When did I begin writing? Well…as soon as I learned how! I was always writing short stories as a kid, but my writing “career” began in 2015 when my first book, Hammy’s New Home, was published.
My husband and I have friends who live – literally – in the woods and they have a homestead. They raise chickens, roosters, goats, ducks and pigs. They also have gardens. One day, we were visiting and met a young pig named Sir Hamalot (aka “Hammy”). Hammy was adorable; he ran around his pen snorting and I just fell in love with him! I’ve always been partial to pigs.
The four of us were sitting on the enclosed porch drinking coffee and chatting, and Hammy kept making a lot of noise in his pen. I began to feel sorry for him being alone out there, so I made a joke and said, “Aww, he wants to come up on the porch with us!” And by “us” I meant my husband, myself, Hope and Donny, and their two dogs, Mona and Maggie. We laughed and I said that would make a good book. I chuckled some more but didn’t think much of it.
The idea of Hammy wanting to join us on the porch kept niggling on my mind, and one day I sat down and began to write about it. I wrote about a young pig who lived on a farm and had goat friends and two dog friends named Molly and Melly (not the names of Hope and Donny’s dogs, but close). When I was finished, my husband told me I should publish it. Hmmm, ok, I had no clue how to go about that. So, what did I do? I googled how to publish a book. I chose self-publishing because it seemed easier (HA) and more royalties for myself (true), so I looked up the steps. I hired a good friend, Chris Strange, to do the illustrations, and I taught myself how to build the book.
It was a long process. I didn’t use a self-publishing company at first, so I ended up paying a lot for printing costs and shipping (thankfully in the end, I earned my money back through book sales) and down the road I ended up publishing Hammy’s New Home on IngramSpark so distribution was wider.
I put a lot of work into my first book (heck, a lot of work goes into ALL of my books) but after publishing a few more books, the process became easier and now I can offer not only editing services, but book formatting and self-publishing consulting services as well (visit my website Get It Write for more information).
In 2017, Chris and I were the “stars” at a local elementary school where Chris worked (the kids LOVED the book and would ask Chris to draw pictures for them). I read Hammy’s New Home to several hundred kids, and then Chris talked to them about his illustration process. We were a hit!
My friend, Tina, hosted my first book signing at her store, and I read to preschool-age kids at our local library as well.
Hammy has always been a big hit with kids – and even adults! Will Hammy make a comeback? I think he will…stay tuned for updates! You can visit my author page at Melanie ~ Author/Editor and like and follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MelaniesBooks/.
If you haven’t read Hammy’s New Home yet, please do, and leave a kind review on Amazon!