I recently got a call from a friend of a friend looking for advice about marketing children’s books. I chatted about my personal experience and offered opinions, curious to learn about this aspiring author’s project. At the end of our conversation, he thanked me for my time and for my willingness to talk to him. When I said “of course” and that it was a pleasure, he went on to say how he had trouble getting other authors to speak with him. In fact one successful author, whose Muslim-themed books I’ve admired in the past, flat out told him that she “didn’t have time to give advice.”
Disappointed, I said that I hope that, even if we both are wildly successful one day, we will never consider ourselves too busy to offer advice to others looking to break into a confusing, evolving and intimidating industry. I know that I continue to seek—and thankfully receive—insight from a number of extremely busy people. And I know that, like the person I spoke to, I learn something from every conversation I have with someone, even if they are new to the children’s book publishing world. So, to all the generous advice-givers out there, thank you again. I couldn’t have gotten anything published without you freely sharing your time with me. And to the advice-seekers, step into my booth. What little I know, I’m more than happy to pass along.