#BLTBF website


#BLTBF Website

I hope you have enjoyed reading about all the authors that will be attending this year’s Books Love & Taters Book Festival this year. If you would like to read more about the festival, donate money and become a sponsor for next year’s festival, or read more on the authors… VISIT the Books Love & Taters Book Festival website.

REVISIT the Featured Author Posts:

  1. Amanda H. Williams
  2. Amy O’Quinn
  3. Beth Hallman
  4. E. M. Knowles
  5. Jamie Dodson
  6. Janie Hopwood
  7. Jeff Newberry
  8. Kristofer M. Hanson
  9. Raven H. Price
  10. Tracey M. Cox

Thanks for allowing me to toot the horn about the amazing people. If you are in my neck of the woods this Saturday, stop by the booth and say hello!

Until next time…

  • Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT on this post.
    Easy, peasy buttons found below.
  • Don’t miss one post! Email sign ups are over here —>
  •  Sign up for my N E W S L E T T E R ! I will be sharing writing challenges and other tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click ~HERE~ to be directed to my Newsletter sign up page.

ShapingUptheYearcoverart RibbertsWayHome8x300[1] LGHL-small justthethingtobe8x300 ADT-8x150 Arachnabet 91RmjVjmjxL._SL500_SX310_ CXW8x150 100PFT300   Bubble Gum Bubble Gum in a Dish

ALA Awards!

So for some reason, I had this post set to draft instead of scheduled post.  😦  I’m so sorry. It must have been from all the excitement of watching the ALAYMA live. Yeah, that was it. I was hyped up on adrenaline, and the old noggin didn’t function properly.   😉   😉

So here’s the post that should have been on Wednesday… in case you haven’t heard.

shutterstock_102813506 [Converted]


And the winners are…

Click 2015 ALA Youth Media Awards to download a complete listing of all the wonderful winners and honorable mentions. You can also watch the event and relive the excitement on the ALA website.

One of my favorite things is to listen in on the phone calls…

Don’t you love the feel?    *happy tears* *laughter* *applause*

Here are the winning books cover art:
*some won multiple times

The CrossoverEl DeafoBrown Girl DreamingBeekleNana in the CityThe Noisy Paint BoxSam & Dave Dig a HoleViva FridaThe Right WordThis One SummerHow I Discovered PoetryHow It Went DownFirebirdJosephineLittle Melba and Her Big TromboneI'll Give You the SunA Boy and A JaguarRain ReignGirls Like UsAll The Light We Cannot SeeBellweather RhapsodyBingo's RunConfessionsEverything I Never Told YouLock InThe MartianThe Terrorist’s Son- A Story of ChoiceThose Who Wish Me DeadWolf in White VanMe…JaneMikis and the DonkeyHidden- A Child’s Story of the HolocaustNine Open ArmsH. O. R. S. E. A Game of Basketball and ImaginationFive, Six, Seven, Nate!The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow PlaceA Snicker of MagicLittle Roja Riding HoodGreen Is a Chile PepperSeparate Is Never Equal- Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for DesegregationI Lived on Butterfly HillPortraits of Hispanic American HeroesThe Family Romanov- Murder, Rebellion, & the Fall of Imperial RussiaNeighborhood Sharks- Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon IslandsThis Day in JuneBeyond Magenta- Transgender Teens Speak OutMorris Micklewhite and the Tangerine DressYou Are (Not) SmallMr. Putter & Tabby Turn the PageWaiting Is Not Easy!Gabi, a Girl in PiecesThe Carnival at BrayThe Story of Owen- Dragon Slayer of TrondheimThe Scar BoysThe Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava LavenderPopular- Vintage Wisdom for a Modern GeekLaughing at My NightmareIda M. Tarbell- The Woman Who Challenged Big Business—and Won!The Port Chicago 50- Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights



I’ve been going around doing my

~ S n o o p y   D a n c e ~

for all you win-nahs, win-nahs, win-nahs out there!!!


