Tell us a little bit about yourself, your books and any new projects you are working on.
- When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Margot: I have always loved writing. I attended incredible schools that focused on writing, wrote countless letters to my grandmother and friends growing up, taught writing for years, and journal. Even though I’ve been writing my entire life, I never thought I would be a writer. It seems like the things that come so naturally, are often overlooked or taken for granted. No longer.
- How long have you been writing? How many books have you written?
Lisa: This is the second book I co-authored. The first book is called Kidding Around the Gorge: The Hood River Area’s Ultimate Guide for Family Fun. Kidding is an outdoor guidebook for families visiting the Columbia River Gorge in the Pacific Northwest.
Margot: I’ve published curricula for the Teton Science Schools in Jackson, WY, and wrote a 12-page activity guide, Backyard Biology for the Young Naturalist, for the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park years ago. Though this is my first book!
- What made you want to self-publish?
Lisa: I had a positive experience self-publishing with my first book, so the fit was natural. I like the ease, flexibility and control that I have as a self-published author.
- Would you recommend new authors self-publish, and would you recommend GKP?
Lisa: In addition to the writing, I would encourage new authors to do an honest assessment of how entrepreneurial they are. When you self-publish you need to be your own marketing person, sales team, graphic design expert, social media manager and accountant. What I love about GKP is that you can pick areas that you want help with. We had a graphic designer and hired Sarah Uhl as our illustrator, so we didn’t need help with layout, but we wanted help with distribution and creating an ebook so we used GKP to help in those areas.
- What do you do marketing-wise to help announce and sell your books?
Margot: We ran a Kickstarter campaign to promote the book and to recoup some of our initial costs. It provided great structure and accountability for our marketing push, that would have been hard to generate otherwise.
Lisa: In addition to the Kickstarter that Margot mentioned, we also spent time building our social media channels. Neither of us are particularly excited about social media, so at times this felt like a big stretch for us. Eventually we learned to speak about our “why” and the social media posts became easier. We also spend time walking into our favorite brick and mortar stores and asking them to carry the book. We created a sell sheet that is one page of promotional information that includes a bit about the book, authors, retail and wholesale pricing. Our sell sheet helps us talk about the book with book store staff.
- What advice do you have for a new or fledgling author?
Margot: Find an accountability buddy. The process of writing a book and publishing a book is longer and more complicated than you can possibly anticipate. It’s very hard to stay focused and motivated, and so having a group or some other person to check-in with is so important. I am so grateful for Lisa in this regard. When I ebbed, she flowed. We were each other’s safety nets and inspiration.
Lisa: I echo Margot’s advice about accountability. The other piece of information that we learned is to start building your social channels early. Even if your book is just a spark in your mind, you have to figure out who you are going to sell it to eventually. The sooner you start building your social media presence the easier it will be to sell it later. The marketing can get a bit overwhelming and there’s always more to do so just start.
- What social media platforms are you on?
We use our personal SM handles to promote our book. That way, we aren’t having to update multiple channels for all the different projects we work on. We aren’t social media experts, after all and honestly there’s only so much time either of us are willing to put into social media. That being said, we promote through Instagram and Facebook. We also have a web url www.letthekidguide.com that links to a website where we will eventually sell the books directly.
- What is the one piece of advice you wish you had known when you first started out?
Lisa: Have the mindset that you are in this for the long haul. You don’t just write a book and then you’re done. Writing the book is just part of the journey. The marketing, blogging, promoting and selling can go on for years if you want to get your book into the world.
Margot: Agreed. We started this book together over 5 years ago (and, for me, three states later!). Life can be so unpredictable, and even though this book – the writing, promoting, publishing – has been a challenge at times, it’s mostly been a refuge. It is indeed a process and only one piece of your ultimate journey.
- What do you feel is the biggest challenge authors are facing going into 2020 (and beyond)?
Margot: Writing’s a challenge. COVID’s a challenge. There will always be something unexpected that will throw obstacles in an author’s way. You have wield the power and extract the learning from those challenges and just keep writing.
- Have you won any awards or contests that you would like to mention?
Lisa: Nothing writing related, but I did compete on 2 Olympic Snowboard teams. I find that talking about my Olympic experience can open doors and trigger curiosity about my book projects. I think authors can really utilize their past affiliations, life experience, and friend and professional groups to get the word out about their writing projects.
An educator, entrepreneur and two-time Olympic snowboarder, Lisa shares the wonders of the Columbia River Gorge with her daughter and Let’s Get Out participants, her action-packed adventure camp, as well as in her book Kidding Around the Gorge. While mountain biking on Mount St. Helens, she met trail-runner Margot, mom of two curious kids, founding faculty of the Mountain Academy (formerly Journeys School) in Jackson WY, and school transformation coach for the Place Network of the Teton Science Schools. The two are a great team and share their mud and boots approach for connecting with people and place, in this creative guide for kids, both young and young at heart.
Many guidebooks will tell you where to go with your family. But, what are you supposed to do when you arrive? And, how will you get out the door with a child dragging his feet? Let the Kid Guide shares accessible activities for all who want to be more present and connected to the world and their loved ones. The approach is fresh, forgiving and fun. Explore how to delight in the rain; unplug to plug-in; bring the outside in; and how to usher these skills into more mundane aspects of our lives, in the check-out line or the office. Join seasoned educators, Lisa Kosglow and Margot Angstrom, and whimsical visual storyteller, Sarah Uhl, as they share their approach and activities that cultivate a sense of wonder in the natural world, trigger creativity and gather everyone playing outside, together.
“Let the Kid Guide is guaranteed to make you want to be a kid again! Filled with charm and creativity this activity guide will restore childhood to its proper place: brimming with imagination, learning and fun.”
~ Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy
Conservation Fellow, National Geographic Society
Founder PBS Series NATURE
“This is Coyote Mentoring from a kid’s eye view, a pithy, playful, and panoramic collection of doable activities for connecting with nature – inside and out, urban and wild, day and night, including practical tips and tricks for digging deeper. Adults, relax. Let nature be the teacher, and the kid be the guide.”
~ Ellen Haas
Co-author of Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature