Monday, 31 October 2016

Shoshanah Shares About Her Book

I have shared YouTube videos quite a bit on this blog, now I have the opportunity to share one of my own. It took quite a lot of time to consider the script, practice the script, video a few times and decide which version would be most suitable to use. There are some changes I could make, but here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

As you can see, my book is a printed book and the copy in my hands is the 3rd proof copy that I am now working through. It is amazing how many times one has to read, re-read and re-read a manuscript or proof copy before the book will be ready to make available for the public. I am particularly excited about the cover. I really love to look at it. The cover is calming and alive. It's what a healthy life should be about. I'm working hard to make sure that the content is on a par with the lovely cover. They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but I do hope that the completed book will be enjoyable all way round. 

Please do share the video and visit the campaign. Stay tuned for updates of the book. With that I am off to edit the next chapter.

Interview with Children's Book Author Sandra Lanton

It is always a pleasure to find a teacher or retired teacher who is involved in writing quality children's books. Sandy Lanton is just such an author. She has a very pleasing website to look at with some impressive information. I invite you to get to know Sandy and her books through this interview.

Hi Sandy, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for our blogs. On your website I was happy to see that you are a teacher by profession and have become involved in writing children's books. By way of background can you share what age range did you teach?

Sandy: "My degree is in Early Childhood Education.  I taught Kindergarten for 2 years, then taught at the local JCC for three years.  I started in the after school program and then  created their Mommy and Me class.  I taught   the graduates of Mommy and Me (2 year olds ) Toddler Playgroup (2/12, ) and 3’s and 4’s in the Nursery School."

2) When did you begin writing?

Sandy: "I was inspired to write while I was teaching nursery school.  I was reading to my class and reading to my kids at home.  I thought—“I’d love to create books!” 
I signed up for a class in writing for children at a local college in the evening."

3) What inspires you to write and or where do you get your ideas for the theme of each book?
Sandy: "My ideas come from life.
 I wrote  DADDY’S CHAIR, when my cousin died of cancer at the age of 46 and I couldn’t find anything to read to his 6 year old son.  There were plenty of books for his 12 year old  and 15 year old,  but nothing for young children.  I was taking a class with the late Pam Conrad at the time, and she helped with the manuscript.

LOTS OF LATKES was inspired by my writing group, The Long Island Children’s Writers and Illustrators (LICWI).  Instead of the July meeting we always have a gathering in a member’s backyard for a potluck lunch.  I thought “WHAT IF everybody brought the same thing.   (What if is a great story starter).

THE HAPPY HACKERS started in a screenwriting class at Hofstra.  The assignment was to write a monologue for a person  talking to somebody who doesn’t respond.  One classmate wrote about a woman talking to a photograph, and another had a man speaking to a  corpse.  As the mother of teenagers at the time, I wrote about a mother trying to wake her son, who had been up all night at his computer.  I modeled the main character after my son.

STILL A FAMILY: A YOUNG CHILD’S BOOK ABOUT DIVORCE:  was written when my daughter got divorced.  My two granddaughters were three and eighteen months old  at the time.  Again, I searched for appropriate books and came up empty.

THE LITTLEST LEVINE was inspired by my nursery school class.  As part of the Passover curriculum, we had to teach the four questions.  I was amazed that these tiny children, who couldn’t reach the sink without a stepstool, or tie their shoelaces, could memorize the four questions and recite them beautifully.  The idea mulled around for years and the manuscript went through many revisions until KAR BEN published it in 2014."

4) Are your books self-published or published through a recognized publishing company? Can you tell the reader how you found the publishing process and why you chose either self-publishing or to find a publishing company?

Sandy: "Three  of my books were published by KAR-BEN, (DADDY’S CHAIR, LOTS OF LATKES, and THE LITTLEST LEVINE)  one by an educational publisher, Wendy Pye, (THE HAPPY HACKERS) and one was self-published (STILL A FAMILY).  When KarBen took DADDY’S CHAIR our of print in 1999, I got together with the illustrator, Shelly Haas, and we reprinted it because we both felt it was an important book.  I self-published STILL A FAMILY because I got tired of collecting rejection slips from publishers who said either “well-written, but we don’t want to touch the subject” or “well written, but we have one in the works”.  Again, I felt the topic was too important to let the manuscript languish in a drawer."

