Today Authors Welcome is delving into children’s book publishing with our spotlight on new author Judy Snider. Judy was raised in Michigan, lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband Gil and her cats Lucy and Bailey. She also has two grown sons, Jon and Nick.
A retired social worker, Judy had the joyful job of working at Cape Henry Collegiate School for eight years. She occasionally does school visits in her city, as she loves reading her book to kids! Goldy’s Baby Socks is Judy’s first children’s book that she has published and it is due out soon. We had the opportunity to sit and chat with Judy about her upcoming books and how she got started as an author.
AW: Tell us a little bit about your book.
Judy: My children’s picture book is Goldy’s Baby Socks. It is the story of a family who adopts a cat and all the fun that follows.
AW: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
Judy: The intended audience is children age 4-7. So far the feedback has been very good. Kids love the book, and find it funny, yet sweet. It is also about a cat, so the younger kids love to make cat sounds.
AW: How did you come up with the title for your book/series?
Judy: I had a cat called Goldy who always brought us socks as presents. I decided to call the book Goldy’s Baby Socks since it was almost as if she was carrying a baby kitten in her mouth. Her picture is on the book’s website so kids can see what she looked like and make the connection.
AW: Tell us a bit about your cover design? Who designed it and did you have a lot of input into the design?
Judy: For this book Thomas McAteer did the cover design and illustrations. He was an illustrator who I found through Xlibris. It was a fascinating experience working with an illustrator while we lived in different cities. I gave him the story and a brief idea of how I would love to see some of the scenes be, and he created the illustrations and cover. He would send them to me for my thoughts and approval. I think the cover of the book is one of the most important parts of a children’s book. It needs to catch a child’s eye to pique their interest as to what’s inside.
AW: How long did it take to complete your picture book?
Judy: It took about 2 months off and on to write it, and then of course to edit, edit , edit. It was published in about 6 months as a print on demand with Xlibris. I wrote another picture book, I Love You, Be Careful with my sister and it was illustrated by Cady Driver. This book targets adults and that took about 6 months as well.
AW: Did you ever experience writer’s block? If so, what did you do to get out of the funk?
Judy: Yes, I did experience writer’s block and chocolate always seemed to help and listening to music. I just wrote my first mystery novella for adults, called, “No Where to Run,” which is currently in the editorial process. I am working on a second one, and for those I really need music and chocolate. I also just leave the computer and walk outside, and allow thoughts to just come to me.
AW: Tell us about the challenges of getting your first book published?
Judy: I have written picture books since third grade. I took a writing course with The Institute of Children’s Literature years ago and submitted my picture book to some traditional publishers, and one said we are going out of business, but publish this one with someone. I read to children at a library in a school, and they loved the manuscript for Goldy’s Baby Socks, and kept asking when I would get it published. I decided to go with a Print On Demand publisher , found an illustrator, and then had so much fun reading the books to children and marketing the book. It really is up to the author to market their book, so they need to like it themselves I feel. My goal was to read my book to children and see them laugh…and they did…the fun part of being published.
AW: Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Judy: Lucy is definitely my favorite character. She is smart, funny, and is kind to animals. I wanted to make Lucy from a multi-cultural family and make her the kind of girl that many children could relate to. In general, I tend to like strong female characters who also caring and keep going thru tough times.
AW: Give us an interesting or fun fact about your book/series.
Judy: Goldy really did bring socks to us every night. It was just her special thing. In I Love You, Be Careful, my sister and I would laugh at how often we said , “Be careful,” to our children, and they would probably be thinking, Oh, Mom.
AW: What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?
Judy: I love so many books, but love beautiful illustrations and books that touch the heart. Each holiday we would find books that were kind and wonderful. I love Mary Hoffman’s book, An Angel Just Like Me.
AW: What made you decide to become an author?
Judy: I have written books since third grade. Being in my 60s now, I have written poetry, many children’s manuscripts, and also song lyrics. I have always loved to read, and most of the time writing is a joy for me. I am loving writing novellas now, and that is my new chapter in my writing career. When my kids were little I took a writing course by mail, joined a writer’s group, and continued reading. I have always loved books and loved Nancy Drew Mysteries. I can’t draw , so finding good illustrators was so important to me as well as my sister for our book.
AW: What is the toughest criticism that you have received as an author?
Judy: I was told that I preach too much in some of my manuscripts, and that I’m trying to hard to teach a lesson. Thank goodness for editors, as I need help with spelling, and sentence structure.
AW: What is the best compliment?
Judy: The books are funny and heartwarming and I Love You, Be Careful makes a sweet gift for new moms and brides. Most parents can relate to it.
AW: Do you have another job or are you a full-time author?
Judy: I am a retired social worker, retired from working at a school, but I volunteer a lot. I also help my husband who wrote a medical/political thriller set in New York City and Ukraine banter ideas about his second book he is writing.
AW: What can we expect from you in the future? Do you have a new novel or project that you are working on?
Judy: I will always write, but hope to finish my second book, am trying to get my second Goldy book picked up by a publisher, collaborating with another author on a script she did , and writing and collaborating on more songs.
AW: Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
Judy: Edit, Edit….don’t give up- really don’t give up…you can write a book….children’s or novel….write every day if only for 10 minutes.
AW: How do you market your book?
Judy: I promote myself in Alumni magazines and local newspaper articles. I have also joined groups with subject matter similar to my book (Cat Writer’s Association). I have also worked Marsha Casper Cook and Virginia Grenier, who do great book tours. They also made a book video for me, and let me do interviews on Blog Talk Radio, etc.