Today I'm happy to introduce the author of this beautifully-illustrated children's picture book, "Aku and the Magnificent Color Scheme," Jennifer Campoverde. Jennifer is giving away a free copy to one lucky person who leaves a comment. Welcome, Jennifer!
Tell us a little about your background.
There is nothing in life that I love more than being a stay at home mom with my three year old son Samuel and work from home where I am able to unleash my creativity. Music was a predecessor and turning point before I began to write. I placed first in the state of Minnesota for young composers at the age of 18. I hope some day to return to composing, but for now writing satisfies me and gives me the opportunity to explore my imagination on a new level. I have written several books for children and young adult. I am currently working on a young adult novel that deals with bullies and the loss of a parent but Aku, is my first officially published character. Aku is a colorful, young and adorable parrot that lives in the rainforest. His imagination questions why the sky is blue and not green. As Aku unfolds the mystery behind God’s creation, he discovers the value of his own uniqueness.
What is one of your favorite books and why?
Favorite for me is quintessential so undoubtedly, I would have to go with the Bible. Where else are you going to find history, poetry, love sonnets, revenge, forgiveness and the ultimate sacrifice of love all rolled up into one book? It is the only book that I can go back to time and time again and always discover something new, something encouraging, and something wise.
Why did you decide to write this book?
Stories come to me like my music did-they just pop into my head and I go with the flow of it, however I strongly felt while writing Aku and the Magnificent Color Scheme that it would be pointless to write a story without a special meaning. When I was twenty years old, I volunteered for Africa Inland Mission. I taught sex-education/aids prevention as well as the Bible to children within the prison compounds of Luzira, Uganda. That is where I met two little girls that would become the inspiration behind Aku. As they escorted me home one afternoon, one little girl said she wished she could be white so she could be beautiful. I was reminded how we as parents, teachers, and mentors… have neglected to instill in our children the value of their own self-worth, the foundation for self-esteem. Aku teaches children that uniqueness is the reflection of God’s artistry. Everything is created for a purpose for perfect harmony including the color of our skin or in Aku’s case, his colorful plumage.
How have you marketed your book?
Luckily I have a Marketing Representative to book events such as book signings but the real work comes from me, the author. In order for me to be able to do readings and presentations within the school district, I have to build relationships. I extend that relationship further to book readings and events for book clubs, libraries, independent bookstores, and churches. Social networking is its own empire; I connect with the world through my blog: http://www.lifelovefaithandaku.com. You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and my author website: http://www.jennifercampoverde.tateauthor.com. Being an author, means you are an entrepreneur. You have to invest in your business in order to see the results. I always keep a copy of my book with me because you never know when the opportunity will arise to make a connection or sale. Bookmarks, business cards, posters and flyers are also great marketing tools. You get a free audio download when you purchase Aku and the Magnificent Color Scheme, which makes a great incentive! You can also purchase an exact replica of the book in coloring book format!
What advice would you give to other authors?
You have to believe in yourself in order for others to believe in you. It’s easy to get used to sitting in front of your computer alone and write, but it’s essential to socialize. Introduce yourself to people, tell them who you are and about your book and make a connection. I find people are a lot more inviting then you give them credit. One connection leads to another and you have to start somewhere so start within your community and work from there. I booked an event by handing a card to someone with information about my book.
Please provide a favorite excerpt from your book.
Deep in the rainforest under a canopy of trees, Aku, a parrot of many colors watched the animals curiously while perched on the highest branch close to his nest in a hollow tree. Many animals were sleeping or gathering berries and nuts while a great and mighty python slithered under the leaves and monkeys swung from tree to tree.
Aku looked up into the great big sky and asked his mother, “Why is the sky blue and not green?”
Where can readers find you and your book?
Aku and the Magnificent Color Scheme is available for purchase at www.amazon.com (amazon is having a great sale), www.barnesandnoble.com, and www.tatepublishing.com. You can also purchase an autographed book and coloring book on my blog. To book an event, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for being here today, Jennifer! Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of this colorful tale!