Children’s Books, Picture Books
Welcome to my weekly guest blog series:
Success in the Arts – Touching the Lives of Children
This week I’m featuring African/British/Canadian children’s books author, Mandy Eve-Barnett.
This may seem like the easiest part of creating a children’s book – right? Not as easy as first appears as it turns out. Your idea has to convert onto the page in a language that your target audience can understand word usage is vital so take note.
1. What age group are you writing for?
2. Will you target pre-schoolers or an older age group?
3. Will the story contain a moral or lesson?
My children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare began life as a prompt for Halloween. I did not want to write the usual monster narrative but something more unusual and fun. So I wrote the story from the young monster’s point of view. Younger children love Rumble and monsters are not so scary.
There are numerous avenues to research when it comes to finding a publisher.
1. You can follow children’s book agents.
2. Submit your story to contests with a book contract attached.
3. Attend conferences and find an interested agent/publisher.
4. Research local or regional publishing houses and submit your story.
I was fortunate to find a publisher locally and this made my publishing experience a more personally tailored one. Dream Write Publishing did an amazing job and I was part of the process all the way through.
The amount of illustrations is dependent on the age of your target group, the younger the age group the more pictures are required and less text.
1. If you are a talented artist you can illustrate yourself.
2. Do you know an artist that will collaborate with you on the project?
3. Does your publisher offer this service?
4. There are many artists on social media you can approach.
My Rumble character was the culmination of my imagination and crude drawings and a wonderful artist friend, Matthew McClatchie, who made my idea of what Rumble would look like into reality.
Again the amount of text needs to be balanced for the target age group. For example, if the books are for very young children the text needs to be simple and sparse with great pictures, but for independent readers, illustrations can be on the chapter headers only.
1. Do you want the story in rhyme form?
2. Choose simple pronounceable names for your characters.
3. Wrap the text around the pictures or along the bottom of the page.
4. Keep exposition to a minimum.
5. Extra Pages
1. The publisher will require your author bio and a photo
2. You will create a ‘blurb’ – a brief description of the story – for the back of the book.
3. If you wish you can have a dedication page.
4. The publisher will allocate an ISBN and the legal disclaimers and permissions for duplication.
Sharing my little book with friends and family was stupendous. The moment any author is handed their first book is overwhelming emotional. It is the closest an adult comes to childish delight. The reality that your words are now published, that many people will read it and your words will outlive you delighting generations to come is a heady feeling.
After your book is published your work is not done. Promotion becomes your master. Be creative and say ‘Yes’ to any and all opportunities that come your way. The more your book is noticed the more sales.
To promote Rumble I created a soft toy of Rumble, which was so much fun. Once I showed my writing group they all announced I should make miniatures for each book, I declined! Rumble accompanies me to readings and events and is always popular. As I had a good deal of promotion to manage without sewing into the wee hours, I did commissioned Rumble hats, and ordered T-shirts, which are a lot easier to handle.
Mandy currently lives in Alberta, Canada but is originally from England. Her background is diverse and gives her rich experience to utilize in her writing. Mandy has been a nursing professional, a business owner, and a sort after administration expert. She has traveled throughout Europe, parts of America and Canada and was born in Africa.
Always creative, I came to writing later in life. A chance visit to a writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, propelled me into the written word in a way I could never have imagined. I delve into all genres expanding my writing muscles and with several books published; I am certainly making up for ‘lost’ time.
As a free flow writer, my stories lead me rather than the other way round, delighting me with plot twists and turns. Writing is my passion, the source of new found fellowship and most of all fun.
Annual Colouring Contest:
I arrange an annual colouring competition prior to Halloween for Rumble fans. The picture is in pdf format and downloaded from my publisher’s website – http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca. Once all entries are in I choose the winners. Prizes include Rumble hats, T-shirts, monster orientated toys and games.
My newest book will be launched this fall – Clickety Click is a YA monster story. Why do I have a propensity for monsters? I have no idea!
Guest blogger host, Joseph Drumheller, is an award-winning author and energy healer. He creates children’s books for Golden Bell Entertainment.
If you’d like to guest blog or want more info into the worlds, books, meditation, healing, and spirituality, please visit my website at:
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