Friday, November 28, 2014

The Incredible Vanishing Act of the "Like"

I was thankful to get a friend of a friend to set me up with a FB group, like for a like. Incredible results. I am deeply greatful, as in this world of self-pub, a following is what is necessary to get your name and books out there for that sale.

I reached a goal for likes and was incredibly excited at the thumbs up just rolling in! I, was busy returning the like, as that is the purpose of the site. So stoked that I invited a few other Indy authors to participate. The pings were incredible. A busy, busy time...for two or three days. Then...

My likes began to deminish, instead of gaining ground, I started losing ground. Wow, can you believe some fellow authors unlike you as soon as you like them, just to get your like? I was floored. That type of thought never entered my mind. In a devious voice, " I will post on this page and fake likes so I get the gain. Mwahhahah". Really folks? 

In some defense, I am sure once some of these authors viewed the pages and thought hmm not for me. But, in this type of group, you should have known there would be likes you didn't perhaps expect, but me, being fairly logical thought, well, support is support. Then, I got unsupported 75 times. Well,
Let it be known that I did not go and check my list twice, and compare my page of likes to see who unliked me, you still have my like. You will continue to have it, as I am proud to support fellow authors. Even though you are on Santa's naughty list...he checks his list twice.

To everyone out there struggling to get your books sold and your words read...Have a Happy Holiday!

Your Likeable Friend,

Friday, September 19, 2014

Blogging From The Heart

Dani K. Lamb asked me to join the Blogging from the Heart “tour”, and being the great new E friend that I am...I gladly accepted.  Dani is a wonderful new author to the Indy world. Her work can be found on Amazon.  She recently updated her illustrations, and has created a bright star with her Dani P. Mysteries.                                                     
Visit her blog at Also like her facebook page at

I know, I know the same ol’ questions come around during these blog hops, but if you really do want to get to know someone, really read them...each cha’ there is a new work in progress, release date or a change in the latitude and longitude of the what or how they write.

What I am working on?

I am always working on something.  Lately it seems that I am working on a circular path, as I keep wandering in circles trying to get to the next step in a new children’s book concept.  Well, the concept is not new, I mean we were all afraid to go to school at one time or another. However, the chicks in this book...well, let’s just say that they are afraid of Brooding School.(get it?)  I am done with my part...just waiting on those elusive illustrations...I hope you will be as excited as me to get a peek at them. Animals, Room, Cartoon, Pig,

How does my work differ from others?

That is an easy question to answer. I am a writing genius. Was just seeing if you were paying attention or not.  If you went by sales, my work differs in that well, let’s just say a marketing plan might not be a bad idea.  However, I guess I would have to say no major differences, just a matter of style...simplicity and sweetness is what I do.  I have to assume that every writer of children’s books are writing with a passion for kids.  I know that when I put pen to paper, or fingers to a keyboard, that what I am writing has been in a passionate vault waiting for something special to trigger the lock and let the words flow.  

Why do I write?

The pure joy of it.  There are millions upon millions of words and thoughts that bang around in my brain.  If you looked in there and could actually see the workings, it may just frighten even the sturdiest of folk.  But, man, once it gets to a point where not one more synapse will fire, my pen starts working.  I don’t know, it just feels good to write.

What is my writing process?

My process usually involves hearing a story, or wondering about something for a long time, then jotting it all down.  I come up with characters in my mind about who solves what or does what in the story.  A spark will ignite something I have had in my mind for a while, and a story will unfold.

As always, you can like my author page at Follow me on twitter @robbinswilly, and last but not least visit Amazon to pick up your copy of my sweet picture book “In My Closet”.

Where do you need to go next?  Well, visit anytime at some of the following blogs of some great authors:

Lisa Medley and her grim reapers at

Tierney James and her Unlikely Heros at

Meaghan Fisher and all of her lovely friends at

Cat Michaels for her books for the young and young at heart

Sunday, August 3, 2014

To Market To Market...

I researched, looked, surfed and pondered the marketing world in self publishing. There are already some great blogs, how-to sites, sites that talk about the world of Indy marketing that anything I could say would seem trite. However, the top commonality is this one thing...

1.  Believe in your book. 
If you believe in your book and your words, then you already have a head start on the competition who is under a contract with a publishing company. You are under contract with your self. You know it's a great product, a reflection of you, so all that social media, finding your own venues for signings, submitting and spending your own money for awards or reviews, are part of the game. Guess what? It will work. Keep it up! Nose to your personal grindstone! Top seller list here you come!

This is a short little blog, but believe me when I say I spent hours reading other sites.
Here are a few that I read that may be of interest to you. › Home › Authors › PW Select

The book I believe in

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ready, Set...Draw!

