The Literary Rat’s Crowdfunding Chronicles – Part 1: Overview


Conseil_Tenu_par_les_Rats (Now Hear This)


I know I’ve been MIA a lot the last few months, and life stuff aside, it’s also due to a BIG project I’m about to undertake for my debut novel “GABRIEL” coming soon from Alten Ink-




Since Alten Ink is a small press, they face a unique set of challenges,

and after talking it over with my editor, I decided to launch a crowfunding campaign to be able to enlist the services of a professional illustrator, and cover other key expenses which I’ll detail prior to launching the campaign.



Before I go on, for those of you not yet in the know, crowdfunding is a process where authors and other creative types reach out to their wider community to not just donate money, but share in the belief of bringing their passion projects from dream to tangible reality. Below are a list of the most common crowdfunding platforms-

Kickstarter_Logo_a_lThe newest kid on the block in the crowdfunding arena. See a short tease from the “Kickstarted” documentary about Kickstarter’s Origins (which was also a successful Kickstarter project in and of itself! Talk about Meta-Much!)-





The oldest and most open global crowdfunding platform to date!* (*at the time this post is written).


Learn more About Indiegogo (and general advice from one of it’s co-founders) here-


Learn More about how the first Authors Only crowdfunding platform came to be from the VP/Co-founder herself-





As some of you long time T.A.A. fans may remember, in September 2013 we launched our “T.A.A. CARES” imitative, where we lend our time and money to promote and support authors and artists in need of a little extra help to bring them dream projects to life.


So far, the projects your lit. rat’s backed and spread the word on all met their funding goals, and are now published/will be seeing publication (Covers seen below)-

 T.A.A. CARES #1


by Adam Glendon Sidwell

Illustrated by Edwin Rhemrev

Publisher: Future House Publishing

(Check out T.A.A.’s review)


My LOVE for you is the SUN

by Julie Hedlund (@JulieFHedlund)

Illustrated by Susan Eaddy

Publisher: Little Bahalia Publishing

Pub, Date: September 9th 2014*

(Check out T.A.A.’s Review)


Chalky and the new Sports Car

by Stanley Potter

Illustrated by Jordan Henderson (@taleandteller)

Publisher: Little Thunder Co.

(Check out T.A.A.’s review)



While many children’s authors pitch picture books, comics/graphic novels, or projects with a serious educational bent, novelists like myself can and do use crowdfunding platforms to reach their publication dreams-


Learn The Story behind Rhoda’s Ocean-

Learn the Story behind “Steam In The Willows”


Soon, your lit. rat will be embarking on his crowdfunding adventure, and I hope you’ll be along for the ride. Check back T.A.A. throughout the coming weeks as I document my crowfunding saga.


You can learn see what Gabriel’s up to (and learn how to be part of our virtual promo team) on his newly launched OFFICIAL website! 


Next time, I’ll go over in-depth why I decided to enter the world of crowdfunding from more than the backer perspective.


Until then, have a safe weekend, and may the fantastical fauna be with you.


We’re still on holiday break during the 7/4 holiday weekend, but check back T.A.A. tomorrow for a special announcement regarding my debut novel GABRIEL (Tweet Gabriel and his friend via @GabrielandRum), enjoy the video below, and tell your friends to share the video and stop by to learn how you can be part of bringing Gabriel’s story into the world-




Until tomorrow, stay safe, have fun, as always may the fantastical fauna be with you.

*NOTE: the link in the video will go live 7/6/14 

When “Writing the Next Book” is NOT the answer…



After a significant hiatus, your lit rat is slowing getting back to his regular schedule, and today is the first in a multi-part series of post about “The Next Book Blues.” This is what many writers (including yours truly) face after they “finish” their current book.

Normally, I’d start a series like this by giving an overview of what “The Next Book Blues” is, but to keep you on your toes, I’m going to discuss this topic in reverse order for two reasons-


1. To help writers (who don’t have this problem) get why this is a problem so they can better respect/understand writers they know who directly or indirectly shows signs of “The Next Book Blues.”

