On this episode of the show Laurie talks to Heather Robyn about her amazingly funny videos…. and books, we always talk about books!
Heather Robyn: Author of Super Max and the Math Menace
Heather teaches Informatics Education for Stanford Hospital, holds a Doctorate degree in Education and worked for several years as a Social Worker with foster youth and homeless veterans. She really enjoyed the work and helping others which spills over into her books.
Heather has some solid advice for children’s authors based on her own experiences….
Before you hit the publish button, do your research. Join groups, check data, trends, all that fun stuff. The more prepared you are, the better.Heather Robyn
The best thing about being an author for Heather is receiving feedback that someone enjoyed my stories. I also love creating stories to share. Growing up, my imagination ran wild and I’m so glad I now have an outlet for that imagination, along with important messages for kids and adults to give that extra bit of help.
I hope you enjoy the show!
Contact Info for Heather
Facebook: Robyn’s Nest
Looking to explore using TikTok more – especially now that we know it’s here to stay?
I found a few articles that might be useful!
How to get started with TikTok influencer marketing
The golden rule of Influencer Marketing relevance is more important than reach.Source: fanbooster.com
Work with TikTok influencers
To get results from TikTok influencer marketing, just make sure the influencer’s audience matches your target audience . To find the right influencer for your business, you can look for online tools that let you search bios on TikTok, look for mentions of other brands, the most popular languages used in an influencer audience and more.Source: (entrepreneur.com)
Joining me for the first time? Start at the beginning HERE
View episode transcript
Season 3: Episode 1
Heather Robyn on The Writer’s Way Podcast
Laurie: [00:00:00] Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for tuning in here on season three of the writer’s way podcast. I’m here with the fabulous Heather Robin. Welcome.
[00:00:11] Heather: [00:00:11] Hi, it’s good to be here. Thank you. You’re welcome. We were just chatting about how you just never know what’s going to happen in the background noise wise.
[00:00:20] Laurie: [00:00:20] So I’ll tell everybody it’s just one of those days around here. Children or vacuums or computer techs. We’re just going to go with it, right? Yeah. So Heather share with everybody who you are and what you do and what books do you have?
[00:00:38] Okay. my name is Heather Robin. I live in, Northern California.
[00:00:43] Heather: [00:00:43] I live in the San Jose area. I’m a transplant by way of Southern California, San Diego. what we call the inland empire area about 45 minutes East of Los Angeles. I live up here with my two teenagers, which makes life very interesting and. my boyfriend also lives with us and we have a Siberian Husky named echo that keeps us plenty busy.
[00:01:12]I, currently, teach informatics education for Stanford medicine or Stanford. Stanford healthcare and what that is a lot of people, when I say informatics education, they’re like what the, what? So the short of it, I teach an electronic health record program called Epic to, The medical staff.
[00:01:34] So if you’ve ever, if you’ve ever gone to a doctor’s appointment, the nurses asking you questions and she’s typing on a computer, we teach them the program that they use for, for the hospital. So the hospital has this program called Epic and I’m one of the educators, one of the 30 educators for 15,000 employees.
[00:01:55] And so we’re responsible for teaching everybody, The program. that they do what they should be doing. And that’s why I’m part of live we’re ranked so high.
[00:02:10] No, we did a lot of our teaching in person, but we transitioned to online teaching with the pandemic, which, posed its own, fun in itself. we had connectivity issues. a lot of our users, they used to come in class, so they would go to, new hire and then they would come to our class and they would learn the program that they would need for their specific.
[00:02:34] Terrific location. And, Now we have some people taking the class from home. So it’s, you’re dealing with, can they connect from home and they can’t hear you and what was it, the popular phrase of the year? You’re on mute. You’re still on mute, stuff like that. So it’s a whole of all kinds of juggling trying to get one successful six hour class completed.
[00:02:57]but yeah, it’s we get, we’re usually. Very in-person at the hospital at clinics in class, and to do it all virtually has been interesting, which all teachers can relate to pivot.
[00:03:18] You were already online. And Such an ordeal, but, okay. tell us now how you got started as an author? okay. nine years ago I wrote my first children’s book. I just jotted it down. I, my brain is wired since I was little. I always thought in rhyme. That’s how I studied and remembered facts.
