When Ann Cater came to Argyle Fox Publishing, she had a very clear vision for her book. As the publishing process moved forward, it became clear this was a special project.
So who is Ann Cater? Read below to find out.
First off, tell us a bit about yourself. Who is Ann Cater?
I was raised in a literary environment where reading and writing was revered. Later in life, both my grandfather and mother wrote their memoirs. Their ability to assimilate the details of their lives into readable form sharpened my observations and showed me the power of words to describe the world around me.
As a young child, I was encouraged to read and write poetry. Much of what I wrote described nature that surrounded me. I grew up on a farm in the Deep South with horses, cows, dogs, cats, hives of honeybees, and wild animals that strayed onto our land. This proximity to the land sharpened my affinity with nature and made me keenly aware of our delicate ecosystem and the surprises that nature presents—if we only observe them.
Visiting the zoo with my grandchildren brought back these associations of my earliest memories of farm life, and of the conversations held around the dinner table recounting the day’s events.
Who are your favorite authors and what do you enjoy about their writing?
Some of my favorite authors are Pat Conroy, for his ability to weave a powerful story; Joseph Campbell, for his profound knowledge of comparative mythology and religion and how it impacts our journey through life; and Carl Jung’s crafting the story and life of the metaphor. Malcolm Gladwell’s astute observations make for a great read. Some of my favorite poets are WB Yeats, Edgar Allen Poe, and Robert Burns.
Where did you get the idea for Charlotte’s Lost Water Bottle, and have you written other books before?
The loss of Charlotte’s favorite water bottle at the zoo stimulated my imagination to create a children’s book involving the animals to help ease her sadness.
I was reminded of Aesop’s fable “Grief and His Due,” with the moral, “It is not well, therefore, to mourn long for the departed; else grief, whose sole pleasure is in such mourning, will be quick to send fresh cause for tears.”
Charlotte’s Lost Water Bottle is my first book. My motivation for writing it is to leave a lasting gift for my grandchildren that they can treasure. My goal was to create a work of art where the text and illustrations are integrated to raise the quality of the book. The symbiosis of word and visuals with each element supporting and deepening the story, gives a message applicable to everyone, regardless of age.
Therefore, I needed a team of professionals to help me achieve this goal. I was very fortunate to find them in Daniel Brantley and Joy Taylor—my dream team!
What are your hopes for your book? How will you measure whether it is a success or not?
I published to create a lasting gift for my grandchildren. I hope I have done that. If others value the book and purchase it for their libraries, this is an added benefit.
How did you find Argyle Fox Publishing, and what made you think we would be a good fit?
I was referred to Daniel, owner of Argyle Fox Publishing, by his sister-in-law, with whom I was involved as Board Chair of her nonprofit arts organization, Pop-Up Project.
Working with Daniel has been a very positive experience. His skill at editing improved my narration and transitions to give a better flow. He is very responsive and encouraging. Having him handle the legal and technical details of getting the book formatted and submitted to Ingram Spark was invaluable.
Your illustrator, Joy Taylor, is fantastic. How did you find her and how do her illustrations compare to your vision for Charlotte’s Lost Water Bottle?
I found my illustrator, Joy Taylor, through a mutual friend. I had been looking for someone who could capture the humor and exaggerated realism of the animals. After meeting her and looking at her artwork, I knew she had the sensitivity and skill to produce excellent illustrations.
You’re making and taking advantage of a lot of unique marketing opportunities. Talk about how you’re working to get your book in the hands of readers.
As the publishing process was new to me, I immersed myself into researching how to be successful at not only writing, but how to market the book. One book I found helpful was How to Market a Book: Overperforming in a Crowded Market by Ricardo Fayet. He explains how Amazon works with its algorithms and selecting a street team—a group of friends and associates to purchase your book and write a review for Amazon.
I sent my street team snippets of the book with illustrations once a week, so when it went live on Amazon in June, they purchased the book before it launched on July 4. This presale of 80 or so copies immediately pushed it into the top 20 of new releases for children’s books about zoos.
As my team was already familiar with the story, I asked them for quotes I could use for the website, as well as on the back cover. I then selected the most appropriate ones that were succinct and descriptive. When they received their printed copies, their responses were wildly enthusiastic! Many of them are going to purchase copies for their children’s school libraries and classrooms and recommend it to their friends.
There is ongoing conversation with the Chattanooga Zoo selling it in their gift shop.
Additional research revealed that there was a lack of good Spanish books for children, so I had my friend translate it for me as an additional opportunity for distribution to this market. It was easy to do, and extends it into a smaller, but unique market.
Another marketing tactic I used was to have a website built (anncater.com) to provide additional information about me, my background, and my motivations to give authenticity as an author. I also had business cards printed to hand out that include a link to my website where anyone can order a copy through Amazon.
Thanks so much for working with us on your great book. Here’s to success!