July 30, 2012

Giveaway | The Adventures of Rathdrum Willie

Rathdrum Willie is a fictitious character who lives on a mountain near the town of Rathdrum, Idaho. Willie is commonly known as a mischievous hermit who enjoys inventing and building unique contraptions. He can be quite helpful at times, but on a bad day will turn into a total grouch!

Official Website

My brother Alexander had his first children's book The Adventures of Rathdrum Willie and His Motor Car published recently!  I'm so proud of my little bro that I could bust.  Do you have any idea how awesome it is to check a book out of the library and modestly (cough cough) inform the librarian that your brother wrote it?!  Completely mental!  I think he's a genius...but don't tell him I said that. *grin*  Anyway...

For the benefit of my readers, I asked him a few questions about his book...

Q: What inspired you to write a children's book?
A: There were several reasons. First of all, God has really blessed my life.  Believe it or not, I really dislike reading and I used to dislike writing, too. Though she is not an author, my mom was the one who had a passion for creative writing and she wanted to pass that on to me. She entered me in several essay contests and prompted me to write articles for our homeschool yearbook (which she started). Over the years, I began to really like writing, especially song writing.
 I had wanted to write a book for a while, but didn't have the drive to finish writing one. Then in 2009, I got some of my friends together and directed a hour and seven minute film called "Rathdrum Willie". At the same time I was (and still am) in a Bluegrass band, so the film gave me plenty of ideas to write a song about Willie. During that time, I thought it would be fun to try and start a comic strip about Willie, then I had the idea to turn the song I wrote into a children's picture book.

Q: Why a hermit?
A: I have always found hermits on the unique and comical side. Even the word "hermit" sounds kind of funny.

Q: How long did it take you to write the book?
A: I wrote the song in about a week, sometime during 2010. When I realized that the song would make a great kids book, I made it longer by adding a few more verses during the year 2011. I probably spent about two or three weeks altogether writing it.

Q: Are you planning to continue Rathdrum Willie as a series?
A: Yes. I already have the next two books ready to be published.

Q: Tell me a bit about how your book was published...
A: For a while, I thought about self publishing my book, but I really wanted to have the support and marketing resources of a mainstream publisher backing me, so I began to look on-line and send my story to several different publishers.  

Q: Why did you select Tate Publishing?
A: When searching for a publisher, one of the most important things to evaluate is their marketing power. In other words, who can get your book to the most people in the shortest amount of time? The people who actually try to get your book into the book stores and publicize it through news papers, radio and TV stations are called publicists. They are very important. But...they can also be extremely expensive. Good publicist can cost around $50 an hour or $1,000 a month! Yeah, I know - OUCH! Tate publishing will publish your book for free if you have your own publicist. If you don't, you can pay for a package deal and use one of their in-house publicists. I knew I wanted a publicist, and Tate appeared to have the best deal. For a one time fee, they assigned me a publicist who will work with me for as long as I want to promote my book (I am currently working with my publicist to try and get my book on a kids story time TV show). Tate publishing was also founded by a Christian family and they have restrictions as to what kind of content they will publish.  From my perspective, that's a big plus! In short, it wasn't free, but they appeared to be best suited for what I was looking for.

Q: Do you have any advice for those who are interested in having a book published?
A: Lots of people that I talk to appear to feel "not qualified" to be a writer. Think about this for a while... Everyone was a child at one point in time, just like every person who is now an author, wasn't always an author. If you feel like your life isn't interesting enough to write about, become a fiction writer and write about something else. I guarantee that your life will become interesting!  

If you have already begun to write a book, FINISH IT AND START SENDING IT OUT TO PUBLISHERS!!! Even if you only have half of your book completed, many publishers will review a half manuscript. The sooner you get your book published, the sooner you can sell it and start working on your next one!

If you've written a book, but don't know of anyone who can illustrate it, find a publisher who does in-house illustrating. There are a lot of them who do it.

Once you have your book published, it's important to find your "nich market". This is the place where the most likely people to buy your book will be shopping or congregating. Does your book have something to do with animals? Go to your local humane society and try to get their support.

Use as much free advertising as possible. Putting book commercials on YouTube can generate a great following.

The last bit of advice is to not get discouraged or give up. This relates to both finding a publisher and promoting your book. No matter what publisher you go with, it is always hard for an unknown author to gain publicity. There will be times when it feels like your book is going nowhere, but that's when you have to get creative...dangerously creative! Don't be afraid to ask people to do things to promote your book and don't listen to the people who try to shoot your ideas down.

