October 30, 2020
Welcome to the Winners' Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL students. Today we are celebrating published author Renee Mancini!
What is the title of your book? Who is the publisher?
Three Purple Frogs
Austin Macauley Publishers
Give us a short summary of your book.
Story of a young child visiting their grandma who lives on a farm. Once Grandma reads a bedtime story the child falls asleep and begins a colorful adventurous dream hopping, skipping, and jumping with three purple frogs. Eventually the frogs hop faster and are soon out of sight. With the help of a little brown puppy, the child goes on a vibrant journey on Grandma's farm to find the three purple frogs.
Tell us a bit about your path to publishing, from idea to submission to published book.
As a first-time author, the path to publishing was overwhelming. I googled all the top publishers for children's books and they wanted submissions from a literary agent only. I spent days scanning the internet even going to bookstores to note publishers of other children's books. I began following authors on Facebook and Instagram to learn more. I joined a local writer's guild for more insight. I even searched literary agents. What I decided was the route of an independent publisher. I was not trusting of literary agents and wanted one book under my belt. I figured no matter what, I was going to have to pay someone to help me. So I negotiated a contract I was comfortable with and followed their path. It took nine months from contract signing to publication. I have been satisfied with my choice. I'm published and they are doing the majority of marketing and I help with local contacts. My big issue came as my book was published January 31, 2020, and then COVID19 shut many businesses down and people were out of work. This was not good as I had book signings lined up at bookstores and special gift shops ready to buy my books. So I started advertising to all my friends, FB, IG and co-workers. My book is on the majority of online shopping sites.
How long have you been writing?
I began writing when I was about twelve. I still have some of the stories I've written. I was writing from emotion at that time, if someone died or was hurt I expressed my feelings by writing. I do the same today, except most of my writing is happy. A word or idea would come to mind, I'd grab a pen and paper and write until I had nothing else to say. Then I'd continue revising or adding more information another day. Writing was therapeutic.
What's your favorite genre to write and why?
I love writing for children because I love colorful playful stories. I read to my children every night and they looked forward to hearing stories and looking at the pictures. Children are great story critics.
What ICL courses have your taken?How has taking our course helped your writing and/or career?
I took Writing for Children and Teenagers Course. It took a while to complete as I was a young mom working a full time job with two little ones and a husband. But I finished the course and very glad I did.
My instructor was very thorough with my writing as well as my spelling. He directed me to rework the stories so they made sense to others and not just myself. The lesson topics were not always my favorite but I drew from my happiest times as a child. It was challenging to stay within a word limit and still get your story across the way you intended. It actually helps you become a better writer. I'm a fluffy writer then I have to revisit and get to the meat of the story.
Have any of your class assignments been published?
None of my stories from class have been submitted for publication but I do have plans to revisit those stories and publish. They are all of my childhood and that was a very happy time for me.
Do you have a favorite writing tip you'd like to share?
I've learned so many tips. Always date and time your stories or thoughts. If an idea or word come to mind and you think WOW, that would be a great story, write it down immediately because you may never recall it the same way. Keep a journal or small notebook close for those aha moments. Always let several people read your story, they can actually be your best resource.
If you could travel back in time and give yourself one piece of writing advice, how far back would you go, and what would you tell yourself?
I would return to twelve years of age when I began writing with emotion. I wish I had shared my stories with my English teacher or even my mom. Mom was an unpublished writer and she had such a lovely way expressing her thoughts. Instead of sharing and learning how to grow my thoughts on paper, I kept my writings in a personal folder. Actually, I was shy and afraid of being told my story was not good.
Please tell us the best or most valuable thing you learned from your experience with ICL.
The most valuable thing I learned was to stick with the course no matter how challenging. Sometimes I felt so dumb when my lessons came back marked up. If I'd had this kind of grooming at twelve, I may have published much sooner in my life. Also, don't be shy about sharing your work. Not everyone is going to like what you write, but what you say may be powerful for the next person.
Why has it taken you so long to get serious about writing and publishing?
Great question. I began writing off and on at age twelve, I was still a child and loved playing outdoors more. When I took this course I thought I was ready to write and publish. Needless to say, I still had a lot of writing to learn. Then family and my job kept me busy until now. I'm retiring soon, my children are married and now I have time to pursue a lifelong passion of writing. I love words, words are colorful, emotional and you will always have someone who needs your story. Fifty-four years later, I'm ready.
Renee Mancini is a nurse, mother, and grandmother who loves writing stories of city children visiting places she enjoyed as a child. She does a beautiful job writing in rhyme with brilliant colored pictures to follow the storyline. Renee grew up in New Orleans and says she has lots of fun and adventurous stories for children of all ages to enjoy.
To start your own path to the Winners' Circle, show us a sample of work and let us help you become the writer you want to be. Click here.