m working on a cookbook that will help parents connect and empower their children through baking/cooking.
Where can fans and readers of your books discover more about you and connect with you?
My website, www.allyNathaniel.com
My Facebook page www.facebook.com/playfulkitchen
I encourage my fans to contact me at Ally@AllyNathaniel.com
I promise to respond ASAP to each and every question/suggestion.
Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the publishing industry?
Don’t waste any time and do it yourself! The worst part for me about looking for a literary agent was that they make their decisions based on how many followers you have or how big is your mailing list. They also judge your work, and for some authors this could be devastating. When you decide to self publish your book you just put your work out there and let the readers judge. There is a good chance they would appreciate the same work a publisher didn’t. Keep in mind that traditional publisher will not do the marketing for you so why give them the control over your art? The bottom line is to try and put yourself out there as soon as possible. The good news are that today it’s easier and cheaper than ever.
Remember – your work can make a difference in the world!
That was such a brilliant note to end the interview on Ally. I think sometimes we underestimate the significance of our contribution as authors in people’s lives. Words are so powerful and one word or phrase or story from your pen can truly change an adult or child’s life. You can purchase all Ally’s delightful books by clicking the link below
Do enjoy below trailer of one of Ally’s books – Fabulous Me
Another great interview David. I must agree with Ally when she says, “publish it yourself”. Much quicker and makes so much sense!
I love the illustrations in these books, very cute!
Thanks Wendy. I’m sure Ally will appreciate your comments.