Sunday, August 15, 2010

Celia and the Fairies book giveaway!

About a year and a half ago, after a long stretch of writing various novels, I had an idea for a children's book about a little girl, Celia, whose grandmother comes to live with her family. Her grandmother, known as Grammy, loves to tell stories about her childhood growing up in the very same place Celia lives with her parents--a charming, vine-covered house next to a woods. Grammy, it seems, had encounters with fairies when she was exactly Celia's age, and...well, I hadn't figured out the rest, but I thought I was on to something because it was just the type of story I would have loved as a kid.
I had completed the first two or three chapters when my friend Michelle asked what I was working on lately. I have writer friends and non-writer friends and I've learned that not everyone wants to hear me yammer about word count and story arc and point of view, so when a non-writer friend asks how it's going I usually keep it brief. Michelle is a non-writer friend, so in theory I should have just said, "A children's story." But for some reason I found myself prattling on about this story, this not-yet-a-book that I couldn't stop thinking about. When I got to the part about fairies, Michelle said, "Josie loves fairy books." Josie is Michelle's daughter and my goddaughter and about as delightful a child as you'll ever hope to meet. Seriously, if you met her you'd want to claim her as your own.
Knowing that Josie loved fairy books pushed me to finish the story. I thought that even if I didn't get it published, I'd have it printed and bound to give to Josie as a present.
After I finished it, I sent it out to agents and editors, but became impatient fairly early in the submission process and decided to self publish it. I emailed everyone who had the manuscript to say I was withdrawing it from consideration, and apologized for any inconvenience.
And then I formatted the book for paperback. Doing it was easier than I thought it would be, and as I saw the layout on my computer screen looking exactly like book pages, I was motivated to take it a step further. I bought a stock image of a fairy girl flying past a moon for the cover art, and had Maria, my graphics whiz daughter, take care of the text on the cover.
By then it looked like a real book and I since I'd done all the work, it was just one more step to make it available as a book through CreateSpace. And then my husband suggested I upload it so it would be available as an ebook on Amazon's Kindle. A foolish idea, I thought, because who lets their kid read off of a Kindle? Turns out I was wrong though, because every month I sell a few hundred of the book as electronic downloads. Several people have mentioned on message boards that they read with or to their kids using their Kindle. On a few occasions, I've also heard of people buying the paperback after previewing the story as an ebook.
As an update to this publishing tale--my little fairy book is now going out in the world with a brand new look on November 2, 2010. Amazon's new publishing imprint, AmazonEncore, will be reissuing Celia and the Fairies in a new and improved form. I've loved working with my editors and got teary-eyed when I saw the new cover. I think it's absolutely beautiful. I love the girl's expression and the way the light bathes her face. The designer did a superb job with the font and the back. If only my name were a little bigger, it would be perfect. (Just kidding!)
I have in my possession advanced promotional copies which I'd love to give to three blog readers.
All you need to do is:
1) Leave a comment, any comment. Just make sure you leave a way for me to contact you in the event you win.
2) If you've won one of my contests before, please take a step back and let someone else have a chance. I'm not saying you can't enter, I'm just saying I'm pretty sure you won't win. :-(
A week from today, Sunday, August 22nd, I'll select three people in a random drawing, and they'll get a copy of the book.
Thank you!
P.S. Josie loved the book!


Therese said...

karen-You don't need to enter me because I have the original and I have already won, BUT I just wanted to stop by and say that the new cover is BEAUTIFUL!!!

Pale Rambler said...

I'm not too proud to beg, and I have three children perfectly aged for your book (2 boys that are not too old and a pre-teen daughter still clinging to her Barbies).
Great idea by the way. Best of luck with the sales!

dl_flores said...

I have three lovely little girls (ages 5-1/2, 7 and 8) who love fairies, and would I would love to read this book to. Even if I am not picked, I would be in line to buy one of the first copies that are available. Thank you for your gift of beautiful writing.

Deb said...

We loved it on Kindle, but that beautiful cover is irresistable - and then I wouldn't have to share my Kindle. I learned my lesson - the kiddo gets paper books from now on :).

Bill B said...

*This is NOT an entry!* Just wanted you to know that after reading it, I passed along the copy you sent me. Yesterday my friend told me that she & her 7-yr-old daughter Juliana just finished reading it together, and Juliana reminded her, "This was the book Bill's friend wrote!" I'll pick up a copy of the new & improved version, too ツ

Wrighton said...

