Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 11/01/13

There is a “little” secret in my house—a little book writing secret. I have always enjoyed the Winnie the Poo children’s series and actually dream about writing a collection of children’s books. Of course, not being a Big Name in the publishing world, I have already made the decision to self-publish—and selected the self-publishing press I will work with—because I want to see my grandchildren and great-grandchildren hold my books in their hands.

The stories are buzzing in my head! I’ve written the manuscript for the first one that will be published in board-book form. At least five “adventures” are planned in that series. The main characters will then graduate to the 3-5-year-old storybooks and eventually the 5-8 year-old more finely developed tales.

Now…I face the question of who will be the illustrator. Selecting and hiring a person to complete this whole series is a major priority. Here is the criteria I’ve developed so far:

1) First “the research.”

  • I’ll talk with my self-publishing consultant and get a name or two from them with website information so I can see their work. Having already done my research for the best self-publisher for my project, I am confident they will recommend an illustrator who can get my job done with excellence.
  • Also, with so much information on the Internet, I’ll look there. The established organizations—such as the Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators and www.childrensillustrators.com— are good places to see a wide variety of styles.
  • And because I love bookstores, I’ll take a stroll through a children’s aisle or two looking at the finished products, making a list of any illustrators who seem to have the same vision I’m creating.

2)  Next comes “the conversation.”

  • I’m hoping to meet artists in person, but if not possible, a lengthy conversation (or two or three) will help me discern whether this person shares the visual concepts I’m “seeing”—the ability to complement the way I write.
  • Do they have experience in “maturing” characters from toddler stages through eight years old?
  • I will ask them to “show me” with samples of mood and emotion changes of how they “see” my main character.
  • Finally, I will ask if they believe they can sustain the lengthy commitment for the complete project series I’m developing

3) Money

By this time, my list of artists should be a short one, and I will talk “money.” I have a great respect for the creative genius found in the artwork of illustrators. Their conceptual input is very important to the process of finishing a quality book. So I expect the cost to be established by the current illustration market. This means approximately $150 per full-page illustration. If the revisions and detail work is more extensive, the cost will go up. However, I must be aware that no matter how marvelous my “little” stories are, the excellence of the artwork will either make or break the final product.

I do have one final criterion. My books are developed as a labor of love for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. So I expect to receive delivery of the illustration master files. Once these characters are created—once they come alive in these stories—they belong on the pages of my books and nowhere else. Integrity-motivated illustrators already offer these files in their “project close-out” process.

So it is that the work of a writer goes along—more ideas than we sometimes know what to do with! Join me in self-publishing and giving the reading public more visually inspiring pages to turn!

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

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