[00:03:43]so I would always take A subject and turn it into some sort of like a singing rhyme. And that helped me out. when my daughter was in second grade, she struggled really bad with, testing anxiety. And so I was just sitting at home. Or I’m sitting out by the pool and I just jotted down my first book and it just, I wrote it as like a release and I’m like, Oh, cause I had to get my thoughts down and how can I help her and whatnot.
[00:04:11] And that sat in the drawer for about nine years. and then, this was 2005 now. I decided I wanted to write a chapter book. So I wrote a young adult book, that was about, grief loss and, twin sisters. And I stepped forward to get that published first, which everything was such a whirlwind. I connected with a, they’re, they weren’t a publisher, but they were a company that connected me with the ed.
[00:04:40] Litter and the cover design and stuff like that. And everything happened so fast that I don’t. And I just, one day when it was everything went through. Cause they did the process of getting it through Ingram and onto Amazon. So I didn’t do it the first time around. So it was like, Oh my God, it’s up. so now I was like, I was doing everything after the fact that it was published.
[00:05:02] So after the young adult was published, then I decided, I was like, Oh, you know what? I think that dust supermax off and, see if I can get this one going. So through a group on Facebook, I was able to find an editor, find my illustrator. And yeah, from then I just, my, and then my brain was just like, I’m going to write another story.
[00:05:25] And I take, I pull ideas. Like you see things and you hear things that people are talking about. And you’re like, that could totally be a story. Wouldn’t it be funny if. If that was like, this and that was happening. and then you just go in and you write it down and you usually get your ideas, like either in the middle of the night or immediately when you wake up in the morning, you’re like, I write it down and you write it down.
[00:05:47]yeah. It’s, When you’re dreaming. I dunno. I don’t really remember sometimes. maybe. Yeah. I don’t know. But I find that it’s funny. I find that I say a lot of random things and then I thought about later and I’m like, Oh yeah, that rind. Interesting. Okay. The very character on Saturday night live, that was always rhyming.
[00:06:08] Or am I making that up? So when did supermax get published? It got published March of this year. So it got published right before everything went down with our lovely pandemic. So that took away school. It’s a nice all kids of stuff, but, it’s gotten pretty positive feedback. it’s about overcoming testing anxiety, specifically, test anxiety in the book.
[00:06:37] But it’s in general, it’s about overcoming the unexpected. Like how can we cause how can we overcome something that we’re not planned for? So that fits well. Yeah. And so I really enjoyed watching your videos. So what I see ask you about that marketing strategy, because you’re very clever. I loved the what of waking up your child, the five-year-old versus the 15 year old or whatever, and the differences.
[00:07:10] Cause I have a 12 year old and I have two younger kids. Yeah. I really felt that way. a lot of times when I do my videos, it’s, they’re just like, I think of them at the last minute. And I think of him on the spot. I did that video 10 minutes after I went to go wake up my son and he was he’s. 14.
[00:07:31] And I was just like digging it’s some new wake up and I’m like, nah. So different way. Can you guys live now than it was when you were a kid? And then it was like, I was like, Oh, I could do a video. Cause I just, you want to do something that. Relatable that people are like, yeah, it is different. And, so yeah, I, I did use some foul language in it, but, Sundays work works with teenagers. so yeah, it just, it took me maybe like 15 minutes to record it. And then you’re just being bang. Boom. And you’re done. So you’ve been on Tech-Talk right. So are you continuing on tech doc after the whole, I dunno, controversy or are you transitioning to something else?
[00:08:16] I don’t really know if I’m going to continue on the tech talk. I do have a couple more videos I would like to do, on tech talk. if, yeah, I don’t know. I think I’ll have to. The think about that one, whether I’m going to still do it, if there’s another platform like splice that I can create photos on because not photos create videos on, I might go that route because, I’m a very visual person.
[00:08:42] So a lot of times, that’s why, I’m very expressive when I talk and I like to do the videos and stuff like that, so I’ll figure something out. Okay. And how, how has that. Paid off, did you, have you noticed a big following there or a sales spike after videos or anything like that, or?
[00:09:01]I haven’t noticed too much with the tech talk. I did have people that reached out to me, about books, Especially with supermax. It was about all my kid goes through this as well. So I would say with tick talk, probably not a lot of times I just use it to create my video so that I can take that over.
