By Pamela Burba

Every author dreams of writing the next cherished treasure like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. But where do you start?

“It’s always best to start at the beginning. And all you do is follow the Yellow Brick Road.”

– Glinda the Good Witch of Oz 


Is there something keeping you from getting started? Did Dorothy let the Wicked Witch of Oz stop her from taking that first step?

Glinda the Good Witch of Oz was the first of many to encourage her to get on her path and stay on it no matter what. I’d love to encourage you to take that first step! So grab those ruby slippers and join me as I take you on my fairy special journey.

My sister Cheryl and I loved when our Mother read us fairy tales as children. We always dreamed of creating a fairy tale that not only teaches children in a fun way but also lets the story continue from book to book. All we needed was…an idea for a fairy tale.

Sometimes your story may be right under your nose.

As it turns out, our idea was sitting there right in front of us all our lives. We just didn’t realize it until our cherished mother Dottie passed away at the age of ninety five.

Our mother told us sweet story she over and over our entire lives. It involved me as a four-year-old trying to buy an ice cream cone with a penny I’d found.

We were sitting around reminiscing about this story, and suddenly we realized THAT was our book idea. From a sweet simple story came the perfect idea for our fairy tale! Hooray, our feet were finally on that yellow brick road!

Ice Cream and Sprinkles and Fairies! Oh my!
            –Pamela Burba

If I could give one piece of advice it would be to have fun while you are creating your story. Just take your time and enjoy the journey! Much like Dorothy, our journey is full of wonderful stories that happened along the way that we will treasure forever.

Once the Dottie Sprinkles character was created, the story began to fall into place Children would visit Dottie’s Fairy Special Ice Cream Shop and soon learn it was run by ice cream fairies. Dottie would teach gentle lessons to the children of Ferry Harbor. The love for our Mother just poured into the story.

And so Dottie Sprinkles Fairy Special Ice Cream Shop was born.


“In all this world there is nothing so beautiful as a happy child.”
– L.
Frank Baum 

It helps to know your goal. Ours was to bring happiness to children by creating a magical way for them to learn gentle lessons. And just by reminiscing—brainstorming—we were able to find our idea, and the stories just poured out of us.

Just like Dorothy kept her goal of getting home in front of her it helped us to never give up!

“Oh, look! There’s the Emerald City! Oh, we’re almost there at last!”
– Dorothy Gale

How exciting to reach the final step on the yellow brick road and reflect on what you hoped to accomplish when you started.

For us it is our hope that children will cherish Dottie Sprinkles long after The Fairy Grandmothers have clicked the heels of their ruby shoes and headed home.



Follow Your Yellow Brick Road From Beginning to End


Combining Fact and Fiction- a Children’s Journey to Knowledge

The following are the words of Laura Wiener, Archway Publishing author of “The Mysterious Dripping Drops”. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Why Did I Write My Book?

I began writing my book, The Mysterious Dripping Drops, with four basic goals in mind. I wanted to educate children about the beauty, intricacy, and delicate balance of life in the rainforest and neighboring areas. I wanted the children to become a part of an Amazon adventure where new facts, explanations, and events were page turners. I wanted the children to identify with the characters and journey along with them sharing their happiness, fears, and hopes. I wanted the children to become aware of the threat of the rainforest destruction leading to the extinction of plants and animals due to deforestation, arson and climate change.

About My Book

Having a doctorate in biology and a degree in education, I combined my knowledge and skills to write a story about two ants. One, a red army ant from a deciduous forest loses his home to clear-cutting, fires, and floods. She is swept down the Amazon River and finds herself in the rainforest. The leafcutter ants find her unconscious by the banks of the river and bring her back to their colony. One of the chief worker ants befriends her, and the two ants journey through the rainforest looking for the wise sloth that can help the red ant find her way back home. On the journey, the ants encounter many challenges and also comical events which help explain the ecology of the Amazon.

To write this book, I planned six basic steps.

I became an expert and tried to research all and everything about the Amazon rainforest and including the deforestation. I read articles online, went to libraries, spoke with Brazilians who had lived near the rainforest and collected as much data as deemed necessary. I also visited the rainforest.

Major Scientific/Environmental Topics:
I decided which scientific/ environmental topics I wanted to address in the story.

Character Development:
I chose which animals would be the best candidates for the story. The ants are creatures that are key to the environment but often overlooked when children are researching the rainforest. The ants with their small size could journey through the rainforest and witness many events undetected.

