Category Archives: Publishing

Be part of bringing Jill Williamson’s children’s science fiction fairytale series to life!

Jill Williamson co-writing children's fantasy series

I’m so excited to have Jill Williamson on my blog today. I love her Christian speculative fiction and can’t wait to read her new book, Rebel. I saw she had a Kickstarter campaign to publish a children’s book series co-written with her son–how cool is that! 

So I asked her to come tell us about it. Here’s Jill:

I came up with the premise for RoboTales with the help of my entire family. We thought that a science fiction fairytale series would be fun. In each book, Robo the robot dog befriends a child who helps him find clues to the mystery of who built him and why. This children’s chapter book series is for readers ages 7-13.

Jill Williamson's new character Robo

In the first story, we meet a twelve-year old mechanic named Tinker. He is scavenging for machine parts outside the city and finds a broken robot dog with the letters R.O.B.O. on his belly. This is no ordinary robot. Its hull is thick alloy. Robo can fly. Even better, he can fly in outer space. But Robo is busted, so he can’t really fly at all. Tinker takes him home to see if he can be repaired.

Tinker lives with his uncle and cousins. He works in his uncle’s repair shop and scavenges parts from the local Hunk and Junk. Tinker’s motto is “recycle and create,” and he hopes to someday invent something that will make a difference in his planet’s pollution levels.

When the Invention Institute holds a Recycle Race contest for young inventors, Tinker wants to enter. His uncle gives him permission—if he can find his own parts. Tinker finds an old airbike at the Hunk and Junk and hauls it home, but the night before the contest, his cousins destroy the airbike. That’s when Robo steps in to help.

Each book in the RoboTales series follows Robo as he travels to a different planet. He meets a boy, and they help one another. Book by book, the clues add up toward solving the overall mystery of Robo’s past.

As I wrote, Luke became my writing partner, naming characters, creatures, and helping to plot every detail of the stories. Luke even built Robo out of LEGOs. He is very creative.

Jill Williamson's son Luke and Robo

With my other writing contracts, my speaking schedule, and the busyness of life, the series hovered at the bottom of my priority list. I just couldn’t find the time to get them written.

From the fall of 2013 to the spring of 2014, I made time. With Luke’s continual brainstorming help, I finished the first three books and plotted the last five in our planned eight-book series. The finished books were sent to my agent, who pitched the series to publishers. Months later, the rejections started coming. In an age where most brick and mortar bookstores are suffering, publishers aren’t as willing to take a risk on a new children’s chapter book series that cost so much to make due to the artwork, yet sells for so little. So we decided to publish the books on our own.

With children’s books, illustrations matter just as much—and sometimes more than—the story. Luke and I went hunting for the perfect artist and found Kirbi Fagan. She has a gift for illustrating these types of books. And she loves dogs too!

But we couldn’t afford to pay her up front. Which was why we decided to try a Kickstarter campaign. This would help us sell books in advance. In backing our campaign, you are really pre-ordering these books. That way we can use the money to pay the illustrator now, and we’ll send you the books once they release in October 2015.

Kickstarter is an all or nothing program. If we reach our goal by the allotted time period, those who signed up to support us will be asked to pay the amount they pledged. If we fail to gather enough supporters by the end date, no one is charged and we get no money to pay our illustrator.

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Click here to visit our Kickstarter page and read more about this project, including our budget and a full list of backer rewards. Please help us spread the word about RoboTales. We can’t wait to get these books into the hands of young readers everywhere!

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Sherri Wilson Johnson on moving from traditional to indie publishing

My guest this week on How I First Published tells of her  very interesting decision to move from traditional to indie publishing–and of how many more readers  she’s been able to reach through indie. Welcome, Sherri Wilson Johnson! Here’s Sherri’s story.

 

Traditional to Indie published author Sherri Wilson Johnson
Sherri Wilson Johnson

What was your first published novel?

My first published novel was To Dance Once More. It was traditionally published, but I regained my rights and just re-released it myself as my second Indie title December 12th with a brand new gorgeous cover!

How did that come about?

To Dance Once More was originally traditionally published in 2011. This year, I decided that I wanted to have more control over the pricing in order to make my books in this series more available for readers. I have several friends who have been enjoying being Indie and they helped me every step of the way. I’m so glad I made this decision for these books.

How did this make you feel?

At first, I was nervous of failure. I worried about the stigma that might become attached to my name as a self-published author. But as soon as my first Indie released in September (the sequel to To Dance Once More), it went straight to the Hot New Release list on Amazon and stayed there for thirty days. So all my worries were cast aside. I was thrilled that people were buying my book! Now I realize that we having nothing to fear. We just need to stay positive and not get bogged down by the details or slow days. Just keep writing.

Has it been as good as you expected, or a letdown, or exhausting, for example?

Being published traditionally was a little of all those things. Being published as an Indie has been a great experience so far, although exhausting at times. I’m selling books every day. I enjoy being able to change my pricing when I want to. Just this past week, I did a five-day FREE promotion on Amazon and had over 9,000 downloads. To Dance Once More made it to #1 in Christian Historical Romance in the FREE Kindle store., and was #9 in CHR in the PAID Kindle store after the promotion ended. So I’ve been elated! This has been a better experience for me than my experience with the small publisher I was with because I’ve reached more readers.

Tell us what’s happened with your writing journey since.

Since first being published in 2011, I’ve grown as a writer. I believe you never stop learning and growing. There are so many things to master. The craft. How to market. How to keep your reader coming back for more books in your series. In 2012, I signed with a literary agent. He has been very helpful and is still working to place several of my books. If they do not find a home with a traditional publisher, I will Indie publish them. I’m full of fresh ideas and can’t wait to see what God does with them.

Thanks so much for hosting me!

Christian Historical romance by Sherri Wilson Johnson

To Dance Once More: 

Marriage was the last thing on her mind. Now it may be her only choice.

Debutante Lydia Barrington lives a carefree, protected existence on Live Oaks Plantation in Florida. While her sisters happily prepare for their traditional roles as women and talk of courting, Lydia dreams of adventure and independence. She counts the days until she can leave home to explore the world, to dance with cultured gentlemen, to explore politics and art, to leave behind the confining expectations of her family and community—and her God. Even her friendship with handsome Hamilton Scarbrough isn’t enough to hold her back…until they dance, and her heart considers love.

 Confused by her heart’s betrayal, Lydia struggles to gain her independence. Then she overhears a private conversation about a business deal that has everything to do with her future. Now she’s faced with the biggest decision of her life—to concede or to fight. Either choice will require great sacrifice…and, perhaps, countless rewards. In an attempt to escape her imminent destiny, Lydia scrambles to find a solution—at all costs. Amidst the trials that follow, as Lydia runs out of time, she learns the meaning of sacrifice, forgiveness, hope and faith. Stripped of her future, will she concede or fight?

Will she ever be able TO DANCE ONCE MORE?

Romance. Scandal. Desperation. Hope.

Find To Dance Once More at Amazon.

About Sherri:

Sherri Wilson Johnson is an Inspirational Romance novelist, a speaker, and a former homeschooling mom who’d rather have laugh lines under her eyes than worry lines across her forehead. She lives in Georgia with her husband, her two children and her Chihuahua, Posey. Her favorite thing to do when she’s not with her family is to curl up with a good book or work on her current work-in-progress. She loves to dream of visiting romantic places and is passionate about the Lord, motherhood, homeschooling, and writing. Sherri is the author of To Dance Once MoreSong of the Meadowlark, and To Laugh Once More. She is a columnist with Habits for a Happy Home and Choose NOW Ministries.

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