Catching Up With the Crew: Cindy Lynn Sawyer on the Wonder of Marketing Your Own Book

Cindy Sawyer (CS) and Kasey Kirchner (KK) are both on the Write Connections team. Recently, they sat down to talk about Cindy’s newly published children’s book, “The Wonder of Under.”

KK: You’ve been a part of the Creative Crew for a few years now, but how long have you been writing children’s books?

CS: I just started writing children’s books. I’ve written for kids before for magazines. Most of my writing before now has been for marketing—business articles for other publications that are like features, you know, business highlights and things like that. But writing for kids is something I’ve always wanted to do. So my husband and I came into an agreement for me to take a year off to write, and see where it goes. So that’s what I did.

Last year, I got three picture books completed. “The Wonder of Under” was one of them. I knew I wanted to self publish, but because I hate spending money on myself, I just kind of thought, well, these are great books. Let’s just put them over here until we have an excess of money or I can pay for an illustrator [laughter]. But for my birthday, my kids, mostly my kids, but my mom and my husband too, surprised me with a box. They all stood in front of me and got their cameras out, so I started making faces at the camera like, oh, this is great, being silly [laughter]. And then I open it up, and it was my book. My daughter had taken it upon herself to illustrate it. And she did a very charming job. And then anyways, obviously I started bawling.

KK: So you had no idea they’d done that?

CS: I had no idea, no, and it was just so good for them to give me that extra push, and it was so fun to open it in front of the people that have been most supportive. Since, you know, I mean, I’ve wanted to write books since I was eight years old, so yeah, I started bawling [laughter]. But it was funny because I was suddenly like oh my gosh, I have a book. I gotta get this out there. And then I’m thinking “marketing,” my marketing mind kicks in, like, I’ve got so much to do.

KK: Do you think it’s easier or harder to market your own work?

CS: In some ways it’s harder, because I don’t like saying, “Hey, you want to promote me?” Yeah, I feel very awkward about that. But I have really enjoyed the marketing part, because I love getting the feedback. That not only helps me, it also gives me more marketing ideas, like, I have a launch team and hearing their feedback gives me more ideas on how to market this book, you know, ways to describe the book. It just makes it come alive.

KK: What was the inspiration for “The Wonder of Under?”

CS: My granddaughter, when she was born, I babysat her. And, of course, when she started to crawl, she was fascinated, she would keep looking under the rug, put it down. And then she looked under the couch. Of course, it’s natural for kids because they’re close to the ground. But I don’t know, I just came up with the phrase “wonder of under.” And then I think a book finally came out. It took me a long, long time and a lot of versions to get something that would really make a good kid’s book. It’s not as easy as some people think.

KK: What’s the hardest thing about writing children’s books?

CS: I think being sure of myself is one thing. I always wonder if it’s really good enough.

KK: With more of a marketing and business writing background, do you find you have to engage a different part of your brain when you write for children?

CS: I think I am a kid at heart. Yeah, I mean, whenever I’m around my grandkids, I’ll dance with them or we’ll do something fun and or we’ll make a big mess and my husband’s like, oh my gosh, clean that up. No, it’s great! They’re learning. They’re having sensory stuff going on. Yeah, I really enjoy that kind of stuff. It’s actually part of my marketing as an author. I started doing blog posts on helping families create reading adventures with their kids. Like doing book themed scavenger hunts, and making storyboards with your kids. There’s costume day, and, you know, so many ideas. And then there’s always like, fun foods that you can make that are book-themed. Things like that. So I enjoy that.

KK: Do you have a strict writing practice?

CS: I have one, but I don’t always adhere to it [laughter]. But I was really excited to start working for Write Connections because it allowed me the time to work on my writing on the side. I feel like I’ve stretched my creative muscles a little bit more being at Write Connections for sure. And I’ve just loved working with Jess. She gives you a lot of creative freedom. She’s taught me a lot on marketing and messaging. She has a wealth of knowledge there and I think that is really going to help me with launching my books.

“The Wonder of Under” will be available on Amazon on February 21st.