Thursday, October 10, 2013

Author Interview: Merel Bakker

1. Who inspired you to complete your novel and publish? (Please add information about your book)

My first children's picture book "Maks & Mila On a Special Journey" - which in a fun and playful way helps children to develop Joy, Kindness and Self-Confidence in their lives - was published this summer and I can still feel the excitement of receiving the first copy! It was such a special moment; all of a sudden, after years of 'sitting in my mind' and months of hard work, it was there! Wow!

The inspiration to publish and complete my book was 'time'. Sounds strange, but it really was time that did the trick. I had written down the first version of the story about 3 years ago, but back then, it wasn't the right time to publish. So I let it sit, confident that the right time would come and so it did! At the beginning of this year, I re-wrote the story, made a presentation of what I wanted to reach, I did an in-depth research after the (self) publishing industry and within seven months my book was available on Amazon!

2.What advice would you give to aspiring authors regarding the publishing and marketing process?

What helped me enormously were a couple of things: I first read the book "APE" by Guy Kawasaki. This book contains an extensive guide on self-publishing and it really helped me to 'grasp' the (self) publishing industry. The second thing I did was to make a dummy book (from normal paper) to determine the size, layout and position of illustrations and text. Once you start looking at printing companies as well as when you are working on the file you will submit to them, this will safe a lot of time because you know what you want.

As to the marketing aspect of publishing a book, I found it very useful to make a 'marketing calendar'. Write down for yourself what the different aspects of your marketing activities will be and when they should take place. Writing it down will not only structure your thoughts, it will also give you new ideas. I also made lists of people, magazines, bloggers and reviewers I wanted to reach out to and went to bookshops to have a look at all the different magazines that could be interesting for me.

3. What would you tell authors to "Start Now" concerning social media?

Also here, I would recommend new authors to make a 'social media calendar'. It really helps you to get an idea of what you can and should do. For me the social media aspect was very time consuming and I got caught up in 'responding' rather than posting effectively. I recently started using the Marketing/ Social Media platform from Vocus. This platform connects all your social media accounts, filters the relevant posts and helps you to post effectively. They also offer marketing consultancy and the possibility to issue press releases. This really made a difference for me.

Thank you, Merel, for the awesome advice! (I love the calendar idea.) Everyone check out the Maks & Mila books. You can find them at:


The beautifully illustrated children’s books of Maks & Mila are a fun and playful way to help children develop Joy, Compassion, Gratitude, Generosity and Self-Confidence in their lives. Through uplifting storytelling and narrative, the books help children to be Happy and Strong, whatever life brings to them, both at present and in the future.

Based on a special technique that uses the power of reflection and repetition, ‘Maks & Mila’ provide the perfect tool for children to embrace Wise and Happy thoughts and to share them with others. The books also feature a special font which makes it easier for children with dyslexia to read.

Combined with the powerful illustrations, reading the Maks & Mila books is a fun thing to do for both parents and children. The stories provide a beautiful opportunity for families and siblings to interact and most importantly: it leaves both with a sense of Joy!

The books of Maks & Mila, are for children from ages 4 to 8 years old.

About the author:

Merel Bakker is a writer and mindfulness coach. Born and raised in the Netherlands, she found her home in Switzerland where she lives happily with her husband.

Supported by the Love and Wisdom of her friends and teachers, and surrounded by the beautiful Swiss mountains, her life journey led to the creation of Maks & Mila.

It is Merel’s wish that Maks & Mila contribute to a world where children feel Happy and Strong and know how to take care of themselves, others and the world as a whole!

If you are interested, you can also follow Merel’s blog at the Huffington Post or follow her on Twitter.

Starting from August 22nd, Merel will host her monthly live show on MomTV.

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