5) I have only seen the covers of your books, but the illustrations seem to be gentle and beautiful. Can you share anything about finding a suitable illustrator for your book and how it feels to have your writing in book form, complete with illustrations?

Sandy: "Part of the editor’s job is to play “matchmaker” for the author and illustrator.  I was pleased with all of them except THE HAPPY HACKERS.  I had described a messy teen’s room and the cover illustration shows a single piece of paper on the floor instead of the laundry all over the room and socks hanging from the light fixture as I had described in the text.  Since I self-published STILL A FAMILY, I was able to select the illustrator  and have input into the finished product."

6) Which of your books is your favourite and why?

Sandy: "That’s like asking a mother which child she likes best!"

7) Through your experience as both a teacher and an author of children's books, what message can you share with the reader about the importance of reading to children and enabling children to read? If you are able to add, do you have a preference to children reading books or eBooks and why?

Sandy: "I think reading to young children (starting in infancy) is the best thing a parent and grandparent can do for a child’s intellectual and emotional development.  I know that e books are popular, but I still love the feel of a book and having a child on your lap while turning the pages together is heavenly."   

Thank you Sandy, it has been a pleasure getting to know you and your books. Can you share with the reader where are your books available?

Sandy: "My books are available from Kar-Ben (1-800-4 KARBEN),, Follett, and  my website :  Your local bookstore might be able to order them for you."

Sunday, 30 October 2016

A Powerful Lesson about Disabled Parking Bays

One of my pet hates is those who are able bodied and have no regard for the needs of disabled in general and disabled drivers in particular. Have you noticed how many with large cars but perfectly healthy will park in a disabled bay. Ever wondered why the bay is larger than regular parking bays?

This video teaches an excellent lesson. Watch it, share it and learn the powerful lesson of what the disabled bays are and who they are for!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Writing a Book - A Great Opportunity for Growth

If you are looking for the opportunity for some personal development, I recommend writing a book and seeing the process through to becoming published. Putting in the effort to write a book is a journey of its own. However, once you reach the editing phase, I really do not know how to describe the challenges that one goes through. It might be hard to notice how many mistakes you have made. This can be humbling to say the least! Or you might decide that you know exactly what you have written only to find an editor say, "what does this mean?" Or, you really like a certain sentence and then discover the sentence is changed, altered or transformed.

It's tough but it is so worth it. Having one's book in print is so very satisfying.

Of course, my latest full book is not yet completely in print. I have the 3rd proof copy sitting next to me. I thought I had completed writing the book and excitedly went ahead to order a proof copy. I read through the book as have a few others and the editing began. Then came re-writing and adding some sections. Finally, I was ready for proof copy 2. Gosh, the process has taken a while. After proof copy 2 was all polished, I was so excited for little editing or changes but not so fast. Give the book to a good editor and oh gosh, let's just say it's exciting to find a page without any pencil markings.

So we're having a super exciting challenge here and all the while I look forward to the book sitting next to me to be the final, printed copy all ready for others to purchase.

So nearly there and still, quite some work to go. In the meantime, plans and preparation are underway for a FB group. Ideas are being formulated for other promotion and marketing adventures. We are still on the look out for 9 blogs to be exciting stops for our virtual book tour. So if you have a blog, please be in touch to host a post about my book as soon as it comes out.

And for those interested in writing your own book but unsure about where to begin, we have some exciting freelance services available to you. So hurry along to my freelance page and see if the services offered are what you are looking for.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Weighing up the Benefits of Writing a Book Versus Whether the Book Will Sell

Recently I met someone who asked what my husband and I do. When telling him what we do I mentioned that my husband and I had brought out a children's book as a combined work and are working on our own individual books. His response was that you cant make a living from books and better to get a trade. Well now that is some really positive encouragement. Should we listen?

