Blog Archive

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Building Reader Relationships and Book Signings: Author Interview with Mark H. McCraw

What made you decide to start writing picture books? 

I have always had a passion to start writing children’s books since I was a teacher’s aide from 2005-2011. We would have authors come to visit our school and  I would ask them questions. Authors fascinated me with their craft. Around 2011, I became certified as an Elementary School Teacher. It wasn’t until 2020 that I decided to write books based upon experiences of my children, grandchildren, military, and my teacher experiences.

How long did it take for you to complete your first book? 
It took me ten months working with Archway Publishing to go through the processes of writing, re-writing, editing, illustrations, formatting, publishing , and marketing process.

How did you go about finding an illustrator? 
I found one on Tik Tok named Allison Vandenbosch (Artful Allie on Tik Tok), various illustrators on, and my daughter who illustrated a book for me.

What was the hardest part of putting together your books? 
I think the hardest part of putting my books together was the process of rewriting the book to be perfect for other people to want to read the book. I am sort of a perfectionist, so I want everything to be right.

Did you personally design the full book, or did you have assistance? 
On the first book, I worked with my publisher on editing, formatting, design, illustrations, publishing, and marketing. I went through many different revisions to make sure the book looked like I wanted it to. With my second publishing company, I also did the same process. For books I published on my own, I typically have assistance with editing, formatting, cover design, Illustrations, publishing, and marketing assistance to make sure the files look right for publishing.

How did you find those people to help you?
Mostly, I use to hire vendors to assist me with several processes and projects. I do hire other illustrators directly, not on this website by commission.

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had from readers? 
I think the best encouragement from my followers is that they like what I am doing as an author who is trying to make a difference in the lives of children. They say to me that “I am proud of you”.

Marketing is the biggest key to getting sales. What is the best marketing source you've used that has produced more sales rather than just clicks? 
I think building relationships helps especially in setting successful book signing events at local independent bookstores, local festivals, and other events in the community where you can get direct sales from the books that a customer buys from you. The key is to have good promotional materials so that the coordinator of that event can promote you at the event like a bio, picture, and other snazzy looking but professional book promotion ads.

What do you know now about publishing you wished you had known sooner? 
I wish I had some kind of webinars or training session to understand the different types of publishing, formatting, and marketing tools. If I had researched a list of some useful websites to help me learn the art of being an author before I began writing, it would have been useful for me. I just never thought I would get past book # 1. I received this later on as I learned more about the craft , had a mentor to guide me along the way, learned from other authors I met through a month long Virtual Author Festival, and authors I met at my book signings with other authors there.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give? 
I believe that you need to “write from your heart” and be “passionate about your writing so that you can make a difference in the lives of children.” If you enjoy what you are doing as a children’s book author, you are more willing to put over 100 % into your craft.

Are there any other points about writing you would like to add? 
In my opinion, you must always have another person look at your work because sometimes you can have blinders on after you have looked and touched your work so many times.

Can you give me some details on your most recent release? 
I just released a book called “The Problem Is…” Here is the summary of the book:

Molly, a six-year-old kindergarten student, is not happy about her problems. Some of her problems are very unique to her age. She says some precious statements that will make you laugh. Join her on her quest to find solutions to her problems. Here is a link to that book. ( ).

If you'd like to learn more about Mark's books, here are some options...
Website: This only shows Archway Publishing's one book
Amazon author page: This shows all his other books:
His books can also be purchased online through Walmart, Barnes & Noble, and Booksamillion.

And here's a bonus for my readers...Mark will be giving away an  e-book of  Babbling Betty to one reader of this blog post. Just leave a comment saying you'd like to win with your name and we'll chose a winner from those who commented from now till next Monday night. So what are you waiting for,  post a comment now!


  1. Thanks for for this interview, Chris. Mark was smart to work with and learn from a publisher the first time through. I have done everything the hard way, self-publishing from day 1. It looks like Mark has found the right tools to help him with illustrators and the right marketing plan. His books look very appealing to a child. I sure hope I win one for my grandbaby!

  2. Thanks for this interview, Chris. Mark did it the right way by working and learning from a publisher the first time. I have done everything the hard way by self-publishing from day 1. Looks like Mark has the right tools to help him with illustrations and marketing. AND he is willing to put in the hard work. His books look appealing to a child, too. I sure hope I win an ebook for my grandbaby!

  3. There's always something new to learn when writing!