Hold My Hand, Mama: Q&A with Children’s Book Author, Gabrielle Martin

Inside: Meet children’s book author and working mom, Gabe Martin and get a peek inside her beautiful book, Hold My Hand, Mama.

I love, love, LOVE a good children’s book. The funny, the rhymy, the sweet. All of them!

Children’s books don’t often leave me openly weeping at bedtime though. Enter Hold My Hand, Mama to fill that void, in a good way. In the best way!.

Enjoy meeting the author of Hold My Hand, Mama, Gabrielle Martin, and learn about her beautiful children’s book. The book is going to have you feeling all the feels, and Gabe herself offers up some words of wisdom you’re going to want to hold onto.

Meet Gabe Martin

Becca: For those who don’t know you yet, can you tell us about yourself?

Gabe: My name is Gabrielle (but everyone calls me Gabe) and I’m a working mother and children’s book author from Springfield, Missouri.  I married my high school sweetheart, Eric, and together we have two girls, Alivia (10) and Colette (6).

I’ve worked in marketing and event management for 15+ years, and just recently embarked on a new career adventure establishing the Burrell Foundation– a nonprofit supporting mental health and addiction recovery in the midwest. My family is my everything, and I thoroughly enjoy the life/work balance. 

Writing Inspiration

Becca: What inspired you to write How My Hand, Mama?

Gabe: Let me preface that I was not looking to write a book when this idea was etched on my heart. It was during routine snuggle-time with my (then) 4y/o daughter, Colette, when she laid her tiny hand on my chest and sweetly said, “Hold my hand, Mama.” 

Instantaneously, I began thinking about all of the moments throughout her life when she might say those words, and I started writing them down in simple poetic phrases that later translated into a children’s picture book called Hold My Hand, Mama

Taking Hold My Hand, Mama from a Dream to Reality

The Write Stuff

Becca: Can you tell us a little bit about the process of writing a children’s book?

Gabe: I was clueless at the beginning, and had little time to devote to this side project since I already had a full-time job, kids to raise and other commitments.

Research consumed a good chunk of my time, as I was determined to teach myself the self-publishing process. (I read blogs, attended webinars, had calls/meetings with other self-published authors, joined social media groups, etc.). 

After securing the copyright and website domain for the book title, I had several family and friends with literature degrees and writing experience edit the manuscript for phrasing and grammatical errors. 

Then it came time for the illustrations, so I started researching children’s book illustrators and submitted my manuscript to at least 10 independent illustrators whose work inspired me. As luck would have it, the one illustrator I had my heart set on from the get-go accepted (Claudia Gadotti from New Zealand), and we began the process of idea sharing and sketching. To this day, I’ve never met or spoken with Claudia- all of our work and correspondence was done via email (crazy, right?)! 

Ready, Set, Publish!

Becca: And how about getting the book out there in the world?

Gabe: The rest is all about the hustle, and self-promotion is hard (sorry, there is no sugar-coating this one). 

Figuring out how you want your book printed is the easy part, and then comes distribution.  Shortly after my paperback launched on Amazon, Covid hit and hi-jacked my plans for the hardcover launch at Barnes & Noble and other local stores.  I was forced to rely solely on social media for a while, and eventually went door-to-door to local retailers.  Both my hometown (Springfield, MO) and my alma mater city (Tulsa, OK) embraced my efforts, and the book, with open arms and we are now in 16 local boutiques and bookshops. 

While I am beyond blessed to have sold over 1,000 copies in year one, and in the midst of a pandemic, I am determined to get the book some national attention in 2021 (always state your goals out loud!)

Gabe’s Career Sweet Spot

Becca: How has writing played a role in your career? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

Gabe: Writing a book was never in my plans- this was 100% a divine assignment inspired by my children.  Professionally, I’ve always written copy for ads, websites, newsletters, etc. which of course helped…but never a book! 

Becca: How have you gone about finding your career sweet spot (the intersection of your passions, strengths, and value you add to others) as an author and in nonprofit work?

Gabe: You have to do what you love, and I love the beauty of faith-guided unpredictability.  I also love a good challenge, and there are plenty of those out there!  When you see yourself as constantly evolving, it changes everything.

Becca: Do you have any advice for someone looking to build more creativity into their life?

Gabe: If your heart is speaking to you, listen to it.  If something inspires you, follow it. You will never regret leaving the assumed path to take in different scenery.

Living that Mom Life

Becca: Can you talk a bit about how you manage your time as a busy working mother and author?

Don’t worry, I’m not asking “how you do it all?” It’s more, what tips, tricks, and strategies have you picked up to make things even a little bit easier?

Gabe: There is no magic formula for juggling family, work, writing and other commitments. Sometimes one gets more than the other, but you have to carve out time for yourself amidst the chaos. 

When it feels like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew…pause, walk away for a bit, and take a breath. Remind yourself that you got this.

90s Kids Raising Kids

Becca: Time for a little fun! I make A LOT of 90s references here as a proud elder millennial. Can we do some 90s favorites rapid style? Musician, TV show, overly processed food, fashion trend!

Gabe: Heck yes, the 90s are my jam!

Favorite 90s Musician- Boyz II Men, baby!

Favorite 90s TV Show- Saved by the Bell (I was a sucker for Slater)

Best 90s Overly Processed Food- Strawberry GUSHERS!

Favorite 90s Fashion Trend- Anything Velvet

Words of Wisdom

Becca: Any last piece of wisdom you’d like to drop on us?

Gabe: Don’t wait until you reach a goal to be proud of yourself. Setting that goal and taking steps towards it are accomplishments that should be celebrated. You are strong. You are resilient. You are built for this.

Don't wait until you reach a goal to be proud of yourself. Setting that goal and taking steps towards it are accomplishments that should be celebrated. - Gabrielle Martin

Big thanks to Gabe for sharing her story with us!

Make sure to check out her book, Hold My Hand, Mama and then go take that children’s book idea in YOUR brain and make it a reality.

Read More on Children’s Books:

Inspiring and Fun Children’s Books about Careers

Belinda Baloney Changes Her Mind

How to Publish A Children’s Book

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