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Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Know Your Audience, Target Them, and Make a Plan. Author Interview with Carole P. Roman

You’ve now published over 50 books, but what initially drew you to writing picture books? How long did it take for you to complete your first book? 
Writing a picture book can take only an hour or so. Most of my ideas come to me and are on paper within a very short period of time. Choosing an illustrator, designing the characters, editing, and arranging the text for the illustrations, that part takes weeks. I am a fast worker, though. I get things done as soon as they are in my inbox.  
You have a cultural series for kids that shows what it’s like to live in other countries. How did you go about researching what to include for the text?
I did a lot of research on the computer. but I always arranged to interview people from the country. I live in New York and my day job is with a transportation company. We have hundreds of people who come from other countries working there. My hairdresser helped with Russia, the dry cleaner gave me information about Brazil, South Korea was written on a morning with my nail technician, and Hungary was my next-door neighbor.

I live in a diverse neighborhood and also contacted ethnic restaurants. I drove to the east end of Long Island to pick up food and interview a German restaurant. I called consulates in Manhattan and very often they directed me to residents living in the States to help. The one common denominator was everyone interviewed was happy to share information of their country and culture.
What was the hardest part of putting together your picture books? 
Editing. I never see my own errors. 
How did you go about putting together your books?
I work with a network of professionals developed over the past eleven years. I've met them on forums on Goodreads. The Goodreads author threads have been a vital source for connections and learning about indie publishing. 
What’s the best encouragement you’ve had from readers? 
Readers will tell me that a book of mine helped them through a hard time. All of my stories are written for multiple levels and very often parents will thank me for a message they received while reading a book with their child. I love to hear that I entertained or made them laugh. It's special when you get a note asking for 'more.'

Marketing is the biggest key to getting sales. What is the best marketing source you've used that has produces more sales rather than just clicks?
Facebook and blogs.  I market my books to the source that it is written. For instance, I have a huge following of mommy bloggers and home-schoolers. I pay for ads that will be visible to them. I also have most of my books critiqued by major companies like Kirkus and Foreword Review. This brings them to the attention of librarians and schools.
What do you know now about publishing that you wished you had known sooner? 
Getting a traditional publisher doesn't mean you'll make more money. I've published my own books and have been paid by a publisher. I don't like losing creative control. Also, one of my books sold over 500,000 copies. I made nothing but the fee they paid me to write the book. 
What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give? 
Don't give up your day job. If you don't intend to market, then don't expect anyone to read your book. You will have to invest in a good cover, at least two edits, and some editorial reviews. Don't think you will write the book and it will join Harry Potter in the royalties area. Know your audience, target them, and make a plan.

What's  coming up next for you? 
Right now, Grady Whill and the Templeton Codex is being turned into a major motion picture script. Hoping to see it on the big screen or streaming service. 
Hope that works out for you! That's all for today's interview. To learn more about Carolyn's books, check out these links. 
And here's a bonus for my readers... Leave a comment on this post with your name. Next Tuesday, we'll choose one winner who will get an eBook of their choice from Carolyn's list of books. So what are you waiting for? Write something now!

1 comment:

  1. I love the way this author has created an international line up. And how fun to do research first hand...with people from that country. One question I would like to have her answer. I have written in different genres and have been told I need different author names for each genre. Carole has not done that. I wonder if she feels it makes a difference one way or the other. thanks for the interview, Chris