by Cathy Ballou Mealey
Whoops, I misunderstood! I thought my assignment was to write post-LUNCH tips for debut picture book writers, illustrators and creators. Nonetheless, let’s see what can be salvaged from this post. In no particular order:
1. Thank your companions. Whether you lunched or launched, thank those who joined you for the event, especially the parents and caretakers who brought their little ones with strollers and diaper bags in tow. Hand out bookmarks or coloring pages and thank them for being great listeners. I’m sending a special shout-out to two critique partners, Carrie and Hayley, who surprised me at my library while I was reading WHEN A TREE GROWS for toddler storytime.
2. Tip your server. If you lunched, please tip your waitperson with cash, currency, money or moola! If you launched, consider thanking the store manager, librarian, teacher or event organizer with a special item. I’ve donated copies of my book, mailed small swag gifts, delivered snacks and sent handwritten notes on book-themed stationery. Surely an illustrator’s sketch would also be a very special, one-of-a-kind thank you.
3. Write a review. If you lunched, post your praise on Open Table or Yelp! If you launched, share an event tip or special highlight on social media. Promote an upcoming event at the venue that might interest other authors or fellow book lovers.
4. And finally…My last tip is not lunch-related, but is helpful pre and post launch. Double check your links and social media profiles to make sure they are current and correct. Update your blog or SCBWI profile so your book info says “Now Available” instead of “Preorder Here.” Does Goodreads have your current book cover in view? Make sure your WorldCat, NetGalley or Edelweiss+ entry is up-to-date and accurate. Check outside links maintained by your publisher, literary agency, professional organizations, etc. to make sure your book information is just a click away.
Now take a deep breath, a nap, a stroll outdoors, whatever helps you to recharge your creative drive in your new post-lunch, post-launch life! Because someone has surely asked “What are you working on next?"
When A Tree Grows
Written by Cathy Ballou Mealey
Illustrated by Kasia Nowowiejska
Sterling Children’s Books, April 2, 2019
Fiction, ages 3-7
WHEN A TREE GROWS is a rollicking read-aloud that follows a zany chain of events triggered by a broken tree, a cranky Bear, a nut-loving Squirrel and his loyal friend Moose.
Cathy Ballou Mealey lives with her family north of Boston, where she delights in watching silly squirrel antics and is waiting patiently for a moose to appear. Her favorite nut is the hazelnut and her favorite cupcake is cardamom crème.
We are a group of writers and illustrators who have debut books (actual debuts , debuts as author-illustrators, or debuts with medium/large publishers) forthcoming in 2019. Thank you for joining us on our exciting journey!