[00:09:23] And then I post it onto my Facebook and my Instagram, because the interface is really easy to use. I’m actually not on it, but I’ve appreciated everybody’s efforts and videos. Yeah. And so then after you put it on your Facebook in Israel, do the videos get better engagement than a regular text post?
[00:09:43] Yeah, I do. I’ll get a better engagement on Instagram and then on Facebook I’ll post it, in some groups. so I’ll post it to my author page on Facebook and then I’ll share it from my author page onto, Onto other groups, like some of the parenting groups, like I posted the one, the wake up one too, like I’m in a group for teen boys and a group for like teen girls of parents, of teen girls.
[00:10:11] And I said, Oh, isn’t this relatable or something, Hey, check out my author page. It was just like, yeah. Yeah. It was like, Oh my gosh, it’s totally relatable. and, I also did one that, was a video on, trying to absorb a video game. My son was playing and the title of it was like nineties, Mario kid, trying to.
[00:10:30] Understand, like new age gamers. And I posted that like the mom of teen boys group, and they were like, this is comedy. they’re like, Oh, this is so relatable. I find that by posting it onto my Facebook and then sharing it into other groups that has. That has helped. And does it grow your Facebook page?
[00:10:52]do people follow the video back and try to get, Oh, let’s, get to know this person better and yeah, I have noticed that, I’ve seen an increase in my Facebook with followers, and with Instagram as well. so yeah, I do feel like it helps. Okay, cool. that is fantastic. I think that so many people are.
[00:11:12] Nervous about video making. Do you have any amazing advice for people who don’t like their face
[00:11:24] for me? I enjoy the videos because. Because I am not a fan of and people’s faces. So for me, creating the video is like a way of pre prepping for that, if that makes sense. So I have something where I’m not like, in everybody’s face afterwards, Hey, let’s check this out. And I create this video and I’m like, Hey, look at this type deal.
[00:11:49]but I think it’s yeah. Yeah. if you don’t like videos, I know a lot of people are like that. I used to be like that too. I don’t like my voice. I don’t like how, and I create e-learning so I’m like, ah, that’s sounds I’ll listen to it later. And I’m like, Ooh, I like how it sounded like that.
[00:12:07]but I totally hear you because I just recorded an ads video and then I had to chop it up and put it back in the. In the class. And I was like, Oh my God. So now, today I’m like, do I sit down? I sound like a, what’s her name? ISA on the emperor’s new groove when she turns it to the cat. And she’s is that my voice?
[00:12:32] Oh, that is relatable. I have thought of that. It’s exactly it. what is wrong with me? That I sound like that. Just get a tick tock idea. Jot it down. Yes. Pause Ricard. I’ll be right back. Very creative person ideas all the time. But as for your question, if somebody doesn’t like, themselves on video or audio, I think it’s, you can find a way around if you want to have fun with it.
[00:13:07] Use filters, some of the filters have the voice changing filters. my favorite is the large mouth one on Snapchat because it. Takes the voice really high. And then it makes the eyes like super big. and that’s another element. if you have a large following and you do something like that, people remember that.
[00:13:28] Cause they’re like, Oh, she always test the videos with this or like the, with the little butterfly. Why it’s going over head or whatnot. there, you can adjust it a little bit and that’s where you can have a little bit of fun with it. It doesn’t always have to be just you and just your voice if you don’t, if you don’t, are not a fan of either of those, then they have, options to make it a little fun.
[00:13:48] I did one with a purple Panda. ears before and it squeaked my voice and it was actually a P PSA that I put out for women that put, filters on their online dating profiles. Cause my guy friends were like, I don’t understand why women do this. And I was like, ladies, you gotta stop doing it.
[00:14:11] when you made the video ask the problem. Yeah,
[00:14:17] that is really funny. okay. So moving on to, general things, is there any, as you’ve been at this for a while, what would you say are some common mistakes? You see me speaking? I think some common mistakes. It’s just not doing your research. And I say that because that’s what I didn’t do. I became very Omer overwhelmed after the fact.
[00:14:44]First book went live, and then I realized, Oh, I need to get a Facebook page. Oh, I should probably get an author Instagram, and I noticed with each title that I go to upload on something, I’m adding a new link. So it’s you’re still learning as you’re going. So you’re like, Oh, now I have a Twitter.
