Monday, February 29, 2016

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Sherri Elizabeth Tidwell, author of 'The Daffodils Still Grow'

The Daffodils Still Grow was inspired by diary entries of the author/illustrator, Sherri Elizabeth Tidwell, after the death of her mother when she was 14. “My mother committed suicide when I was 14, and after nearly a year of crying and hurting, I was surprised -- almost shocked -- to see the daffodils she planted right before her death still bloom again. It was a big wake-up call to me that, even though she was gone, I could still carry on without her FOR her. Somehow, our loved ones still find a way of communicating with us when we need it the most." Sherri Elizabeth now attends Seton Hill University’s MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction. She has a BA in both communications and studio arts from Austin Peay State University. She hopes that every parent will know how irreplaceable and loved they are to their children and that every child who has lost a parent will know they are not alone. Remember, the daffodils still grow!
For More Information
About the Book:

Title: The Daffodils Still Grow: A Book for Grieving Daughter
Author: Sherri Elizabeth Tidwell
Publisher: Mascot Books
Pages: 38
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
The Daffodils Still Grow is a full-color illustrated book that portrays life after a loved one dies as seen from the observations of a motherless child. “Beautiful and inspiring.”

For More Information

  • The Daffodils Still Grow is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Watch a narrated video of the book at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

The Daffodils Still Grow: A Book for Grieving Daughters was inspired by diary entries I wrote as a child while grieving for my mother. It gives a voice to children who experience that loss and also shares some hopeful insight about how a mother’s love and legacy continues on. Since it came from personal experience, I simply recalled a lot of the memories I had of growing up while dealing with the loss of a parent.

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

I went through Mascot Books, which is a hybrid between self-publishing and traditional publishing.

If self-published, did you hire someone to format the ebook version for you or did you do it yourself?  Can you tell us what that was like?

I chose not to have an ebook version, simply because I felt like this was a book people would want to purchase as a keepsake gift for little girls who just lost their mothers. I assumed they would want to give something to the little girls that they could hold in their hands, so I chose to only publish the book in a hard cover version. However, there is a free version online that can be viewed here: I created it via a PowerPoint presentation.

If published by a publisher, what was your deciding factor in going with them?

I love the quality of Mascot Books and that they allowed me to have control over the finished product but I also was able to seek out advice and support when I needed it.

If published by a publisher, are you happy with the price they chose?

Yes. I think it’s a fair price.

Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why?

I wanted to release it during the months when daffodils bloom, hence the title: The Daffodils Still Grow.

How did you choose your cover?

I designed and illustrated it. I wanted the book to look like a beautiful keepsake, and it was very important to me that it be colorful and vibrant and also feminine so that little girls would love it and want to keep it forever.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

I think I do a little bit of both.

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book?  

Yes. I designed a locket little girls can purchase with the book. It has daffodils on the front but can also be special-ordered to have any type of flowers of their choosing on the front. The idea is for them to place a photo of their mother in the locket and wear it close to their hearts. The flowers on the front ideally represent the type of flowers their own mothers grew.

Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book?  If so, what’s the link? I created it a narrated version of the book (minus small editorial changes) via a PowerPoint presentation.

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

I personally feel it’s a great way to get the word out about the book. I have given hundreds of copies away to nonprofit organizations that deal with grief. I hope it helps a lot of grieving children and families.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

1.      Be prepared for both criticism and support. For writers who spend a lot of time isolated, opinions from others can be jarring. Try to prepare yourself to deal with this emotionally.
2.      Decide how you will interact with others via social media who may reach out to you. It can be overwhelming. Consider having a trusted assistant help you. (Again, something helpful for introverts who are not used to interacting as often.) 
3.      Know who you are and try to stay grounded and do what you believe in at all times.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

1.      Say “Thank you” to everyone who helps you spread the word, because every little bit counts.
2.      Try to donate copies of your books to those who need it.
3.      Enjoy this time! It’s not everyday something like that happens. Enjoy every moment if you can.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out?

I did a Kickstarter campaign, a Facebook page and created a YouTube video of the book being narrated.

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

I would like to create a series where I also have books for grieving sons and other family members in the long run, similar to The Daffodils Still Grow.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

Thank you to everyone who has checked it out on YouTube or purchased the book for themselves or their family members! The outpouring of support has been so generous. I appreciate the support but am sorry that so many of us feel the deep sadness of loss. If you are dealing with the death of a loved one, please remember you are not alone and that the daffodils still grow!

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