Episode #193: Vicki Weber

Dana GoodierOut of the Trenches Podcast

Vicky Weber is a musician and an elementary educator with a love for children’s literature. As a Puerto Rican author of Taíno descent, she strives to create picture books that are fun, engaging, and educational. All her current titles are based on her background in music education or her heritage. Though she’s no longer in the classroom, she’s one of the coaches at At Home Author where she teaches others how to become successfully published too.

Trench story: First year teaching. Focused on what she should be doing rather than focused on students. Constantly tried to try something new. Didn’t have foundational rules/expectations. Learned to be confident in self & expectations.

Why and how your left the classroom to be an author, still taught and was teaching. first 2 picture books were published months before the pandemic hit. Was pregnant in fall ‘20, daughter was born in 4/21. Was teaching music, 4th gr co-teacher, on-call tech support during online teaching. Was online most of 20/21 SY. She was working 3x hours she wanted to be. Took a leap of faith in terms of becoming a FT author. Made 3x as much as teaching. Chicago-area. Had always wanted to be an author. Her husband said “why not”. Getting published is a lot more realistic than what people think. You need to have passion, drive and want to learn. Type of stories she was creating were helpful during pandemic when it comes to virtual music education.

Why multicultural representation in children’s literature is essential- she is ½ Puerto Rican. Rarely did books look like her in the classroom. It wasn’t reflected well in picture books. Publishing industry is headed in right direction. Before they had same types of characters. For so long, characters looked the same. Now there’s a huge push for that in children’s lit. It doesn’t matter what your parents might be saying.

Illustrator? She uses freelancer for self-published books. With musical books, has had to teach illustrator, Author has a decent amount of pull with whoever she uses. Taino are indigenous people wiped out by Christopher Columbus in Caribbean. Requires a certain style. A lot more collaborative than one would think. Pictures have to marry text.

What inspired your stories?  Is anything auto-biographical? They’re Fictional- rooted in her background. When she was growing up didn’t have a ton of musical books. Other types are based on Latinx history- indigenous history of Puerto Rico. Musical stories are inspired by her students. Taino culture responsible for many inventions-hammocks, bbq. Aurora’s orchid is somewhat autobiographical.

What is it like being a full-time author? No 2 days look the same. Still quite a bit of work. When you enjoy what you do, it’s not bad. She likes marketing. Children’s stories need to be pushed by passion. It’s networking. Does in-person and zoom author guest reads. Does free author visits to low-income schools. Does YouTube read-alouds. She does her own marketing. Otherwise need a publicist. Uses voice notes on her phone. Biggest fear lots of ppl have with marketing is putting self out there. Talk about your ‘why”, why you wrote it. Engage w/ ppl on social about your book. She engages with other music educators. Where are gaps in literature now? Story idea often comes from book you’d like to use but can’t find.

How do you help others become authors? She works for at Home Author- she is their marketing specialist. They’re former t’s turned best-selling authors. there’s a lot of conflicting info online. Vicki has been published both self & with company. T’s who want to leave don’t. They see themselves as a “teacher”, part of their personality. You can still be an educator but not in CR. Does courses, zoom coaching, IG, YouTube videos. It depends on their learning style. It was a successful side gig for a while- she hit best seller while teaching.

Key quotes…...remember your dreams are possible. It’s easy to get into a doubting position Click To Tweet. If her husband hasn’t said what if, she wouldn’t have pushed.

Find Vicki online: https://www.athomeauthor.com/  trunckupbooks.com

There are free resources for how to become a children’s book author via that link.

Her books are available for purchase on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3QHHETa




View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/rsNX1MS0y1g



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