Debbie Gonzalez's Blog

October 1, 2020

Learning, Growing, Change

I started my author website earlier this year. I've added to it and tweaked it as events come up. Today, I found the blog feature directly on the website. (insert slap on forehead pic here)

I decided to use it. Visit my website to check out all of the information featured.
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Published on October 01, 2020 09:00

July 10, 2020

Harlem and Me

Have you ever wondered from where inspiration comes?

For many years, I had the honor of working with children and families in Harlem. One opportunity, afforded me the participation in a monthly book club reading to upper elementary students. It quickly became a highlight. The children seemed to enjoy my dramatic readings and I basked in every smile. Their insightful questions about the stories taught me to view the books differently. My appreciation for picture books grew. Soon, a seed planted the desire of my writing a book. I wanted a story that would give back as many smiles as I had received. Many of my book club partners are older now but they remain in my heart as my babies.

After publishing my first book, I returned to read it to one of the classes that had been in the book club. I wanted the children to know that they inspired me. If meeting an author brings a book to life, then, knowledge of inspiring someone you know to become an author may expand horizons of possibilities.

When I registered for the Harlem Book Fair 2020, I had visions of hugs and tears as my past book club members crossed the State Building plaza towards my table. But 2020 had different plans. I’m grateful that HBF 2020 has gone virtual and will stream from many platforms. While I won’t be able to give hugs or see their sweet faces, I am still able to shout from the rooftops, “thank you.” May every youngster know how their smiles inspired me. When they read my books out loud, I hope it brings back a happy memory of Ms. Debbie and our time together.

Debbie Gonzalez Debbie Gonzalez

A Game with Cooper by Debbie Gonzalez
A Game with Cooper

A Walk with Cooper by Debbie Gonzalez
A Walk with Cooper
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Published on July 10, 2020 08:04

April 15, 2020

Book Awards

Much is said about book awards. As an independent author, it is important to determine which awards are legitimate and that fit into a limited budget. Research reveals a daunting amount of awards. After careful consideration, I applied to the Eric Hoffer Award.

This week my debut book, A Walk with Cooper, made the finalist list for the First Horizon Award.

For me, receiving recognition is more than an ego stroke. It validates the product by those in the field. For that, I am grateful.

Debbie Gonzalez A Walk with Cooper by Debbie Gonzalez
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Published on April 15, 2020 12:09

February 22, 2020

“Where are you from?”

“Where are you from?”

It’s a question I’ve learned to be weary of. Through the years, it’s a question that I perceived as a way to assess me and decide if I fit into the mold. Often, my answer kept me out. However, in June of 2019, when the question arose, the mom sought connection and inspiration for her daughter. That moment defined for me the impact of my publishing my books. My Latin surname on the cover adds to the diversity that is lacking in the industry.

I am of Puerto Rican descent raised on the Lower East Side of NYC in a bilingual home. Many of my summers took place visiting family in Puerto Rico. My love of ocean and mountains comes from that strip of la carretera numero 2 past Ponce on our way to Yauco. There’s a section where the road squeezes between the blue waters on one side and the wall of limestone mountains on the other; a favorite memory. At home, our food, music and traditions affirmed our Puerto Rican culture.

I obtained my education, married and moved to the suburbs of north jersey. My books are about my interactions with my fur baby Cooper. They show our life. Yet, I ask myself, “Is it a diverse book?” I am in it. I represent diversity. Ergo, it’s diverse.

I write my books with all the children I’ve been blessed to serve in mind. I want to share happiness and express how we may find joy in the simplest things in life. I hope that they can also see themselves and aspire to dream.
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Published on February 22, 2020 12:41

February 13, 2020

The Reviews Are In ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

With one book published, I filled with confidence and approached the second with more creativity. I added more imaginative scenarios. In real life, Cooper, my fur baby, loves to play this game. It’s become more elaborate over the years with more challenging hiding places. The story of A Game with Cooper conveys the attributes I observed during the game and the imagined scenes it prompted.

With this book, I planned early and started to pursue reviews months before the release date. I teared up when they arrived. As an author, you pour your heart into a story and hope its intended message is received. I’m thrilled by the 5 star rating. I am even more excited for children to enjoy this next adventure.

To read the full reviews, click the links below.

