1. How did you get the idea for this book?
The structure came first—which is fairly common for my nonfiction ideas. I love writing Things To Do poems with kids on school visits—poems that are a creative to-do list for an object. It’s an adaptable, non-rhyming poetic form that lets you merge information with imaginative writing. Kids love them, and I thought, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to have a book in this format?” One day, I was brainstorming ideas for my next nonfiction book. Here’s one of my list of possibilities.
4/1/14: Things To Do If You’re a… as a nf pb series. Poetic, with prose sidebars. Electricity. Ecosystems. A season. Love this. Pitch to Carol. Addendum: They bought MOON! When can I pitch other books in the series?
2. How long did it take to research and write this book?
Since I knew the exact structure I wanted to use, everything just fell into place. I had the idea at the beginning of April 2014, and by the end of May, I had sent my Millbrook editor the manuscript. She acquired it that fall.
Of course, there was a revision process with Carol. In August or September of 2015, I got editorial notes from her. Over the next six months, it went back and forth between us for about six rounds, hammering out tiny details. First it was just the main text. Then the sidebars. Then the order of things.
One thing Carol recommended that I was skeptical about and struggled with was adding an introductory spread with a child in it. Initially, it launched right into “Hover near your mother,” or whatever the first line in the poem was at that point. I eventually came to see that she was totally right (as usual). That was the biggest change, I think, in the manuscript. But that first version was fast. It was just waiting to spill out, I think. (If only ALL manuscripts behaved that way!)
3. Did you sell this without an agent? How did that work?
|Laura and her editor Carol Hinz from Lerner at NCTE
I did have an agent at the time, but I pitched it to Carol myself (with my agent’s approval). She got involved at the contract stage, but since I had an existing relationship with Carol and Millbrook (they had already published A Leaf Can Be…, Water Can Be…, and A Rock Can Be…), it made more sense for me to do it personally.
4. What are you and your publisher doing to market this book?
Let’s see. I bet I will leave something out!
- · put Moon’s beautiful art on the front
and back cover of their spring catalog (http://catalogs.lernerbooks.com/catalogs/160177/imagemaps/images/cover_1_mv.jpg)
- · sent out review copies
- · made a digital review copy available to
bloggers and reviewers through NetGalley
- · gave away print F&Gs
- · held a signing for me at NCTE in fall (where they gave away 100+ copies of the book to educators)
- · included Moon in a promotional piece sent out through Shelf Awareness (http://www.shelf-awareness.com/mv/theshelf/2253223.html)
- held another signing for me at ABA in January (where they gave away 100+ copies of the book to booksellers)
- ·printed up beautiful bookmarks and gave me a bunch of them to use, too
- ·had a fabulous teaching guide created by Randi Miller Sonnenshine (http://laurasalas.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/If-You-Were-the-Moon-Teaching-Guide-010917.pdf)
- made a highlights version of that teaching
- ·sent out some extra F&Gs myself to bloggers
- created a book trailer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmfAXIwdMtE&feature=youtu.be)
- created a Pinterest board (https://www.pinterest.com/salaslp/if-you-were-the-moon-for-educators/)
- shared the book in two different sessions at NCTE
- created a new READ bookmark featuring art from the book and adding the book cover to my other covers
- ·am finally having an in-real-life book launch party (hosted by FFTC/Bookhounds--http://laurasalas.com/moon-launch-party/)
- have the materials for teachers on my website (http://laurasalas.com/moon/)
|Laura Salas in her moon dress and Miranda Paul NCTE Conference
That’s the main stuff. There are other little things, like making a new profile pic of myself holding the book, that are so minor—but they do take time! Or sharing reviews on social media. That’s the ongoing stuff.
5. You write beautiful poetry. Were you a poet first and then a story writer?
Aw, thanks, Tina. Nope :>) I was writing what I thought were picture book manuscripts (looking back, they were short stories) for several years before I thought about writing poetry. I love writing in all sorts of forms, genres, and voices, but poetry is now my first love. Almost any topic or idea that comes to mind, my first thought is, “Hmmm…could that be a poem?” Then, when it can’t, I think about other options. I hope I didn’t hurt my prose manuscripts’ feelings by saying that!
Book Review by Tina Cho
Book Review by Tina Cho
Laura Purdie Salas has written a charming lyrical picture book, If You Were the Moon, about a young girl who discovers fascinating things about the moon. The story begins with the girl looking out the window at the full moon wishing she could do “exactly nothing, just like you.” The moon responds and tells her all the many things it can do. My favorite line: “If you were the moon, you would spin like a twilight ballerina.” A sidebar gives scientific facts about spinning on its axis. Laura has done a fantastic job using sparse text and easy-to-understand kid-like descriptions of the moon’s activities. For example, it plays dodge ball, peek-a-boo, and tug-of-war. Can you guess how? I love how she also incorporated baby turtles, hamsters, and the Asian harvest moon into this story! Sidebars, a glossary, and books for further reading will aid kids who want to know more. And Jaime Kim’s lovely illustrations accentuate the text to light up a young child’s mind.
|another picture book by Laura
Laura Purdie Salas
Laura Purdie Salas has written more than 125 books for kids, including the award-winning series and She offers books and courses for writers through Mentors for Rent (MentorsForRent.com) and speaks at writing conferences around the country. laurasalas.com