[00:15:04] Do I use it as much as I probably should? No, not so much. but it’s, I don’t know why I find it chaotic you go on it, but, yeah, so it’s you got a new profile for this and then a new profile for that. And so I think I’m learning as I go. Cause I feel like I’m still rather like rather I’m new at this, but if I would also recommend, For authors to take classes or trainings or modules for this, that, and the third, anything you’re confused on and, ask questions.
[00:15:39] That’s one thing in the group, I’m seeing a lot of new authors that they do ask questions, which is great. I try to tell my kids, if you don’t know, Ask people that I’m shy. Yeah. Yeah. I’m like you, I’m still learning as I go, but, it was just get that book up there with the race to get the book up there.
[00:16:00] And, I didn’t know anything about anything, but I forgot that most of us start. how many people have the patience to. spend a year learning. Some people do what she to them, but I don’t have that.
[00:16:17] Have you received any fantastic advice as you’ve been around and doing your research now and asking questions? Oh my goodness. Yes, I’m just trying to, editing so important. I find with a lot of, a lot of new authors, they want to just write something and then put it out there, like self publish and they’re like, I wrote my story.
[00:16:41] I’m going to go publish it. And then, I’ve. When we see examples in the group, when someone sends a screenshot of like poor or that it wasn’t even edited. And you’re like, Ooh. Yeah. So definitely the event it’s on getting an editor has been great. and another great piece of advice that, was on illustrators, to not try to budget shots.
[00:17:09]if you want it to look the way you want it to look, don’t compromise the price on the illustrator. if it’s that, if that’s the look that you want. and I don’t, I love my illustrator. She’s awesome. If you find your illustrator, your pictures are fantastic. I found here on, our, author group in, on, in, Facebook on it, Ana in on Facebook.
[00:17:33]I just saw, one of her pictures. I think she was tagged in something. So then I clicked on her and then it took me to her Facebook page. And so then I stalked her Facebook page for a half a day. You just scroll. And I came across this one picture. Of that she had done, it was a Kabuki theater.
[00:17:56] And I said, okay. Oh, I was like, Oh, I have one her. So then I reached out to her and, she lives over in the UK and, So we just started talking. I told her, I have a book it’s being edited right now. And then, I always send her the story ahead of time. And then, she comes up with, with, the ideas for, And she does great with that, which I love.
[00:18:20] Do you have more bucks in the works? I do. I have, a book coming out within the next month. It’s called dyno Deegan and the unpleasant class. it is based off of my son who, he struggled with bullying. Throughout elementary school. He’s a very high level knowledge of dinosaurs. And, he’d struggled making friends, people called him the weird kid and they called them the freak and stuff.
[00:18:47] That’s such a common interest though. So many kids. his level was like he, I knew I loved dinosaurs when I was little and he knew dinosaurs that like, I had never even heard of them, like the 20 letter names. Yeah. 10 years. So there was a handful of kids, so I know exactly. Yeah. It’s and he could just rip about them and he related every topic to them and whatnot.
[00:19:13] And, Yeah. I just tell them I’m like, kid, that those, that might be their defense mechanism. if kids don’t understand what you’re saying, their first defense mechanism is to probably make fun of you and this or not. And I told him, I said, you just gotta hang in there. you’re going to one day, you’re going to come across people that.
[00:19:32]they understand what you understand and they like what you like, and it may not be an elementary school there, or may not be a middle school, but at some point, yeah. In your life, you’ll come across these people. And then it’ll, it’s all going to be worth it. and that happened for him in sixth grade.
[00:19:46]he met. Genevieve. And they were like the boy girl version of each other, like they talked about sex. she was real knowledgeable about dogs. He was about dinosaurs. They could just, and it just kinda went from there. the girl character in this book cast, she’s based off of his friend.
[00:20:03] Genevieve’s yeah. Fantastic. That’s it? That happens with a lot of kids. Hey, they eventually find their. Yeah, the friend connection. It’s gotta hang in there. Like you always say, or I always say, you just need one good friend, but sometimes it takes a while to find that, which is hard. And so now he’s 14.
[00:20:21] Does he still talk about dinosaurs? Is he still is that going to be his job? Yeah. Cool. He is, he does paleo art now. he’s still very much into dinosaurs. He will verbally fight you to the death over whether drastic world or drastic park is better. He’s Grassic parks. Some of us are dressing world.
