by Katie Foth on 08/12/19
Three years have passed since I published my children's novel Penny and the Seer's Ballad.
I had a solid start on the sequel (80 pages) before I returned to working a full-time job not related to writing. The mechanics of life drove that change. My husband was retiring, and his reduction in hours meant that he no longer qualified for the healthcare plan offered by his employer.
That change was no problem for him, because he'd grown old enough to qualify for Medicare coverage. But I'm younger by several years. While it's possible to find an individual healthcare policy, one has to have enough income to pay the monthly premiums. Hence the job.
The one I landed wasn't a high-paying job by any means (the childcare industry is well-known for low pay; Chick-Fil-A pays its employees significantly more). But it met the need. Moreover, I love spending time with young children. Watching them discover the world and learn how to maneuver through life brings joy to my heart. I love the top-notch facilities at Park Place Children's Center, and I enjoy the international families who attend (over the years I have worked with children from Japan, Thailand, India, Germany, France, Russia, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, England, and more).
When one writes for children, it's always a good idea to stay connected with them regularly. Little ones enjoy stories, and every day I gain more experience telling or reading stories. I learn what children enjoy, what keeps their attention, what tickles their fancy. Sometimes the children even inspire stories (out of desperation). Occasionally I've had opportunities to try out and refine story ideas. But alas, in caring for children, I expend a great deal of energy that is then NOT devoted to writing. I work from early morning (7 am) to evening (6am), and I come home happy but tired.
Nevertheless, I have been picking away at the sequel to Penny and the Seer's Ballad. At long last I have completed a first draft. I'm calling the novel Penny and the Anthem of the Begetter's Band. I'm planning yet another sequel to the series, but for now I have to figure out what to do next, how to proceed.
When I self-published my first books through Amazon's CreateSpace, I worked with a free-lance editor (Susan Korman) and a free-lance illustrator (Scotty Roberts) to produce a more professional product. They both did a fabulous job, and I'm very happy with their help.
But one crucial piece I've still not mastered is marketing. I learned a lot through the launch of my first books, Legends of Ellandria and Penny and the Seer's Ballad. I learned that marketing requires strategy, time, and persistent energy (which of course detracts from writing efforts). Researching the multitude of articles on how to market one's work often discourages me.
There's so much to consider. Do I publish now or wait until I've finished most of the next sequel so that I can build more momentum in a marketing campaign? Do I continue to self-publish or try to find a publisher who will excel at the marketing side? I want to make wise choices.
But these are good problems to own. They mean I've made progress over the past few years, and despite this temporary dilemma (through which I will eventually work my way), I'm happy to see progress.