by Rita Goldner
The occasion of the third anniversary of the Phoenix Book Publishing & Book Promotion blog prompts me to write a post about milestones. I like the word and the concept because it measures the passage of time without the stress level I get from the word deadline. Now that I am retired and writing/illustrating as an avocation, my deadlines are self-imposed. Still, they loom on the horizon as a reminder that I’m no longer the old disciplined me. The new procrastinating and daydreaming me much prefers the word milestones. They come and go at their own will, irrespective of what I’ve done, forgot to do, or wished I’d done.
Besides the blog anniversary, I hit another signpost in life today, celebrated this morning by the Beatles shouting “They say it’s your birthday!” on a musical card I received. It inspired me to look backward and forward, especially at my recent adventure in writing/illustrating children’s picture books. A vital part of this journey was joining two critique groups. The coffee-shop one comprises five like-minded writers who meet monthly, are very supportive, and hold each others’ feet to the fire. The cyber one is for illustration, and has expanded my thinking in that facet, too. I endorse this for all my author buddies.
When I joined the Phoenix Book Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup about four years ago, I was clueless about marketing, but knew I had to jump on that train, and fast. Now at this milestone, I see a mountain of knowledge to devour ahead, but I’ve learned enough to be dangerous, and I forge on. Taking free seminars and reading everything they can find on book marketing is also high on my recommendation list for other authors.
Another validating breakthrough for an author is the moment of realization that we’ve created a viable, quality book that can be marketed with pride. This doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and we’ve all had to do some very scary “hangin’ it out there” to get to this level of polishing the craft. I’ve also reached the milestone of feeling comfortable doing readings. I imagine that children’s book writers do more of this than those with adult audiences, since schools are always clamoring to host author visits. I’m doing two to three readings a week this semester, and have incorporated a lesson on how to write your own story. With third-graders, it’s hilarious. I hope that ticking off the milestones is keeping me young!
Rita Goldner is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book, Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy. Rita has also written and illustrated two eBooks, Jackson’s History Adventure and Jackson’s Aviation Adventure, in the Jackson’s Adventure series. For orangutan facts and images and to purchase the book (also available as an ebook), visit OrangutanDay.com. Or by the Kindle version here. Rita’s newest book, Making Marks on the World: A Storybook for Left- and Right-Handed Coloring, is available for purchase here. Works in progress: H2O Rides the Water Cycle, The Flying Artist, and Rose Colored. To view additional illustrations and Rita’s books in progress, visit Rita’s website. Contact Rita here. Follow Rita on Facebook. Subscribe to Rita’s newsletter, Orangutans and More! and receive a free coloring page of today’s illustration.