Monday, July 3, 2017

Interview with Children's Book Author Miri Leshem-Pelly @MiriLeshem

Miri Leshem-Pelly is the author-illustrator of 14 children’s books. She’s also illustrated 14 books for other writers. When Miri isn’t writing she can be found speaking at schools, kindergartens and libraries. She is invited to do more than 200 presentations with her books per year. Miri is also a Regional Advisor for SCBWI (Society of Children’s book writers & illustrators). She is represented by Olswanger Literary Agency. Her works have won awards and her illustrations have been shown on several exhibitions. Miri lives in Israel with her husband and two children, and loves reading books and going on nature hikes.

Her latest book is Scribble & Author.



Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

I decided to look for a literary agent, so that my book could get a better chance to be accepted by traditional publishers. I did a lot of research and submitted to many agents, and finally got an offer from a great literary agency that I’m very happy with - Olswanger Literary Agency.

If published by a publisher, what was your deciding factor in going with them?

My agent submitted the manuscript to several publishers and we ended up getting two offers to publish the book. My agent and I thought about it together and decided to choose Kane Miller Books, a division of EDC Publishing. I liked their very unique marketing strategy and I loved their list of picture book titles.

If published by a publisher, are you happy with the price they chose?

I trust the publishing house to make the right decisions on subjects such as pricing. I think they are professionals and have a lot of experience and therefore would know which price would be best for my book.

How did you choose your cover?

I’m also the illustrator of my book, so I worked on the art for the cover. The story shows the creation process of the book, therefore I decided to draw the main character, Scribble, and show the pencil which is drawing her. That gives us the feeling that we witness the creation of the drawing. The design of the cover with the title was done by the designer of the publishing house, and I loved the way she designed it, in a whimsical, fun way.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

Scribble & Author is a picture book with a very short story, But it took many revisions to arrive at the final story. As an author-illustrator I did many sketches and thumbnail storyboards with different variations of the story. It took me almost two years to get to the final manuscript.

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? 

I did a mini-book tour with my new book in New-York and Vermont, so I designed and printed bookmarks to hand out to the children that I met. I think it is important to give a souvenir after the book reading, children love it and keep it, and may use it to look for the book later on.

Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book?  If so, what’s the link?

My publisher Kane Miller Books produced a lovely trailer for my book:

And I decided to hire Avi Sarid who makes video clips, to produce another short clip which would introduce me, meeting my character, Scribble! That was a lot of fun:

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

I think it is necessary to give copies for reviewers and as competition prizes, because these are good ways to draw attention to the book and make people interested about it.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

First, I think it’s important for an author to have a website which is updated and inviting. So if they don’t have a website yet, they should build it before the new book is released.
Second - they should have some social media presence and activity, to start building a crowd. Third, they should arrange a blog tour, like this one! This is a great way to get exposure for the book, and it is advised to start preparing for the blog tour around two months before the release date.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

They should look for ways to reach out to their readers, such as book reading and signing events, author visits or school visits if it’s a children’s book.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out? 

I built and designed a new website, which features my new book as well as the previous ones. I have had another website before, but it was more for my Israeli audience, since I live in Israel. But now that Scribble & Author was published in the U.S.A., it was important for me to prepare a new website which would be for the American audience.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

Scribble & Author is a fun book which could help children understand what is a story and how a story is created. It encourages the use of creativity and imagination in problem solving and it will entertain and surprise the young readers. For ages 3-8.

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