Did you see some of your favorites? I know I did. Now I have got a great reading list to go scavenge around my library with.   🙂


Until next time…

Happy Writing!

* Don’t miss one post! Email sign-ups are over here —>
** Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT ON THIS POST.
Easy, peasy buttons found  below.
*** Sign up for my  N E W S L E T T E R ! I will be sharing writing challenges and other
tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click  ~HERE~  to be directed to my
Newsletter sign-up page.
Shaping Up The Year book       RibbertsWayHome8x300[1]       LGHL-small       justthethingtobe8x300       ADT-8x150       Arachnabet

www. WHERE Can You Hold a School Visit


www. Where Can You Hold A School Visit

Today I’m continuing my block of posts on…


A few people have asked me where am I able to hold a SCHOOL VISIT at? My answer to this question is literally almost anywhere! In today’s technology, we don’t have to physically be somewhere to be able to see and hear someone.

While I absolutely LOVE going to a school and holding an in person visit, that may not always be an option. Distance and school budgets can be a big factor.

Schools budgets are getting tighter and tighter. While they encourage interaction, they may not be able to afford an author’s honorarium, plus traveling expense.

I have had several schools in-state that want to book me, but because of the travel expense they cannot afford it. There is mileage rate. I charge $0.56/mile, which is Federal Standard Mileage Rate. For places where I have over 2+ hours driving time, I request a hotel for the night before. If there is an extended drive, authors can ask for plane tickets too.

???So What To Do???

Welcome to the internet! 🙂

You can still visit schools by offering online visits. I offer these through Skype or Google+Hangouts. If you do a Google+Hangouts On Air, you can record the event for later use too.

Set up is simple.

If you have a Google email account you are ready to go. Hangouts selection is on a column bar on the right-side of your screen. Add your contact person to one of your circles and you can connect with the via Hangouts.

For Skype, you’ll need to create an account and download the free software. Add your contact person and you are ready.

I always like to do a test run with the school. This helps get any bugs out, wiring difficulties, sound check, and visual components.

There is a website you can sign up with: Skype In the Classroom, where you can post your presentations.
PROS: Great place to get your name out there. You are seen world wide. Your not restricted by regions.
CONS: Your presentations have to be free. I do ask them to send home a few flyers. (One on me, my bio, and one about my books, which also includes my website.) I also send them a flyer so they can announce that I will be ‘visiting’ their school.

It’s a wonderful experience. I have visited New Jersey, Alabama, Texas, and a few other places with this great avenue.

If you choose to do this: For the free ones, may I suggest paring down one or two of your presentations. Maybe do a quick reading and then allow 10 minutes for q&a. Maybe send a form before-hand letting them explore the writing process and then you can go over it and give them 10 minutes for follow-up and/or q&a.

The point being, the only thing to stop you from visiting a school is your own creativity. So that shouldn’t stop any of you. We are writers and illustrators after all. 🙂

Hopefully this gave you some ideas and maybe got you thinking some too.

Let me know what you think about online visits?
What do you think about in person visits?
Do you have any questions about online or in person visits?
Let me know.

Until next time,

Happy Writing!

*Don’t miss one post! Sign-up for email updates over here —>
**Feel free to LIKE, COMMENT, and SHARE THIS POST. Easy, peasy buttons found below.

Marketing Your School Visits… WHO to contact


Marketing Your School Visits… WHO to Contact

Today I’m continuing my block of posts on…


So you  are a published author. You have several presentations ready.You want to get the word out that you are available for visits. Now you have the daunting task of trying to determine who to contact.

Here are some things I learned by trial and error:


Most of the people in your local community will probably already know you are a writer… especially your local librarian.  🙂
Contact the public libraries in your area and see if you can come in for story hour. Or maybe the would be interested in starting a story hour and you would love to help kick it off.

