Updated: Feb 8
Welcome to our very first Author Success Story!
At At Home Author, we want to do everything we can to help you make your publishing dreams come true. We believe in you! We KNOW you can do it!
But sometimes, it's scary to take that first step. In this interview series, we want to introduce you to people just like you who had the courage to take that first step, chase their publishing dreams - and succeed! It's our hope that by reading their stories, you'll learn lots of valuable information about the world of publishing, find a community of like-minded author friends, and gain the confidence to take that first step!
At some point, we've all thought to ourselves, "I just wish I knew someone who's done it, so I could ask them questions and see what it's really like!" Well, wish no more!
Meet Cindy Ninni Grant:
Ninni is a former kindergarten teacher with a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She’s been married for 39 years and raised 4 wonderful sons. Ninni is enjoying her writing journey. Her second book is being illustrated and her third book is already edited. When she’s not writing, she’s either in the pool, at the lake, or on a boat.
Title: Oodles And Oodles Of Noodley Noodles
Release date: August 2020
Illustrator: Katie Weaver
Facebook: Cindy Ninni Grant
AHA: Hi Cindy! So, what inspired you to become a published author?
Cindy: My son. Thirty-five years ago, I wrote my Master’s thesis on how to publish a children’s book. At the time, I had an idea about writing a book about a little kid who loved noodles. I went on to raise my 4 sons, taught kindergarten, and ran a daycare for teacher’s kids. When I retired, my middle son, Ari, asked me what I was going to do now. He suggested I write that children’s book I always wanted to. So, I did!
AHA: It's so great that you finally decided to make that dream a reality! I know a lot of potential authors are overwhelmed by the decision between traditional and self-publishing. Why did you decide to self-publish instead of going the traditional publishing route?
Cindy: I knew all that was involved with going the traditional route from researching for my thesis. I didn’t want to have to wait years to hopefully find a publisher that was interested in my story. After joining online writing groups and learning about self-publishing, I thought, why not?
I signed up for classes on how to self-publish, and lo and behold, I did it!
AHA: You mentioned writing your Master's thesis on publishing a children's book. Did you have any other background/experience in writing?
Cindy: I took a few writing classes in high school and college.
AHA: You said you didn't want to wait years to find a publisher. How long did it take you to self-publish your first book?
Cindy: From writing, editing, illustrating, and printing, it took a year for me to get my first book published.
AHA: I'm sure there was a lot to learn during that year! What is something you wish you would have known before you started?
Cindy: How much I would love it! This new adventure has changed me for the better. I have a gung-ho attitude with life that I didn’t have before. Not only am I excited to do things every day to continue on this journey, from more writing to marketing, but I’ve also met so many wonderful people who are rooting for me.
I feel I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.
AHA: Has the publishing process been easier or harder than you anticipated? In what ways?
Cindy: I guess I didn’t have any expectations. I figured I’d write a book and go from there. Until I learned about marketing! I felt so overwhelmed at the beginning. There was so much to do and learn. I didn’t realize that marketing in and of itself, is a full-time job. I had to take a step back, catch my breath, tell myself, you can do this, and move forward.
For me, now I focus only on a few marketing ideas at a time. This keeps it manageable for me and I stay more relaxed. I’ve learned it’s ok to ask for help in areas I get stressed out about. That has helped me a lot.
AHA: Asking for help is SO important! Speaking of marketing...what marketing strategies have been the most successful for you?
Cindy: Besides Amazon advertising, selling in person has been working out for me. I always have books with me and use any opportunity I can to ask, “Do you know anyone with little kids?” Local stores and gift shops continuously order more books.
Being written up in newspapers and magazines (StoryMonsters) has also brought in sales. I hired a social media assistant to help me build my brand/ content. Right now, we’re focusing on Instagram.
So far, my book is inside over 60 Barnes and Nobles across the country. I feel getting it seen by as many people as possible is my best opportunity.
AHA: Your book has won the Readers' Favorite Silver Medal for Children's Picture Books, the Story Monsters Approved Seal, the KidsShelf Cover Design Award, and the Mom’s Choice Award. Amazing! When you first started, how did you measure success? Has that benchmark changed?
Cindy: I wasn’t looking for success! For me, just writing my story that I thought about for 35 years, was my success. I was and am so proud that I am a published author. Getting my book into kids' hands and watching their enjoyment, is my success. I don’t focus on how many books I’m selling on a given day. I have a very low, laid-back approach.
AHA: How did you fund your first project?
Cindy: My hubby originally funded everything. He’s so proud and supportive.
AHA: If you could give one piece of advice to someone hoping to self-publish, what would it be?
Cindy: Learn everything you can about self-publishing. Read, listen to podcasts, take classes and learn from seasoned authors. Do your homework! You got this!
Oodles and Oodles of Noodley Noodles
1 year (from draft to published)
Signature Printing, Maryland, USA
self, Amazon, IngramSpark
hardcover, paperback, eBook, dyslexia font version
***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 thorough research!
Printing (2,600 hardcover copies)
Marketing (ads, website, book trailer, etc.)
Total copies sold to date
Inspired by Cindy's story?
Ready to start your own publishing journey?
At Home Author is run by three veteran teachers-turned-authors who are here to help! Click the button below to book a FREE 15-minute consultation and we'll answer any questions you might have.
Not feeling chatty? We get it! ;) Click HERE to register for a FREE webinar.
Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links to products we enjoy using ourselves. Should you choose to use these links, At Home Author may earn affiliate commissions at no additional cost to you.