“Marie and Mr. Bee confirms again the power of great story-telling to open up our world, teach us, and help us grow.” ~KAB
First, let me thank everyone who helped me choose the cover. What you see here is the semi-final one, and the slight changes (addition of a sticker to the Regular Version and a small change in the wording for the Proverbs 12:14b Version) should be done soon.
And now let me share a sampling of the gorgeous reviews Marie and her forest friends have garnered, and the process behind getting them.
Thanks to an engaging story, complemented by delightful illustrations, young readers will be so busy turning pages they won’t even realize they’re taking in some of life’s most valuable truths. All sorts of important ideas pop up while Marie and her friends play and work in the forest: the power of choice, the treasure of friendship, the capabilities of “disabled” children, what kindness looks like. ~KAB
Marie and Mr. Bee is a powerful children’s story by Margaret Welwood that has many lessons not only for children but for parents and educators. ~GB
It teaches children the redemptive quality of a good friendship and how to be a good friend by following Marie’s example. ~DW
I love that the main character has a handicap, but doesn’t allow it to get in her way of accomplishing good and living life with purpose. ~LP
Reminiscent of Aesop’s fable about the Grasshopper and the Ant. ~BV
I think this is the first child’s book I’ve seen where the main character is in a wheelchair (although not mentioned, just by the picture) showing that a handicap doesn’t necessarily keep one from chores and fun times. . . .The pictures are adorable and I like the way lessons are subtly woven within the story—temptations, friendships, compassion, forgiveness, restoration, establishing a strong work ethic, integrity, and building one’s own character. ~TR
I highly recommend this powerful little book. ~CA
The process? It was–no, is–long. I still have more people to contact. No mass e-mails here.
- I sought out like-minded authors and book bloggers on Facebook and other social media. Facebook proved the most beneficial for this exercise.
- I (sincerely) Liked their posts, commented on them, and shared them.
- I asked for permission to send a free pdf, describing the story and, if approaching them on FB, attached a picture of the cover or one of the first pages. I didn’t usually ask for a review up front, but rather for permission to send the pdf for their “consideration for review.” I mentioned that the pdf was 24 pages, mostly pictures.
- If the person granted permission I sent the pdf, asking for a review “if you feel the story has merit.” (I didn’t want to create a sense of obligation in those I contacted.) The pdf was often attached to a former e-mail so there would be no surprises when it came. If the pdf was going to someone I met on FB, I started by thanking them for granting me permission to send it.
- I followed up those who said they’d be willing to post a review, letting them know when the book would be–or if it already was–on Amazon. This e-mail was also attached to the thread, to remind recipients what they had committed to doing and to give them another chance to open the pdf. (I’m still working through the list of pdf recipients who indicated a willingness to review.)
- I thanked the reviewers privately unless I didn’t know who had posted the review. Yes, we’re told not to contact reviewers, but it was important to me to thank the people who’d taken the time to give their support. I did not, however, argue or comment on any of the gentle criticism I received.
- People respond well the personal touch, and seem to know when it’s genuine.
- This is a good way to find truly interested and supportive online friends.
- Coralie’s art helped the process by both attracting people and arousing their curiosity.
- Parents and caregivers of children with disabilities want these children seen as working and playing, loving and learning like everyone else.
- There’s a lot of goodwill out there.
- It pays to listen to and learn from others. One kind editor advised me against the original title, Marie and Mr. Drone, and a FB poll proved him right. Almost everyone–including the children of a beekeeper– thought of drones as machines, even when they were looking at the book cover. And Literary Strategist Tom Blubaugh has taught me much about online networking. I have not only learned from him, but learned from him how to learn from others.
“No man is an island.” ~John Donne