2. Sometimes thinking about a problem in reverse eases understanding, like how some writers prefer to write out of order or with the ending first, or they’ll revise a complete draft from the end instead of the common linear “beginning to end” approach. With those points in mind, here we go-

(NOTE: The points below are for career-minded writers)

While it’s true that one book does not a writer make, writing alone doesn’t improve your skills either, by which I mean, drafting new work without revising or rewriting previous work as needed is only solving HALF the equation.

There are important lessons persevering on a particular story or novel can teach us. If I didn’t spend eight years on GABRIEL, I’d never have the stamina to stick with a new project, not just to revise or rewrite as needed, but to sell it, and edit it again with my publisher’s editor via the traditional model, or put in the vast amount of money and time to indie publish.

Sometimes that “Next book” lecture does more harm than good. Again, depending on the kind of writer you are, and the nature of the project.

While many successful writers swear by the thinking of “Only writing NEW books will I improve as a writer” it’s not my experience, and I’m not alone.

While it’s true that building a body of work is vital for many writers, that doesn’t mean we can whip out quality work in that often idealized “Assembly Line” fashion.

While the common wisdom is “Deadlines empowers most writers” they don’t for me.

Now that doesn’t mean I never meet or set deadlines, nor am I saying deadlines don’t matter or aren’t important, but I couldn’t do everything on a strict deadline, or at least not without turning into a harried, witchy troll that is NOT going to help me connect with the readers I want to have, and turn me into  the “No. 1 marketer” for my writing, and remember, not every writer used to be a master marketer before coming to publishing, and we need to give newcomers unversed in marketing a break.

We are only one person. We can’t do it all and that’s something more easily business-savvy writers NEED TO GET, or they’ll lose the people who most need your help and guidance.

One of the issues I take with the “Long Tail/Blacklist” mantra many indie authors are screaming to the virtual rooftops is that it puts too much emphasis on quantity over quality.

As I say often among my writer tribe-

“There’s a BIG difference between writing 10 books and those same 10 books being a equal quality and substance.”

Too many writers preach quantity without talking about the nuances and patience necessary to have a (QUALITY) body of work.

Also, understand I say this from the perspective of writers who don’t work in highly competitive genres, like  romance (ESPECIALLY category) that demands high output and working in certain restraints if you want to break in commercially.

Finally, keep in mind some writers have more multifaceted skill sets than others, and that effects how fast or slow they work as much any external shake ups in publishing.

Not all authors can ghostwrite or do work for hire projects, or write nonfiction (an eternal market as I keep hearing…) which can be a BIG way to up your publication credits and further establish you in the industry.

But there are ALWAYS authors who may not be as versatile, but are GREAT at what they can do.

Some writers don’t need as much time to draft, revise or rewrite, and others like myself , simply require that extra effort and time,  even though we may wish otherwise…(for reasons of mortality aside from our low capacity for patience….)

Also, keep in mind that every story is different, and every writer’s career track is different, some will require more or less time, and often the greater the learning curve for the writer, the longer it takes.

I’m in no way devaluing or downplaying the personal and professional reasons why it’s important to build your body of work and not to be stuck on one book.

But especially for highly impatient writers (of which I’m one) not being able to persevere means that story may not reach salable quality.

We as authors have to VERY CAREFUL to not confuse diligence with procrastination when it comes to drafting new work versus revising/rewriting older work that hasn’t published yet.

Not all past work is inherently “un-publishable” just because the first draft or three didn’t pan out. and giving up on it too soon could start a chain reaction of producing but stopping short of reaching the level it can sell an reach readers.

Bestselling author Jackie Collins once said that she wrote one book after another, and while her craft may have improved, she wasn’t trying to publish anything! (partly because she was given polarizing discouragement from others growing up)

But I suspect (I don’t know her personally, BTW) it’s  also because she had such a forward-thinking mindset, she overlooked that she wanted to get published, but just produced book after book for her own amusement, which is valid, but it can also be out of fear, external, internal or both.

It was only until her husband made her rethink a previous book she’d written that she persevered to sell. I say all that to say that drafting book after book isn’t enough.

