5 Things I Learned from My First Story Time

Little kids are incredible. They have this ability to make you do ridiculous things just so you can see them smile and laugh. I had my first story time and book signing at the Oak Creek, WI Public Library this past weekend and it turned out to be so much better than I expected. I learned afterwards that the room was at fire code capacity with more than 70 adults and kids, whoa! 

Going into it I just thought it would be my friends, my mom, my husband and our kids. So my expectations for attendance were pretty low.

I was shocked when people started to show up that I didn't know. That's when my nerves kicked in. I can sing nursery rhymes off key and act like a fool in front of my family and friends because they already know me. They know I'm goofy and awkward. They'll still love me if I fail (right?! lol). Not knowing the faces in the crowd made it a million times more intense. I HAD to sing and read to strangers and I HAD to do a good job. GULP.

After I was done with the story time portion of the program a sweet woman and her son came up to me and said, 

"Are you a teacher? The reason I ask is because you have a really good way of presenting to the children. A great energy." 

It really meant a lot to me that she said that. She was a stranger and because I was nervous to begin with her compliment made me feel like I didn't totally suck. 

I know that with each time I speak or present a story time I will learn something. I'm new at this so I wanted to get these five things written down as a reminder to myself and maybe it will help some other people too.

Here are five things I learned from my first story time.

 

1 - Give your presentation or program to your own kids or family first. 

This seems like an obvious one but sometimes presenting to your family is the hardest because they are the most critical. Do it anyway. 

You'll be happy when you work out the kinks in front of them instead of strangers.

I presented mine to my mom and my own children. My mom was engaged and giving great feedback. My kids were jumping on the couch asking to watch a show (eye roll). I figured their poor behavior would prep me for any craziness and distractions. 

2 - Make an outline and keep it by you.

I wouldn't recommend notecards. You'll look like you're giving a presentation in college, SNOOZE!

If you print out an outline and keep it next to you it's easy to glance at without giving much pause.

I printed mine and because I knew it was there I never ended up looking at it.

3 - Focus on the children's faces.

Kids don't pretend to like things. This is incredibly frustrating and adorable. If the kids are engaged and smiling you are doing a good job. 

If they aren't paying attention you have to up the energy and channel your inner goofball. 

If all else fails make a fart noise...kidding...but for real, fart noises are funny.

4 - It's not brain surgery.

If you start to feel overwhelmed by the thought of public speaking remind yourself, it's not brain surgery. You can make jokes and mess up a little and it will be OK.

When I got to the singing portion of the program I was so excited I wasn't remembering to breathe. I laughed a little to myself and thankfully the kids were singing so I could whisper-sing and catch my breath before passing out. It was a really challenging vocal of Skinny Marinky Dinky Dink...don't judge.

5 - Don't wait too long to make edits to your program.

After your program/presentation go home and make notes for yourself about things that went well and things you felt could be done better. 

The hope is that you will be asked to do it again so it's better to get your thoughts on paper before they leave your brain.

I needed to slow down and breathe more. Hopefully next time my nerves will be more in check and I won't have to remind myself to take a breath. 

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Breathe. You got this.

 

It's here, the book is finally here!

After months of waiting and waiting, Guess What? I Still Love You. is finally available to purchase in paperback and ebook. It's an incredible feeling to have a book "out there" for the world to read. It's also really amazing to have had an idea pop into my head and now to actually see that idea come to life, it's just so cool. 

I've spent a lot of nights on my computer trying to figure out how this all works. From actually writing the book to figuring out how to get it published. Then there's the setting up and managing my website and social pages which still leaves me feeling like I have no idea if I'm doing any of this "right". Even with my background in advertising and promotions, it's a steep learning curve. Thanks to all of the incredible people who have helped me not look like a total dumb dumb.

I self published with Lulu.com and they were incredibly helpful in figureing out what I wanted for my book and providing me with very clear steps on how to make my book an actual "thing". Heck, they're still helping me navigate getting my book out there to the masses. Thankfully they do a lot of the leg work when it comes to book availability and distribution (score!). 

To my husband who helped me do the initial edits and brainstorming, thank you, I love you! To the family and friends who helped me edit the final draft before submitting my manuscript, a million thanks to you. To the people who have provided financial support, promotional help, PR help and now the people who are sharing the news with their online communities, friends and family, THANK YOU!

I can't forget to thank the three little people that gave me the idea, Oli, Hatch and CeCe. The love I have for them is endless and eternal. I wish I could say the same about my patience but ya know, kids will do that to a person. 

Happy reading!

 

Step 2: PRODUCTION

Received official word that Guess What? I Still Love You. has moved on to PRODUCTION! It will still be a few weeks before the book is finished though. There is a lot involved in making sure the book is ready for retail distribution but with any luck it will still be available before Christmas.

I just can't wait to get my printer copy and share this book with everyone. It's been an incredible process and I'm so very thankful for all of the kindness and support.

As I'm writing this I noticed that one of my boys is writing on the couch with a crayon so must get back to herding cats.

Cheers to the next step!

Charlie the dog is even upset.

Charlie the dog is even upset.

Content Evaluation & Copyright Completed

Good news! Content evaluation and copyrighting was supposed to take 3-4 weeks but I'm happy to report it only took TWO.  Guess What? I Still Love You. has moved on to the editing department! 

The editors will take one last look at the book before it moves into PRODUCTION! I'm so happy I could squeal! 

Release date is still set for this winter. I will keep updates here as the book moves through to completion.

 

Guess What? I Still Love You. is Submitted

I WROTE A BOOK! That feels so weird to write but I did, I wrote a children's book.

Guess What? I Still Love You. is a book about the quirky struggles of parenting toddlers and what unconditional love looks like.

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After my first son was born I started whispering to him, "guess what?" and then I would say, "I love you." Now that I have three kids, I still do this and the two oldest will now answer my question. After I ask "guess what?" heart melting kid voice responds with, "I love you".

Since I am knee deep in terrible two's and quickly approaching the threenager phase I couldn't help but keep little notes about the crazy stuff they were doing. With each crazy thing they did my love for them never changed. It was unconditional and will always be. So, the inspiration for this book was born.

I am very excited to announce that the ball has officially started rolling!

Guess What? I Still Love You. is going to be ready for purchase THIS WINTER. Eeek!

 

Snapshot of one of the inside pages of    Guess What? I Still Love You. (2016 Copyright)

Snapshot of one of the inside pages of Guess What? I Still Love You. (2016 Copyright)

Snapshot of one of the inside pages of   Guess What? I Still Love You. (2016 Copyright)

Snapshot of one of the inside pages of Guess What? I Still Love You. (2016 Copyright)