[00:20:43] He will back check like, he’s like why they call it Jurassic that dinosaur was in the Cretaceous, I don’t know,
[00:20:54] maybe he’ll be a writer, but nonfiction that’s right. He comes up with some pretty incredible stories, but really great short stories. but yeah, my daughter enjoys writing short stories too, as she comes up with some pretty cute ones, but, Yeah, he’s still he’s he loves paleontology. So he’s yeah, he goes, yeah.
[00:21:19]if you show him a dinosaur thing, he’s just because I liked dinosaurs doesn’t mean I like. All dinosaur stuff. And I was like, okay. Okay. Fine, whatever. Okay. We don’t know the difference between Brontosaurus Rocky SRS. Yeah, they are some of them, It has the extra little up on the top here, but yeah, there I’m all like, yeah, I wasn’t done
[00:21:51]for some kids it’s planets and for some kids. Yeah. Some kids it’s like locomotives and kids. It’s yeah. Oh, that’s great. That book is really well received. I’m excited for you. What would you say your goals are with your picture books? I would say my goal is to, help to help people.
[00:22:17] Cause I, I choose topics. I tend to choose topics that, People can relate to kids can relate to having anxiety when they have a test or if they have something that’s not planned, kids can relate to, being bullied. parents can relate to this stuff too, so even we write these books for children, but I don’t know how many times I read a children’s book and related to it myself.
[00:22:47] And I said, Yes. it they’ll open up that discussion between parents and children too. So if there’s a topic that is in one of my books that the parents could say, I went through this when I was little too. And then, Oh, I had no idea, mom. And then, connecting that parent and the child, will hopefully be, that’s what my, I think that’s the social worker in me.
[00:23:13] They just like to help. I do. Yeah. I used to be a social worker for foster youth and homeless veterans. I really enjoyed that. But, yeah, I do have, another, my next super max book that I am, currently finishing up, before illustrations and that is, military family base. So her dad comes home and surprises her at school from a deployment.
[00:23:39] So yeah, that one, I’m hoping that we’ll really, connect with military families. Do you have that background? Or is that I do, I used to be a military wife, way back in the day. my, ex husband was in the coast guard and, I grew up in a military family. So I have 13 family members that, Our mil military.
[00:24:06]probably more than that. but back to my great grandpa in world war or one, so I’ve had grant. great Campa in world war one, my grandpa, world war II. My other grandpa fought in Korea, Maria. my dad was Vietnam era, so we were very military thick. Yeah, Molly. So I always wanted to do a book that gives like homage to the military family and the military life.
[00:24:28] Yeah, I think that’ll go over really well. You have a lot of chapters in your story, a lot of fodder for all the books. Yeah, I, yeah, I, I enjoy my collectiveness. it keeps life interesting. And it feeds that creative part of you. So you have all these things you can draw on, which is awful. I think.
[00:24:51] Yes, definitely. where can people find you if they’re listening and driving or something and they can’t look at the links? Cool. I am also, I am on Facebook. my, author page is Robin’s nest with a Y. you’ll see the little character, little round Robin bird as my logo. I’m also on Instagram at Heather E Robin author, on Twitter.
[00:25:17]they gave me a. Special handle Heather Robin too. Oh, okay. I appreciate that. And it’s all Robyn with a Y. I also have a webpage, Heather E robyn.com. I’m trying to think what else. Yeah. I’ll also all of those in the notes. It’s for people who aren’t driving Heather E Robin. And you’re an Amazon as supermax.
[00:25:42] Yes, Cimarex in the math minutes and the mathematics and the, and your, why a novel, does that sell it all? Or is that something that we don’t talk about or it does. I recently took it off a couple of months ago because I. Wanted to do a rewrite. So I rewrote the end of the books, so I gave it an alternate ending.
[00:26:06] And, so it’s with the editor right now, getting it fixed. And then, I also tapped my children’s book, illustrators, Zoe mailers, too. Do the cover for that book as well? Cause I was like, okay, let’s redo it. So yeah, let’s get it. we’re giving it an up-close blowing it that will hopefully be ready in September as well.
[00:26:31] And then that would be wow. Yes. I try to stay busy. thank you so much for coming and talking to us. Good luck with, dyno Deegan. this episode will probably come out right around the same time I’m thinking or close everybody goes and checks it out. And no, you thank you so much. Thank you. It’s been a pleasure.
Talk to you next week my friends!