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Mikey+Pic+1.jpgChildren book authors are some of the most fun people on the planet. They know how to connect with young readers with words and illustrations.  But very few authors can illustrate and write their books too. Mikey Brooks is right near the top of the list of talented authors. Here are some fun facts about him. Mikey Brooks has a degree in English from Utah State University. His love of art is his passion. He works full-time as a freelance illustrator and cover designer.  He has had several awards for his work. In 2014 he won the Huge Howey Award for Best Children’s Book Author and recently won the Best of State 2016 for his artwork in Ice Cream U.S.A. One other fun fact about Mikey is that he was an indie author for a few years before he landed an agent at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC. He is also a member of The Emblazoners – http://embazoner.com/. A website devoted to writing on the hearts of children.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

“Definitely energizes! If writing ever exhausts you then you might be doing something wrong (maybe working on the wrong project? wrong genre?). I feel empowered when I write. I do it first thing in the morning (I wake up at 4:30am well before the kiddos get up) and it really starts my day off on a high note.”

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

“The biggest one is comparing yourself to other writers. We’re all on different levels. Some writers can crank out book after book, month after month, and some seem to trudge along at a snail’s pace maybe finishing one manuscript in a year or two. Both are great! Both are writing. Never compare yourself to others. Write at your own pace. Write the way God intended you to write. He meant you to be YOU, not someone else.”

If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?

“Just write, Mikey. And write what you love!’ I could’ve saved myself years (and thousands in tuition) if I’d just headed these words back then instead of writing to please my professors. It doesn’t take a degree in creative writing to write creatively. I’m not saying school is bad, but universities have a tendency to try and make you the type of writer they think you ‘should be’, instead of allowing you to be the writer you are meant to be.”

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

“It didn’t change it much. I mean I had deadlines, which I never had before, but I pretty much wrote the same way. I’ve tried different approaches to try and speed up my writing process but I always go back to what’s familiar.”

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

“I’d have to say, The Stone of Valhalla. It’s a standalone so it doesn’t get the hype that some of my other books get because of their sequels. It’s my favorite because it was actually the first story I ever wrote. I started it when I was 17 and it was written as a YA fantasy. After finishing it, I sent it out to several publishers but never got any offers (except some interest from Harlequin Romances who was disappointed in the lack of adult themes—yikes!). I put it in a file and forgot about it for ten years or so before I pulled it out, rewrote it, and published it as an MG book.”

What’s the best way to market your books?

“The best way to go directly to my readers, which are kids, so I do a lot of school visits. My favorites are to do classroom sizes because it’s a little easier to keep them involved, but I also enjoy doing large assemblies. Visiting schools is the best part of my job as an author. I love kids. I love working with them and seeing how reading can bring magic into their lives.”

How many hours a day do you write?

“I’m a stay at home daddy and work part-time as an illustrator and cover designer so I have to really make time to write. I get up super early and get about 2 hours a day, Mon-Sat. I take Sundays off to sleep in (if you call sleeping in until 6:30-7am sleeping in). Sometimes my wife will take the kiddos to their grandma’s and I can get more writing time in then.”

What is your favorite childhood book?

“I’m super jealous of the kiddos nowadays—they have so many awesome children’s books to choose from. When I was a kid there wasn’t a middle-grade genre (oh, how I wish there would’ve been). The first book I ever read cover to cover was Stephen King’s Eyes of the Dragon, which is a YA fantasy and probably as “children’s book” King ever got. It was illustrated and I was drawn to the pictures in the book. It was that book that gave me my love of fantasy books.”

Could you give us a list of your books?

                    The Dream Keeper         The Dreamstone        The DreamMakers

 

 

 

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The Stone of Valhalla

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The Gates of Atlantis: Battle for Acropolis (book 6 in the Atlantis series written by 6 other authors).

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Museum Adventures: The Maya Mystery    Museum Adventures: A Night in Nottingham

 

 

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The W.H.O. Files: Potions in the Pizza

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“I also have picture books. 3 which I author/illustrated and 9 more I illustrated for other authors. Ice Cream USA won 2016 Best of State as well as a finalist in the 5th Annual Beverly Hills Book Awards. Princess Pricilla Enough is Enough took finalist in the 6th Annual Beverly Hills Book Awards.”

What can your fans look forward to next?

“I have several projects in the works and one book with my agent right now. As of now, I don’t have anything scheduled to release this year but I hope that changes soon. I am transitioning from an indie author to a traditional author and I have come to find the traditional route a lot slower than I’m used to. Don’t worry, everyone, I have books coming—I promise!!”

For more information on Mikey Brooks and to see his complete portfolio please visit his website at http://www.insidemikeysworld.com/

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I love to hear other authors ideas about writing or publishing. In a setting where you can bounce ideas of each other and get great feedback, there are many places to do this. There are writing forums, writing critique groups, and of course writers conferences.  So which one is right for you?

Do you like to get together with large or small groups? If you answered large groups than a writers conference sounds like the place for you. How do you get started with attending a writers conference?

