Updated: Sep 25
Welcome to our latest Author Success Story! Our featured author this month has worn lots of different hats! She's been a gymnast and a dancer, has degrees in political science and law, and founded an interior design firm and a line of jewelry. Now, she's also a children's book author!
Andrea lives north of Atlanta in Johns Creek, Georgia, where she writes whenever she has time in her "office" (her bed.) She is grateful for the life she shares each day with her husband, two children, and three entertaining, inspiring tabbies.
AHA: Hi Andrea! What inspired you to become an author?
Andrea: I heard about this new idea of writing in a gratitude journal (this was back in 2010), so I tried it. After a few days, I noticed that I was paying attention to the little, good things that happened throughout the day. I noticed that I was more positive and felt happier. I was amazed by how easy it was to change my perspective, and how much that perspective changed my mood. I really, really wanted to impart this new way of thinking to my children! What better way than a fun, rhyming picture book?
I wanted them to know that they wouldn’t find happiness in getting everything they wanted, but by being thankful for what they had. I also wrote this book to remind myself of what I had recently learned. I couldn’t believe how different I felt after just writing in the gratitude journal for a few days.
I wanted to live every day like that, and this book would remind me to do that. I thought happiness would come with my next achievement – getting a degree, buying a house, or starting a business. After reaching so many goals and feeling exactly the same as I did before, I realized that achievement didn’t bring happiness. Looking at what I was blessed with – my husband, my children, my friends, my health, and my loving pets, made me feel so happy.
AHA: That's SUCH an important message. What made you decide to self-publish instead of pursuing a traditional book deal?
Andrea: I think it was a combination of not wanting to wait months or years to find out if anybody wanted my book and not wanting to sign away rights to my work. I also liked the idea of picking my own illustrator and working with her to develop the story as I envisioned it. I also want to develop Abby as a brand through a series, and I didn’t want to give creative control away. Creating Abby merchandise is also something I really enjoy doing.
AHA: Ah, yes. Waiting is the name of the game in traditional publishing. How long did it take you to self-publish your first book?
Andrea: I wrote the book in 2010 and then it sat on my computer for 10 years. I started self-publishing in 2020 and signed up with a hybrid/vanity publishing house. It took me over a year to realize they weren’t really helping me the way I needed help, so I terminated my contract and finally published in April of 2022. So, about 2.5 years.
AHA: We see so many authors waste time and money with vanity presses. I'm sorry that happened to you! What other things do you wish you would have known before you started?
Andrea: I wish I had known the importance of taking more time to set up my launch. Marketing for my launch seemed really daunting, and I wasn’t on social media before I published my book, so I was intimidated by it. I wish I had hired somebody to help me build up social media and do some marketing before my launch date.
AHA: So true! We love a good launch here at At Home Author! Overall, has the self-publishing process been harder or easier than you anticipated?
Andrea: It’s been a lot more challenging than I anticipated. It took me a long time to find the right people, and I think that was the most difficult and time-consuming part. As a self-publisher, you’re responsible for everything, and it can be overwhelming to first figure out what you need to do, and then to find whom you should trust to do it.
AHA: Overwhelming is definitely the right word! If you could speak directly to a newbie author just starting out and feeling that overwhelm, what would you say?
Andrea: Self-publishing is a marathon, not a sprint. So, don’t stress about doing everything today. Take your time, you’ll get to it.
AHA: That mantra seems to have brought you a lot of success! Has your idea of what success looks like changed since you started?
Andrea: I’ve come a long way with this one. At the start, success meant selling thousands of books, ranking high on Amazon, and having a large social media following. Today, success is enjoying the process. If I end up at some point doing all those things, that’s great. Success is working on my book business every day and being happy with where I am, no matter the number of sales or followers I have.
AHA: It really is about enjoying the journey! Now, let's talk marketing. What strategies have worked best for you?
Andrea: I’ve done really well with a Facebook lead ad that pushes people to sign up for my gratitude activity kit. I’ve built my email list very quickly with it. Managed Amazon ads seem to also be doing well.
AHA: What's next for you, as an author and publisher? What's the next chapter in your Author Success Story?
Andrea: My second book in the series, Abby the Crabby Tabby Discovers the Joy of Sharing, is being edited now. I’m also about to get my first shipment of Abby plushes and I’m going to start selling everything on my website once e-commerce is set up. I have LOTS to learn!
Abby the Crabby Tabby Discovers Gratitude
Amazon, Ingram, API
POD or offset print run?
Hardcover, Paperback, Ebook
Total Investment: (All amounts are rough estimates provided by the author and should not be considered 100% accurate or used as estimates for your own project. Do your own research!)
$6400 Offset Printing
I’m just now figuring out my books and do not have any idea how much I’ve put into marketing, graphic design, PR, etc...
Total Number of Books Sold To Date:
Click here for a more complete breakdown of the costs involved in publishing a children's picture book.
Inspired by Andrea's story?
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