Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Book Marketing Makeover: How One Author Got a Book Assignment That Led to 9 Titles

Guest post by Kayleen Reusser

After writing for adults for 20 years in magazines and newspapers, I enrolled in a children’s writing class at a local university. I felt it was a responsibility to write for children and had never considered myself good enough before.

The instructor, Michelle Medlock Adams, had written several children’s books. She said to the class, “If you’ve never written a children’s book before, you may want to try this company called Mitchell Lane. They give new authors a chance.”

So even though I had never written anything for children, I wrote a letter to the president of the company, Barbara Mitchell, telling her of my desire to write a children’s book and asking to be considered for a position.

A couple of weeks later, she replied, asking me to send a sample of my writing. I sent a newspaper article I had written about a children’s circus. She emailed back, asking me if I’d consider writing a biography for Grades 4-8 on a certain country music singer who seemed to be a rising star. I had never heard of Taylor Swift at that point but was willing to give it a go.

How glad I am that I did!

The next book assignment was another zinger of a biography – Selena Gomez!

Then followed 3 books on the Greek gods. They came out  right when Rick Riordan’s series of books called Percy Jackson and the Olympians was released. Every kid who read Riordan’s books knew Hermes, Hephaestus, and Hades because of Riordan’s popular books and movie!

Another book assignment, possibly my favorite, was Recipe and Craft Guide to Indonesia. This was written with my daughter who lives in Indonesia. They published our photos in the back. A plus for this book was that the editor wanted me to use live models. So I invited kids from the middle school where I work in the library to my home to make the 10 crafts and 10 recipes and then pose as models with the recipes/crafts. We had a great time! Some of the photos from the book are posted on my website at

Biographies on British pop star Leona Lewis, another biography on Taylor Swift (Grades 1-3) and another book called Celebrities Giving Back added to my string of nonfiction titles with Mitchell Lane.

I’ve had great fun speaking to children at schools about the importance of reading to become an author. My goal is to write more children’s books in 2012.

Kayleen Reusser

About the Author

Kayleen Reusser has written nine children’s books, including biographies on Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, three books on the Greek gods, and Recipe and Craft Guide to Indonesia, all from Mitchell Lane Publishing.

She has written articles for Chicken Soup for the Soul, Indianapolis Monthly, Boy Scouting, The Lookout, Focus on the Family,  Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, and Bluffton News-Banner. She is a weekly columnist for the Ossian Sun Riser and co-founder of a writing group.

She currently works in a public middle school library where she finds inspiration for ideas among the students and books. Check her out at
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