Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Interview with author Stephenie Barker

The Little Copper Penny

As young newlyweds, Stephenie Barker and her husband didn’t fully realize the importance of financial planning and saving money. As their family quickly grew, however, so did their understanding of fiscal responsibility. As a result, Stephenie has been teaching her children the value of planning and saving money, and imparting strong principles and life guidelines to them since they were very young. With The Little Copper Penny, Stephenie hopes to do the same for children everywhere and show young minds the value and importance of every little cent. She is also proud and overjoyed to see children taking a greater message away from her book: that everything and every person has value, no matter how big or small they may be.   For more information, check out: http://thelittlecopperpenny.com/

1.      What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book? I have always been a “make it happen” person.  I also enjoy helping others grow and realize their goals.  The story of the little copper penny evolved for years as I raised my children with the same principles that appear in the book.  When I starting putting thoughts down on paper it was a treasure and became a story I wanted to share, so I needed to “make it happen.”

2.      What is your book about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader? Originally, my message was about the respect of money and how to recognize that even pennies have great value.  But, the first time I read to 100 6th graders in 2008 from a single sheet of paper, they associated the recognition of value with themselves and their peers.  I was blown away with their interpretation but so proud the book’s meaning could reach further and deeper with young readers.  As I edited every word, I was targeting 3-8 year olds.  At around three years, kids start to understand that money buys fun things.  As children learn to read, I felt this would be a book they would reach for due to its fun nature and the beautiful illustrations that Cynthia Meadows drew, making the characters come to life.  When I finally had real books in my hands, I started witnessing adult readers remembering parts of their childhood of collecting pennies.  It makes me so proud that every reader is connecting to the story.

3.      What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who read your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down? I hope the everlasting thought will be a proud feeling of worth and a respect for how money can change not only your life, but those around you.  I also hope that every time they see a penny lying around, they pick it up and smile, thinking about how important the Little Copper Penny truly is, and that they are too.

4.      What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? The story of the Little Copper Penny became like a close friend.  I thought about it often and revisited every word I wrote while trying to tell the story.  For me, it was a long process that started over 10 years ago, but it was important I share.  If you have that same deep feeling about your message, it will inspire you to keep working until it’s finished and ready to be shared.

5.      What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? I had wondered if electronic books would replace the real thing, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.  I observe there are still many people that want to hold a book, mark their favorite parts, and own their personal library. My knowledge of the publishing industry comes from my limited experience.  When I was ready for others to read my story, I submitted to a few publishers.  They all responded how they wanted to offer their services to make the story into a real book.  I just didn’t feel good about moving forward with them because I didn’t think they cared about the story.  I felt they only wanted to sell their services.  So the story stayed folded in my purse since 2008 until last year, when I finally got the nerve to walk into the doors of Brown Books.  They are located in the same building as my CPA so I would see their beautiful office and the books they were highlighting a few times a year.  Like I said, when I finally got the nerve to walk in and ask about publishing children’s books, Sherry Levine, Director of Brown Books Kids, happened to be there and was nice enough to talk with me for a few minutes.  She kindly offered to read the manuscript and emailed me the next day that she had dreamed of pennies. I knew at that moment, she truly liked the story and I had met the person that would help me move forward.  Everyone at Brown Books has been excited to see this story published.  I am so thankful to have had their expertise in not only publishing my book, but in helping me to make it the best it could be.  From my experience, they are truly unique. I have talked with a few other authors published by Brown Books that live in other states.  Even though they couldn’t have a face-to-face meeting like me, they praised them the same as I do. They received personal care and attention to their books.  Brown Books has become a wonderful friend.

6.      What great challenges did you have in writing your book? Knowing who to trust in publishing.

7.      If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours? It is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a warm feeling in your heart that you will remember each time you see a penny.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

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