Self-publishing isn't easy. And it's not for everyone.
It's also not easy to capture the attention of an editor or agent and go the traditional route.
Either way you go, you're not likely to see that finished book – your baby! – for a year or two! Maybe even longer!
So why are we even doing it? What's the appeal in creating a children's picture book? So much work ...
A few weeks ago, I got infused with a big dose of inspiration! Put some wind in my sails, it did! So after all the heavy blogs this month, allow me to share a conversation I had recently ... perhaps it will inspire you, too!
When I was writing my Grand Illusion articles, they kinda' took off in a different direction than I had originally intended. The original idea was that artists are illusionists: we apply pigment to paper and make you think you're seeing something real, but it's just an illusion ... pigment on paper. Like a magician, who can make you think you saw that rabbit disappear. And you know it didn't really, but you can't explain how he did it! Despite the fact that you saw it with your own eyes!
It was just an interesting way to make an article about basic drawing fun to read.
So it was a real treat a couple of months ago on Facebook when I got the chance to meet and chat with professional magician, Paul Draper. He does on-line magic shows for kids, and when he found out I was a children's book illustrator, he hired me to draw magic-themed coloring pages that he can send to kids who attend his shows. These turned out to be a big hit and we've since done more pages that show kids how to do simple tricks. And I'm having so much fun drawing these ... and learning some magic to boot! I love my job!
Anyway, during one of our conversations he was telling me about how he became interested in magic as a kid, and the children's magician, Paul Brewer, who inspired him and became his hero and mentor.
When Mr. Draper decided to begin doing children's magic shows, naturally he consulted with his hero for advice ...
"What's the key to being a good children's magician?" he asked.
And Mr. Brewer's reply:
"Get rid of all the arrogance, and celebrate the child."
Oh! ... I got goose bumps when he told me! Now I'm getting goose bumps just writing it!
All month long I've been dishing out all my free advice about how to make those self-published books slick and professional. You're producing a product you want people to buy! I said. It's gotta' be great! It's gotta' be something people will pay money to own!
And all of that is true. We want our books to be top quality. We want to be professional at what we do. We certainly don't want to be putting out subpar work. No ugly babies!!
But ultimately, we are writing and drawing for that reader. The child that we hope will read our books over and over. The child we hope to build a connection with.
If all we're trying to do is produce a slick product, it's not good enough ...
Celebrate the child.