A few years ago, my 5-year-old daughter asked what the clubhouse at the Masters looked like. My husband went to the Tournament that day and had the privilege of eating lunch at the clubhouse with a member of the National. When she asked me what the clubhouse looked like, I realized there wasn’t a children’s book about the Masters. If there had been, we would have owned it and read it to her! Her 7-year-old brother watched the Masters on TV and had been to a practice round, but she went into a different room when we turned on the Masters.
That night, I went to the Mascot Books website and sent in my submission for the book I wanted to write. I was familiar with Mascot because we owned a University of Georgia and Georgia Tech book that Mascot published. That weekend, I wrote out all 26 letters on a notepad. As my husband and I watched the Masters on TV, I wrote down key words that I thought would go well in my book.
On Monday morning, I spoke with Mascot, and they loved my idea. I immediately decided I wanted them to publish my book, and 6 years later, I’m so glad I did! Over the next year and a half, I worked on my book until I thought it was ready to publish. I worked closely with my illustrator until we had paintings that I knew would be perfect for my book. I swapped emails back and forth with my editor until we both knew that my book didn’t contain any mistakes. The layout designer did an amazing job getting the words and illustrations on each page, and finally, we sent the final draft to the printer.
During those last few months, I decided to start a Facebook page to advertise my book, and it worked really well. I started a website, www.junebugprint.com, that people could use to order copies of my book straight from me. I called around to numerous stores in the southeast and tried to talk them into carrying my book. Some said no, but a lot said yes! At the beginning of November 2012, an 18 wheeler pulled into my driveway and delivered 2,500 copies of Badges, Egg Salad, and Green Jackets: The Masters A to Z. It was very exciting to cut into that first box and hold the book in person. It looked even better than I had imagined, and I had a feeling it would sell well.
I started shipping out to stores that had ordered it, and friends had book signing parties for me where I sold a lot of books. I autographed all copies that stores bought and signed and personalized copies for friends and for people who ordered from my website.
After two busy months, I placed another order with Mascot so I would have plenty of books in stock for Masters week in 2013. People seemed to really like my book and would buy copies to give as baby gifts, birthday presents, and Christmas gifts. They also bought for dads and granddads, because anyone who likes golf likes the Masters!
That spring, I also started doing author visits at schools. I would talk to students about the writing, editing, and publishing process. I’d show them original illustrations and then we’d brainstorm an A to Z book about their own school. I encouraged them to pay attention and try hard in school so they could grow up and be an author! They would also pre-order books from me and I’d deliver them on the day I’d speak. Because I’m a teacher, I still love doing author visits to schools and love seeing the students get excited about writing.
A lot of people ask if I’m going to write another book anytime soon. Right now, I don’t plan on it! It was a huge undertaking, and the business part of keeping track of invoices, payments, etc. is time consuming enough with one book. The Masters A to Z is still selling and profitable. It’s gratifying when stores reorder because they’ve run out of books and when people order books off my website because it’s their very favorite baby gift to give.
(Julie Alfriend Ferris is the author of Badges, Egg Salad, and Green Jackets: The Masters A to Z, published by Mascot Books. You can follow her on social media on Facebook.)