Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd and A Christmas Kindness. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married.
About the Book:
Ten-year-old Macy is waiting for her grandparents to arrive on
Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?
I performed online research about the first Thanksgiving for this story.
Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?
Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP), an independent publisher out of St. Louis, published Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving.
If published by a publisher, what was your deciding factor in going with them?
They had published by first children’s picture book, Little Shepherd, in 2010. I love being part of the GAP family and firmly believe in their mission: change the world by investing in children, one child at a time.
If published by a publisher, are you happy with the price they chose?
GAP offers competitive pricing on their books. Paperback copies of Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving are available for $9.95 and a PDF download is only $5.00. You can download the digital copy at http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/mac-cheese.htm
Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book? Why?
The publisher dictates the release date, but because it is a Thanksgiving book it was released in November.
How did you choose your cover?
Talented artist Marina Movshina created the cover art based upon something that happens in the story. She has created artwork for numerous GAP books and I am honored she agreed to work on Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving.
Did you write your book then revise or revise as you went?
Like most of my projects, I write out a first draft and then revise. It’s easier when you’re talking picture books, but I also find that I don’t accomplish as much on my longer projects when I try to revise as I go either.
Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book?
Not yet. Bookmarks are a neat idea I would like to explore. Depends on the budget if I expand to other things.
Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book? If so, what’s the link?
I’ll be producing the trailer. I used to work for Pump Up Your Book, so I am familiar with creating book trailers.
What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?
If the giveaway copies turn into reviews it can be successful. My own experience as a blogger has been that you receive more books than you can realistically review in a year—many unsolicited—so I would limit the number of giveaway copies.
What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?
1. Create an online presence. I began blogging in 2007, three years before my first book came out. I quickly realized that in order to generate interest, I needed to help out other writers by displaying their work on my blogs. The great thing about doing that: when my first book came out in 2010, I had close to 70 blog stops on my virtual book tour. Writers reciprocate.
2. Create a relationship with other authors in your publishing house. I’m lucky to be part of a small publishing family where most of us know each other—if not in person, then definitely online. For years before I was published, I reviewed books by other GAP authors. Not only did that allow me to get to know what GAP was looking for in books, it allowed me to build relationships with their authors. We truly are a family. That type of support is important.
3. Reach out to bloggers who read books like yours and see if they will review your book once it arrives. Release day can be a frantic, so get everything set up ahead of time. Then you can simply mail out copies once they arrive.
What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?
1. TELL PEOPLE! Announce it online using social media to promote your new release.
2. Set up a virtual book tour or hire a company to set one up for you. Book reviews and online exposure are very important. I used to be in the business and I’ve seen the impact virtual book tours can have.
3. Reach out to your local community. One of the things I didn’t go a good job of when Little Shepherd came out is tell my local friends and neighbors about it. I was so focused online that I forgot about the people in my own backyard. Send a press release to the local paper and see if they will do an interview. See if your library will host a book reading or if they have plans for a local authors event. Check out your public access channel or weekly paper for news of community events where you might be able to sell your book.
What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out?
I was much better prepared when my last two books came out—Little Shepherd (2010) and A Christmas Kindness (2012) than I was this time around. I’m a full-time real estate agent now, so that can interfere with book promotion time. Thankfully, there are sites like TweetDeck and Hootsuite to help me manage my social media accounts. I’ve also used Buffer to pre-schedule social media posts.
I’ve been talking about Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving online since learning of its release and all the people at my church know. I have a home office, so there are copies hanging around when friends drop by. That helps too.
Do you have a long term plan with your book?
Like my previous books, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving is seasonal. Though they will sell anytime of the year, the big push is around that particular holiday. I usually hold a virtual book tour once a year around that holiday and look to be featured on more blogs those times of year. In addition, I bring copies of my book with me to our annual Christmas bazaar at church.
What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?
Thanks for all your support through the years. It’s wonderful to know readers enjoy my books. It’s a humbling experience and a true blessing.