Plot Development:
I wove the plot around the topics and characters I chose in the previous steps.

For the illustrations, I chose an illustrator from South America who was familiar with the landscape of the rainforest.

Archway has been a wonderful choice for my publishing needs. From the onset to end, their expertise, friendly manner, quick responses to any questions and quality work have been true assets. I couldn’t be happier with the end product; the illustrations, text and overall layout are professional and highly attractive. The Author Learning Center has also offered invaluable webinars and made the marketing aspects a lot more understandable.

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share a guest blog post, please visit our Blog Guidelines Page.


Marketing Your Book

The following are the words of Angela Adley, Archway Publishing author of “Growing Up without My Daddy”. Learn more about Angela on her website, her book’s website or Facebook page. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Have a Marketing Strategy

In 2015, I entered into a marketing campaign offered through Archway Publishing which partnered with the Bohlsen Group to advertise my book titled, Growing Up without my Daddy. The Bohlsen Group offers unified marketing that uses both conventional and unconventional marketing tactics and services.

During my six week campaign, I was assigned to a publicist who worked to understand my audience and generated momentum in line with my personal goals. During my marketing campaign, my publicist released a general press release, targeted pitches to media outlets in my hometown, local interest areas, and requested areas. Additionally, my publicist reached outlets focused on children’s interest, human interest, Christianity, religion, spirituality, healing, parenting, childcare, child development, and family interest outlets.

The Benefits of Using an Advertising Firm

Using a public relations/advertising firm allowed me to reach a variety of outlets that as a first-time author would be difficult for me to navigate independently. My publicist was able to secure media interviews with local, out-of-state radio stations, and online radio shows. Additionally, the Bohlsen Group was able to secure publication in digital/online magazines.

During each week of my campaign, a report was provided to show strategic planning/progress made toward weekly targets, which was very helpful to visualize the direction/progress of my marketing campaign. This information was also later helpful for my personal use when following-up with specific outlets that had not responded by the end of my six-week campaign.

Marketing Your Book Takes Time

Authors should know that media relations are a tenuous process that may take weeks, months, or longer to come back to fruition. Thus the final marketing report provided valuable insight into my brand platform and how that could possibly coincide with personal marketing efforts moving forward independently.

Overall, my marketing campaign was an insightful experience that became the starting point to market and share my book on a national level. The opportunity also guided me toward next steps and direction for marketing my book after the campaign. For authors interested in marketing their book with Archway Publishing or in general, I would recommend the following tips:

  • Determine your book goals
  • Determine your marketing goals
  • Determine the audience you wish to serve
  • Determine if target marketing options give you the right credibility
  • Determine if target marketing options access the right audience
  • Determine if target marketing options allow you to gain the right access to media
  • Determine if target marketing options allow you to gain the right visibility
  • Determine the financial return on your marketing investment/s

My book is truly a masterpiece, and I am grateful that I chose Archway to help with all aspects of its creation and marketing.

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share a guest blog post, please visit our Blog Guidelines Page.

Author Feature

Heaven’s Magic Bubble Machine

The following are the words of Teri Yuki, Archway Publishing author of “Heaven’s Magic Bubble Machine.” Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

Writing About Difficult Topics

Like many aspiring authors, I had an idea I wanted to share with others. My desire was to help children who were grieving due to the death of a loved one. For obvious reasons, this is not an easy subject to write about, particularly to an audience of children.

As a young child, I lost my mother due to a tragic accident. Growing up I often thought I would like to find a way to comfort children who were missing a loved one who had passed away. Most importantly I wanted to find a way that offered a positive and constructive outlet that would lighten little hearts with joy and laughter.

For several years I jotted down ideas as they came to me and vowed that when I retired my first project would be writing my book. But how was I going to approach writing a book with an upbeat message about a subject as difficult as death? How was I going to bring a smile to a grieving child’s face?

As I pondered these questions, I kept asking myself what activities children enjoy. What brings on the lovely sounds of a child’s laughter? What do children around the world have in common?

At this point, I was getting stressed about not being able to identify this critical component of the storyline. Finally, I decided to stop worrying and let the Universe provide the answer when the time was right. I continued to work on the manuscript, character development and planning the style of illustrations that were going to bring my book to life. Then one day (while performing some mundane household task, washing dishes I think) the answer just popped into my head.