Being new to the children's lit world, the biggest concern I had/have is finding an illustrator. A friend turned me on to the person I chose, and she did a great job. But I know how daunting it is to start. A great place is the Society of Children's Book Illustrators. I didn't know about this wonderful society, but there is someone in that group that will fit your idea and budget.

Speaking of budget, the hiring of an illustrator is one of the greatest expenses I incurred while publishing. However, they are artists too, and deserve to be paid as such. If you have a finite budget, you can still have wonderful illustrations, just as if you had oodles of money to spend. Be realistic about your budget for that illustrator. I wanted this one illustrator, I won't name names, but her reality was 400 a picture, my reality was, well let's just say I live and write on a teacher's salary. Oh what I wouldn't have given for her work...again, reality. 

Once you find that illustrator that trips the light fantastic for your words, let them create the final dream. Oh yes, you have your ideas to shoot at them, but if you can, let them have as much vision as you can muster...worst case, you sell 1000 are now a star and are appearing on the Today show on their author segment.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Promote, Promote, Promote

So, you have that book written, you have typed "The End" what now? That is/was my big question, so I set out to see what the most common steps are to Indy publishing marketing. 

1.  Promote Early.
During all stages of our books, we make contacts along the way. Keep track of who has helped you research your book. Use them as a constant support through out your writing journey. If they have a great interest in your book, due to their vested time, shoot them an email or tweet updating them on progress. Celebrate each milestone you reach and have a party, including all those involved from the beginning. Everyone loves a promotion party.

2.  Use the Web.
This seems like a no-brainer, but one we need to access heavily for promoting. find communities and forums that support your research or book ideas. Ask questions, contribute to others, get advice, and give it. We are all experts in something and novices at others. Don't be afraid to reach out. Make sure you add your links to your emails or web page. 

3. Blog, Blog, Start a Blog.
Create that spot where you jot your process of your book down. Promote others on your blog as well as self promote. Create interviews, have fun... show off! It's yours. 

4. Don't Stop at The End.
Do you have 25 wonderful, amazing reviews of your book? No? Well, that's ok, keep working on it until your friends, experts and significant others say "Wow, best book ever!" Then, ask them to do the real review on places you will have your book, like Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Goodreads. Speaking of reviews, have you reviewed my book? Here is the link to buy it and leave an amazing review.

5.  Media Kits.
Invest a bit of your money, since you have already invested your time, Ina nice head shot, some nice business cards ( not the ones you print yourself, you are a professional now) a glossy bio card with your book cover on one side and you and your information on the other side.

6. Have fun.
Go into the promotional part of your book with a positive attitude. It is necessary, as books won't sell themselves. Even James Patterson is out there shamelessly peddling his wares!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Reluctant Reader...What?.

"I hate to read." " Do I have to read?" " It's booooring." These are quotes from actual students, year after year, it's the samething, when it comes to reading class. Especially the classes that I teach...6th grade reading. There will be a special place in heaven for 6th grade teachers, and Homeschool moms that have this age group. Reading, is the last thing on many of these kiddos minds. However, I have a soft spot for them, and know that I can open up a world full of books for them by the time they leave my class.  I always say, you might not love to read when you leave my class, but you will love to appreciate reading when I am done with you.

I have come up with a list of my favorite tips that you, parents, can help with if you have a young guy or gal that is a bit ehh, when it comes to the dreaded R word...reading.

Tip 1: Connect with their passion.
Watch what your kiddos are in to...skateboards, gardens, sports, pets, yodeling? There is a book for that!  Help them find some books that have their passion and focus.

Tip 2:  Books with funny pictures and silly stories.
Who doesn't like to laugh? Find some books that are silly and tickle your funny bone as well as theirs. Captain Underpants anyone?

Tip 3:  Series books are a good start. 
A great series of books is akin to a good television show, even better in most cases. Maze Runner, Hunger Games, Little House on the Praire...give em a try.

Tip 4:  Explore books that are not required to read in a classroom setting.
Sometimes finding a love for reading has to be cultivated in a library or bookstore. Try to encourage your child to foster reading for pure enjoyment and not a grade.

Tip 5:  Explore books with learning as a hidden gem.
Caring for pets, build a birdhouse, learn a magic trick, build a soda bottle rocket, just to spark an interest, have these books accidentally lying on your coffee table.

Tip 6:  Search Indy Authors.
Let me tell you, there are so many great books written by authors that don't have a big publisher behind them, but know what it takes to write a great book. A lot of books out there written specifically for reluctant reading kiddos.

Tip 7:  Model, Model, Model.
You can be reading's biggest advocate. Have books and magazines not only on your end tables, but hold them in your hands. Look at the words, smile while you read and...say "Hey Johnny, guess what I just read..."

I do want to mention some authors that have great books out there, of course I shamelessly plug myself.