SPR, ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Readers’ Favorite ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Midwest Book Review (March 2020 Issue)

“...The lively energy and tone of a very simple yet involving dog story will attract parents and children with a fun set of interactions... Kids who love dogs, detective stories, and action will find A Game with Cooper a delight.” -D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
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Published on February 13, 2020 18:48

September 25, 2019

Cooper Made It into the Rotation

Whenever I hear from a parent that A Walk with Cooper made it into their child's rotation of books, I'm thrilled. The feeling is similar to a pleasant surprise gift or running into an old friend. For a moment, all else stops. My face breaks into a smile from ear to ear. My pulse accelerates a bit. And, my mind shouts out, “Aw!”

When I wrote A Walk with Cooper, I set out to pay forward the many smiles I experienced reading aloud to elementary school age children. Every time I walked away from those read aloud opportunities, I felt elated. Lighter footsteps reflected a softened perspective. The stress of the work chaos slipped away. That feeling carried me through the day.

One day I realized watching my fur baby Cooper walk made me smile. He bounced along as he curiously explored his surroundings. My heart melted when he snuggled with me. It was a story that needed sharing. Writing about our time together became an avenue to spread joy to others.

When authors write, we never know if the audience will respond in the way we intended. With this début book, I swooned to simply hold it in my hand, a completed dream. When a parent shares that Cooper is a part of their child's favorite books to read, I am over the moon. I wanted to add smiles to the world. Turns out that smiles multiply.

Tag us, Instagram @cooperloopstories or Facebook @debbiegonzalezauther, on your favorite picture with A Walk with Cooper.

A Walk with Cooper
Debbie Gonzalez
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Published on September 25, 2019 09:23

June 6, 2019

What's Special about June 8

Saturday is my daddy's birthday in heaven and my brother's 30th Anniversary of death. As I enter into my purpose and shine light to inspire others, I wonder about them. On June 8, 2019, I am privileged to be a guest reader at Word Up Bookstore. How cool is that! I am reading my very own book. I imagine children smiling and me overcome by the sheer joy.

My daddy would be so proud. However, he would be shy and awkward not knowing what to say. I imagine us watching tv as he usually did. I mention the book and he nods with a slight smile. My daddy was a man of few words but he loved me. I definitively qualify for the title of daddy's girl. This summer will be 14 years since his death. I vividly remember him as if it were yesterday. Maybe he'll visit me in my dreams where I get to give him a kiss and hug. My dreams are technic color movie productions.

Then, there is my brother. As I approach 50, I wonder how to relate to his frozen in time 35. One thing is certain, he would have bought the book and told everybody about his baby sister. He told me that he would love me even from the beyond. I believe it. The beauty of love is that it remains ever present even beyond death.

My book tells the tale of my love of my fur baby Cooper. While my life has known tragedy and struggle, it also has known love. We all know that love wins. On this June 8, daddy and Louie will be with me as they are always, cheering me. Happy Birthday Daddy. You guys are missed.

Debbie Gonzalez
A Walk with Cooper
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Published on June 06, 2019 19:17

May 31, 2019

Tips About Self-Publishing

Along my journey to publish my book, A Walk with Cooper, I learned many lessons. Below are a few which I share in hopes it inspires your journey.

There are many options to choose from regarding companies. Research a few before choosing to see which fits best with your goals. Things to consider: discount rates to retailers, exclusive rights or not to the company and overall cost to start.

How do you want the book to look? Hardcover or paperback. Trim size. Visit a library or bookstore and look through many books. Make note of the things you like and may want for your book.

Hire a Professional
There are many virtual marketplaces offering professional services at varied price points. The quality of your book will help its promotion. Consider hiring or engaging a professional editor and illustrator. Retain commercial use of the services you purchase.

Before uploading your book for printing, prepare the Meta Data. Meta Data is the information that is registered about your book. It includes the book description, author bio, subject categories, and keywords. Essentially, it contains all the details that will help others find it when searching for a book. The Meta Data can draw a potential customer in to want to read more or lose their attention. Take time to carefully consider this part.

Own Your ISBN
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a product identifier that identifies the registrant and product information. In case of a book, it lists all of the details about the book. Once assigned to a title and format, it may never be used again. The owner of the ISBN holds the rights of the book and makes the decisions as to where and how the book is published. Some self-publishing companies offer you a free one but the company is the owner of it. Ask questions before you sign anything.

As self-publisher, you are responsible for getting the word out on your book. Start early. Don’t wait until the release of your book as that may be too late. Consider the following:
• Utilize different platforms for promotion including social media
• Plan a book launch
• Provide advance copies for reviews
• Host a giveaway

Debbie Gonzalez
A Walk with Cooper
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Published on May 31, 2019 11:36