December 9, 2011

Self-Publisher Rocking the Marketing

As many of you know, I not only serve as a publishing consultant/book shepherd, I am also a book distributor. One of my clients has really been working hard with his new book, and I thought it would make a good post.

Dave FitzSimmon’s book Curious Critters is a beautiful picture book for children currently featured on Animal Planet’s front page both as a story  and a slideshow. The book was also recently featured on the  TLC Channel’s Parentables, also.

This adorable book features 21 animals one can find in the nation’s backyards – but filmed against a white background, your eye is drawn to the beautiful detail of each critter. The author/photographer David FitzSimmons “interviewed” each animal, and a vignette accompanies each picture.

Curious Critters represents all that can go right with a self-published book. The author invested time, energy and money into every single aspect of the book.

Praised by Scientific American’s blog, featured on the Huffington Post Green, and the recipient of a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award (Silver); the book is available in stores and on

Here is the successful press release launched via DirectContact. Mr. FitzSimmons also used the services of book publicist Lorena Garano, and she has generated amazing results from “mommy bloggers” across the nation.

Curious Critters to me represents all that can go right with a self-published book. The author invested time, energy and money into every single aspect of the book. There is nothing that he doesn’t pay attention to: from the perfect pictures, to the elegant design, to the national science standards he employed to make this book work for a school, to his marketing plan. I would call his book and his work a Gold Standard of Excellence.



Curious Critters recieved a starred School Library Review.

“This  collection of amazing close-up images on stark white backgrounds is a  stunning introduction to the animals’ unique beauty. No one could resist  lingering over the sharp details in these vibrant photographs. Facing  portraits of the American bullfrog and the American toad highlight the  differences between the moist-skinned frog and the dry toad. The  humorous, first-person text implies a rivalry involving toads and warts  versus frogs and princesses. One spread features a face-off between two  very different predators–a perfectly coiled black-and-gold fox snake and  an Eastern screech-owl. The Virginia opossum looks directly into the  camera and grabs viewers’ attention. The tiny mites hitching a ride on  the red flat bark beetle are nothing short of amazing. A concluding  two-page section provides a brief paragraph on the natural history of  each animal and insect. An interesting spread presents overlapping  life-size silhouettes of each creature comparing their actual sizes.  Each one is numbered and color-coded as a test to identify the  individuals and their groupings. The sophisticated photography and  lighthearted narrative combine in an intriguing introduction to some of  the inhabitants of the natural world.–Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA

Orders are now pouring in. This last Tuesday, I was stunned to get orders for around 650 books. That’s a first for a book we’ve carried! And me with only the small SUV this week! This is how that looked. Books were even piled up on the front seat!

Success always carries a price, though. The publisher initially printed 5000. We’re down to our last 1000. Wild Iris is scrambling to print 10,000 and get them from China before we run out!

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