I’ve been writing for the past ten years and doodling since I was six. It has been a long journey to publication. As a newbie writer, once I finished my first masterpiece, ha! I was way too eager to publish. I surfed the web on how to publish a book and fell into the arms of a vanity press. I won’t go into detail here.
Do your research. If you can go traditional by all means do it, but if you prefer to self-publish be careful. There are a lot of sharks out there.
I wish I would have attended creative writing classes years ago. Firstly I stumbled upon The Chapter Book Blueprints where I followed a chapter book course. It was an eye-opener. I learned a lot, and the teachers Laura and John Bard were friendly and helpful. I vividly remember Alice Kuipers that has four kids and still manages to write and attend conferences, she’s amazing.
I still didn’t understand the publishing world until I stumbled upon ‘The Children’s Book Academy’ run by Prof. Mira Reisberg. I followed a course in creative writing for middle grade then took an illustration course. Not satisfied I took a picture book course and again this year another illustration courses to hone my craft. It’s awesome how author/illustrators help each other. Then you have critique groups where you also learn how to hone your craft and how to critique other authors work. Their feedback was invaluable. The courses are interactive, and you have deadlines to submit your homework. It’s the only way to learn. The thing about these lessons is that at the end they have the Golden Tickets. It’s awesome. You post your work on a private facebook page so agents and editors can see them. They choose an author/illustrator that may interest them for a publishing contract, or to represent you as an agent. Then you get the call and fall off your chair. They ask for more material, and if you’re lucky, you get to sign a publishing contract.
I was one of the lucky ones. Mira Reisberg liked my picture book and although I was an unpublished author she believed in me and introduced me to Clear Fork Publishing. (Mira Reisberg is the art director at Spork, an imprint of Clear Fork Publishing). The only condition was that someone else illustrate the book, it was fine with me. If you want a sneak peek of my original illustrations of Rat click here.
Mine were a little too scary for toddlers, but I love them all the same.
My picture book ‘ Jurassic Rat’ is coming spring 2019; illustrated by John Seckman. He’s awesome, and I love how he interpreted my Rat in the book. Kids that love dinosaur books will love Rat.
Your journey doesn’t stop here though. It’s a good idea to have a platform, get on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and start engaging with your audience and hopefully, they will want to read your book. The Children’s Book Academy covers this aspect as well during the lessons.
Another thing to think about is school visits and book presentations in libraries near you. Once your book is published, you’ll want to let the world know all about it and create a buzz. You’ll find loads of information on the web about school visits. If you’re not a member of SCBWI, (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) I highly suggest you join. It’s packed with information regarding writing and illustrating and much more.
If you live in Italy, DO attend the Bologna Book Fair. I met Lin Oliver and Christopher Cheng at the SCBWI stand. They were such fun people to meet. You’ll be enthusiastic about the publisher’s stands the books and art you will discover at the fair.
I’m now working on my prop for school visits in Italy. I have contacted a few libraries that seem interested although my book is in English. It’s a puppet of Rat my main character.
What do you think? What if I made a board game as well, do you think that could work? Another project I have in mind is to create little clay statues of Rat to give as a gift in some contest when the book comes out. Maybe along with a signed book through a Goodreads giveaway.
I would love to hear from you. Take care.