book reviews

Stephanie Faris’ Piper Morgan Series–a Must-read for Kids

children's booksBeing a K-5 teacher, I’m so excited about the debut of Stephanie Faris’ Piper Morgan series with Piper Morgan Joins the Circus and Piper Morgan in Charge (Simon & Schuster August 2016):

When Piper Morgan has to move to a new town, she is sad to leave behind her friends, but excited for a new adventure. She is determined to have fun, be brave and find new friends.

In Piper Morgan Joins the Circus, Piper learns her mom’s new job will be with the Big Top Circus. She can’t wait to learn all about life under the big top, see all the cool animals, and meet the Little Explorers, the other kids who travel with the show. She’s even more excited to learn that she gets to be a part of the Little Explorers and help them end each show with a routine to get the audience on their feet and dancing along!

In Piper Morgan in Charge, Piper’s mom takes a job in the local elementary school principal’s office. Piper is excited for a new school and new friends—and is thrilled when she is made an “office helper.” But there is one girl who seems determined to prove she is a better helper—and she just so happens to be the principal’s daughter. Can Piper figure out how to handle being the new girl in town once more?

Stephanie has written two previous books, all (I think) through Simon & Schuster. I asked her–in this day of self-pub successes, why she chose instead to go with a traditional publisher. Here’s her answer:

In the mid-90s, a new writer came to our critique group. She had a book she’d written and paid to have published using a vanity press. Someone had to explain to me what that was. Basically at that time, it cost thousands of dollars to have your book printed and bound in professional form. As she read her first chapter to us, it was bad. Beyond bad. I was perplexed that someone would pay thousands of dollars to put a book like that into print form. At that time there was no way bookstores would ever carry it.

A few years later, the first e-published authors began coming to our group. Many of us learned a minimal amount about e-publishing and immediately dismissed it. People said it was the “future of publishing” and I argued that if books were going electronic, the big publishers would just switch to publishing that way and take everything over.

So I waited. I dealt with rejection after rejection. I took a few years off and when I came back to book writing, I immediately began querying agents. It never once occurred to me to try self-publishing or even one of the many indie presses that had emerged since I’d been gone.

There’s a simple reason I chose traditional publishing: it was my dream. In 1994, when I finished my first book, I knew I wanted to see it in bookstores. Publishing may have changed during the 00s, but I didn’t watch those changes. What was fixed in my mind was what I’d learned in the 90s, when I was attending workshops and reading books on “how to get published.” At that time, nothing at all directed you toward the many options available today.

I can’t help but wonder if things are different for those who start writing today. Do they immediately aspire to see their book on their Kindle? Or, like me, do they envision the support of a large publisher who will automatically get their books into all the major bookstores, review publications, and library ordering catalogs? Like many things, I think my view on publishing is rooted largely into the time I was born, since that affected the books I read and they way I viewed buying and interacting with books.

stephanie farisBio

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive. 








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46 thoughts on “Stephanie Faris’ Piper Morgan Series–a Must-read for Kids

  1. Pingback: Presenting the Newest Gregory Green Adventure, Halloween Ride | WordDreams...

  2. Great interview, Jacqui! I was intrigued by Stephanie’s reason for going with a traditional publisher. It certainly could be that because I got into book publishing later than her that I was more interested in the Indie route and smaller publishers. Wishing you much success, Stephanie!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jacqui, the book looks a delight and sure to be a hit! Wonderful attractive cover and great fun story line. Very interesting to read the following discussion about self-publishing and traditional. Stephanie raises many good points. To start with I also thought self publishing was a cheaper version of vanity publishing but have since leant this is NOT the case. Also the market for readers has opened up massively as a result of self-publishing and I think some publishers might be rather miffed how big this market is on the likes of Amazon. Having said that kudos to Stephanie for achieving such a wonderful publishing contract and I imagine many of us dream if something similar! 😀😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true. Reading her books, I can see why she was grabbed up by a publisher. While there are lots of children’s book writers, there aren’t that many who stand out, with a lesson to learn beyond the story. I’m impressed.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d like to get back in the querying trenches. I started writing in the 90’s and remember the snail mail with the SASE. When I was agented, it sure was hard to get an agent and I felt triumphant when it finally happened. Getting my first book deal was a major thing. It’s nice selling things on my own, but I’d like to see my books pushed more into libraries and bookstores.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is good topic, and one I have wondered about. I love many authors, but coming from old school, I’m used to the traditional, and still lean towards print rather than eBooks. Hugs…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m with you, Ro. Love those print books. But, if I’m traveling, I stick with digital. I’m still annoyed I lost a library book on the last trip I took. What was I thinking, taking it in the first place!


  6. So wonderful to see Stephanie here today. I enjoyed learning about her reason for publishing traditionally. Good for her for going after her dreams! I thought her point at the end was interesting because I am sure there are authors today who can’t wait to see the Kindle or ebook version of their book. I grew up with bookstores and still love them (though I do read an occasional ebook). 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think lots of us mature readers love bookstores. The browsing, the getting distracted by book covers, the knowledgeable booksellers. There’s no way to infuse that into a digital store, now is there.


      • That’s funny you’d say that–about running out of room for print books. When I filled my bookshelves, I had that epiphany also. The problem remains sharing ebooks. My husband and I have designated an old iPad as the Kindle reader and pass it back and forth–quite like book sharing. Doesn’t work so well with my two kids (who also love thrillers and intrigue).


  7. I’m now wondering if I should in fact try to publish my memoir traditionally. I haven’t even gotten to the editor search yet as I am still awaiting feedback from some of the people I sent my story to, and am still checking over my currently printed copy for mistakes, etc. I need to think next how to go about getting an editor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • An editor is a good idea whether you’re sending it to a traditional publisher or doing it yourself. I’ve been surprised by comments to my queries (when an agent asks for a full) and they mention how few/no mistakes there are. Good to stand out for something!


  8. I read my Kindle; but, my preference is still a printed book.

    Producing a quality book is a nebulous thing. I’m far from being published. That is my concern on down the line. If you have to do all the work with promoting and marketing your book, I can’t see taking a reduced amount of the profits. This is why I lean towards indie publishing.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve seen some well-put-together self-published/indie books. Some small presses have GREAT covers! But my publisher does get me into big review journals like Kirkus. Plus all the libraries and schools order from these catalogs that my books are in. They also distribute the books and get them into Barnes & Noble locations across the country, so I can’t discount that–that’s HARD work!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I think the choice to go traditional or indie depends on the author. I know a lot of successful and talented indie authors who make more being indie than they did when they were first traditionally published. When you depend on that income, you have to do what’s best for you and that’s not always having your book on physical shelves. I do love to see my books on shelves though, so there are perks to both.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Congratulations on your two new Piper Morgan books, Stephanie! All things considered, I believe traditional publishing is still the way to go today. Why? I’m an e-published only author, but most of my readers still seem to prefer the look and feel of a “real” book. I keep getting the question, “How can I get a paperback copy of your book?” Once you have a paper copy of your book, it’s fairly easy and inexpensive to e-publish it. That said, I prefer to read books on my Kindle because I can take dozens of books with me wherever I go. I believe in another 20-30 years we will see most people preferring electronic copies, but until that happens I think a traditional publisher is the best way to go. There is also the problem of book signings–like the one you are having today in Chattanooga. If you were e-published only, what would your fans bring to you to sign?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m struggling with that same question, Val. Right now, my debut novel is out only on Kindle but should I print it too? Dunno. I have quite a few non-fiction books that constantly surprise me in that I sell so many print copies. That media is still alive and well.


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