Think your life is busy? Try being a full-time veterinarian and author. Then release two books on the same day. That’s what twice-published author Dr. Melinda McCall did, and she has even more stories up her sleeves.
Tell us . . . who is Dr. Melinda McCall?
I am a large animal veterinarian who specializes in production animals, such as cattle, goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas, and pigs. I really enjoy educating my clients, the public, and especially children about all aspects of agriculture.
Tell us a bit about The Million Dollar Goat. What inspired the story and what’s it about?
The story of Ernie the goat is actually a true story about a seven-year-old client whose goat had a string of misfortunes. Sophie Jo shelled out quite a bit of money on vet bills for her little goat, Ernie, trying to get him patched up time after time. The story speaks to the themes of patience on the part of Sophie and resilience on the part of Ernie.
How did you find Argyle Fox Publishing, and what made you think we would be a good fit?
I found Argyle Fox by word of mouth from my friend Rachel Cherry who published a children’s book. She spoke highly of the company, and I needed help finding an illustrator, so I felt like it would be a good fit for me as well.
Now that The Million Dollar Goat is published, how will you measure whether your book is a success? What is your goal for the book?
So far, the book is selling well. I timed it out to publish on the same day as my memoir, Driving Home Naked and Other Misadventures of a Country Veterinarian. I have worked extremely hard on the marketing of the memoir, and I was hoping this children’s book could ride on the memoir’s coattails. My goal for the book is to sell at least 750 to 1,000 copies.
Your illustrator, Laraib I. Sukhera, really made your characters come to life. How does her work match with your vision of Ernie and the other characters?
Laraib is a talented artist and has a unique cartoon-type style that really captures the expressions of all the characters in the book. She took the thoughts in my head and put them right onto the paper as if she could read my mind.
What are you doing to market your book and let folks know it is available?
Currently, I’m promoting it on my website and in my monthly newsletter. I’m also selling it at my veterinary clinic and spreading the word by mouth. I have participated in a few county fairs as well and moved some books there.
What feedback have you received so far on your book?
So far all the feedback I have received has been very positive. It’s so new that I haven’t gotten a lot of feedback from kiddos just yet, but the adults who are buying the books for the kids seem delighted with their purchases.
What do you now know about book publishing that you wish you knew before getting started?
I knew a bit about the process because of publishing the memoir in the same year, but publishing the children’s book was different because of the involvement of the illustrator. I wish I knew about more avenues to market children’s books.
What would you say to other authors who have written a children’s book and aren’t sure if they should publish?
My advice would be to publish it if you have a clear idea of how you want your story illustrated and you have enough material for 32 pages. I’d also say to make sure you have money saved up not only for the publishing, but to be able to order your books to sell and to have some left for marketing.
You published your memoir with another publisher. Who is the publisher, what do we learn about you in the book, and what drove you to publish two books at the same time?
I did publish a memoir about my veterinary adventures with She Writes Press called Driving Home Naked and Other Misadventures of a Country Veterinarian. This book is a collection of stories from my career that I turned into a memoir. It’s very humorous with some serious topics spliced in between. The reason I decided to publish both at the same time is because I basically had the children’s book written and I thought it would be helpful to market them together.
Do you have another book in the works? If so, can you give us a sneak preview?
I do have an idea for another children’s book. I’m planning to take one of the stories from my memoir and turn it into a children’s book. I will just say that it involves a farm animal visiting a bustling metropolis!
Where can readers find you online? (This can be a website/social media, etc.)
Is there anything else the world should know about you or your writing?
I never saw myself as a writer at all, but I felt like agriculture was really being left out of books these days, so I dug deep and gave it a shot. I never thought I’d enjoy it this much. Even if you’re not a career writer, don’t be afraid to try. You might surprise yourself!
Thanks so much, and here’s to success!