OCEAN CITY – A local mom is hoping to hit the jack pot — a year’s worth of free books for her son’s school — but needs your votes to get there.
Andrea Bowland has made it to the second round of MeeGenius Author Challenge 2011. The second round of the contest features a public vote in order to get the author through to the final round.
Voting concludes on Dec. 18 at midnight with the third round to follow. The finalists in the third round will have their children’s books professionally illustrated and the final winners will receive a publishing contract.
The MeeGenius author’s challenge winner will also receive a year’s supply of free books to a school of their choice. Bowland announced that her son’s school, Buckingham Elementary in Berlin, is her intended beneficiary.
“The biggest bonus in terms of this competition is being able to benefit a large number of people,” she said.
Bowland’s children books were inspired by her everyday life with her son and daughter. She explained that her story “Fressa the She-Ro, the Fairy Princess Super Hero!” is a bridge between the traditional roles of boy and girl play.
“I watched this little girl pick up a play sword and go to task in her brother’s world, then pick up a baby doll and rock it to sleep,” Bowland said. “I also remembered as a young girl being frustrated that the princesses always had to be saved. I didn’t identify with the damsel in distress mentality. I wanted to create a character for young girls that could save herself, and liked both boy and girl things.”
Unlike the traditional story, in her other book, “Little Green Monsters Are Real!” a mother reveals to her son that monsters do exist and the boy finds himself on a monster hunt.
“As parents we spend so much time telling our kids that monsters don’t exist and shielding them from things we think they will find scary,” Bowland said.
Through the direction of a family member Bowland made her way to the MeeGenius children’s book contest on the last day to enter and submitted her stories as admissions came to a close.
“I think about a week later, I started getting emails from the company with instructions for sending in a photo,” she said. “I didn’t know until the stories posted on Nov. 28 that my stories had made it to the voting round.”
Bowland began writing children’s books simply as an idea came to her mind. Writing offers her a creative outlet within the realm of parenting and the opportunity to create a character, “that seemed to be missing”. Although she has never pursued writing as a career, it is something that she thoroughly enjoys doing.
“[I] would certainly love having the stories published,” she said. “This contest makes the children’s book world, attainable.” By visiting www.meegenius.com and following the Author Challenge 2011 link, the works of each author can be viewed. Bowland and her books, “Fressa the She-Ro, the Fairy Princess Super Hero!” and “Little Green Monsters Are Real!” can be found the easiest by selecting the entry to be listed by author and she is on page two as the authors are listed alphabetically.
The voting is accomplished through Facebook “Likes”. Bowland has also created a Facebook page titled “Meegenius Author Challenge: Little Green Monsters are Real” that is dedicated to the voting process. Simply search the page on Facebook and it will lead you to the links to vote.
“I’ll be honest, I am up against some veteran children’s book authors who have their own websites and built-in fan bases,” Bowland said. “It’s going to be challenging, to say the least … those who have published before have websites and Facebook followings for their work already, whereas for somebody like me who is truly new to the field, it’s definitely a grassroots campaign to get votes.” MeeGenius is a company that corresponds with traditional publishers to digitize children’s books. MeeGenius has an app for Google TV, iPhone, iPad, and Android. Their libraries of books are also available for the Kindle and Nook.