  1.  First, join a writing group or organization. If you don’t want to pay annual fees that’s fine. Most conferences allow non-members to attend but pay a little more for the event.
  2.  Check out local, regional and national writers conferences. Many are in New York City. But hey that’s where all the publishers and editors are mostly at.
  3. Subscribe to newsletters so you can keep apprised of the conference dates.
  4. Attend a conference and make connections. This is your moment to have fun and make friends. If you are shy that’s okay because most writers are also shy.

Writers Digest publishes a lot of great information about their conferences. Here is the date of their annual one: August 10-12, 2018 at  New York Hilton Midtown

1335 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10019 . Look up more about this event at http://writersdigestconference.com/   
Besides Writers Digest there is SCBWI (Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators). They also have a large conference in New York City and one in Los Angels twice a year. Find more information about them on their web page at https://www.scbwi.org/
If you feel that a large conference is too much well, there are other options.  Now you can attend virtual conferences. Here is one I found recently that will be happening soon.
If you’re just not ready to attend a conference than start small. Build yourself a small community of fellow writers or lovers of books. Follow the organization, you want to join, on social media. Find any other publishers or agents on social media and follow them too. This is a great way to see if they are a right fit for you. Being informed is the best thing in this business.
Have fun and enjoy the creative process of writing.

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If you want a good laugh about how crazy it is to be a writer. Read this article about query letter rules. I loved it!

 

Source: These 26 Query Letter Rules Will Change Your Life

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The things I have learned after self-publishing my first novel has become unnumberable. I will try to give you a rundown of a few of the things that have gone through my mind.

1: So many typos to fix in the review process. I think I have reviewed and fixed my book hundreds (might be an exaggeration) of times. There is blood, sweat and tears put into this book.

2: I am never satisfied with the end result. I will constantly look through the book and say it needs a space here, a new indent here, a comma here, and maybe take out this or that. Plus the layout was very hard to figure out. In Createspace, you have to make sure your book layout fits their criteria of a print book for the size you went with. Lots of trial and error.

 

 

  1. The cover is frustrating. I mean frustrating in the fact that I went through a whole process of trying to find an illustrator. This took over a month or more before I realized that I am a nobody and they will not ever do work for someone who is new to the business. Besides they have their reputation to uphold. Finally, after trying to do the artwork myself (yuck!) and then scrapping months of hard work, I went to a website where I could buy illustrations or get free ones where I just credit them.  The last way was the best for me. Someone else might be better at drawing and writing. I’m just not that talented.
  2. Sells are not instant. A book needs time to gain a following of readers. Your book needs a reputation. I opted to not tell family and friends. I wanted to see how my book would do on it’s own with no help from it’s momma. So I am watching it flounder at the bottom of the sales list.  I want sells to be organic. I want young readers to search and find my book on their own. This is so painful and I keep wanting to throw a life preserver out to my drowning book. We will just wait and see how it does by the end of the year.

 

So it all comes down to the fact that everyone has self- doubt. I have many of mine own and only shared a few with you today. Heck, there might be more tomorrow! I see why most new authors want to have an agent and become published the traditional way. There are no worries except for your book being moved off a shelf at the bookstore. If any experienced, self-published author has any ideas on how to make this process less painful please comment below. Thanks and happy reading!

 

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After much anticipation of the finished product, my book is live on Amazon!

Here is the link:   http://amazon.com/dp/B06Y6C8687

If there is a problem with the link or anything else please let me know.

Thanks everyone for being so patient.

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If you have read my previous posts about self-publishing than you can see that I have always been torn about it. No longer now. I am in the last stages of finishing up an MG manuscript that I have worked on for more than eight years! Imagine eight years of seeing rejections from publishers and literary agents. Eight years of rigorous editing by paid editors. Eight years of agonizing that I did not write a good story. Eight years of work behind me now.

My last step is to self-publish on Amazon Kindle. I have a friend designing the artwork for the cover then it will all be left in the readers’ hands.

Friends and relatives have been waiting for this day forever.  It feels like sending your first child off to kindergarten. You want them to be the best kid ever and to make lots of friends. Same thing with my book. I want good reviews and make lots of friendly fans.

Feelings of excitement and trepidation are waging war inside of me. In the end, I think I will be satisfied to see my book out there on a digital shelf.  Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and just do it.

To all my loyal readers, I will keep you updated when my book hits the shelf and I will post a copy of the link soon.

Thanks, everyone!

 

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How many writers do you know who do freelance work? 1? 2? Or none?  Well if your like me most writers do their writing as a second job and don’t get paid. So to any untrained eye this would appear to be a hobby. What? No way! I work too hard and long for my writing career to be considered a hobby.

So how to break the mold and make a career out of writing? Easy… get published! Well okay enough with the sarcasm. It is not easy to get published, let alone get an agent to even LOOK at your work. So the alternative is to become a freelance writer.

The website Freelance Writing Jobs at http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/ is a good place to begin.

This website can help you locate the job that is right for you. Everyone has to start somewhere, because we can’t all become famous authors with our first book.

Build up your skills writing for different companies. Learn new talents and make connections and get a great looking resume. Every literary agent and publisher wants to see a little writing experience behind newbies. Then when your book is published you can give credit to your experience as a freelance writer.

Not every path to glory is set in stone. Take the road less traveled and become richer for it.

Happy writing!download

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