Jessica D. Adams's Blog

August 17, 2018

For the first time ever, I am happy to be participating in a blog hop! It is the Navigating Indieworld Summer Blog a Day event. Each day there is a new post from a blogger or author. The host of this event is Kay MacLeod
Check out the other great blogs during this event at http://kaymacleodbooks.com/summer-blo...
Don't forget to check out the Navigating Indieworld Facebook group!
My contribution to the event is an excerpt from a new story I have been working on called The Underground Toy Society Helps Ellie Elephant. It's just a sneak peak. I won't give away the ending! Let me know what you think so I can motivate myself to finish this book. I also need to have someone motivate my kids to help with the illustrations for this book! So if you like it, let us know!

The Underground Toy Society Helps Ellie Elephant

“Hurry up, Janiece,” yelled Janelle to her older sister. “Mommy and Daddy are ready to leave!”
“Okay, hold on,” replied Janiece. “I just have to finish packing my toys.”
Janiece and Janelle loved to go camping with their parents. They always loaded a bunch of their toys into baskets to take along in the camper. Ellie the Elephant, Janiece's favorite toy, always went along camping. Ellie was pink, with a rattle inside her tummy.
The family had a fun camping trip. They went on bike rides and hikes. Telling stories around the campfire after dark was a family tradition. At bedtime, Janiece and Janelle would settle down inside the camper with their toys and read bedtime stories. Bedtime was Ellie's favorite part of camping.
Packing up and going home was not fun though. While Daddy was finishing packing up the camper, Janiece and Janelle asked to go to the playground. Mommy agreed to take them to the playground. The girls had fun on the swings while giving their toys rides. Hearing Daddy call out that it was time to leave, the girls and Mommy ran back to the campsite. They did not realize Janiece left Ellie on a swing.
Once Ellie realized she was left behind, she quickly jumped off the swing. Normally, toys are supposed to wait for the child to return before moving. Ellie knew her family was leaving, so she had to act fast. She realized being a stuffed pink elephant with a jingle bell in her tummy was going to make it difficult get to Janiece before the family pulled away to go home. Thinking quickly, Ellie held her tummy in her hands to stop the jingle, and ran as fast as she could under the bridge along the creek to try to jump on the back of the camper before her family was gone. She planned on hopping into the camper so Janiece simply would think she left her in the camper. As the truck passed, Ellie tried to jump. Since she was trying to hold her tummy to not make noise, she lost her grip and tumbled to the ground. She was not able to catch up to the truck. They were gone. Ellie wanted to cry. She was far away from home in an unfamiliar area. She did not know how to find help.
As she walked along, she found a hole in the ground. All of a sudden, a chipmunk popped his head out of the hole. Ellie said, “Hello, I'm Ellie. Have you ever heard about The Underground Toy Society?”
“Oh, hello, replied the chipmunk. My name is Chippy. No, I have never heard about The Underground Toy Society. What is it?”
Ellie explained that The Underground Toy Society began when Samantha met a nice mole named Murry. Murry helped Samantha find her long lost friend, Stacey, by digging holes underground to other houses so people would not see them. Ellie told Chippy that The Underground Toy Society now helps all toys everywhere. Now Ellie needed help but did not know where to find Murry or any other toys. Ellie cried because she was all alone and very far from home.

So there you have it. Will Ellie find her way home to Janiece?

If you want to find out more about The Underground Toy Society, check out The Underground Toy Society's Song Book which is available for a free download on Amazon as well as Apple iBooks and other online retailers.

Please note this piece has not received the editing that I would normally do before publishing. I'm still in the early stages with this book.


*********
Jessica is the author of the children's books about The Underground Toy Society. She decided to begin a blog about her experiences and opinions of being an author, as well as a mother and Occupational Therapist. Please note all information on her website and her blog posts are her opinions and her personal experiences. Individual results may vary and her results may not be your results or experiences. This is meant to be general information, not specific advice. Circumstances and results may vary. The Underground Toy Society children's books aim to teach children to love and appreciate what they have. Hopefully children will want to clean their rooms after learning about The Underground Toy Society. However, all children are different and results may vary. The books are for entertainment purposes only. Thanks for reading!
5 likes ·   •  2 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on August 17, 2018 06:15 • 142 views