Mrs. D is a worthy picture book author with great stories and fun book trailers that hook kiddos. Meaghan Fisher, excellent lessons in her books. Laura Lee Scott, Cat Michaels are great ones to search. Tierney James sends you a zombie message with a twist...nutrition! K.Lamb sends you a fun mystery series starring Dani, kids love it! Tim Davis gives you a kindle copy when you purchase his book Sea Cutter.

Happy Reading.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


During the last blog, I was talking about how much time social media sucked out of my day. However, this author has decided that Twitter has become a time tool. I allow myself two full hours to work on this site. Sometimes a bit more, but it is working to get my name out there. 

I have made so many contacts in the last few days, that I know it is going to pay off. I hope that payoff is sooner rather than later. :)

My book In My Closet has been seen or mentioned in about 50 tweets. My name has been tweeted or mentioned in about double that. 

Currently, my WIP is my sequel, In My Backyard and a new concept, Brooding School...Melba the little chick is afraid of her first day at brooding school, and Bert the big bro is going to help. 

Speaking, or rather tweeting with so many Indy authors, as well as publishing house authors this last week has kept me inspired, and well...liked. I have gotten many compliments and really love working with these new "tweeps". 

Next week, I will be blogging about middle school reading tips. Until next time...happy reading!

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Great Time Suck

Social media perhaps started out as a way to connect with friends and family. I have to assume that is true, as I don't know the backstory of Facebook or Twitter. But I do know the afterword, at least for this author.

Social media is now a large cornerstone of marketing plans in all aspects of business. That being said, after talking with many of my new friends since publishing a children's story, I have asked them all what they are working on themselves, and the number one answer is not much but social marketing.

Everyone I see is beating the keys, sending out the pleas for the purchase of a book. A plea to read their blog. A plea for a good review, a pre-buy or a like for an author page...I must build my following so a publisher will notice me!  Is this a fun way to spend writing time for an author? They are writing... and no more than a 140 characters at a time, but writing none the less. Not much time left in the day after checking Google plus, Comments on the blog, e mail, tweets, Facebook contacts. Hence the "Time Suck" title.

Probably not the most positive of blogs, but I will perk back up, just a bit sloggy this Monday morning. I will spend my day reading blogs and e books and articles on ways to increase my audience through the world wide net. The bright spot I see in this day's plan, is I hope that a tweet, a Facebook post, or word of mouth marketing bug reaches one buyer of a sweet children's book that I have published. ( like that personal plug) Onward and upward my friends! 

Happy writing...happy social marketing!

P.s. Link to that sweet children's book.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Big Easy Blog

Welcome to the Big Easy Blog hop.  Thank you for hopping on! At the bottom of the entry I have a great author who you can read about next week. I know I was supposed to have three authors, but one great one will lead you to worlds unknown. In the meantime...

 Tierney James grabbed me and asked if I would hop around with her. Tierney has been in education for over thirty years. She currently teaches World Geography for a nearby college. Besides serving as a Solar System Ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and attending Space Camp for Educators, Tierney has traveled across the world. From the Great Wall of China to floating the Okavango Delta of Botswana, Africa, she ties her unique experiences into other writing projects such as the action thriller novel, An Unlikely Hero. Living on a Native American reservation and in a mining town for many years fuels the kind of characters she never tires of creating. 

1) What am I working on?  I am working on a children's book series called Ernie and the Troll. The first book is complete and out on Amazon. It is called In My Closet.  The second in the series is Backyard Adventure...or perhaps a catchier title will pop up.  

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? I don't know that it is really different from other books, (it is cuter than other books)  but I include small life lessons for kiddos, mostly about problem solving.  I would like to think that if a parent reads the story to their child or the child themself reads my book on their own will say, "Yes! I can do it!" 

3) Why do I write what I do? I teach sixth graders, and honestly, it isn't that loveable grade/age of kids where they hug their teachers and say I love you Mrs., I wanted to reach that sweet, has sticky on their hands group of kiddos. And you know...I have already gotten hugs from sweeties that have read my first book.  

4) How does my writing process work? My process usually involves hearing a story, then sending it through my brain to a filing cabinet that holds all my rough drafts. Then, something will spark, and that file comes open and a story pops out and basis itself on that story that I heard. I know lots of people use music to get the magic popping, but I use fairy dust...or is it toll dust...

Join Lisa Medley on June 23rd for a grim adventure. Lisa  is a reader and writer of paranormal romance/urban fantasy novels about monsters in love. Reapers. The grim kind. Lisa has a complete zombie apocalypse bug-out bag including a machete in her trunk at all times. Just. In. Case
Lisa says "Don't fear the reaper, but you can lust after him."