Of course! BUBBLES are magical! Children love BUBBLES! Dogs and cats and baby elephants in the zoo love BUBBLES! That day HEAVEN’S MAGIC BUBBLE MACHINE went from being a Dream to a foreseeable RealityThe Universe did not let me down.

Now it was time to start searching for a publishing company. After talking to several companies, I decided to go with Archway. From the initial consultation to each department that assisted me, everyone was helpful and patient. I am thrilled with the end result.

As for marketing funds, I have to pace myself and search for creative ideas that other Indy authors have used. Author Solutions has some wonderful marketing programs to choose from. Through Author Solutions, I have participated in a very successful book signing at the LA Book Fair and the Goodreads Giveaway Program. My next marketing goal is the new Amazon Advertising program.

All of us have a unique story to tell. When the time comes that you decide to share your story, let Archway Publishing help bring your dream to reality.

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share a guest blog post, please visit our Blog Guidelines Page.

Author Feature

My Book Began Like A Double-Edged Sword

The following are the words of Sally Guynn, Archway Publishing author of “The Tortoise Tales.” For more on the author, visit her website and Facebook. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

How it all Began

I entertained fantasies about writing and painting as published and exhibited works ever since a young girl. Eventually, my dreams converged with a single passion to create a children’s book about animals. Was I biting off more than I could chew?

The children’s book idea endured through my work careers, and once I retired I wrote my memoirs for my family. It empowered me forward, but I soon discovered that my naïve notion to write a children’s book had morphed into something more challenging—a double-edged sword. On one edge was my dream to write and paint, a lifelong passion, waiting to be freed. The other edge was not knowing what I didn’t know. It dawned on me this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. A blade with two edges is a sword that can accomplish twice as much, right? The trick was learning how to handle it.

I began writing The Tortoise Tales and found Archway Publishing to help guide me and keep me from ripping my dreams apart with that big sharp sword. In the process, I discovered three things of value that I’d either underappreciated or simply never had a clue about:

1. Getting Clarity About The Type of Book
2. Maintaining A Sense of Urgency
3. Soliciting Feedback

Getting Clarity About The Type of Book

I’d always envisioned writing and illustrating a children’s picture book, but once the Archway Publishing staff helped me rethink the type of book, I realized several important misalignments. My writing voice wasn’t a good match for a picture book and preschoolers, my paintings more watercolors and washes than stylized illustrations, and my original target audience were now already reading for themselves.

Having already completed many paintings in color at this point, the Archway staff advised making the book more affordable by less artwork and matching more closely with my revised target audience–middle readers who preferred fewer illustrations, no color, and more text. Most importantly, I wanted my book to stimulate a curiosity about nature and wildlife in young people and influence them to go outside and enjoy it. Again, Archway to the rescue when they told me I didn’t need tons of color illustrations to accomplish that goal. Middle readers don’t like anything too babyish. I easily saw the wisdom in making changes to the book’s formatting.

Maintaining A Sense of Urgency

Putting off my children’s book for so long likely increased both my sense of urgency and desire to leave a legacy. But these were good things. Once I began writing The Tortoise Tales, I wrote, researched or edited several hours, at a minimum, every day. If a conflict arose, I made up the time the next day or evening. I believe having this strong sense of urgency elevated the task in my eyes, inadvertently preventing procrastination.

Soliciting Feedback

Soliciting feedback came naturally for me throughout the process. I didn’t resist experimentation and change. It allowed me to take risks that quite often led to improvements. And, perhaps because I’d been a teacher, I tested my stories in both public and private school classrooms and later with seniors over fifty years old at the Lifelong Learning Institute here in my city. Their collective feedback proved invaluable to the book as well as bolstering my confidence.

After the book was printed, I managed to spring for the additional dollars to purchase one of Archway’s professional review packages that included objective reviews from Kirkus, Blue Ink, and Clarion. I learned a huge lesson: If you want your book to succeed beyond peddling it out of the trunk of your car, you absolutely need to have it professionally reviewed to get it on the databases from which libraries and bookstores order.

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share a guest blog post, please visit our Blog Guidelines Page.