Let us take a look at what the possible benefits of writing a book are and then some info that comes up about the potential of selling books:

- Writing a book helps to build credibility. It demonstrates to others that we have knowledge about a given topic that is sufficient to fill a book. It tells a message that we have the perseverance to complete writing a book and to make sure that the book is prepared in a manner that looks professional, is pleasing to the eye and enjoyable to read, hopefully with beneficial information. 

- Writing a book can open the door to giving talks, workshops, teaching courses or teaching individually.

- Writing a book such as my latest one that helps to promote occupational therapy serves to meet a few goals. Firstly, it helps me to take all the negativity I have received over 25 years of being an OT from so many who are clueless about what the profession is and to turn that to something good and productive to educate them on OT. I hope that it will also be a good response next time I come across someone who dogmatically says that I do not know about my own profession. I look forward to being able to say, thank you for your opinion, would you like to read my book and then we can discuss whether I know anything about OT or not. 

- For those who call in for a potential session who ask if I have a degree and whether OT is recognized at all, having a book in print would be a wonderful way to say, yes, I have a degree. Yes, with letters to endorse the book from a few doctors, I do believe that the profession is recognized. 

- Writing this book helps me to fulfill a request made by the parents of quite a number of clients / patients of mine. They all requested that I write a book to promote and educate about what occupational therapy is. Now I can be able to say to them, thank you for the request I am happy to relay that I have followed through and completed the book.

- Writing a book to educate about what occupational therapy is, for me gives a sense of accomplishment. It helps to confirm that I studied an incredible profession and for all the nay sayers out there who sadly do not understand what good can come to the life of someone who receives OT intervention, I hope and pray this book will help in some way to demonstrate just how much benefit there is to this profession. And yes, there is a part of me that looks forward to showing all those who believe that I do not need my profession and why not learn a trade or take a minimum wage job, in my heart I believe I can do more good in the world through my profession. Once again, I thank you for your opinion and invite you to read my book. After that we can discuss whether burring myself in a minimum wage situation is really the best use of the skills, knowledge, talents and insight that G-d gave me. After all, we all come into this world for a purpose. Yes, some are suited to the menial types of work. But when someone has skills that can help others, why try to prevent them from fulfilling their potential and helping all those along the way who could benefit in a meaningful way.

- Finally, it is rather fun to be able to give a gift of something I have made. Yes I do give handmade cards, and yes I have given my artwork as gifts. When we printed our set of 4 fridge magnets, some of those have been given as gifts. So now we can add our gifts to our potential gifts. 

As far as those who believe that it is impossible to earn from writing books. Well, I did a google search on best sellers for 2015. I did not look at 2016 as we are still in it. The top few listings show:

Nielson BookScan has a list of the top 20 Adult Fiction,  top 20 Adult Non-Fiction and top 20 Juvenile books. Doing a search on Amazon for best sellers in 2015 brings up 100 options of best selling books. Amongst these are books that are receiving over 1000 and even over 9000 reviews a few books have reviews of over 25 000. These reviews are only of those writing up something on Amazon, it does not tell us of all the reviews that could be in newspapers, magazines or on blogs. NY Times has 112 fiction books that are listed as best sellers.

Does this mean that our books will be best sellers. Currently, we have no way of knowing, however, it does show that there are books that are not just selling but are selling well, well enough to become listed as best sellers. Of course, if we leave our books unwritten or if we listen to the nay sayers and do not bring out books to print, we will not have the potential to work at promoting our books or at seeing for ourselves if the books will sell and to what extent they will sell. A lot is in whether we promote the books and how and that means that some further work is involved. 

So, thank you for your concerns, but I do not believe that the time taken to write and polish our books is a waste of time in the least. Further, the potential benefits far out way the fear of not earning and hence, we are proceeding to bring our books to print.

Sign up for our newsletter where you can be kept up to date on the progress of our books and other services, or visit my website to find out more

Shoshanah Shear

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