The Building Blocks of Michele McAvoy and The Little Press
This month, we'll be highlighting the Donors from Our Rate Your Story *Build-A-Story* Contest (August 1 - 31st). Each will share a little bit about themselves and the building blocks of their career, tell you about their latest project and leave YOU a building block to help build your stories! Be sure to check them out! AND don't forget to enter our contest (more info here) to be eligible for prizes!
INTRODUCING MICHELE MCAVOY:
I am an author, publisher, attorney, and educator from New Jersey. I started my kidlit journey in 2016 and I haven’t looked back since. I have my 5th published title releasing this year and I launched my own publishing company, The Little Press, in Spring 2020, which has grown tremendously in the past three years. The Little Press publishes picture books through young adult novels. We signed a national distribution deal this past January with Baker & Taylor Publisher Services, as well as partnered with One Little Earth, an environmental nonprofit, to publish nature books for kids. Our Christian imprint, Bless this Press, publishes cross-over, approachable, and entertaining Christian children’s books. And, we have four amazing dedicated editors (in addition to myself) eager to bring new voices to light. We can’t wait to see what the future holds.
WHAT MICHELE IS LOOKING FOR:
I really like character driven stories and I love stories with series potential. In Young Adult, I would love a fairy-tale spin. In middle-grade, I would love a book with contemporary indigenous representation, set on a reservation. I would also love to acquire an early middle-grade that’s witty and humorous with a young boy main character, akin to Jarrett Lerner’s Enginenerds.
All of my stories are inspired by real-life situations. I would say the most poignant for me is my book THE GORILLA PICKED ME! It’s about a little girl, Olive, who felt ordinary until the day she was picked to dance by the dancing gorilla. In that moment, she realized she was special. This story is based on something that happened to me. As a child, I was quiet and shy and chubby, and not the little girl who would receive attention from others. I went to a daddy-daughter dance with my dad in my elementary school cafeteria. He left for a minute and when he did a guy in a black gorilla suit came out and danced for the crowd. The gorilla came over to me, picked me up from my chair and danced around with me in his arms. I felt elated. Never before had I been picked from the crowd. My father passed away and I never asked him if it was him in that gorilla suit. So, it’s forever his secret.
ON MICHELE'S HORIZON:
Describe a project or book you have that you would like to promote. Willa the Werewolf is my newest release! (releasing September 15th). It’s a modern day fairy-tale about young Willa who is a piglet fashion designer by day and a werewolf by night. She is chosen to design for a fashion competition, much like Project Runway for kids, and uses her secret as a werewolf to run to fashion cities like New York, Milan, and Paris for inspiration. But when the T.V. crew runs late on the day of the final design reveal and the clock strikes 12 o’clock, Willa may reveal more than her designs. It’s really a fun and modern twist on The Three Little Pigs. It’s an illustrated early reader geared for readers in 1st through 3rd grade.
MICHELE'S BUILDING BLOCK:
Be able to take advice and suggestions, not only on your creative work but also on your creative journey. I see too often creatives digging their heels in when faced with suggestions. As a creative industry, we all get edited. It’s a part of the process and, if you can create with an open mind, you may be surprised where it takes your work.
MICHELE'S SOCIAL MEDIA BUILDING BLOCKS:
Social media is important. As a small press we don’t have a designated marketing department so we rely on our creatives to get themselves and their books out there. (Of course we help them in many ways, including bookstore events.) Having a social media presence means that you are willing to put in the time to promote yourself. Also, it’s important to see if your social media is a place where you promote your work and engage with the community. It’s not necessary for us (at all) that you have a huge following. It’s simply important to see that you are engaging with the community and excited to put yourself out there with your book.
MICHELE ASKS HERSELF A QUESTION:
What’s one thing you don’t like about the industry? This is a question that I think is so important in order to let others know that it’s not all rainbows and unicorns and it’s ok to not always feel happy in an industry that always feels so positive. I recently heard this term toxic positivity (excuse me if I’m late to the party on this term) but it was a huge eye opener for me. I grew up surrounded by toxic positivity and I didn’t even realize this until now (and I’m 48!). Something I don’t love about this industry is the constant bombardment of success announcements. We want to be happy for others (as a Christian, I’m supposed to always be happy for others’ fortune) but it’s ok, and natural, to not feel ecstatic for others’ big book deals, industry spotlights, and starred reviews, while you're toiling away trying just to be seen. You’re not a bad person. You’re just human. If the industry becomes too noisy, then retreat to the quiet. It will always be there when you’re ready to come back into the fold.
MICHELE'S CONTEST PRIZES: Michele has generously gifted us with three (3) above-the-slushpile submission opportunities!
Meet MORE Prize Donors and Find More Prizes HERE:
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