Contact your local schools. I call the front desk and speak with the receptionist. I tell them several things:

  1. Who I was.
  2. What I did.
  3. Where I lived.
  4. What I wanted to achieve.

Hi! I’m Tracey M. Cox, a children’s author. I live here in Georgia. I would like to send your contact person some information about my presentations I offer for school visits. Can you help me with that information?

By using those keywords of “author”, “school visit” “contact person”, I usually don’t have a very hard time finding out who I should contact.


Ahh, The sticky question of money. I will confess this. The first year I did not charge a fee. I went around locally and didn’t ask for mileage reimbursement either. I DID require them to allow me to sell my books. I wanted to get my ‘sailor legs’ under me. They were my guinea pigs *heehee* and I learned more than they could ever pay me for.

Now? Now I charge a fee, I charge for mileage (outside a 30 mile radius), and I require them to allow me to sell my books. Sometimes I can get them to pre-sell my books too, which is wonderful! Because I hate to run out of a particular book.

I think you should base your fees on three major things:

  1. WHERE are you located?
    Think honestly about this. I live in a rural community, 1 1/2 hours from a big city, 2+ hours from any major city. They will not have the funds a major city will have. They will not have the resources (unless they have an amazing volunteer-parent program) to do research on funding, grants, donation out reach. Because of these factors, I do not charge as much as someone in Atlanta or New York City.
  2. WHAT can you offer?
    How much knowledge do you have?  Experience is key. The more you know, the more you can offer.
    What all do you have to offer? Presentations are key here. Are you going to read a story? The writing process? Ideas session? How to become submission ready? Writing workshop? Specialty program? All this can lead to different types of presentations.
    Well-known awards speak volumes. Lesser known awards may or may not help with the rate you charge. So take into account of this.

Once you’ve gotten some great contacts locally, spread out. I radiated out of my local area and eventually put together a list of contact people in my whole state. After a few phone calls, you will begin to notice a pattern of who your contact person will be. I switch over from phone calls to websites. Most school’s websites list an email for you to contact.

I have found that your contact people can change from state to state…

  • Principal / Head Master
  • Media Specialist
  • Superintendent / Chief School Administrator

These are the main titles I have found for the contact people.


To keep all my information straight, I store everything on a spreadsheet. This helps keep everything in one spot. I include the school’s name, address, and phone number, and the contact person’s name and email. This way when I do a follow up OR begin again in the next school year, all my work has been done. All I will need to do is update any information as needed.

This is my School Visit Information spreadsheet. Feel free to use or modify to suit your needs.


Now that you have a contact person, start sending out your introductory email. Keep it brief, but informative. Get them hooked into wanting to book you. Kind of like all those queries we’ve been writing.  😉

Don’t forget to do a follow-up email 2-4 weeks later. This is a great ‘reminder’ that you had contacted them already and know they have busy schedules.

Contact them at least twice a year (this doesn’t include follow-up emails) I will do one at the beginning of the school year and then another one after winter break. You want to remind them about you and your presentations, but not seem too pushy.

I hope this helps break the ice on you getting your name out there. It’s another scary place us writers/illustrators put ourselves in. First with our stories and editors/agents. Now with our books and schools. Good luck!

Let me know what you think about this post.
Do you have other tricks on finding out who your contact person is?
Have a suggestion on something you would like to see covered?
Let me know!

Until next time…

Happy Writing!

*Don’t miss one post! Email update sign-ups are over here —>
**Feel free to COMMENT, LIKE, and SHARE THIS POST! Easy, peasy buttons found below.

Marketing Monday: School Time + Author Time = LEARNING STUDENTS

School time + Author time = LEARNING STUDENTS




It’s that time of the year again…

  • Freshly sharpen pencils
  • New notebooks
  • Books being cracked open for the first time

Yes, I get excited this time of the year. And no, it’s not because my child goes back to school. Although the whole “we have a schedule” is an added bonus. I get excited because this is my busy time. Time for me to…

  • open my planner
  • email TONS of media specialist in my state
  • make sure my website is up to date and has all my pdfs ready
  • go to school and talk about writing


My next block of blog posts will be covering this topic.

