Student Success Stories: Nadia Salomon
I'm thrilled to be able to share a Success Story interview with Nadia Salomon today. I think many of you already know Nadia. She filmed a Master Studies video on bedtime book mentor texts for us a few weeks ago. If you missed it, you can click on the link in my last sentence to get the blog post with the video, or you can just watch the video below. I will be giving away a copy of Nadia's own bedtime book at the end of this post. So if you missed it on her Master Studies post, you have another chance.
Myrna: What is your background?
Nadia: My background is in journalism.
Myrna: What drew you to writing for children?
Nadia: I had one! Then, said child challenged me to write a bedtime story. And the rest is history.
Myrna: I love that! Would you be willing to share how you ended up with your agent? Do you have any advice to share for those who are querying?
Nadia: My agent faved one of my pitches on #Pitmad. I pitched in March 2018. I sent the requested manuscript within minutes of being faved. Then she requested more writing samples. I sent her my entire body of work (21 polished manuscripts). We had THE CALL. And before I knew it, she offered representation. We’ve been hitched ever since!
Advice: Just do it! Put yourself out there. Twitter pitching is one way to query, but the traditional route is okay too. Be sure your manuscript is polished and ready. Also be sure to have some polished writing samples on tap before querying.
Myrna: Thanks for sharing that! You mentioned that you’re writing in different formats for multiple age groups. How did that happen?
Nadia: That happened when a couple of my ‘concept’ picture book manuscripts were returned with comments like, “Have you considered writing this in middle grade?” or “I think this topic would be better suited for middle grade.” Pish posh . . . seeing that I envision these stories in a visual medium, I opted to rewrite them in graphic novel format instead. I figured the latter would be the lesser of my two evil choices. I sure was wrong. But as I tell everyone to just do it . . . I’m just going to do it. Let’s see what happens?
Myrna: Philomel just published your debut picture book, GOODNIGHT GANESHA, and it’s gorgeous. We’re going to share your virtual book launch. Is there anything you want to add to what you’ve already said?
Nadia: I’m thankful Liza Kaplan fell in love with the manuscript and Philomel trusted her with bringing it to market. And thankful she too was excited to work with Poonam Mistry. All the way around, we each are proud of how the book turned out.
Myrna: What are your plans to promote your book? Do you recommend joining a debut group?
Nadia: I’ve been promoting since I wrote Goodnight Ganesha. It’s been a conversation and sharing of my journey more than anything. So, the people following me and rooting for the book’s success know every single step of the process. Now that the book is physically here, I’m just having fun with it. We’ve been playing I SPY #GGInTheWild or asking folks to take selfies with the book or the book by itself. I am planning to put it all together on a page off my website or possibly on the Goodnight Ganesha IG. I haven’t decided yet. But I want to keep it fun. And I love that everyone’s participating.
Yes. Join a debut group. Not just for the promotional aspect of amplifying your book, but for the camaraderie, support, and lasting friendships you’re going to make with members. If you’re unable to find a group, start one. If you’re not inclined, find a group you like and mimic what they are doing.
Follow how they introduce themselves. What are things that are important to them? Cover reveals. Launches. How are they handled? Pay attention to the things you like or think would be comfortable for you to do.
I’m currently in two promo groups, but it’s tough to pull off sometimes, because I get sidetracked with so many things. While I love both of my groups, they each have a different platform and process. One is mostly all newbies debuting, and the other is a mix of different authorship levels that also has more of a social awareness element. And when in doubt . . . follow Soaring 20’s PBs—they really set the bar for what the rest of us are doing.
Myrna: One of your manuscripts won an award from SCBWI. Would you tell us about that process, please?
Nadia: Yes. I vied for the WOOP award. It’s the Work of Outstanding Progress award. It’s a grant SCBWI gives out to regional volunteers to help them complete a work-in-progress. I had been working on one of my “heart” manuscripts, a picture book biography, MYRLIE: A VOICE OF HOPE. After so many rejections (YES, REJECTIONS) and revisions (I lost count)—I started to feel like I was losing my way. I completed the application and entered it for consideration. I even forgot about it. Imagine my surprise, when I found out I had won the WOOP Honor. It’s just been such a positive for me. I soon hope to have more news about this.
Myrna: Exciting. Has Storyteller Academy helped you at all? If so, how?
Nadia: I can’t even begin to tell you how influential Storyteller Academy has been in my writing journey. It started the day I met Arree presenting his Ninja series at my local community center. The day I became a member and met all these wonderful people (Myrna, Kathy, Cindy) who lift and support me in ways I can’t even express my gratitude. The same for the mentors (Carter, Ken, Vanessa, Tim) – people first, then mentors. Everything is done with heart first. A gentle hand and they all share Arree’s nurturing quality and that voice that always challenges you to do you, do your best, while at the same time guiding you.
Myrna: Do you have any advice for our readers?
Nadia: Read. Read. Read. Face your fears, and take a leap of faith. You don’t know what possibilities lie ahead for you until you try. Stop looking at what is happening for someone else, and focus on what can happen for you. Be persistent. Develop a thick skin. And when in doubt, reach out . . . there’s always someone in the #writingcommunity there to lift you up. Sometimes, that lift comes from someone you least expect was paying attention.
Myrna: Thank you for that advice. I totally agree. What’s next for you?
Nadia: Waiting on a couple of announcements. Still writing while on sub. Looking forward to mentoring a class with Jarrett Lerner’s #KidsNeedMentors program. Also have some fun events in the works with the Pajama Program and some libraries. And trying to take in all the excitement with debuting.
Myrna: That all sounds wonderful. Where can we find you on the Internet?
Myrna: Where can we buy your book?
Myrna: Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Nadia!
Share something you’ve learned from Nadia in a comment, and I’ll enter you to win a copy of Goodnight Ganesha. This giveaway will close on September 20th at midnight, PDT. You can share this post on social media for extra entries. Just post a link (or let me know) in a comment below.
Thanks for reading!