I found my next guest on LinkedIn when I chanced upon his poetry and immediately got a Shel Silverstein vibe. He not only composes the verse but he illustrates them, too. I had to know more so I asked him for an interview.
I think you’ll like his work, if you take a little peek.
I may be late for Poetry Month, but hey, it’s still #ChildrensBookWeek.
See what I did there? 😉
Q. Hi Jeff! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your books.
A. Hi Shana! Thanks for having me on your blog! I live in Troy, Michigan and I’ve been writing and self-publishing children’s books for about four years now. I tried writing in several “grown-up” genres prior to finding my niche but my heart just wasn’t in it, and I was never able to finish any of the projects I started. I found that I especially enjoy writing for kids (particularly my own) because I have a very childish sense of humor and appreciate the freedom to be as absurd as I like.
Also, when reading to kids there’s an immediate payoff–you get an instant reaction to what you’ve written. Shel Silverstein is probably my favorite author, and as a child, I knew I wanted to be like him. I now have written and published eight collections of children’s poetry, so I am heavily in his debt.
I self-published my first collection of poems, What If Balloons Didn’t Pop? four years ago, and since that time, have written fifteen other books. Some are collections of poetry and drawings; others are picture books. In addition to being a writer, artist, and father of five, I’ve spent most of my working career as a social worker, advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities and have been fortunate to be employed for the last twenty-two years with an agency that provides services to children and adults with developmental disabilities and mental illness.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thanks.~Rosco’s Reading Room
Q. How interesting! I know writing and publishing books certainly has its ‘ups and downs’, so I like to ask authors to comment on something they’re proud of, something that’s ‘working’. Can you tell us something you’re proud of in regard to your books?
A. Sure! I’m really proud of finishing and publishing my first book, because I proved to myself that I could actually see a project like this through to completion. I was also humbled by the positive reception to it because I’m a bit insecure when it comes to my writing.
I was also very encouraged recently to receive an offer of representation from a literary agency that is interested in a picture book I wrote earlier this year.
Q. How wonderful! (I haven’t met an author yet who isn’t a bit insecure when it comes to his or her own writing, by the way.) What has been one of your greatest challenges?
Marketing myself. I wanted to be a writer, not a press agent and marketing strategist, but the reality of being an author these days is that you have to be all of those things. The children’s book market is so competitive it’s hard to make any inroads, but you have to be persistent, especially on social media platforms.
Q. Agreed. What plans do you have for the future?
My long term objective is to get a publishing deal with a traditional publisher as I’m kind of burned out on the amount of work it takes to self publish. I’d also like to get my books out there to a wider audience than what I can reach by self-publishing. (No knock against self-publishing!)
Q. None taken! It’s a huge commitment. I hope you find success with those goals. Now, can you tell us where people can keep up with you and buy your books?
A. Sure! You can find more information about me at my web site www.whatifballoons.com. My books are also available in paperback on Amazon and I always carry at least 3 books with me at all times, so if you bump into me on the street I will be happy to sell you one. 😉 (Just kidding.)
Readers familiar with the whimsically playful poetry and drawings of Jeff Whitcher know nothing is too silly or strange to weave into a hilariously unconventional tale to tickle the tiniest funny bones. Sample some peanut butter toothpaste, pop in on the old woman who lives in a sandal, and meet a youngster with hair seven miles long!
View There’s A Goat In My Oatmeal on Amazon
Visit Jeff Whitcher’s books on Amazon to view more titles.
I hope you enjoyed Jeff’s poetry! Please share this post to help him with the ever-present task of author marketing! Thanks for reading!