When we decided to try our hand at children’s fiction instead of taking the usual publishing route, Jane Aumann and I decided to team up and follow our dream of writing children’s farm books. We published them ourselves under the name of Roots & Wings.
As a farmer’s wife, and Jane, the daughter of a farmer, we had the experience we needed and decided to follow our husbands’ advice and just go for it. Following our hearts, we self-published our first book, Tucker’s Surprise, in May of 2000, and this past September, we published our second children’s book, The Christmas Tractor.
Our topics were easy because we decided to follow the old adage and write what we know. For us, the three things we know best are family, farming and tractors. Our desire is to help preserve agriculture through our writing and to offer a glimpse into the way life was and still is on the family farm.
If you have a writing niche, think about writing about that topic in book form. When our first book was released, Jane was the managing editor of Belt Pulley Magazine, an antique tractor publication that I write for. Advertising in publications such as Belt Pulley and other non-fiction niche publications gave us an advantage. We also used press releases to local publications, and hit up local bookstores for book signings.
While press releases, direct mail, and signings have been great, some of our best sales have come in the most unexpected places, like rural grade schools. We provide children’s talks about writing a book and toy and tractor collecting to schools, libraries and other venues. We don’t charge, but ask that we be allowed to sell our book and that it be advertised.
Our first book is paid for, and the second is half paid for. Since it has only been out since September of 2003, we think that’s pretty good. When self-publishing, you must be willing to take on the burden of cost, marketing, and control of your product. We have never been sorry. We followed our dream and wrote about what we loved. The people we have met have been amazing and the friendship between Jane and I has deepened and provided us with memories that neither one of us could ever fathom.
Cindy Ladage has been a writer for more than eight years. She has had her works published in more than a dozen publications, including Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul. She has written a short story collection titled Porch Swing Tales and co-authored two children’s book, Tucker’s Surprise and The Christmas Tractor. Cindy has taught a writing workshop at the local Community College and given numerous talks to organizations about writing and self-publishing. Cindy is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. She lives in rural Central Illinois with her husband and three children. Cindy is a writer at heart. She can find a story to write about at any time and in any place. For more information about Cindy’s books, visit her website at http://www.rootwings.com or write to her at Roots & Wings, 20114 Il. Rt. 16, Nokomis, IL. 62075. You can email Cindy directly at cindy1 at consolidated.net.