(Sheri Fink's second children's book, The Little Gnome, is now available on for purchase on the Kindle market! This adorable book explores the concept of change in a way that both parents and children can appreciate! Get your copy today for the special price of $4.95! http://www.amazon.com/The-Little-Gnome-ebook/dp/B0085YDP3M/ Read my review of The Little Gnome.)
1) Tell us a bit about yourself and where you live and work.
I grew up in a small town in Virginia and moved to the west coast after grad school. I had a successful career in online marketing before deciding to make a change in my life. Despite the outward signs of success, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was meant to do something more. With a lot of courage and the support of my amazing husband, I left the corporate world in 2010 and starting writing and publishing children's books. Although some folks thought I was crazy two years ago when I started off down this path, I'm so grateful that I did it. I'm living my dream and it feels incredible!
2) How did you start writing for children?
I wrote The Little Rose when I was going through a difficult situation. I didn't even let my husband read it at first. I put it in a desk drawer and left it there until fall of 2010 when I attended a transformational conference. I met a woman there who encouraged me to share my story and insisted that her grandchildren needed its message. When I got home from the conference, I shared the story with 20 people that I respected and trusted. Eighteen of them told me they got goosebumps when they read my writing. At that point, I started considering publishing my first children's book.
After seeing my first book in print, I was hooked. Ideas flow to me and have to write them. It's fun to make stuff up and write it down for a living. I began writing The Little Gnome a month after The Little Rose debuted. Now that I've experienced the joy of sharing my stories with kids, I want to create more goodness in the world for them. I want them to believe in themselves and lead happy, successful lives. I find children to be very charming and I love it when they say that I make a positive difference to them.
3) Tell us about The Little Gnome. What inspired you to write it?
The Little Gnome is a charming story about a garden gnome experiencing the wonder of the four seasons for the first time. At first he doesn't understand and resists the changes in his environment. That just makes him grumpy. Once he begins to understand the seasons, he finds something good in every change. The book helps kids ages 5-10 learn to embrace change. Published in March 2012, The Little Gnome debuted at #1 on the Amazon best-seller list.
I'm inspired by my experiences and how I feel about them. I love taking something that feels like a negative and helping kids discover a way to see it in a different light, one that can be truly positive and beneficial.
The idea for The Little Gnome came about when I was thinking about moving from Virginia to California. My husband and I moved to Southern California 9 years ago and the seasons are much milder here. I was wondering what it would be like for a kid who's only known SoCal to live in Virginia and what that first year might be like. And, there are things that I miss about each season. Those are the things that are highlighted in the story.
4) Describe your path to publication. Has this experience met/exceeded your expectations?
When I was considering publishing my first book, I talked with lots of authors. After learning about the traditional publishing industry and the independent publishing possibilities, I chose to self-publish. I'm an entrepreneur at heart and I believed in my book enough to invest and bring it to market much quicker than would have been possible going the traditional route. There are advantages and disadvantages to both paths, but independent publishing was the right one for me at the time.
I'm very happy that I chose to independently publish my books. I hold the rights and get to make the decisions about my books and my brand. I learn new things every day and enjoy the journey.
5) How do you promote your work? What methods have worked best for you?
I find that a lot of people hear about my books through word-of-mouth. People who read The Little Rose and The Little Gnome tend to tell their friends and it just takes off from there. A lot of sharing takes place on Facebook and Twitter. I'm very accessible and I think people really like that. I also find in-person author events to be very rewarding. It's a lot of fun for me and it helps spread the beautiful messages of my books to lots of children who need them. I feel so fortunate for all of my fans who have made this a wonderful journey for me!
6) Please catch us up on what you have been up to since you released The Little Rose.
Published in March 2011, The Little Rose has been a #1 best-seller on Amazon for over 45 weeks. The Kindle edition is also a best-seller and became the #1 top-rated children’s eBook on Amazon. Having the courage to write and publish my first book has completely changed my life.
Since that time, I've launched a children's brand, "The Whimsical World of Sheri Fink," with the mission to create books, toys, merchandise, and life experiences that inspire and delight children while planting seeds of self-esteem. I've been working with a playwright and we've co-written a stage adaptation of The Little Rose that will debut later this year. I also wrote and published the second book in "The Little Series," The Little Gnome, and have plans for 8 more books in the next 5 years.
In 2011, I was selected as one of the top “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading.” I was featured in several inspirational non-fiction books, including two international best-sellers, Self-Esteem Doesn’t Come in a Bottle by Kelly Falardeau, and Dare to Dream: This Life Counts by Debbi Dachinger. This month, I'm delighted to be featured the cover of Conversations Magazine, in an issue that's focused on books for the young and the young at heart.
Earlier this month I completed my first book tour. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun. I've also had the privilege to travel and speak with thousands of kids and share my stories with them. In the past six months, I've spoken for the Girl Scouts, UCLA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Reading is Fundamental, schools, libraries, and writing conferences. I really enjoy it!
7) Describe a typical day in your life.
A typical day for me includes breakfast with my husband, working out at home, meditation, media/PR (interviews, writing press releases, etc.), spending some time connecting with fans on Facebook and email, updating my websites, business calls, planning upcoming author events and book launches, writing thank you cards, dinner with my husband, cuddling with my two kitties, reading, and writing in my journal.
I set aside time on two days a week to focus on writing. I’m not always writing my children’s books during that time. Sometimes I’m writing an article for a magazine, blog, etc. I try not to be too hard on myself if I don’t stick rigidly to the schedule. Once an idea has come to me, it’s only a matter of time before I can no longer resist writing it. Lately I've been very focused on my upcoming books and have been writing 1-2 drafts a week. I have a lot of travel coming up this summer and want to have the books already in motion when I leave.
8) What projects do you have in the works?
My next book, Exploring the Garden with The Little Rose, debuts in October 2012 and takes 2-5 year-olds on an educational adventure learning the alphabet and identifying the plants and animals of the garden while exploring our natural world alongside The Little Rose.
I'm also writing the next book in "The Little Series," The Little Firefly, about a late-blooming firefly who learns about friendship and acceptance. The Little Firefly will be published in March 2013. I'm very excited about both books!
9) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors?
My advice is to continue writing and keep dreaming. There are so many opportunities now for writers to get their work out into the world. I’m living proof that independent authors can be successful and make a positive difference for their readers. It’s a great time to be a writer!
In 2011, Sheri was selected as one of the top “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading.” She is featured in several inspirational non-fiction books, including two international best-sellers, Self-Esteem Doesn’t Come in a Bottle by Kelly Falardeau, and Dare to Dream: This Life Counts by Debbi Dachinger.
Sheri is a founding member of the Evolutionary Business Council, an international, invitation-only council of speakers and influencers dedicated to teaching the principles of success in order to make the world a better place, and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
Sheri is a proud supporter of organizations that make a difference in the lives of children, especially Reading Is Fundamental and the Girl Scouts of America.
In her free time, Sheri enjoys adventure traveling, writing and reading, scrapbooking, and spending time with family and friends. She spent her childhood in Culpeper, Virginia and now resides in beautiful Southern California with her husband, Ryan Fink, and their two kitties.