Author Feature

Controlling the Course of Events

The following are the words of Kathleen Glassburn, Archway Publishing author of “Making It Work.” For more on the author, visit her website and Facebook. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

My Journey to Self-Publishing

Reading and writing stories have been part of my life since first grade. The library was a more inviting place than the playground. I earned a BA in English and went on to earn an MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis on Fiction. After having many short stories published, I wrote my first novel and decided to publish it. With an employment background in business, I am organized and don’t like to do projects according to other people’s timetables (or lack of timetables). I’m not patient when I have to wait around for things that I think could have been done in a more expeditious manner. I also don’t like my work being part of someone’s slush pile.

A friend had a book done by Archway Publishing and she gave an excellent recommendation. With my characteristics (I don’t like to call myself a “control freak” but perhaps, at times, this is a good description) I decided that self-publishing would be right for me.

Why I Love Archway

My novel has now been available for several months. It has received positive responses from readers (friends, acquaintances, as well as professionals with whom I’m not familiar). The book itself is beautiful. The cover that I was helped to choose is exactly as I wanted it to be. The text is clean. And, the symbolic images representing a major theme are tastefully done. Also, the book was completed in a timely way. I never had to wait for responses to my questions or updates on progress. Because of Archway’s conscientious attention to providing a meticulous package, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed interacting with my team of well-qualified and knowledgeable people.

I am so pleased with my novel that I have contracted for them to do a collection of my published short stories. I look forward to seeing these in an equally-beautiful book sometime this year.

To me, as a business-minded, independent person, who loves to write fiction, this is the most telling detail of my Archway experience — I am a return client.

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share a guest blog post, please visit our Blog Guidelines Page.


Transcending Understanding

The following are the words of Edna Koelfgen, Archway Publishing author of “Beyond Coincidence.” For more on the author, visit her Facebook page. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.


Achieving my dream of becoming a published author at age 74 gave me the courage to continue writing. It has taken me over 18 years to create my first book.

Creation of my Bookself-publishing

By the year 1999, both of my parents had already gone to Heaven. I thought about many things I wish I had done while they were still on earth. Trying to get my mind off of losing them, I had to do something to live a life filled with many of those things. I began to write! A plot idea had popped into my mind that I might be able to include some unusual happenings that they had witnessed. Continue reading


My Book is My Business Card

The following are the words of Agnes Bellegris, Archway Publishing author of “Animal Encounters.” For more on Agnes, check out her website, Instagram and Facebook pageDownload the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Measuring Success

When taking the path to self-publishing, measuring success can be complex. Do you measure based on sales? Of course, that is always a definitive measure. But, as writers and artists, we need to look beyond this. As a picture book writer, I have the privilege of attending primary schools to discuss the things I love the most: the importance of literacy, creating literature, and now, with Animal Encounters, painting and drawing. When children tell me how much they enjoy my book because it’s “funny” and because “the pictures are amazing,” then I have succeeded. If parents tell me that my books are their go-to stories at bedtime, then I have succeeded. When teachers tell me that they love the richness of the language and that it allows them to introduce concepts from other areas of study in the classroom, then I know one hundred percent I have done something right. Continue reading

Author Feature

Following Your Dreams

The following are the words of Christine Lourenco, Archway Publishing author of “For the Love of the Ocean” and “Commuter Bob.” For more about Christine, check out her website, Facebook, and TwitterDownload the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

Realizing My Childhood Dream

Writing was something I did throughout my childhood. It started with a passion for reading when I was young. I read one book a day and often visited the library to take out more books. Fiction was my preferred genre, to escape to another world. I had always kept diaries and journals and enjoyed writing poetry. Different characters and stories would often pop up in my daydreams. I would think how great it would be to put those thoughts into a story or even a movie. It never crossed my mind though at the time that this was something I wanted to pursue. Later in life, I was reminded that storytelling was something in my heart. It was a dream of mine. Continue reading


Making Sense of Our Senses – Touch, Smell and Taste

To fully immerse our audience in the worlds and settings we craft for them in our self-published novels, it’s important to let readers engage all their senses. A while ago, we presented the first part of this article, in which we covered sight and sound; today we’ll discuss touch, smell, and taste.


Our heroes often find themselves in unusual situations. After all, the whole point of us creating these adventures is to help our readers escape reality. This often means they are touching or coming into physical contact with unusual or repellent objects, things that our readers have probably always tried to avoid touching.

A great way to enhance your description of touch is to focus on the physical reaction it evokes. Your hero’s skin might crawl or become covered in goosebumps; they might faint or feel ill.

The use of adjectives will also help you with your descriptions of touch. Continue reading