May 21, 2018

After writing my very first story, The Underground Toy Society, I had no idea what to do next.  My early drafts of the story had two toy bears as the main characters.  I actually wanted the main characters to be my Wish Bear, and my sister's Love a Lot Bear, but since they were already copyrighted Care Bear characters, I did not give them names in my story.  I was too stubborn to rename them because that would not have been true to my real life tale.  The first draft of my book probably was not a good example of my work, and I should have had more character development with actual character names, but I was too excited.  I wanted to become a published author and did not take enough time on my actual story at first.  I researched what I should do to become a published author on the internet.  I read articles that recommended finding a literary agent to represent the work so it could be pitched to big publishing companies like Scholastic. The big publishing companies only take submissions from agents. That would have been a dream come true.  So I began writing query letters to literary agents.  I made sure to follow the guidelines of each individual agent.  It was time consuming, and nerve racking.  I did not receive a reply from some agents. The agents that I did hear from told me my work was not their style, or simply that they could not represent me.  I was becoming impatient and frustrated after about a year of trying to contact agents.  While I was revising and editing my story and changing my main characters, I began to research self publishing options.  My main goal was to publish my story while my kids were still young enough to enjoy the story.
I looked into companies such as LuLu, LifeRich Publishing, and Archway publishing.  These companies all offer publishing packages and also have illustration services.  There are many more publishing companies out there. I had a very hard time trying to make a decision because most packages that I would need for picture books would cost no less than $3,000, and upwards of $8,000.  I was having a hard time justifying such a high investment on a story that I didn't even know if people would like or buy.  I kept reading statistics of books that said most books do not sell over 100 copies in its lifetime.  I decided to look into Createspace.  It is a company of Amazon, and it offers an option to publish a book completely free, with no upfront costs at all.  Royalties from book sales seemed to be pretty high using Createspace.  My only two problems were, I needed editing and illustration services.  So I started to wonder if I could revisit my love of drawing.  When I was in elementary school, I loved to draw and make my own stories on paper my mom brought home from work.  I began to draw, and my kids loved the drawings.  My kids actually picked the picture for the cover of my first book.  I knew it was risky to go with my own, not exactly professional illustrations. I figured that the simplicity of my illustrations went along with my whole theme, to appreciate the little, simple things in life and appreciate what you have.  If nothing else, I was inspiring my own children to do what they wanted in life, no matter what anyone else says.
Createspace was very easy for me to figure out, and they have templates you can download to create a book.  Once I finally had the story into book format, with pictures uploaded, I ordered a proof copy and asked a college student to look at it and edit it for me.  She was extremely helpful and made suggestions on formatting and editing.  I ordered one more proof copy, and finally approved it for publishing.  The book was available on Amazon fairly quickly for everyone to order directly from Amazon.  I did not even need to keep any inventory.  I quickly learned however, that marketing a book is the most difficult part of the entire process.  Since online sales were slow, I wondered if it would be helpful to have actual copies to sell myself.  That way I could sign them for people.  I was naive.  I thought I could just order copies and sell them.  Turns out, I needed a sales tax and wholesale license.  I had to register as a small business in order to sell my books.
I ordered copies of my book.  I asked a few local businesses to sell my book in their shops.  I was told no by some, but yes by two.  The local library also agreed to have a few of my books out for sale, but they said they had to put them in the back to prevent them from being stolen.  I went to a farmer's market as a vendor, with my daughters. The very first time we were there, we sold 10 books!  After that, sales went down.  A book vendor offered to sell my books for me if she received a percent of each sale, so I agreed.  My books have been at the market for a few years now, and as far as I know, only one book has sold.  I have been at a few other vendor events, and have sold a few books here and there.  The library did not sell any copies, so I took them out of the library.
My original intentions were to publish one book.  Then, my Grammy brought a picture of my mom with her doll when she was little to my house to show my kids.  Once I realized I had forgotten about her doll, Peggy, a brand new story was born.  I sat down and wrote the story in one day.  A friend at church had asked me who did the illustrations in my first book.  When I told her I was the illustrator, she said it would have been cute if my kids had drawn the pictures.  So I decided to take a cue from her and let my kids help with the illustrations of the next book.  After many months of editing, I published and ordered copies of the second book.  It turns out, a lot of articles on the internet mention that publishing more books is the best way to sell your books.  I am happy to say that my first book, The Underground Toy Society, has sold over 100 copies.
Once I became an author, several people told me that they wanted to become an author as well.  I offered advice several times.  I am by no means a professional writer.  My results may not be your results.  I am happy to help.  I wrote this post in order to tell my story and hopefully inspire others if they want to become an author.  There are so many options available today.  If you are like me and do not want to wait for a literary agent to take you as a client, try self publishing.  First, you need to write your story.  Then go from there.  Whether you decide to go with an agent or if you self publish will determine your next steps in the process.  In my opinion, I like self publishing and I am glad I did not wait for an agent.

*********
Jessica is the author of the children's books about The Underground Toy Society.  She decided to begin a blog about her experiences and opinions of being an author, as well as a mother and Occupational Therapist.  Please note all information on her website and her blog posts are her opinions and her personal experiences.  Individual results may vary and her results may not be your results or experiences.  This is meant to be general information, not specific advice.  Circumstances and results may vary.  The Underground Toy Society children's books aim to teach children to love and appreciate what they have.  Hopefully children will want to clean their rooms after learning about The Underground Toy Society.  However, all children are different and results may vary.  The books are for entertainment purposes only.  Thanks for reading!
5 likes ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on May 21, 2018 15:57 • 40 views • Tags: children-s-books, self-publishing

May 19, 2018

In second grade, I loved to take toys and hand made books to school for show and tell.  I used left over copy paper my mom brought home from work for my books.  The pages were in an accordion style, so I pretended it was a book and I wrote my stories inside.  I also remember taking in my puppet teddy bear to show to the class.  I was shy in school, but I remember when I took in my hand made books and my puppet teddy bear, I had no fear showing them at show and tell.  From what I remember, the kids liked my stories and teddy.

