I'm calling this page Snippets, though its real name is "Snips and Snails and Puppy-Dog Tails, but spelled Tales" — (my son's creative mind at work, not mine). All those words wouldn't fit on the fortune cookie header though, so Snippets it is.

I envision this page will be "bloggy" in nature, but I've never blogged before, so it might not look like a blog to you. I plan to share bits of news, updates, and thoughts on anything and everything… the angst of sending a son off to college; the excitement of having a book published… But what do they say about the best laid plans? Perhaps instead I'll be posting favorite fortune-cookie fortunes, the newest addition to my push-puppet collection, photos of my dog... stay tuned…

At first I was a little flummoxed

July 29, 2011

My lovely agent held my hand over the phone and set me straight. The author I had met was the exception, not the rule. Promotion was up to me after all.  

With fingers crossed, I contacted some librarians and teachers and asked if they’d be interested in a first-time, rough-around-the-edges, author coming in to visit their classrooms. Several did! With both fingers and toes crossed, I headed out to visit some schools.  

At first I was a little flummoxed. Did I want a microphone? Not really – I might be tempted to break in to song. Did I need a document camera or an interactive whiteboard? Probably, but I don't really know what those are.   

It turned out though, that even on my own, with no entourage, promotional stuff or fancy-shmancy power point, the kids responded just fine. 

Next time, some of the brilliant things they shared with me!

Mon Dieu!

July 28, 2011

Two things today...

First, my husband tells me he's bored with my entries -- he's heard it all before and wants something new. So here you go, Tom. A friend of mine just told me that Cinderella Smith was included on her sons' school's 50 Nifty Short Chapter Recommended Book List -- so cool! Here's the link:

Second, the saga continues...

The usually calm school library was in a bit of an uproar. The author in question had a whole entourage with him – 2 publicists from his publishing house and another woman with boxes of books and promotional material. The normally composed librarian was fawning a bit, requesting an autographed galley copy and making sure everyone had everything they needed. The author, it seems, was slightly jet-lagged. He had just returned from a trip to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and was in the midst of a ten city promotional tour – organized and paid for by his publisher. And he was a first time author – like me! He shared a professional power point presentation, including trailers for his book in several languages. Mon Dieu!

 I called my agent from my car before heading home. "The cat’s out of the bag now! I believed you when you said promotion was pretty much up to me! Guess what I just stumbled into…"


Alas, it ended up not being helpful at all…

July 26, 2011

Getting a starred review was wonderful. Getting two thumbs-ups from Stanley and Morris Rat was divine. But what about my target audience? Would real, live, un-related-to-me kids like Cinderella Smith too? I was anxious to find out, but I thought it might be a good idea to watch another author in action first. I finagled an invitation to an author visit from my neighborhood elementary school.

Alas, it ended up not being helpful at all…


Both rodents and reviewers liked Cinderella Smith!

July 21, 2011

Poking around the internet, I came across some great children’s book review sites. I emailed several and a handful agreed to read my book. Three of my favorites were StorySnoops, Middle Grade Ninja and Rat Chat. Here’s what the dear rattys had to say:  

As we read our way down to Florida we’d like to share what’s in our book bags with our RAT CHAT audience: Morris is reading and enjoying — on his ipad — the Kirkus starred review brand new mid-grade novel, Cinderella Smith. Written by debut author Stephanie Barden and illustrated by one of our personal favorites, Diane Goode, this particular ‘Cinderella’ already has a sequel signed up at HarperCollins. Girls in grades 2-4 will have fun reading what PW calls a “clever slice-of-life” novel — and we agree. A little bit of mystery, a lot of laughs, a bright character full of spunk, and delightfully engaging illustrations make this book a winner.

Both rodents and reviewers liked the book! Hurrah!


July 20, 2011

One day last summer five Cinderella Smith-ish books arrived on my doorstep. I say “ish” because even though they had a color cover and illustrations, they were paperback and sported a bright red sticker that read “uncorrected proof - not for sale”. The letter that came with them said they were my galley copies.

Not wanting to appear too naïve, I googled “galley copies” and this is what I learned. My publisher would be sending these galleys, also known as advanced reading copies, (arcs), out for review, prior to publication. Review…hmm… Up ‘til now, only a handful of people had read my manuscript -- my immediate family, my agent, my editor and others at HarperCollins and Diane Goode. Now Cinderella Smith was heading out into the big, wide world. Gulp.

I wasn’t sure what to do with my own copies, so I gleefully gave them out to family and friends and kept one for myself. Soon though, I found out I was supposed to use them to help promote my book too. Could I have some more, please? 

Now…what to do with these new galleys?