For example, last year my Bluegrass band was performing at a national fiddle competition. While there, I spied a channel 2 news truck. Feeling slightly on the adventurous side, I walked over, introduced myself and asked if they could give the band an interview. Five minutes later, we were all set up to appear on the 11:00 news that nigh!

In closing, you won't always win, but nothing is impossible. After being an author, musician and an inventor, the best way I can describe marketing any kind of product is putting on a football helmet and running into a crowd.   Go for it!


Alex is offering my readers the chance to win a signed copy of his book The Adventures of Rathdrum Willie and His Motor Car!  And don't let "children's book" fool you - this is one of the funniest books I've ever read, and both kids and adults enjoy it.  Besides, it would make an awesome gift. :)

To enter...
Mandatory entry - tell me what your favorite book was as a child.
{please leave contact info - blog address, email, etc. - in your comment so I can contact you if you win!}

For extra entries...
1) Visit Rathdrum Willie's YouTube channel and subscribe.
2) Like the official Rathdrum Willie TV commercial on YouTube.
3) Share about this giveaway on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ or other social networking site.
4) Follow this blog

{leave a separate comment for each entry}

Giveaway ends August 14th.

Alex also made this short claymation film featuring Willie - it's pretty much awesome.


Happy Trails!


  1. Good job, Alex! That's awesome! It looks great!

    Nice post, too, Tasha!

  2. Hehe, that video was awesome! I certainly chuckled at the ending...and it reminded me so much of myself trying to play golf! :P

    Congrats to your brother! The book sounds great!

    And my favorite book when I was little...hmmm...there were so many! One of my very favorites, though, was a huge collection of Beatrix Potter stories, my favorites of which were Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca, and The Tale of Little Pig Robinson (and lots more!).


  3. Congratulations to Alex! What a wonderful accomplishment. This story is delightful and fun and I am sure there will be many young readers who will enjoy all of the adventures. Tasha, thank-you for this excellent literay review for all of us here in blogland! The interview was quite interesting as I am always curious just one someone writes a book. It seems like a daunting task! What a sweet sister you are to tell the world how much you admire and support your brother too! Tell Alex I hope his book is a huge hit!

  4. Beautiful presentation for your brother, Natasha.

    "Hear ye, hear ye, spread the word near and far, a young genius resides at Cedar Springs Ranch.
    Correction: Two young genuises reside there!"

    Bless you all,


  5. Hi again:

    This is just an addendum as I wanted to mention the book I most enjoyed as a boy. But I'm not entering the contest as I have a copy of Alex's book already.

    As a boy in elementary school, my favorite book was Mark Twain's "Adventures of Tom Sawyer."
    A little later, perhaps around twelve to thirteen, my taste shifted to the natural history writings of John Muir, a real hero of mine.

    That's all,


  6. Wow, that's awesome! It looks like a really cute story. :)

  7. That is too cool about your brother being published. Slightly jealous here. My favorite book as a child was probably "Rikki-Tikki-Tembo", read aloud as fast as humanly possible. Aaaand I follow your blog. ;-)

  8. Oops. bskaggs(at)zoominternet(dot)net

  9. I loved the Dr Suess books as a child. I still love reading them (especially Fox in Socks!) to my little sister.

  10. I follow your blog, of course!!

  11. Awesome, you two. And hey, everybody loves a monkey! Hehe...

    My favorite book as a child... *gulp*
    I'm going with Madeline. Plus, the first book I ever owned was the complete Madeline treasury at the age of two, so it's extra special.

  12. Subscribed to the RW channel.

  13. Oh, this book looks delightful! And, it takes place in my home state!

    My favorite book as a child was The Animals of Buttercup Farm by Judy and Phoebe Dunn. My siblings and I wore that book out!! Mom had to find a new copy for the younger children!

    The golfing video was hilarious!!!!

    (My email is on the Little Bits page.)

  14. I just realized that I forgot to leave a comment saying I'm a follower, haha! Sooo...I'm a follower!


  15. a story about a donkey with long ears

  16. Visit Rathdrum Willie's YouTube channel and subscribe.

    liza vladyka

  17. Like the official Rathdrum Willie TV commercial on YouTube.

    liza vladyka

  18. http://pinterest.com/pin/229683649716782940/

  19. https://www.facebook.com/liza.vladyka/posts/349194828498250


Comments are my one weakness - thanks for taking the time to say hello!