WHO to contact to schedule visits?

WHAT is an author visit?

WHEN should you hold an author visit?

WHERE can you hold an author visit in your school?

HOW to prepare for an author visit? (author and school)

WHY should you invite an author to visit your school?

PLUS any other nuggets I can throw into the mix!

I also plan on compiling a list of authors and illustrators who offer author visits (in person and online).

So keep coming back, sign up for updates on my blog —->

And encourage your local schools to book an author!


Drop me a comment!!!

*Leave me your information if you are an AUTHOR or ILLUSTRATOR that would like to be included on my list. I will need your NAME, WEBSITE, and STATE YOU LIVE IN.
*Got a question you would like to ask about AUTHOR VISITS? Ask below.
*Is there some part of  the author visit YOU would like me to include? Put AUTHOR VISIT TOPIC  in the comments with what you want to see covered.

Can’t wait to read what you have to offer and I hope to help some of you along the way.

Tuesday Tips: 4 Insta Tips on Starting to Market on Instagram

Last week I discussed the marketing possibilities on Instagram.

Seriously consider it! Like I said, a picture is worth a thousand words. Let people see your product. Let your product stand for itself! Here is a downloadable tip sheet to get you going on Instagram and before you know it you’ll be Instagraming it all over the place. 🙂



4 Insta Tips to Start Marketing on Instagram

While you are out and about, check out my profile on INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/traceymcox

I would love to hear how you use INSTAGRAM to market you and your products!

Happy writing and picture taking!


*If you have found this post to be of valuable, please feel free to like and share on your social media.
*DON’T MISS ONE POST! Sign up for updates on the right column.

Monday Marketing: INSTAGRAM *smile*





Who likes to take photos? I think we all do and most of us have phones that actually double as a camera. With a handy dandy tool at your finger tips, why not make it work for you and do some marketing?
Yep, I said marketing on Instagram.


Take pictures -Lots of Pictures- use your phone or tablet. There is an app you can download and then connect with right on your device. I love the efficiency of being able to take and share my photos. It doesn’t matter if you are doing this for your family or your fans. People like to be in each others business. YOU might as well put the business you want out there. Who knows? Maybe you get a few new fans to follow you and maybe some loyal customers too.


The pen may be mightier than the sword, but a picture is worth a thousand words! You can show people exactly what you are talking about. A cake? A piece of jewelry? A book? SHOW THEM IN A PICTURE!


So you are thinking… WHO will be interested in what I have to offer. YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED! Seriously. Remember those hashtags I talked about when using Twitter? WELL GUESS WHAT! You can use them on Instagram too. HECK, you can connect your Instagram with Twitter! I DO THIS!!!! It gives you great coverage with two social media outlets. I have my Instagram connected with Facebook too. The hashtags can be searched and connected with others who have used them, very convenient. So you get a gathering of people without even knowing them. Some will wind up following you to see what you post next.


What to post? Well that depends. Do you want to keep it business? What do you do? I write. So I might take a picture of my laptop on my desk, at my dining room table, in my back yard, at the beach (snort, I wish), or where ever I might be. I can post pictures of cover art, book signings, author visits, boxes when my books arrive, are you getting the picture here?  🙂  Be creative with your pictures too, have fun.
I also post pictures of my dogs, children, scenes, and anything that interests me.  *yes, the giant whoopie cushion got my attention!* I don’t have my account focus only on my business. I think people like to see that I enjoy things and I’m not out there ONLY promoting my book. They get a sense of a real person.

So go out. Take some pictures. Take a selfie. Do a silly face. Just remember….


Til next time,

*If you have found this post to be of valuable, please feel free to like and share on your social media.
*DON’T MISS ONE POST! Sign up for email updates on the right column.