Sasha is a former executive at the Walt Disney Studios and her writing has appeared in magazines, newspapers and on television. Milo does not like Mornings: A Tiny Ninja Book is her debut children’s book and was published in August of 2019.
Sasha and her husband, Alan, live in beautiful Arizona where they encourage each other and their children, Finn, Indy & Odessa, to always listen to their Tiny Ninjas.
Visit www.TinyNinjaBooks.com to learn more about the world of Tiny Ninjas, to shop for cool Tiny Ninja gear, or to request an author visit.
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
There is a misconception that you’re not really a writer until you’ve published a book/had a story published in a magazine/had a script produced, etc.. The truth is, if you’re writing, you’re a writer. I began writing in elementary school and have been writing in some way, shape or form ever since.
How many books have you written?
I have written dozens and dozens of Tiny Ninja Stories, Milo does not like Mornings: A Tiny Nina Book is my first published book.
What made you want to self-publish?
The barrier to entry with self-publishing was much lower than traditional publishing and the royalties much higher, both of these things appealed to me. I was concerned, however, about a stigma around self-publishing and that the quality would suffer. I did a lot of research and spoke with several self-publishing houses and ultimately decided that Gatekeeper Press was the best fit.
Did anything about the process surprise you?
Yes! I came to Gatekeeper with a story and they matched me with illustrator Angelina. I was absolutely astounded by the quality of her work and collaboration between the two of us. No matter how good the story, children’s books are nothing without great illustrations and Angelina absolutely delivered. Such a gift to me and Milo does not like Mornings!
Would you recommend new authors self-publish, and would you recommend GKP?
I would highly recommend Gatekeeper to anyone who has decided to self-publish. I promise that no matter how many questions you ask their team, it can never be as many as I have asked them!
What do you do marketing-wise to help announce and sell your books?
I think anyone who self-publishes needs to establish their goals in advance. Is this a book for friends and family or is it a book that you’re looking to promote to a wider audience? If the answer is the latter you need to treat your book like any other product and recognize that platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble are a marketplace, not a marketing tool.
For Milo does not like Mornings, I created an Arizona state-wide promotion in the run-up to release. My illustrator, Angelina, created a special illustration of my two main characters that I had turned into a 4’, full-color, movie theatre style ‘standee’. I approached tons of kid-oriented businesses (every P.F. Chang’s in the state, a local toy store, a gymnastics academy, a ballet school, two parkour academies, etc.) who agreed to host the standee for a full month. Guests who took their photo with the standee and posted it to social media were entered to win prizes from the businesses and Tiny Ninja Books.
I hosted a large book release party at a local karate studio with dinner from P.F. Chang’s, mini-cinnamon rolls for dessert (in keeping with the ‘morning’ theme), karate demonstrations, a book reading and tons of books sales and signings.
I created a “Listen to your Tiny Ninja” prize that I awarded to a local non-profit, Read Better Be Better, in which a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book goes to the non-profit.
In advance of the release I sent promotional copies of the book to traditional reviewers and Instagram “influencers” for coverage.
I conducted publicity campaigns and secured press coverage surrounding the contest, non-profit partnership and book release.
I created and continue to distribute lots of promotional items including bookmarks, postcards, stickers, beach balls, water bottles and fortune cookies. I also hired my illustrator to create a special Tiny Ninja coloring sheet that I use at events.
What advice do you have for a new or fledgling author?
Don’t be afraid to be a beginner. Ask for help, ask questions and seek out people who know more than you do. When I was working on setting the retail price for my book I met with the owner of a local toy and bookstore, she was incredibly helpful and has since sold dozens and dozens of copies of Milo does not like Mornings.
If you’re a children’s book author, I would highly recommend you join SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). It is a great community and they offer lots of good resources.
What social media platforms are you on?
Please follow Tiny Ninja Books, we have a ton of fun!
- Instagram: @TinyNinjaBooks
- Facebook: @TinyNinjaBooks
- Twitter: @books_tiny
- Website: www.TinyNinjaBooks.com
What can self-published authors do to boost sales?
I see a very direct correlation between my hustle and my book sales. The harder I work—events, appearances, publicity, promotion—the more books I sell, it’s as simple as that.
What is the best part of being a published children’s author?
Two things jump to mind; I recently read to an entire kindergarten, about 125 kids, and I was amazed at how many of the students had already read Milo does not like Mornings. As they filed out afterwards several of them whispered to me, “I love your book!” “I love your book, too!” It was amazing.
The second was going to my own local library and checking out my book. I had the librarian take my picture, pointing to the library barcode on the back and she was almost as excited as I was. Libraries are a magical place, to have my book contributing to that magic is extraordinary.