Saturday, September 29, 2012

An interview with Amelia Hamilton














Greetings friends, today I have a special treat for you all!  This one is for the Kickstarter followers as well as my fellow American parents.  I am joined by Amelia Hamilton (www.ameliahamilton.com) writer of the children’s book One Nation Under God: A book for Little Patriots. (A review of her previous book can be found here: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/09/09/raising-little-patriots/ )   She has recently launched a Kickstarter for the follow-up: Ten Steps to Freedom: A Little Patriot’s Guide to the American Revolution. ( http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/littlepatriots/10-steps-to-freedom-little-patriots-guide-to-ameri )

Good afternoon Ms Hamilton!  Thank you for joining us today.

Thanks for having me!

So I’ll start things off with my usual question, “Why Kickstarter?”

I have a lot of people asking about a second book and I was anxious to get it out! I saw how it worked for other projects, and decided to give it a try. I've been really fortunate to have people believe in me and the Little Patriot mission (to educate kids about America and teach them to love their country), so I knew I would have a wide base of support.


So did you do any research on other Kickstarter Projects before you launched your campaign?  Talk to any other writer’s for their opinions on the service?
I knew that it had worked for Frack Nation and Madison Rising, which is what really convinced me that it could work. I did talk to a few other people, and went for it! I know that there is a deep interest in teaching kids about America, so I felt that, if I could get the word out, people would want to back the project.

You already have one book out which seems to be doing quite well, why turn to crowdfunding for the sequel?  Why not just launch it directly like you did last time?

I was really blessed with my first book. I had a lot of support both pre and post-launch, and people really took the message to heart. With this book, I turned to crowdfunding, because I wanted to get the second book going quickly. Traditional fundraising takes a lot longer! In addition, Kickstarter is more fun for everyone, allowing supporters really to be part of the experience. They can watch, see how progress is going, help me to spread the word, and be part of the project. SInce this is a project that people feel passionate about, I really wanted everyone to feel like we're working as a team... that's definitely how I feel!


Are you aiming this book toward a new audience or are you focused more on your current fan base?  

Just like the last book, it's for everyone who wants kids to grow into patriots!

Why the Revolutionary War?  Why not the Civil War?  Or the Civil Rights Movement?  Or are these possible future books?  

I feel that the best way for kids to love America is for kids to understand America. I chose the American Revolution because I felt it was the best way to introduce children to the foundations of freedom in America. It will show kids not only what our founders were fighting for, but why they had to fight for it. Once kids realize that the liberty we have in America shouldn't be taken for granted, we can build on that. I have so many ideas for future little patriot books, and I want each to build on the last. Starting from the birth of our country made the most sense as a place from where to build.

How much do your Master’s degrees in English and 18th Century History affect your choice of topics?  Or do these books more come from your love of this country and children?

It really went the other way around. My love of writing and 18th century history are what inspired me to get my master's in those topic! When it came time to write, I went with what I know and love. It sounds cliche, but we need kids on board to ensure the future of freedom, so that's why the series is aimed towards children.

With over 20 days left on your Kickstarter campaign do you have plans to update the campaign to keep it active and garner more support?  What are you doing to get the word out about the campaign and how can your fans help?

I'm asking all of my supporters to help me by tweeting the link, sharing it on facebook, e-mailng family and friends- anything to spread the word among others who share my passion for teaching kids about America. I will, of course, be tweeting it, and keeping everyone updated on our progress. It's kind of addictive to watch, I hope other people are hooked, too!

Any plans to add more artwork or excerpts from the book for the campaign?  

I might release excerpts...but I won't have artwork until the kickstarter is completed!

Do you have any media engagements planned to promote the book?  

Yes! I'm going to be making the round of blogs and podcasts to get the word out. As soon as I have specifics confirmed, I'll be tweeting it (@growingpatriots) and sharing the information on my Little Patriot facebook page.

Do you find it hard trying to sell people on a product that isn't complete?  Especially those who haven't read your previous work?

Obviously, it's easier for people who have read the first book to know what to expect from the second. However, I think that the idea of teaching kids about America is one that people can get on board with even if they haven't read the first book.

What tips/suggestions/warnings can you give prospective writers about this modern era of publishing?  Should we ePub, find a publisher house, go the Kickstarter route?  How hard was it to start up this campaign?  

I love being self-published. It gave me freedom over illustrations, design, promotion...everything! The Little Patriot project is my baby, and I didn't want to hand it over. Of course, I always welcome input and advice, but I wanted it still to be, in the end, mine. Last time, I funded in a more traditional way. This time around, I'm trying kickstarter. Let's see what happens!

You mentioned having control of the art, how did you connect with your artist?  Are they on board for future books?  

I found the artist, Anthony Resto, on Craigslist! He is just amazing, I'm so lucky to have found him. The design is by Jennifer Lake, who I had worked with in the past. Yes, they are both on board for future books. I'm so grateful, I wouldn't know what to do without them!

Craigslist?  You really can find everything on the internet! Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I'm really excited to see what happens, and look forward to keeping everyone updated on the progress!

Thanks again Ms Hamilton I hope we can speak again after you’ve successfully completed your campaign!