I am so excited to introduce to you: Sarina Siebenaler, self-published author of the "Do NOT Wish Series" including "Do NOT Wish for a Pet Ostrich" and " Do NOT Wish for a Birthday Unicorn"â. Sarina lives with her husband and 3 children in the beautiful sunny Arizona. She took time out of her busy schedule to give us some insider advice about the journey of self-publishing.
How did you get into writing children's books?
When my children were younger, they would ask my husband and me if they could have exotic pets to
bring home when we would go to the zoo or read about them. I'd ask them how they would care for
them, and they would have such silly and entertaining answers.
My son, who was diagnosed with Autism at 22 months of age was non-verbal until the age of 5. We read
a lot of picture books to help with his language skills. He was always motivated by funny and outlandish
stories. I wanted to be a part of helping children, with verbal delays by writing stories that were silly and
fun too. This was my inspiration for how my debut book, Do Not Wish for a Pet Ostrich! was created.
Tell us a little bit about your latest children's book?
The second book, "Do Not Wish for a Birthday Unicorn!" is the sequel to book 1, Do Not Wish for a Pet
Ostrich! I am currently working on book 3, which will be released in 2023. I hope to have one book
released a year if there are readers that continue to enjoy them.
Each book reveals a new character for the next upcoming book. In doing this, I thought that it would be
fun to create an element of surprise for children and give them an opportunity for excitement to read
the next book and the book after that too. What's unique though is that each book can be read as a
standalone story or can be read as a series too.
In book 2, Kat gets a unicorn for her unicorn-themed birthday party! The surprise delivery of
Starlight, the unicorn from the Uni Express becomes an unexpected sight for eyes for Kat and
her friends. With a little teamwork, compassion, empathy, and kindness, Kat and her friends uncover her
At the end of the story, Kat reveals the character of book 3 (A Christmas Elf) when she blows out her
birthday candles and makes a new wish! Look out for book 3, Do Not Wish for a Christmas Elf! Coming in
What made you decide to go the self-publishing route vs traditional publishing?
In self-publishing, I get full control of what I do and when I want to do it. I enjoy working with the
talented illustrator, Gabby Correia, that masterfully creates art that children love. The creative talents of
an Editor and Graphic Designer add magic to a story idea and helps provide a quality product that
readers deserve. These components are scheduled each year based on each of these team players. Once
it is completed, I get to set my launch plans based on my schedule. Since I am a mom first, this alleviates
the pressure and stress of getting a book released and the marketing that follows.
What was a challenge you had to overcome during your self-publishing journey?
Learning the process of how to create a children's book and finding the right team to allow my vision to
become a reality was a difficult part of my self-publishing journey. Since I have now learned so much and
have established a dream team, the ongoing learning process continues.
Marketing can also be challenging and a full-time job if you really want to see results. There are so many
social media outlets that require attention and work. I'm still working on improving my knowledge of
the advertising space and how to get greater reach. My next goal is to improve SEO and traffic to my
personal website. I'm not very technical, but I have found that research and reading are critical to
keeping up with the competitive market. The efforts of putting in the time to understand the next steps
and seeing results can be very rewarding.
What is one thing you wished you knew before you started?
To create a quality book, finding a team of talented creators is so important. I write in rhyme and my
editor ensures that my story is fine-tuned with correct rhyme and meter. She doesn't change my story,
which is one reason I love working with her. My illustrator whom I found on social media is the perfect
chemistry for my stories. She's not only talented, but I find our working partnership invaluable too. My
Graphic Designer has a creative brain that showcases the book to its top-notch potential. I can't speak
enough about finding a team of talent that will help release a quality book. I couldn't do it without each
of them and I adore each moment I get to work with them individually.
Is there a lesson you have learned in your journey that you would like to share?
Firstly, hire the right talent. Never publish a book without finding an editor. This is so important,
and I can't say this enough. Hire an illustrator that does original work and be sure the chemistry of a
working relationship is the right one for both of you.
Secondly, keep learning and studying the market. It's important to learn from like-
minded peers in the industry. I read lots of children's books as a guide that tells me what the
market wants. My children will also let me know what they like in a story and what they donât.
Lastly, do not rush the process. If it takes you 2 years to publish your first book, it's okay.
Quality should always come first. Find beta readers and make sure your interior design and text
are looked over by your editor before you publish. Mistakes are easy to look past when you see the
same project over and over. Another set of eyes can save you time and money.
Who are some of the people that have helped you make your book a reality?
My dream team: Nicole Fillipone, Gabby Correia, and Praise Saflor.
Also, I could not have done this without the beautiful connections I have made with writing peers,
YouTube readers, video creators, Instagram and Facebook friends, mentors, educators, librarians,
family, friends, and all who are reading the Do Not Wishâ¦series. To every person who has reached out
to me to support my journey, I am truly grateful.
What is your favorite children's book?
I have too many favorites! This is such a hard question, but on the top of my mind we have loved
reading Jon Klassen's This is Not My Hat Trilogy. My son and I read "This is Not My Hat." The cover was
so simple wish one silly fish with a hat on. We had to read it. It's pure entertainment and had us
laughing too. I have recommended it multiple times. The originality of this author and illustrator is
I hope you have enjoyed this insightful interview with the amazingly talented and inspirational self-published author Sarina. If you are looking to self publish your children's book download this free workbook to get you started on your journey.
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