Crafting drafted books is no less important, especially when we’re starting out and those first sells are especially “Hard Won” as in my and other author’s experiences.

Sometimes writers can be so forward-thinking, they don’t take ENOUGH of a step back to realize, “Hey, I can sell this book and write others, too!”

This is where I stalled.

I admit I did put Gabriel on such a high priority that it kept me from doing other books, but I will NEVER regret taking the time I did getting it up to snuff enough to reach my selling it, even if I’d been a better writer and already established with well-received books already, that’s a story I’d slog in the trenches for,  while hopefully writing/selling other books, too, of course!

Regardless of our experience/skills/professionalism, some books-





The key thing I hope all writers (and even lay readers) can understand is that sometimes quality must override quantity.

As writers, we can’t beat ourselves up to the point of nervous breakdown-

Breaking/Staying in publishing is already hard enough. We needn’t make it harder by being crueler to ourselves than even the worst teacher or boss treated us!

Writers with especially keen business savvy, please hear this-

“Self-discipline and accountability is no excuse to be a slave driver to ourselves or others in our corner.”

Writers, what you think? Do you feel there’s too much (out of context) pressure toward quantity over quality?

How do you navigate the push-pull between productivity without taking shortcuts that will hurt your books and career in the long run?

 If you know a writer suffering from “The Next Book Blues” I URGE you to guide them to this post.

Readers, what’s your stance on this? I’d to see some conversation brewing in the comments. 


“The Literary Rat” Taurean J. Watkins and “Writerpreneur” Katie Davis




As promised, T.A.A. fans, yesterday I did my first LIVE video interview with Katie Davis, in celebration of her expanded and updated ebook guide “How to Promote Your Children’s Book: Tips, Tricks and Secrets to Create a Bestseller“, now available ONLY on Amazon, which you lit. rat HIGHLY recommends picking up! It’s already reached #1 status in “Marketing” category after only a few days on the market! See the reviews (many beyond mine), read a preview and judge for yourself.

You can watch the video via our YouTube channel, but you can also watch it here-

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Forgive my nervousness (in the video) there were tech issues on my end. I will do more “Hangouts on Air” and will work at being more natural and less nervous.

That’s it for today, but I’ll have more cool stuff planned for next week, in the meantime, I hope you’ll check out T.A.A’s YouTube channel for more fantastical fauna goodness. Have a great weekend, All!

How To Promote Your Children’s Book (Even BEFORE it’s Published!)


I know I’ve been a bit quiet on T.A.A. lately (As far as the blog goes) but I can now share why, and how it can help writers build platform before and after releasing your book, whether you do it the traditional way or take on the challenge and opportunities open to indie publishing-

I know that writers at all levels face the increasing challenge of building platform (I prefer “Community”) but unpublished, debut and emerging authors face unique challenges that more experienced authors don’t, or they have options to combat the challenges of today’s publishing landscape that only experience, luck, and some degree of success can provide.

Everything from building mailing lists, creating videos (NOT just book trailers people!), offering other services to diversify our skillset and help supplement our income,  engaging in social media, the list goes on…

While many writers today need to do more than just write their stories or articles, the fact is we can all to easily forget we are HUMAN and we JUST CAN’T DO IT ALL! Period. We also can’t always afford to take classes, go to conferences, and even our local library may not have the resources we need because nationwide budget cuts to public services like libraries cut deeper each year. The last time I went to library to check out some market guides (at a time when I couldn’t afford to buy my own copy as in years past) the most recent edition of CWIM (Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market) was 2007, and it was 2012 at the time!

I often have to buy my own market guides and other craft books I needed when they just weren’t in my library’s collection, even through inter library loan.

I’m not whining but stating a fair fact, and writers do each other no favors pointing fingers or making light of their struggles. What’s easy or straightforward for me is just plan HARDER for someone else, and vice versa.

The business of publishing on it’s own is more than hard enough to navigate. We don’t need fellow writers making it harder than needs to be. 

But one way to make it easier is to share the load, authors helping other authors band together.