When I was in sixth grade, an author visited my elementary school.  I had the honor of making a banner to welcome her to the school.  I remember coloring a large poster in anticipation of her arrival.  There was an assembly where she talked about her books and her journey as an author.  I remember thinking that I would love to someday write a children's book.

Around the same time, I remember talking to my mom about my toys.  I was concerned what would happen to my toys when I grew up.  I figured that I would take my toys with me when I moved out of the house.  That made me sad though because my sister and I shared a room, where we had the same kinds of toys.  Each toy had an identical toy friend.  So if we moved out and took our toys, they would all be separated.  My mom told me not to worry because the toys would find each other through The Underground Toy Society.

The Underground Toy Society has always been in my mind since I was little.  As I grew older, I wanted to hold onto my toys for when I had my own children.  For some reason though, I had not yet put together the two ideas of my desire to write a children's book with The Underground Toy Society.  Perhaps because I heard that being an author was a difficult field to get into, and I would not be able to make a lot of money being an author.  So I chose a career in Occupational Therapy.  As I was about to graduate from college, I met my future husband, Greg, whom I told about The Underground Toy Society.  He thought I was cute.

After getting married and having two daughters, the presents poured into our home.  It actually came to a point where I had to hide some of the toys from the girls and save the gifts for another year because they were getting so many toys.  Perhaps if I had known they would have received so many toys, I would not have saved all of my toys.  As my daughters grew, they would leave their toys all over the house.  Clean up time was a disaster.  My husband even threatened them with a garbage bag and throwing their toys away if they did not clean them up.  It didn't really seem to solve the problem.

Finally, one day it clicked.  I told my kids that The Underground Toy Society did not like to see toys on the floor.  Toys wanted to be loved and taken care of, not thrown on the floor or forgotten.  When the girls still didn't clean up, I'd go over to a toy and say to the toy, "oh, don't worry, The Underground Toy Society will come to rescue you tonight."  Not wanting their toys to leave, the girls would run over to pick up the toy.  If they still didn't listen, the toys would leave during the night, if you know what I mean.

I had the final piece of the puzzle and the reason and motivation to begin writing my story about The Underground Toy Society.  I sat down to write.  Writing was the easiest part.  I wrote the entire story in a single day.  Once I have an idea, I cannot stop writing until I am done.  Revising and editing are the hardest parts for me.  That took me a very long time.  Then the next question was, what in the world should I do with my story?  How do I publish my children's book?  That is a subject for my next blog post.
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on May 19, 2018 17:24 • 55 views • Tags: self-publishing

January 14, 2016

‎Parents‬, we've all been there. Tell your children to clean up, and they all of a sudden have no energy. Suddenly, they are soooo tired, when they were just playing up a storm. So, sometimes, as a parent, you kinda get angry. Sometimes you grab the garbage bag and threaten to throw all the toys away they don't clean up. Yes, it works, sometimes, but then you feel like a horrible parent. A much better idea is give the toys life. Let your kids know the toys do not like to be forgotten on the floor, not appreciated. Read them my book. Let them know there is an Underground Toy Society where toys can go to find love and be appreciated again. They clean up pretty fast after that. Usually. Hey, they're kids. At least you don't have to be the screaming parent with the garbage bag. If they still won't listen, the toys quietly leave during the night and then the kids know you weren't kidding. There really is an Underground Toy Society!
1 like ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on January 14, 2016 11:46 • 72 views • Tags: children, parenting, responsibility

December 29, 2015

I never imagined it would be so difficult to market books. There is so much information out there on the internet, my books aren't getting noticed. I even bought copies of my books to sell in my area, but even that has proven to be more difficult than I had ever imagined. Advertising is so expensive. It seems the only way to gain attention is to give stuff away. I will not give up. I believe in my stories. I just haven't found the right person yet to promote my books. I will get there.
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 29, 2015 20:04 • 66 views

December 28, 2015

Today, I am grateful for all of the people who accused me of being ungrateful and stubborn, among other things. It gave me the motivation I needed to finally write my stories my Mom and I talked about when I was little about The Underground Toy Society. I always wanted to write a children's book about it, but never really got around to it. When I was accused of not allowing my kids to have toys and not being grateful for the gifts my children received, that really motivated me to get into gear and share my stories. I never planned on writing more than one book, but I ended up coming up with 5 stories, with 3 of them published already! I love to write. And I am going to keep writing and have a great 2016! I am so glad my kids joined in and did some pictures for my books. Maybe we'll write a story together. They are grateful, thankful and awesome kids.
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on December 28, 2015 10:09 • 13 views