1. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Caroline (Illustrator): I’ve been artistically inclined since I was little and am a multimedia artist by profession. I don’t think it’s fair to say there was a specific moment when I knew I wanted to be an illustrator, as New Age Nursery Rhymes was my first foray into children’s literature, but I love challenges and adding new skills to my artistic toolbox. When Greg approached me with the idea to create a book of children’s poems with progressive and inclusive morals, I knew it was a project I could get behind.

Greg (Author): I’ve always been a storyteller. As a child, I started writing poems and was even published in a children’s poetry collection, though they spelled my name “Grey” Morrison due to a typo. As a young adult, I began writing songs, and eventually found a career creating TV shows. It wasn’t until the pandemic that I got back to my first love of poetry and began writing inclusive children’s poems.

2. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written?

Caroline (Illustrator): I’ve been creating art for as long as I can remember, but I took my art business full-time in 2021. Prior to New Age Nursery Rhymes, my work focused primarily on watercolor commission work – portraits, product artwork for business, etc. New Age Nursery Rhymes is my first book but won’t be my last!

Greg (Author): I’ve been writing my entire life, and writing professionally for TV shows for 14 years, but this is the first book I’ve written and published.

3. What made you want to self-publish?

Caroline (Illustrator): We explored both traditional publishing and self-publishing. Greg and I had a nearly “finished’ product by the time we were exploring publication (as much as you can ever call a creative endeavor finished that is…) Self-publishing gave us the flexibility to maintain full creative liberties and avoid too many overhauls on a book we were already quite content with. We also knew the children’s literature space was crowded, and we thought the ability to maintain 100% of our royalties improved our chances of turning a profit.

Greg (Author): This book has been a passion project first and foremost, so keeping creative control was important to us. We also knew that finding a publisher would be a long and drawn out process and we were eager to get our hard work into the hands of our loved ones and others who we could spread our message of love and acceptance to. 

4. Would you recommend new authors self-publish, and would you recommend Gatekeeper Press?

Caroline (Illustrator): If you have a product ready for publication, but don’t know quite how to take those final steps, Gatekeeper Press is a great option. We really appreciated that Gatekeeper Press handled the more burdensome, logistical elements of publication. Final formatting, copyright, listings, royalties…it was comforting to know these were addressed with accuracy.

Greg (Author): I would certainly recommend using Gatekeeper Press. There are so many little things to do when publishing a book that can weigh you down and delay actually getting to the finish line. It’s truly a small price to pay for such instrumental help.

5. What do you do marketing-wise to help announce and sell your books?

Caroline (Illustrator): We really wanted to have a successful presale period, so we developed a presale email marketing campaign to build excitement leading up to our publication date. We coordinated emails with Instagram posts and reels that shared behind-the-scenes content of the making of our book. Our presale numbers gave us some traction on Amazon and we were able to capitalize on the status of #1 New Release in a few different categories in our marketing content. Once release day hit, we transitioned to highlighting the different brick and mortar locations where you could find our book while encouraging people to share pictures and post reviews.

Greg (Author): Caroline answered this question perfectly, so I recommend her answer :)

6. What advice do you have for a new or fledgling author?

Caroline (Illustrator): Commit to the project you’ve been thinking about and let go of the need for it to be perfect. There is immense value in the process of bringing a work to publication. You will learn a lot and make your next project even stronger. And as Greg mentions, set deadlines for yourself. Self-imposed or no, a deadline is a deadline and helps you move forward. 

Greg (Author): Give yourself deadlines both creatively and logistically. Life can very easily get in the way and it’s important to keep yourself accountable. Also, if your book is illustrated, find an artist who can be a true partner in the process. Going through the publishing process with someone else is so much more fun, and it helps to share the stress with a confidant and friend.

7. What social media platforms are you on?

Caroline (Illustrator): You can follow me on Instagram: @CarolineWeaverCreative and find me through my website: www.CarolineWeaverCreative.com

Greg (Author): You can follow me on Instagram: @GregMorrison09. 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/greg-morrison-30361614/

Or find me through my website: www.twotalesmedia.com

8. What is the one piece of advice you wish you had known when you first started out?

Caroline (Illustrator): This is very specific to children’s literature, but I wish we had done more advanced planning about text-placement. I thought a lot about the composition of the illustrations, but I didn’t plan out the exact text location in advance. When it came time to place the text we sometimes had to choose page locations that were less intuitive to preserve the illustration. A seemingly small thing, but ultimately very important!

Greg (Author): That the term “lost in fold” is actually a real thing. Be careful putting things too close to the edge of the pages, they can and will get lost in the fold!

9. What do you feel is the biggest challenge authors are facing going into 2023 (and beyond)?

Caroline (Illustrator): Standing out in a saturated market. It sometimes feels like you need to already be recognizable to get recognition. 

Greg (Author): I agree with Caroline completely and I would add that writing is a beautiful passion, and it’s nice to make a little extra money from it, but in 2023, you’re most likely not going to make a real living from it. The saying is more true than ever, “Don’t quit your day job.”

10. Have you won any awards or contests that you would like to mention?

Caroline (Illustrator): Specific to our book, New Age Nursery Rhymes, we were incredibly pleased to reach #1 New Release Status on Amazon in the Nursery Rhymes and Children’s Poems categories. We maintained that status for almost three weeks and have hit the top charts again now that our book is officially published. In such a crowded market we were proud to attract the spotlight.

Greg (Author): Caroline said it perfectly, I would also like to add that my mother loved it! And that’s its own kind of reward!

Please share your website/social media links below:

Instagram: @CarolineWeaverCreative

Instagram: @GregMorrison09

LinkedIn: greg-morrison-30361614

Website: www.twotalesmedia.com

Website: www.CarolineWeaverCreative.com