Kid Lit Village: GOOD NIGHT (not really)

Hello Lovely Readers! I’m glad you stopped by Kid Lit Village today. I hope you have something nice to drink with you and you’ll settle in for a chance to read this interview with author, Nan Evenson and the feature on her children’s book, GOOD NIGHT (not really). The book is illustrated by Karina Matkevych and published by Olympia Publishers. And please come back regularly on Mondays for more Kid Lit Village interviews!

Good Night (Not Really): Let’s Count Forward AND Backward was published by Olympia/London and their children’s imprint, Bumblebee, on Sept 30, 2021. 

Synopsis: Charlie and Lisa are charming guides, helping children count not only to ten but backward as well. Good Night (Not Really): Let’s Count Forward AND Backward is actually a good morning book. This is the first book in the Not Really series. The picture books offer fresh ways for children to expand their math skills (including counting by 2’s and 5’s), surprise endings, and gorgeous illustrations. The next book, The Terrible Day (Not Really): Let’s Count by 2’s, will be out in spring 2022.

Nan Evenson

Welcome to the blog, Nan! We’d love to hear more about why you write books for children.

I write books for children, not only so they can learn and experience new things, but because a great picture book connects children and the readers who care about them in head and heart ways. I hope children learn to count backwards and see how friendly numbers can be. I want children and their readers to smile together when they see elephants dancing on the bed in a clompy, stompy elephant way. I hope children and their readers can look at each other and share a moment or two of genuine connection. 

I picked up writing about three years ago. (Note to Wanna be Writers of a certain age – go ahead and just start!)  My first book was a young adult western, and writing it was tremendous fun. For various reasons, it wasn’t the right time to publish it, but I wanted to keep writing. Some of my short stories had already been published, but I hadn’t thought about picture books. We have four children, and two young granddaughters. I tutor math with teens and picked up studying it a few years ago just because I like it.

How did you come up with the idea for GOOD NIGHT (not really)?

I was cleaning out our bookshelves looking for books for my grandchildren one afternoon. It struck me how many “good night” books we had and how few – zero, to be exact – math kind of books (beyond counting one to ten) and good morning books were on the shelves. I also knew that out of the many kids I had tutored over the years, I could count on two hands the students who actually enjoyed mathematics.

I thought:  Why not help kids start earlier on math concepts, make it fun, and how about a “good morning” book that can be read anytime of day?  I hired an extraordinary young Ukrainian illustrator, Karina, via Upwork, and together we created what we think is a magical book.

Books with math concepts are a passion for me. I loved math in school and see the practical applications of how we use it every day. It’s nice to see more children’s books that highlight mathematical concepts.

Tell us a bit about your path to publication.

Some of your readers may not know about the “hybrid” option of publishing, which is what I chose. With traditional publishing, the publisher pays for the process of creating the book, distributes, markets it, and pays out x% royalties. Writers generally need an agent for the traditional model, and the publisher will make changes as they see fit. With self-publishing, the writer pays for and does everything, keeping all profits.

In between those two poles are a few other options, one of which is hybrid publishing. With this option, the writer pays x amount to a publisher (mine is Olympia out of London) to do much of the work of creating and distributing the book, while maintaining artistic decision-making rights and getting paid royalties.  With all three options, the writer will have to take on a good amount of marketing, dreaded by many (but do-able, I’ve found).  And I’m so honored to have just gotten a 5-star review from the respected “Readers’ Favorite” site.

I am extremely happy with my choice. Olympia has been outstanding to work with, and my book gets international distribution.  Selling the book is important, of course, but I think what many authors want, myself included, is to have their book read and appreciated. Maybe a child will even find a little joy in counting backwards.

Nan, it’s great to know more about the hybrid option. Traditional publishing may not be for everyone. I’d suggest that anyone thinking about it do a lot of research and join SCBWI to learn more about writing and publishing for children before deciding what’s best for you personally.

Learn more about Nan’s book here.

Cynthia Mackey

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Published by cynthiahm

I am a preschool teacher/music teacher who loves to take photos and write stories in her spare time. My dream is to become a published author. Follow my journey as I work towards turning my dream into a reality.

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