Matt Bloom’s closing words in our Author Story interview seem to sum up his approach to life: “You never know until you try.” Matt is the author of the children’s illustrated chapter book series Hello, My Name Is Bunny!, which he co-created with his wife, Shelley Simmons-Bloom. Their latest book in the series is Hello, My Name is Bunny! London.
According to Matt, the inspiration for the series was their adorable rescue cat, who motivated him and Shelley to help make life better for the vast number of homeless cats in the US. “We created Hello, My Name is Bunny! after my wife and I adopted our little Tuxedo cat named Bunny!” explains Matt. “We were so grateful to KittyKind, the shelter that rescued her. We wanted to find a way to pay forward our good fortune by raising money for them. So, for every book we sell, we donate $5 to help KittyKind care for the six hundred cats they find homes for every year. Self-publishing enables us to live up to the promise of this substantial donation.”
“You never know until you try,” Matt says. “If you truly believe in your project and are willing to put the effort into marketing your book once it is published, then you will have an interesting and potentially successful journey.”
Hello, My Name is Bunny! London is the tale of a small kitty with a big heart who has finally found her “fur-ever” home and is on a mission to pay forward her good fortune. In this second book in the Hello, My Name is Bunny! series, Bunny teams up with 10-year-old Lilly Hayward, Rocky, the lazy tabby cat, and Goldy, the adorable and mischievous puppy, on a daring adventure that takes them through nighttime London in a bold attempt to save the city’s foxes. Why a children’s book? Matt illuminates: “In addition to raising money, we wanted to help children understand the positive power of kindness, compassion, and empathy.”
Matt partnered with 1106 Design to self-publish his book. We provided book design and proofreading services to help Matt realize his goals. Matt says authors need determination, tenacity, patience, and acute attention to detail to get to an end result they will be happy with. He adds, “It’s also important to work with partners you trust.”
The books are available in hardcover and—as a sign of the times—in Kindle as well. “We wanted to reach young readers who like to read on Kindles,” Matt says.
Many authors believe marketing their book is the toughest part of the process. For Matt, the hardest part of self-publishing was the time it took to go through the various stages and get to the end result. Marketing, on the other hand, is something Matt and Shelley clearly have well in hand. “We’ve built a highly engaged social following for Bunny via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, with nearly 19,000 followers in total, and we’ve grown sales through them. We leverage online reviews from our website, we have email marketing, and we enter every appropriate award opportunity,” says Matt. In addition, they participate as vendors in cat-related shows and book festivals, and have built relationships with bloggers who’ve reviewed them very favorably.
More recently, Matt and Shelley have been invited to schools to do readings to young students, thanks to introductions at events and through contacts. Matt encourages authors to avoid getting discouraged and to get out there and get known. “Building an audience is key,” he says. “It’s important to take every opportunity, both online and in-person events, as you never know where it might lead.”
Not only have Matt and Shelley entered their books in award opportunities, the Hello, My Name Is Bunny! series has been winning them, too! Their first book, Hello, My Name is Bunny!, won the 2018 New York City Big Book Award. Hello, My Name Is Bunny! London was recently named a Distinguished Favorite in the 2019 Independent Press Awards.
Matt, we are so glad that you tried! Not only have you and Shelley self-published a successful book series, but through your books, you’re helping to change the lives of our feline friends and the lives of those who adopt them. We look forward to working with you again in the future.
Hello, My Name is Bunny! London
Author: Matt Bloom
Amazon (Hello, My Name is Bunny!): https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0997642505/ref=tmm_hrd_new_olp_0?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1561913347&sr=8-3
Amazon (Hello, My Name is Bunny! London): https://www.amazon.com/Hello-My-Name-Bunny-London/dp/0997642513/ref=sr_1_2
Book website: www.hellobunnybloom.com
Author website: www.mattbloom.com