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Sweet Success

The owner of a marketing company, Joan Rogers Leopold ’76 was inspired by her grandchildren to pursue a dream: writing and publishing fiction for families. So she launched Slow Tag Press, Stories for Grandparents and Their Grandchildren. Her first book, Herbert Loves Sherbet, a brightly colored charmer about being careful what you wish for—no matter how delicious—is available now.

What inspired you to start your own press?

Slow Tag Press was launched in 2016. I’ve owned a marketing company, focusing on industrial clients, for decades. As retirement loomed nearer, I downsized Ossipee Media Services and focused more attention on a lifelong dream: writing fiction. In researching publishing, I realized that having a properly licensed company would allow me to continue to be my own boss while making my books and stories more marketable.

Why have you chosen to focus on children’s books?

Slow Tag Press’s first book is Herbert Loves Sherbet, a picture book in rhyme about the pitfalls of wishes coming true. I wrote this poem 30 years ago for my children. When they began having children, it was their idea to resurrect Herbert and make him ready to share with a wider audience. Once I began with children’s books with Herbert’s fabulous illustrator Jim Steck, I knew that this shorter format suited my impatient personality best. An added bonus is writing directly for my grandchildren (to whom Herbert is dedicated).

What are your goals for Slow Tag Press in the future?

I would like to see Herbert Loves Sherbet picked up by various national book clubs for children. I am furiously marketing Herbert on Amazon, to local bookstores in Chicago (and any place else reading fans suggest), and through online avenues. I have already begun a second picture book, I Don’t Like Snow, with a third in the pipeline. I am blogging monthly and eventually, I plan for Slow Tag Press to grow by accepting outside submissions and have already begun assembling an editorial team.

More generally, how has your career in writing/publishing been influenced by your time at Swarthmore?

I have a B.A. in English literature from Swarthmore. Without exception, my favorite work at school was writing analyses of that week’s reading, often being surprised by where my arguments and supporting data took me. Writing. Writing. Writing. I’m not a diarist. I’ve never kept a journal. I’ve always been more interested in sharing my thoughts and stories with an audience and getting feedback, something that happened every day in college.

Out of curiosity, what is your favorite flavor of sherbet?

Raspberry—thank you for asking. I think I like the color as much as I like the flavor.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you, Slow Tag Press, or Herbert Loves Sherbet?

Herbert’s five-star reviews (from independent reviewers) can be accessed on Amazon—where you can also get your own copy. I am happy to sell direct to anyone who would like an autographed book.