Hi Karen, You did a wonderful job on putting this together and the Book cover is beautiful. You should be very proud.

Anonymous said...

Karen- AWESOME new cover! I already have a copy and my daughter loved it. She's young but I read it to her for bedtime. How did you get so many people to downlaod the book on Kindle? I am having aheck of a time pushing a YA book. :( As you can see I just started using keyboard strokes to show mood.

Sean McCartney
The Treasure Hunters Club
Secrets of the Magical Medallions

suze2000 said...

Oh my goodness I'd love this book. junebug at iinet dot net dot au.

Karen McQuestion said...

Thanks to Pale Rambler, dl flores, Deb, Wrighton and suze2000 for entering. And also thanks and hello to Therese and Bill, who have been supporters (and winners!) in the past.

Sean, I honestly think the key to my Kindle sales for this book was the price--99 Cents. My guess is that the cover was eye-catching and the price sealed the deal. It's sort of like me shopping at the dollar store. I tend to do more impulse purchases than I would other wise because, hey, it's only a dollar!

Anonymous said...

I thought the same thing when my publisher wanted to price the book at 6.99 and I said no better to be 1.95 because I want to people to check it out and see if they like it and it is only 2 bucks.

Anyway great success to you. You are truly an inspirtaion and keep doing what you are doing because it is great!

Sean McCartney
The Treasure Hunters Club
Secrets of the Magical Medallions

Laura EB Rice said...

I just started reading your blog, and I love this idea! I'm not going to beg on behalf of my not-yet-existent children, but will instead share that I, as a 30 year old professional, am captivated by the idea of this story. It's the type of book I would have loved as a child and one I look forward to reading now. Whether or not I win. :)

Karen McQuestion said...

Hi Laura,

I'll make sure your name gets thrown in the hat! Thanks so much.

Pale Rambler said...

Is it okay with you if I promote your book giveaway on my blog? I was already putting it on there and realized I should ask you first before I post about it to my readers.

Karen McQuestion said...

Feel free, Mark! I appreciate it. The more the merrier. :-)

wendy said...

Love the cover which BTW is oh so important when first being drawn to a new book...

madamerkf at aol dot com

degood said...

I would love to win a copy for my two daughters to read. They both love to read and this book seems like one they would enjoy. Also their baby sister is named Celia!

Karen McQuestion said...

Wendy, I agree about the cover! Although I try not to, I do tend to judge a new book by its cover...

degood--How adorable that you have a baby Celia! It's such a pretty name. Someday she'll thank you for it.

Ellen said...

I am so excited to have found you, Karen. I read an article in the Freeman yesterday, saw a "like" from a friend on Facebook and just knew I had to follow up and get to know you better. My father wrote and even had a book published in the '70's then self published a series...perhaps you would be interested in them. My daughter writes poetry and I have an idea for a book that I better get started on! I am pleased to meet you and look forward to reading "Celia and the Fairies".

Cathryn Bonica, author Far From Kansas said...

Hi Karen, love the book cover. As adults we try not to judge a book by its cover, however, children certainly do! Job well done. What's more, I'm so pleased to find fiction for kids that has nothing to do with vampires or witchcraft! Thankfully, my own daughter has no interest in the whole vampire craze, and I hope to keep her that way.

Karen McQuestion said...

Cathryn, thanks for stopping by! I am also sick of the vampire craze (and zombies too, for that matter...).

Karen McQuestion said...

Hi Ellen,
Your dad was ahead of his time if he was self-publishing back in the day. It sounds like writing runs in your family. :)

Good luck with your book. It all starts with an idea.

And thank you for leaving a comment and entering the giveaway.

Kristin said...

I would love to give this to my niece Mia. We are "book buddies" - and she has introduced me to some books aimed at kids that I have really loved. She's awesome.

Anonymous said...

Josie's mom LOVED the book too! And loves the author!! Very proud of you Karen!

Karen McQuestion said...

Thank you, mysterious Anonymous person!!!!!!!!!!

Tracey said...

A book written from the heart will stand the test of time.

Karen McQuestion said...

Oh Tracey, I love that sentiment!

Wanda said...

Looks like a cute book! I would love to win this for my friend's daughter!