Pam Burgess holds her latest children's book, Sophie Learns What to Do

Pam Burgess is more than a grandmother of four. She’s a busy, busy bee. While she took a few months off of publishing to start a new business, she’s back in action with her fourth title, Sophie Learns What to Do. Find out how she creates so many wonderful stories and the effect she hopes her books have on readers young and old alike.

First off, Sophie Learns What to Do is your fourth book with Argyle Fox Publishing. Congratulations! When you first thought about publishing a book, did you have any clue you would have four books in this wonderful series? What were your initial expectations?

Thank you! It’s very exciting to see this series continue to grow!

Yes, I always saw Sophie as a series. I had many ideas for coaching children in the concepts that I utilized for leadership coaching of adults and wanted to make them into stories children could learn from.

Like your other books, this book feels genuine and personal. What inspired you to write Sophie Learns What to Do? Did you see negative thinking in the children in your life or did inspiration come from elsewhere?

I have always been a glass-half-full kind-of person, so that type of positive thinking comes naturally to me. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t hit obstacles. There were times in my life when I knew the only way forward was to stop looking at what I couldn’t accomplish and embrace the idea of what I could do.

Early in my career I was introduced to the energy that comes from focusing on the positive and not the negative. That was when my children were small, and I watched them struggle with the frustration of not being able to do something or repeatedly focusing on the “I can’t,” so started to utilize the concepts I learned to help them. As an example, when my son was learning to drive, he would repeatedly hit the pot holes in the road we lived on. I decided to ask him to focus on the road—where he wanted to go—rather than the potholes he didn’t want to hit, and it worked!

When I had grandchildren, I felt compelled to pass on to them the lessons I felt would be some of the most impactful on their lives. So, Sophie was born.

You took a little time off from publishing your third book. If you don’t mind sharing, how did you use that time and what made you feel it was time to get back to publishing?

I am an artist and I wanted to spend some focused time in the studio. Also, my daughter and I were starting a new business that offers immersive tours around film, TV, and literature, and I also partnered with another company to travel as a group leader on their tours. So, I was pretty busy focusing on those things during that time.

We also had a fourth grandson, Blake (pictured below), and I wanted to wait until he was two years old to publish the book with a character named after him. We have four grandchildren, and each book has a character named after one of them.

What goals do you have for Sophie Learns What to Do, and how do these goals compare to the goals you had for your other books?

The goals for this book are the same as the first three: get it out to as many children and their parents as possible. The concepts in the book are just as important for adults to remember as they are for children.

I put questions at the end of the book to give parents a way to talk to their kids about what Sophie experiences and how that shows up for them. I hope these questions help parents relate the concepts to their own lives.

What are you doing to market this book, and are you promoting the other three simultaneously or focusing primarily on marketing your newest title?

I donated about seventy-five copies of my first book, Sophie Wears Someone Else’s Shoes to my local elementary schools, libraries, and daycares to introduce Sophie. The goal was to give kids and schools an introduction to the series, and I plan to follow up to let them know that the fourth book is now available.

I also utilize social media to promote the books, primarily Facebook and Instagram, and I have a website as well. I’ve also visited local bookstores and am working with one store to set up a book reading event.

What feedback have you received so far on your new book?

The only feedback I have received so far is from the kids who have read the book (or I have read the book to), and the adults who read my previous books, as this one was only released a couple of days ago. But so far, the feedback is positive.

With four books under your belt, it’s obvious that you have a lot of creativity and things to say. I know you have a fifth already written. What drives you to be so productive?

Well, you may have noticed from my previous answers that I like to stay busy. My mind is always working on something that leans towards the creative side of things.

In my art, writing, and photography, I am often ask, “How did you think of that?” The answer is, “Well, I just did,” and I assume those thoughts and ideas are being passed to and through me. I’m not coming up with them on my own, but they come through divine intervention, which propels me forward.

Also, I love variety, experiences, learning, and the feeling of accomplishment, so I think that pushes me to be productive in many areas.

What would you say to someone who has written a book but is nervous to take that step to publish?

I think that if you’re called to write a book, then you’re also called to share that book with others. We are not meant to keep our gifts to ourselves, but to use them for each other.

Publishing a book is a group effort, so embrace the help others can give (as Daniel does so well) and take the next step.

The feeling of seeing your words in print is such a validating experience. After all the hard work you have put in to creating the story, why deny yourself that reward? As one of my favorite quotes by Erma Bombeck says, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.”

Is there anything else about you, your writing, or your fourth publishing journey you would like to share?

I would love to say that I have made a lot of money writing and publishing the Sophie series, but the truth is I have not. Writing children’s books will probably never make me rich. It may even cost me money, although I will keep trying to get the books out there and sell as many as I can. However, the love I have for these books and what I can offer to my grandchildren and all children who read or are read these books is more than enough to keep me going. You never know who or how you might touch, inspire, or help. I just know I’m meant to do it.

Thanks again for trusting us with your wonderful Sophie. I’m excited for young readers to read and learn from Sophie Learns What to Do!