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Hey, Tara! Thanks for letting me share about my Stinky Stench!

(Umm, P.U., but OK…?)

Over the last year and a half—ever since first book LADY PANCAKE AND SIR FRENCH TOAST was released—a small handful of bookstores around the country reached out to me asking if I’d be interested in visiting to do readings and signings.

For those in and around New England (my home), I tried to make it happen. But occasionally, a store far out of driving distance asked. And while I was honored, I didn’t have any imminent plans to travel to New Orleans or St. Louis or Los Angeles*.

Well, word got back to my amazing publicity and marketing team at Sterling Publishing. In preparation for the release of the sequel, they offered to send me on a short tour to celebrate THE CASE OF THE STINKY STENCH and they even worked it out that I could visit a bunch of those stores that had contacted me!

So for the first two weeks of May I traveled from Boston to Allentown, PA to Asheville, NC to New Orleans to Kalamazoo, MI taking a detoured route through Indiana and Illinois to St. Louis, then finishing up in Baltimore.

I had seven bookstore events: The Novel Neighbor, Octavia Books, Spellbound Children’s Bookshop, Bookbug, The Ivy Bookshop, and two Barnes & Nobles (Allentown, PA and Portage, MI).

At Bookbug they made these cupcakes:

And I got to hang out with a bunch of nErDcampMI friends.

At the Novel Neighbor, they ordered special Flapjacks Lip Gloss:

At The Ivy Bookshop, it was standing room only!

But the best part was that I got to visit 19 schools in those ten school days.

Some days I visited three different schools. Other days I’d stay at a single school all day and do multiple presentations.

Sometimes I’d be reading to a single class or grade at a time. Other times I presented to entire elementary schools—from 600 students in the gym to 200 students in the auditorium to 150 students in the library to 20 preschoolers in the art room—I tried it all.

One school got creative with life-size minecraft and Pirasaurs!

Sometimes I had slides and a microphone.

Other times I had neither. Luckily I’m not a diva …yet (traveling with a personal masseuse is totally acceptable, right?).

One school that I had Skyped with previously got me to read my poem about my cat that poops all over the house.

So I’d like to thank Sterling for everything! From the tour all the way back to taking a risk on the slush pile submission in 2013 that was Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast (yes, it was a slush pile submission – Sterling accepts unsolicited submissions via snail mail – see guidelines here).

*Don’t worry, Los Angeles. I promise I’ll get out to you eventually!

Josh is giving away YOUR CHOICE:

  • EITHER a personalized signed copy of THE CASE OF THE STINKY STENCH
  • OR a written critique of your picture book manuscript (Josh values this at an estimated $1 billion)

Leave one comment below to enter. A winner will be randomly selected soon!

Josh Funk writes silly stories and somehow tricks people into publishing them as picture books – such as Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast and its sequel The Case of the Stinky Stench along with Pirasaurs!, Dear Dragon, It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk (9.19.17), Albie Newton (Spring 2018), Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience and Fortitude (2018), and more coming soon!

Josh is a board member of The Writers’ Loft in Sherborn, MA and was the co-coordinator of the 2016 and 2017 New England Regional SCBWI Conferences. He’s written a free 12-Step Guide to Writing Picture Books available on his website here.

Josh grew up in New England and studied Computer Science in school. Today, he still lives in New England and when not writing Java code or Python scripts, he drinks Java coffee and writes picture book manuscripts.

Josh is terrible at writing bios, so please help fill in the blanks. Josh enjoys _______ during ________ and has always loved __________. He has played ____________ since age __ and his biggest fear in life is being eaten by a __________.

Find out more about Josh at his website and on Twitter at @joshfunkbooks.

rowanofthewoodPublishing a book can be an adventure, and that’s especially true for Christine and Ethan Rose. Authors of Rowan of the Wood, the husband-and-wife team take to the road in their “Geekalicious Gypsy Caravan” to promote their book.

Released with Austin-based Dalton Publishing last November, Rowan of the Wood became a finalist in USA Book News’ National Book Award for Young Adult Fiction. Even with this recognition, Christine and Ethan knew they would have to take on much of the promotion responsibilites for the book to get noticed.

“We knew that promoting both on and offline was essential in getting our book ‘out there.’ First time authors, especially with a small, independent publisher, have a difficult time getting into bookstores. By visiting bookstores for signings, it forces books onto the shelves and creates an interesting event. We get to go out and talk to our readers face-to-face, so it establishes a connection that we hope will last throughout the series.”

Their first tour lasted three weeks as they visited Louisiana, Texas and Florida, appearing at Renaissance Faires and Celtic Festivals on weekends and at bookstores during the week. Their next planned tour, May to July, will feature stops from Mississippi to Missouri with eight weekend events and 20 bookstores on the schedule. They’re also adding libraries to the intinerary and will tell tales in the ancient Bardic Tradition, with a lyre that Ethan crafted. Ambitious? You bet. These folks are passionate about their book–and promoting it.

I asked Christine about the best part of being on tour.

“The best experience is just being on the road! I guess the highlight is when a guy stopped us in a Safeway parking lot (because of the Gypsy Caravan) and bought a book. Another highlight was when we totally sold out of books!”

I was curious about their travels, so Christine offered a tour of the Geekalicious Gypsy Caravan:

Here’s the video on How to Make a Geekalicious Gypsy Caravan with cover artist Ia Layadi. The first coat of green paint peeled right off, and one of the signs printed too short, so lessons were learned along the way.

Indeed, publishing a book can be an adventure. Never were it more true for the Roses. They are a small publisher’s dream come true–artists who are as creative with promotion as they are with their stories.

You can find the Rowan of the Wood intinerary at Follow Christine on Twitter, or check out her videos from the road by subscribing to her YouTube channel.

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