When Courtney first came to us, we knew this talented lady had places to go, and things to do. In time, her first children’s book emerged. We weren’t surprised, but we were very honored she chose us to be part of this very special journey. We sat down with Courtney to ask what it feels like to be a first-time, independent children’s author.
ECS: Congratulations, Courtney, on your first book! What has this week been like for you?
CPA: The first week was crazy! I had never seen so many boxes. I took a video of the boxes lining my walls and wrapping around into other rooms. It was very overwhelming. I kept wondering, “How the heck am I going to sell all these books?!” And after that first week, I figured it out–one at a time. Keep working and we’ll sell them one at a time.
ECS: In what way?
CPA: People have embraced the book and have been so supportive. Knowing the story first-hand, they have been very kind. It’s a sensitive topic, but it’s one that needs to be addressed. What also surprised me, is that there are people placing orders that I don’t even know. I had a personal message come through on Facebook where a woman shared her story and how she is going to give the book to a family member that has experienced something similar. She ordered the book, and it arrived just in time for an important event.
ECS: What has the book release/launch as a new children’s author been like?
CPA: On that first official day of the launch, I kept checking paypal, and my inbox was getting overloaded with orders. That was Friday. Then the next day (Saturday) I thought, Wow, we have a free schedule, I wonder what we are going to do today? That’s when it hit me. Wait. I am the order fulfillment department. We are the distribution center. I have to do this myself. My husband and I spent the next 8 hours, the entire day, filling and shipping orders.
ECS: Yes, it is fun and exciting to do that the first round. But it does get old. Especially when it keeps at that pace.
CPA: I couldn’t do that pace everyday. It was like 60 orders in one day. I took a break for lunch and that was about it.
ECS: What has been the best part of this journey so far?
CPA: Getting it in the mail for the first time. When the proof came for sign off. It was so surreal having it in my hand. Something that had just been an idea. I have a saying that is written in my journal, “Ideas become things.” I’m not good at follow through. I am a person that gives up usually pretty easily. But to see the vision in the beginning, to work hard and to see it come to fruition, that was the best thing.
ECS: What was the toughest part of the journey?
CPA: Ugh! Learning. Learning ev—ery—thing. Trying to pretend that that I know all the computer jargon and stuff that you guys do so well? That was painful for me. I don’t know what any of it means. And you were all so sweet to talk to me like I knew what SEO or anything else like that was. But I didn’t know anything you all were talking about and I wasn’t getting it at all. So many details too, like the copyright page and the other nit-picky things that you all are good about keeping under control. You take good care of me.
ECS: Awww…thank you, that’s nice to hear.
CPA: When I started with Epiphany, I was nothing but a little blog. No product yet, as they say. But my how things have changed.
ECS: What would your advice be to someone who is considering a similar journey?
CPA: Call Epiphany (ECS) to handle it! Because you don’t know what you’re doing.
ECS: May we quote you on that?
CPA: Sure! And too, my illustrator contacted me and asked if I’d connect with someone who had questions about next steps in their author journey. I so understand where this person is at right now. I said, “Listen, if you’re really serious, call these people….” I asked him, do you have a blog? You know, all the usual. But when it comes to getting it published, he has no idea where to begin. I didn’t either. I tried to do it myself on CreateSpace and it was a nightmare. I didn’t speak the language and didn’t have that background. Unless you have someone to guide you? Forget it. There is no book you can read that gives you the relationships needed to create the final product. Epiphany can help people through the process.
ECS: What are your next goals? We know you are working on your second book already.
CPA: Yes, the illustrations are coming in April. I’d like to be able to have it available for Christmas. But my immediate goal? Sell the 1,000 copies sitting in my house! That needs to happen. I think I will write something on every box and watch them as they go away. It would be amazing if I had to order more. The more money I can make, the more I can give to Make A Wish. So, that is very important to me.
ECS: Where are you focusing on at this time in regards to marketing and getting the message out?
CPA: I am looking into hospitals, hospices, organizations that deal with this issue and getting it into the right hands.
ECS: This is when the work truly begins, isn’t it?
CPA: Oh, my, word. Just to keep the blog going this year will be enough in itself. There’s so much to do.
ECS: In your first week you sold about $2,500 worth. Why do you think you had such a successful launch.
CPA: I think I have a lot of great friends and an awesome family. The family whom I wrote the story for, or about I should say, have known about the book for quite awhile. So that helped with awareness. And Facebook and Instagram are great. When I tell people about the book, and the story they say, “I know someone that needs this book,” or “That happened to someone I know.” I personally don’t know that many people who have had a child die. I didn’t realize how common it actually is. But when you talk about this, the word spreads like wildfire. People don’t expect a child to die. To hear their stories—it’s heart wrenching, and you don’t forget them quickly. I can only really credit the success to God and His hand being all over this. It’s as if He is saying, “I brought you to this place, I’m not going to leave you here.” He’s been faithful throughout this process so I just need to trust that He’ll see me through until the end.
ECS: Thank you, Courtney, for allowing us to be a part of your journey to be a children’s author. It’s been a true delight, and we wish you nothing but the best of success.
To buy Courtney’s book visit: www.courtneypallen.com
Or simply click here!
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