For authors who’ve FINALLY turned that iconic corner to selling their first novel or nonfiction book, one way is by participating (and eventually FORMING) launch teams for soon to be published books

Some launch teams are formed around a , such as the “Class Y2K” initiative that began in 2007 and every year since that a diverse group of debut children’s/YA authors team up and combine their creativity, time, and some money, to make promoting that all important first book easier and less alone

Authors are also reaching out to other writers, either those releasing books around the same time, or asking potential readers/customers of their book to spread the word, send review copies (Be they PDF files or old-school paper ARCS [Advanced Reader Copies] or Galleys of the book pre-publication) and review it on Amazon, on their blog if they have one, and share the news on social media platforms like Goodreads, one of the most prominent ways authors can connect with avid readers, not just other writers, and this distinction is hazy at times, but important.

I’m taking part of a launch team for”How To Promote Your Children’s Book: Tips, Tricks and Secrets to Create a Bestseller – 2nd Edition” an upcoming ebook guide by author Katie Davis, she’s written and illustrated 8 picture books, two novels (1 Middle Grade and her upcoming YA debut “Dancing with The Devil” which you can preview  now on Wattpad:, and let me tell you, she knows marketing backwards and forwards!

I received a review copy for this book and am working on the review to upload on Amazon and here on T.A.A. I can tell you right now, I’m ALREADY using many of the tips and resources from this book, but you’ll have to wait for my final review this Tuesday (3/25/14) to find out more.

The 1st edition of “How To Promote Your Children’s Book” (which released in 2012) had given many writers at all levels hope, and renowned former editor at Simon and Schuster, Emma Dryden, has given advance praise of the soon to be released 2nd edition, saying “EVERY WRITER should use this tool!”

But here’s the kicker for the writers out there, to celebrate the launch of the expanded, updated, 2nd edition. From 3/25/14-3/31/14, the second edition will be on SALE for $4.99 USD, HALF the price of the first edition, but THRICE the content, and if you send the sales receipt to (BEFORE 3/31/14!) you’ll receive a slew of bonuses to further super-charge and streamline your marketing efforts, pre and post publication. Finally, I’m also interviewing the author herself, Katie Davis live via Google+ Hangout on T.A.A.’s YouTube Channel, Thursday, March 27th, 2014, and you can get your marketing questions answered!

Even if you can’t make it live, just post your questions in the comments and Katie and I will get to as many as we can.But the deadline for submitting your questions is Sunday, March 23, 2014 BEFORE MIDNIGHT EST (Eastern Standard Time) I’ll share the easy access link info here at T.A.A. next week!

I hope to see some of you there, and if not, they’ll be a replay available on our YouTube channel. Please share this with your writer friends this weekend, they’ll thank you for it later, trust your lit. rat on this one! (~Wink~)


For weeks I’d been promising more info involving the progress of my upcoming debut novel, Gabriel, and today I can share some sobering, yet exciting news.

Let’s get the sobering news out of the way, and let me first say this: Gabriel is still getting published. But due to circumstance and miscommunication beyond my control, I had to part ways with G8Press, who originally acquired Gabriel in December 2012.

Okay, now the good news, Gabriel as I said will still be published, but now by ALTEN INK, a new publisher created by my (former) editor from G8Press, Debby Alten, who had also help found G8Press but left earlier this month for personal reasons, and because my contract was not honored regarding Gabriel’s release, I was free to withdraw Gabriel and am following Debby to her new venture because she really “Gets” the book, and only makes me want to work all the harder.

As such, I’ve updated the videos I’ve done for GABRIEL so far with the branding of my new publisher, ALTEN INK, which you can see below-

[mvob group=1]

 They’ll also be on both my (Author) YouTube Channel-


And on the “Talking Animal Addicts” YouTube Channel-


For the writers out there, I’ll talk more about what led to this decision at a later date, but that’s all for today. (Or tonight, if you live on EST [Eastern Standard Time] as I do…)


I’ll have more news about Gabriel in the coming months.

But you can always find out what’s new with Gabriel and Co. at:

Until next time, may the fantastical fauna be with you.