Monday, August 29, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Nate Rocks The World by Karen Pokras Toz an Interview and a Giveaway

About The Book: 

Ten-year-old Nathan Rockledge cannot catch a break. After all, life as a fourth-grader can be hazardous what with science projects to deal with and recess football games to avoid. Everyone, including his best friend Tommy, seems to have bad luck when hanging around Nathan.
Throw in an older sister who is a royal pain, a dad who is stuck in the past, and a mom who keeps trying to poison him with her awful cooking, and poor Nathan’s life as a fourth grader appears to be completely doomed. Armed only with his sketchpad, his imagination, and his wits, Nathan Rockledge navigates the perils of the fourth grade in style, to emerge heroic, as Nate Rocks, proving that even a ten-year-old can accomplish great things.
Follow the quirky and imaginative adventures of ten-year-old Nathan Rockledge as his cartoons come to life.    GoodReads

First Line: The score is three to two in the bottom of the ninth with two outs.

What I Liked: One of my favorite passages was when Nate was dreading Valentines day. This was one holiday I never enjoyed. Much like Nate the prospect of spending hours writing out the names of every classmate, especially the boys I didn't like made me crazy. Karen Pokras Toz has captured many of those rituals that we all have experienced, bringing sensibility as well credibility to her narrative.

Author Karen Pokras Toz
Publisher: CreateSpace

Who:  Karen Pokras Toz is a writer, wife, and mom. Karen grew up in the small town of Orange, Connecticut and graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Finance. She also attended the University of Richmond, where she studied law and business, receiving both a JD and an MBA. Karen has spent the last several years working as a tax accountant, writing in numbers. She recently discovered a passion for writing with words. Karen enjoys gardening, cooking, and spending time with her husband and three children.

A Visit With Karen
      I really appreciated when Karen contacted me about her book. As an aspiring author and published writer I am seriously watching the publishing industry just like everyone else. When she agreed to discuss her self-publishing journey I was very excited. 

1. What was the main reason you decided to self-publish?

I did query a few agents at the start of the process. While waiting ( & waiting) for responses, I found an incredible amount of information on the Internet about self-publishing. The more I learned, the more I felt it was the best fit for me. I love the fact that I retain all rights and control of my book. I think that was the most important aspect to making my decision. 

2. Did you hire an editor and illustrator for the cover? 

Yes, I hired both. As an independent author, you want to make sure that your book looks as professional as possible. My book went through many rounds of edits until I was satisfied with the end result. The person I hired to do both the cover and interior design was amazing: Deana Riddle from - I can’t wait to work with her again on the next Nate book!

3. What do you like best about self-publishing?

I love the freedom of self-publishing. I set the price, I decide on the distribution and format, I promote as my schedule allows, and so on. 

4. Tell us about something you wish you'd known going in.

A lot of the online marketing I have done has been on a “figure it out” as you go basis. I’m still learning everyday, but I wish I had been more established on-line before jumping in.

5. When a writer is trying to decide whether to go traditional or self-publish what do they need to consider?

Think about your timeline. If you have a book that is ready to go, you can be self-published in a matter of weeks. Traditional publishing generally takes months (sometimes years) even after you have signed a contract.  Also - if you are thinking about self-publishing, research and decide on a budget. Editors, designers, and marketing are some of the items you may not have to pay for up front when going the traditional route. You can easily spend thousands trying to self-publish, but it is not necessary. A lot of the work, you can do yourself for free, but you need to make sure you have the time to devote to the workload. Remember that even traditionally published authors have to work hard at self-promotion.

For a chance to win your very own autographed copy of Nate Rocks The World, comment and tweet this post.  

Don't forget to check out the other MMGM posters... you'll find them in my sidebar! 


  1. This sounds like a great one! I tweeted your post and am now commenting. =) Thanks for the chance to win it!

    I enjoyed reading about Karen's decision to self-publish. When I hear that authors have done so I first wonder why and the HOW??!? Karen makes the self-pub process understandable to me.

  2. Excellent information about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. There is a lot of debate and confusion around the topic. Karen outlined the information in a simple, easy-to-grasp manner.

  3. Great interview! Karen is right about the marketing aspect of self-publishing. I'm finding that it's really a "fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants" type deal. Her book sounds awesome!

  4. This sounds like a fun book - thanks for the review, and the interview. I appreciate that Karen emphasized that she researched self-publishing, and felt that it was right for her for specific reasons.

  5. Great review, interview, and success story on self-publishing. I'm starting to see it as a good choice for many writers. I like the idea that the author keeps the rights, too. Write on!
    Thanks for finding my blog, Pam!

  6. This looks interesting!

    Thanks, Pam--and good job, Karen!

  7. thanks so much for the comments everyone & to Pam for having me!

  8. Still catching up on MMGM blogs I missed during the hurricane and power outage here in the Eastern US!

    Thanks for a thoughtful and thought-provoking post on self-publishing. Nate Rocks the World sounds like it would appeal to Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans.


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