Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nancy Carlson visits Micawber's

Last Saturday, Nancy Carlson was the featured children's author/illustrator at Micawber's for our "Second Saturdays" series.  Carlson has written and illustrated many books for children and is currently working on her 60th book!  Some of her best known books include, I Like Me! and Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!  Nancy's characters are well-loved.  Characters like Henry the mouse, Harriet the dog, and Louanne Pig are beloved by many.  Her characters go through familiar ups and downs of being a child from starting school, being the new kid, and trying out for the team.

Carlson says, "All my characters are based on someone I know."  When asked which character is her favorite, she can't decide.  "But Harriet is most like me," she replies.   Harriet is also the first character she created.

On Saturday, Nancy read two books about Henry the mouse:  Henry and the Valentine Surprise and Henry's Amazing Imagination!  She also read her brand new book, Think Happy!, (which is technically not even out yet, but which we had several copies of anyway.)  Of all her recent books, Carlson says she is most proud of Think Happy! because of the great message and also because of the perseverance it took to get it published.

I would have guessed that almost everything Nancy Carlson writes and illustrates would get published.  But that is not necessarily the case.  Carlson says that she publishes about 20% of what she works on each year.  Luckily for all of us, she is very dedicated to her work so we can continue to enjoy her books for many years to come!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Book is Launched

Muriel's Red Sweater is officially launched!  We had the publication party last Saturday at Micawber's and it was a lot of fun.  There were balloons and cake.  I read the book and Muriel, the duck puppet, visited everyone.  Many people came to help celebrate.  Thanks to everyone who could make it.  I really appreciate it.

I have to admit, at 15 minutes to 2:00, there were only my husband, daughter and about two other people there.  I began to worry that no one else would come.  But right at 2:00 pm, the doors opened and people flooded in.   There ended up being about 60 people or so at the event, which was wonderful!

I had so much fun welcoming Muriel into the world, with the help of so many of my friends. What a great day!  By the end of it all, I was pretty tired.  In fact, I went to bed at 8:00 pm that night!

So, now it's been exactly a week since Muriel's release.  At the store we've sold 54 copies at last count.  Do I check each day I work?  You bet!  Also, last night on Amazon, Muriel's Red Sweater was the #44 best selling book!  OK, OK.  I must clarify.  It was #44 in the sub-category of "Ducks and Other Waterfowl" under "Animals" under "Children's Books" under "Books."  It was number 100,000 something overall.  But I was pretty happy!

I just checked again, and it's currently #79 in "Ducks and Other Waterfowl." And 200,000 something overall.  I had better get cracking with my global-marketing campaign!  Amazon updates their ranking every hour.  If I was a little more OCD, I'd be checking every hour.  Since I'm not, I'll only check once (or twice or three times max) each day.

But in all seriousness, I am very happy with how the release and launch of Muriel's Red Sweater has gone.  And what better thing to celebrate during a dreary February then a new, fun children's book in the world?  I can't think of a thing.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Muriel's Red Sweater

Tomorrow is the official release date for Muriel's Red Sweater!  I am very excited about the publication of my second picture book.  It feels like a very long time in coming for my book "baby."  And it has been.

Many years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with an idea for this book.  I already knew I wanted to write a "circle story" where the main character starts and ends in the same physical place but with some big change. But I didn't know what the story would be.  It was my dream that got me started.  I dreamt about a duck who was so distracted that she didn't notice her sweater unraveling as she ran around town.  That was the beginning.

Now, many years (and many revisions) later, Muriel - that original duck - is finally appearing in the world.  And we are going to help her celebrate!  There will be a publication party at Micawber's this Saturday, February 7 at 2:00 pm to kick off the book's release.

I am pleased to say that Muriel's Red Sweater has already gotten some good attention.  Kirkus Review wrote, "Dokas provides a mystery for the youngest set to unravel . . . (it is) a pleasure for honing observation skills."

If you like a good picture book mystery, check it out!  It's a fun, colorful, detailed book that I believe kids (and adults) will enjoy reading over and over.  Hooray!