Join Lisa on her blog is

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Book Signing Fun

I had my first book signing this past week. It was a success, as far as my expectations went. All the books I brought got new homes.
I enjoyed watching a young lady read the book as she sat waiting for her mom to get done visiting with me.  The young lady hugged me and told me she really liked it. Another much younger lady was munching on her new book. I hope it had nutritional value as well as entertainment for her.
The one thing I did learn was to make sure and have plenty of books ready.  I didn't expect to sell so many at one time. So, now I am patiently awaiting my new shipment to fill those waiting orders. Now, that is a neat feeling.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Successful Reader

I got an e mail today from one of my students' grandparents. It was a pleasant correspondence.  This grandmother was concerned over her grand child's choice in reading material. The material she was reading was not any different than anyone else her age...The Vampire Diaries, but her grandmother was concerned that she was not reading enough "good literature".  She asked me to gather a book list so that she could gently nudge her grand daughter towards other authors and content.

I guess I have a small issue with the term "good literature". As a reading teacher, I am thrilled to death to see my students voraciously reading...period. This young lady is in the gifted program and reads a bit higher than most of my students.  I can see the point of the grandmother being worried about some explicit content. Now, I can not say how explicit the content is, it has been a long time since I have read this series, but I don't recall it being to offensive.

So I went on a quest in search of some "good literature" for some enjoyable summer reading for my student. I went to Good Reads, the MSAL website ( missouri state association oflibrarians) to check on the Truman nominees for next school year, Barnes and Noble site, and a few others. Well, I found a lot of great book ideas, and compiled a list. I then decided to look at some excerpts of a few of my choices, and a few were not going to be smiled on by the grandmother.

But I did offer a few ideas and included some of the classics that my student might enjoy, and appease Grandma. It was harder than I thought to find non-explicit reading material for a gifted thirteen year old girl.  If anyone has any great reads for this age group let me know. Reading level much higher than emotional level. Sometimes, this is a bigger issue than a reluctant reader.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Thank You For Your Service

I know that when writing a blog, one should keep to the content and audience it was meant to reach. However, I want to take just a minute to remember and thank all those who served in our military and gave their lives for the cause of American freedoms and rights. Thank you, you are remembered today, and everyday.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Blog Hop April 2014

Welcome to the April 21 blog hop. Tierney James asked me to join her from her blog, today.

Tierney is the author of Unlikely Hero, part one of her Enigma series. She is also the author of children's books A Superhero in the Library and Zombie Meatloaf. All three are wonderful books, and I hope you check them out.

Recently, I finished my first children's book titled In My Closet. The release date is May 5th and is published by a small company, Paper Back Press. In My Closet is the first in a series introducing Ernie and the troll he imagines is living in his closet. The two will learn many things as they experience the great outdoors, a school bus ride and the first day of kindergarten. 

How does my work differ from others in this genre?
That is a difficult question really.  I will say, that most of the stories I write are based on actual experience as well as a story someone has told me.  I was always good at spinning a tale in my younger years.  Now, I have the pleasure of going back through those memories and stories and relive them on paper, turning them into books for kiddos.

Why do I write what I do?

I absolutely adore children's books. I love Rob Scotten who writes Splat the Cat stories as well as the classic authors such as A.A. Milne and his Winnie the Pooh. Reading at an early age gave me a passion for the art of children's books, and now at a bit older age, I have the encouragement to write them as well.

How does my writing process work?

My process is scattered. I don't have a musical score to sit and write to, I don't have a certain way to sit, I don't have a position facing the sun to aid in my writing process.  What I do know is that if it's cute or funny, or perhaps teaches a lesson, I jot down a quick outline of what I want the story to say. I then think if there is a clever way to present the story through illustrations, then I turn the outline into a story.

Next week, April 28, hop over and visit Casey Daugherty. Casey is a wonderful writer, teacher and blogger. She spent a year writing abroad in England on a Fullbright Scholarship. Casey was instrumental in my being able to say, "I'm a writer".  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Chapter Two

My book cover! The second chapter of this author's (I can really get used to that journey into publishing was every bit as daunting as writing the story. Uploading numbers for accounts, opening accounts, filling out IRS forms, toggling back and forth between several open programs, marketing plans, fonts, proofing the proofs and yes, the old 503 error on websites. All good headaches though. 

I have had a wonderful response from family and friends in regard to my latest venture. They want my AUTOGRAPH.  Of course, this is the first book of what I hope will be many.  

Tune in next week for some great blog hopping with some wonderful local writers and authors.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Chapter One

I am back. I hope you didn't waste away waiting for my next blog post. I went out and got my children's book published! So ver exciting.  May 5th is the release date.

The journey to becoming a published author was/is a tough one.  Richard Castle I am not, I am sorry to say, but Willy Robbins I am.

The first chapter in my life as a writer, should prove a funny one...and I hope lucrative.

More tomorrow!