My guest today is Australian children’s author and Indie Kidlit Podcast co-host, the lovely Elena Paige. I was quite excited when I was finally able to catch up with her and ask her some questions.
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.~Rosco’s Reading Room
Q. Hi Elena. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your books?
A. Hello, Shana, and thank you for inviting me here! I started writing children’s books completely by accident. I am originally a psychology counselor and I love the study of alternative health. I wrote and recorded several adult meditation CDs for good health. So I decided one day it would be cool to write some meditations for kids. But I wanted them to be more fun than calming. My own kids had listened to calming bedtime meditations but found them boring–especially once they started school. So I wrote six meditations for them and recorded them on CD.
This was in 2010 when CDs were still a thing. I made them fun and adventurous and designed them to make bedtime fun, to help kids concentrate better, and to think and feel more positively. The results for my own children were so good that I decided to share it with other kids. When the CD started to sell successfully, I thought it would be a cool idea to turn it into a book. Hence I started a learning curve and a passion for book writing and publishing in July 2016.
I have since published seven books in the Meditation Adventures for Kids series, and have published two other series for kids aged 4-9 years of age (Lolli’s Happy Heart Rhymes, and Taki and Toula Time Travelers). In May 2018 I just released my first middle grade book: The Magicians Convention. So I’m slowly but surely learning how to write for kids, and loving every step in the process. My books are all fantasy and wonder books–with underlying themes of inspiration, emotion, and inner transformation.
Q. What an interesting background you bring to the work of writing for children. Next, I’d love it if you’d tell us about something that you’re proud of, in terms of your writing.
A. Sure, I’d be happy to. At one point I was getting over 5,000 downloads a week of Lolli and the Lollipop (Book 1 in the Meditation Adventures for Kids series). And because of it my paperback sales were going up and up until they reached 100 sales a week, which is really good for me. Then Amazon pulled the book for some reason, and when they finally put it back up, I lost the impetus, and all the downloads. But the initial success showed me that there are people in the world that love and need my book–it’s just a problem finding that target audience and getting visibility. It proved to me, that my books can sell!
I’m also super proud of writing my first fiction novel–The Magicians Convention. It’s so HARD to write a novel, and I still can’t believe I achieved it. No matter how good or bad the book has turned out, I did it!!!!
Q. Those download numbers are very impressive, and so is publishing your first novel! Can you tell us, on the flip side, what are some of the most challenging aspects of all of this?
A. The hardest challenge remains getting my books in front of the right readers. And maintaining sales. It feels like I get the books out there and they are doing well, and then they drop off again. Also, I find it extremely tough getting schools and libraries in Australia where I am located to support local indie authors–it feels like because I’m not traditionally published, it’s assumed my books aren’t professional–when they are! Getting past those gatekeepers to get the books to the children who do love MOST books, is the biggest challenge.
Q. Agreed. It’s very frustrating. What plans do you have for the future, in terms of your writing?
A. I’m really enjoying the middle grade space for now, so I have another two books in my current series to write, and then I have two more series planned. That will see me through a few more years of writing. I’m not sure if I’ll do any more illustrated books for younger kids at this stage. They feel harder to market.
And I hope to stick with writing books for kids. So many indie writers quit writing for kids after a period of time because it’s so much harder to market, since you must market to the adults who purchase the books while marketing, as well, to the kids who read them. It can be very tricky. So all that time, money and investment can feel wasted. But I’m determined right now to succeed, and that means getting my books to more readers.
I also want to develop as an author and grow thicker skin–meaning I want to care less what someone else thinks of my books if they don’t approve, and to know my books are good enough by my own standards. I feel the book world has so much more judgment than other creative fields, and everyone’s an expert on what a “good” book is. But I want to contribute to writers backing themselves, and believing in their creative work, no matter what someone else thinks. Meanwhile, right now, I’m still in the process of doing this myself!
Q. One of the quotes I read early on was something about how writing and publishing are not for the faint of heart. It rings true in every aspect of the business, doesn’t it?
Before I let you go I want to ask you about your podcast. Can you tell us about it?
A. Sure, I’d love to. I co-host a show called The Indie Kidlit Podcast. It’s aim is simply to help children’s and middle-grade independent authors find their market and sell more books. Fellow middle grade author, Marti Dumas, based in New Orleans, and I, based in Melbourne Australia, host the show together. We interview a variety of authors and experts as well as workshop the information we learn along the way. The show airs twice a month. Please do stop by and have a listen! http://www.indiekidlitpodcast.com/
Q. Fantastic. Thanks. So where can people keep up with you and buy your books?
A. Here are my web site and social media links if you’d like to take a look.
The Magicians Convention
In a world of mages and illusionists, one orphan must find the magic within himself to save the ones he loves . . .
Twelve-year-old Toby would give anything to see his parents one last time. But since they died tragically ten years ago, he knows it’s an impossible wish. Raised by his grandfather, who’s a little too protective, Toby yearns for adventure. So when he wakes up one morning and realizes his grandfather is missing, he follows the clues that will lead to his rescue. Toby is soon immersed in a secret world of magic and illusion.
In this unfamiliar world, Toby is joined by two new friends: Wesa, a talented mage, and Thatch, a security boy who’d give anything to practice magic. The three friends are instructed to find a magical hat before an evil magician gets his hands on it first.
Failing will mean the deaths of those they love and create a dangerous divide in the world of magic.
The Magicians Convention is the spellbinding first book in a trilogy of middle grade fantasy novels. If you like action-packed adventures, imaginative worlds, and magical spells, then you’ll love Elena Paige’s mystical tale.
“Oh my goodness, you had me from the first word and I could not put it down. What a wonderful journey with some fun new characters. Lots of great images, lots of action, lots of twists – what else could you want in a book?” ~Scott Patterson, Amazon Reviewer
Thanks for spending some time with us today, Elena. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors!
And thanks, readers, for reading!