(To listen to the audio of this blog post, use the purple play button.)
Being in the Moment
Copyright 2023 © by Jim Potter
Here’s a quick review about this series of weekly blog posts on publishing my color-illustrated children’s book in six months. It’s a progress report. From my first post in January 2023, I’ve shared my goal: publish K-9 Kudzu’s Guide to Law Enforcement by June 1st. If I make this deadline, I’ll complete the series during the month of June by reporting about ongoing marketing and my pursuit for book sales.
Click to read Introduction to K-9 Kudzu’s Guide to Law Enforcement by Kudzu
Being in the Moment
Some things can’t be rushed. A book is one. Drafts are rough until they’re right. They need to be edited over time. They need time to breathe. With time you can make corrections and with time you also have the opportunity for detailed discoveries that will enrich the read. I’ve said it before, it’s a process.
During this past week, chapter by chapter, I’ve been editing my book, trying to get the best balance between the narrator’s voice and the educational presentation. I’ve deduced that I need to enrich K-9 Kudzu’s voice by increasing his personal stories.
There’s a saying that when you ask a question, be sure to listen for the answer. Signs are everywhere.
One new idea for my story occurred a few days ago during a conversation I had with Andrew, a fire fighter friend. When I realized that narrator K-9 Kudzu needed to be more personal and multi-dimensional, I considered Kudzu’s social like. I thought to myself: ‘What if Kudzu had a Dalmatian girlfriend?’
I asked Andrew if fire stations still had Dalmatians as mascots. He told me that yes, his station had a Dalmatian who was a mascot and a source of comfort and morale to the live-in, rotating, work crews.
This idea of expanding Kudzu’s circle of canine acquaintances got its start from this single conversation. I was relaxed, in the moment. With no pressure or impending deadline, it happened spontaneously.
Literary characters need names and so did this Dalmatian. Andrew told me that his fire station’s canine didn’t have a real name, but everyone referred to the dog as “Firepup”©. That name is copyrighted by the National Fire Safety Council.
I wasn’t enamored with the name Firepup©, and I didn’t want to use someone’s copyrighted material in my book. That’s when Alex and I started thinking of a different name for our fictional four-legged character who would be written into K-9 Kudzu’s Guide to Law Enforcement.
Ash, Ashes, Ashley, Blaze, Cinder, Cinder Cindy, Cinderella, Ember, Flint, Molly, Siren, Smokey, and Sparky didn’t sound right until we agreed on Sparkle.
Yesterday, while mailing Amish book orders at the post office, I ran into Deputy Mikel Bohringer, K-9 officer for the Reno County Sheriff’s Office. It was another sign.
After greeting Mikel, I couldn’t help it, I asked the question he hears constantly: “Where’s your dog?”
“In the car,” Bohringer answered politely.
I got excited and started telling Bohringer about my children’s book. He asked me when it would be available. I told him I was aiming at May or June.
I asked Mikel if he had time to pose for a photo with his police K-9, Tanto, and explained that with his permission, or Sheriff Campbell’s, I’d share the photo and mention the K-9 team of crime fighters in my weekly blog.
Outside, Bohringer introduced me to his 4-year-old Belgian Malinois. It was a quick, friendly greeting as Tanto pushed his long snout into my open hand, no doubt checking my scent.
I took photos of Deputy Bohringer and Tanto and got a look at the kennel insert in the county patrol car, including how Tanto’s door release button worked. I also asked about the personal donation routed though the non-profit, Cause for Paws, that made the K-9 car possible.
Mikel answered my questions, including this one: “Nowadays, is law enforcement less likely to train their canines to be aggressive?”
Bohringer explained that the earlier “find and bite” training has been largely replaced with “bark and hold.” Today, K-9s are more likely to find the suspect and then bark, not bite.
Tanto’s trained to be a full patrol animal. That means he’s trained to work narcotics, tracking, evidence search, and building clearing.
The fear of criminals, that Tanto might bite them, makes him a perfect partner in a dangerous profession. The police canine carefully observes detained suspects until two-legged, armed deputies arrive at the scene as additional backup.
In an earlier blog, I told the reader that publishing and marketing go together. An author shouldn’t wait until the book is printed to begin marketing.
With that advice in mind, I made my marketing pitch to Deputy Bohringer. “This is my first children’s book. It won’t be cheap. The expenses are much higher than a typical book because I’m paying an illustrator and I’m having it printed in color. It’s not an 8-page, stapled coloring book. While I continue editing and the illustrator is developing visuals, I’m looking for a grant, organization, or business to help publish the book.”
Then I painted a picture for Deputy Bohringer. “Once I have the books in hand, I can see you with a supply of them in your car for those times when you want to give a child a special gift, maybe during or after a traumatic event or at a public safety school visit.
“I’ll approach FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) lodges to see if they’re interested in purchasing books at my wholesale price so they can donate books to children.”
Deputy Bohringer and I exchanged business cards. He asked me to keep him informed of the book’s progress.
I eagerly replied: “You bet I will. Count on it! Thanks again!”
The following link is for the Facebook Live interview on Sunday, February 19 @ 11:30 a.m. by Danielle Ramirez of Quiet Storm Services
Until next time, happy writing,
- Never miss a weekly blog. Sign up by clicking below to receive my weekly blog sent to your email address. https://jimpotterauthor.com/sign-up-for-jim-potters-blog-posts/
- Purchase one (or more) of my books directly from me at my website by clicking below. https://jimpotterauthor.com/jim-potter-author/