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Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Have Fun with Your Writing: Author Interview with Steve Megson

What made you decide to start writing picture books?

My inspiration was definitely my daughter, Mia. My wife and I have spent a lot of time reading stories to our daughter, even before she was born. I wanted to create stories like the ones we enjoyed reading and ensured that positive life lessons were at the heart of them.

How long did it take for you to complete your first book?
From writing down the story, editing, waiting on illustrations, and publishing the book, it took me a whirlwind three months to finalize everything. This doesn't take into account though how much time I spent beforehand brainstorming ideas for the story or all those hours researching self-publishing books in general.

How many rewrites did you do?

I made several rewrites in the initial writing process, more through the editing process, and finally one more round of edits after the illustrations were received. Writing a book is a process that is constantly evolving until the moment it is published. It is the same with picture books, with the added task of making sure that the images and the text are working together to tell the story. Sometimes when I see the illustrations, I feel like more or less might be required of the text to tell the story.

Are you active in any writing critique groups?

I am not active in writing critique groups yet; however, I take part in a couple of self-publishing groups which are helpful for the sharing of ideas and finding extra beta readers when needed.

How did you go about finding an illustrator?
When I was researching publishing children’s books through articles and podcasts, I noted that several had mentioned finding freelance illustrators on sites like Fiverr. I had a pretty clear vision of what I was looking for as far as style, and I looked for quite a while before finally finding Andy. We have just finished working on our fifth project together and I can't praise his work enough. He has really made the Rooty the Rutabaga series come to life.

What was the hardest part of putting together your books?
When it came to putting together my first book, I would say that it was a steep learning curve. Before attempting it, I had read every online article I could find and listened to hours of podcasts on the subject of creating children’s books. Learning how to use Canva to format the illustrated pages with the text was the most challenging aspect for me at first, having no experience with programs like that. Getting the pages and covers the proper sizes for each specific platform, be it Kindle Direct Publishing or IngramSpark with their specific requirements, took time to learn. A lot of trial and error and several books later, the process has become much easier. There is no substitute for the experience of actually doing it.

What was the process like working with the illustrator?

I always work together with my illustrators when designing the book's layout and cover. Making sure there is enough space for text on the pages and cover is key on the illustrators' part and communication is very important. They are always helpful in the process. 

For anyone wanting to do it all themselves, there are also several helpful articles and videos online that do a good job of teaching how to format.

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had from readers?
Hearing that a child enjoyed my book or that they love my characters is honestly the best feeling ever. It only takes one of those to really make it all worth it. Readers don't know how much their positive feedback really means to an author just starting out.

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?
Having and growing an author email list is very important to marketing to the proper audience. You're able to keep an already interested audience updated on all upcoming work and launch new books to a group more likely to purchase them.

What do you know now about publishing you wished you had known sooner?
Some things you just have to find out through time and experience. I probably would have diversified the platforms I published through and tried to make more physical/in-person, rather than relying so heavily on Amazon. When you put so many of your eggs in that one basket, you are helpless to their changing rules. It is better to take as much control of your fate as possible.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?

Something I've learned is to keep an open mind and not get too set in any one idea. A book, from the conception of the idea, to finally publishing, goes through many stages and changes. Be open to feedback and criticism and use it to improve rather than seeing it as a negative.

Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
You should enjoy what you're writing, always. Especially when it comes to children’s books. Just have fun and the readers will have fun too!

What is the next book coming out? Can you give me some details?
The fourth book in the Rooty the Rutabaga series, Rooty the Rutabaga: A Beautiful Game comes out on June 15th. In this book, Rooty and his vegetable pals are taking part in a soccer tournament where Rooty learns about being a good sport, win or lose.

That's all for today's interview. If you'd like to learn more about Steve's books, check out the links below.

And here's a special tip for my readers, go to his website and sign up for his updates and you'll receive both a FREE eBook and a printable coloring and activity books. So what are you waiting for, go there now!
Author Website:
Amazon Author Page:

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