Who here writes children's books
Writing a children's book: an author gives tips
Writing a children's book is a dream for many. A dream that is also paired with great idealism, because it is not that easy to bring your own idea between two book covers. How do you find a good illustrator, like a publisher? Today the author Sabine Beck tells how your dream of a children's book became a reality. As a giveaway, I'm giving away Sabine's book today. How to do it is in the blog post below.
Writing a children's book: How “Konrad Kleinmögel” came to me
Many children are black holes for stories: their insatiable hunger for new books and new stories sometimes makes the library card glow for many parents. But at some point every library, however well-stocked, is empty and then? Sometimes it gets creative ...
Countless books have passed through the hands of my little man in recent years - we both liked many, some I found terrible, but the little man loved them (and vice versa, of course). Wonderful worlds with lovable characters who left their mark - on Kleinmann and me.
Until one night I would never have thought that I would write a children's book myself. But suddenly he was there: Konrad Kleinmögel, the earth goblin, with his friends and his very special mission - the search for the lost colors.
You can order the book here: click on the picture!
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The figure appears in a dream
Although I come from the “writing guild”, I actually never intended to write a children's book. But since Konrad first appeared to me in a dream, the story never let me go. On the contrary: it grew over the next few weeks, got bigger and denser and finally the small farms convinced me that they absolutely needed a home between two book covers.
I have not documented how many cups of cinnamon tea I destroyed while writing a children's book. But at some point the story was finished, in black and white, a file on my computer. Kleinmann was the first test reader (or better: test listener) and his laughter was the best reward I could wish for.
The plan: self-publish the children's book
And now? I thought it hopeless to send an exposé to the many children's book publishers on my own and to hope for an answer for months or even years. I knew how to make books through my work, so I decided to look for an illustrator myself and publish the book myself.
A little later, I met Heidi Stulle-Gold, a wonderful artist who was enthusiastic about Konrad's story and who in her long career as a designer had always dreamed of making a children's book. A stroke of luck. For many months she worked on drafts, sketches and drawings. Small works of art, created using a unique technique - different colors on wrapping paper and then cut out in fiddly detailed work - wonderful pictures and vignettes.
There was around a year of work in the story when we gave another person a first printout of the finished book for the first time. As a literary educator at the Reading Foundation, Heike Kielsmeier seemed to be exactly the right first-time reader for our book baby. She, too, was immediately taken with Konrad's story and the illustrations and convinced us to take the printout with us to the Frankfurt Book Fair to show her colleagues.
But would you prefer a “real publisher” for your own children's book?
A few days later I had an unexpected email in my inbox. From a publisher. Heart beat. The publisher of the DIX publishing house, Dr. Elke Fettweis, spontaneously fell in love with Konrad at the book fair and offered a contract for the book. What an incredible moment of happiness!
While we would have had a self-published book in our hands within a few weeks, it was now time to wait: As in many publishers, the program at Dix-Verlag was planned more than a year in advance. The publisher nonetheless found a publication date on March 1, 2018, which was quick by publishing standards.
In order for our book to fit into the publisher's program, a few adjustments were still necessary. It was necessary to shorten the text - but luckily there was sensitive editing to do this. And Heidi Stulle-Gold had to adapt her illustrations to a different book format.
I can hardly wait until I can hold our book in my hands for the first time in March and give the starting signal for Konrad's adventurous journey to hopefully many children's rooms at a reading at the Leipzig Book Fair.
Short interview writing children's books: comparison of self-publishing and conventional publishing
Sabine, I would be interested in a consideration from you: What are the advantages of a conventional publisher?
Self-publishing has the advantage that you can publish quickly, make all decisions yourself and set the price yourself. Especially in the area of novels, where more and more readers are using e-books, self-publication via e.g. Amazon / KDP, epubli, Books on Demand (BoD), neobooks etc. has many advantages.
The main disadvantages are in marketing: With the mass of books that appear annually, it is not so easy as a lone warrior to draw attention to yourself and find readers.
The situation is somewhat different in the children's book sector: there the e-book does not yet have this status and it also depends on the feel, the look, the features of the book and its availability in bookshops. There are printing service providers where you can also have a decent children's book printed yourself, but distribution is quite difficult or involves high costs.
The advantages of a publisher are clearly the availability in the book trade, the support with advertising and marketing. These advantages are particularly striking in the children's book sector. Unfortunately, it is not so easy to find a place in a publishing house. Applications to the publisher are possible, but with the mass of applications it is often hopeless. Better chances are those who have a book agent who has good contacts in the publishing industry.
What tips do you have for self-publishing, where can you find the right platform, what should you watch out for?
If you want to self-publish, you have many options. There are many easy-to-use platforms that bring both e-books and paperback books (if desired) to stores. The best known are probably Amazon / KDP, Books on Demand (BoD), neobooks and epbuli.
The website www.selfpublisherbibel.de offers comprehensive information on the subject of self-publishing. As a lone warrior, the exchange with other authors is also helpful. In the associated Facebook group there are many like-minded people who are also available to help and advise if you have any questions. There you can also get recommendations for freelance editors, proofreaders or illustrators.
One should be careful with the many payment publishers that are represented on the market. Many people are tempted by the term “publisher”, but some of them demand high subsidies for printing costs and offer little more service than a print on demand service provider who can publish without risk.
Dear Sabine, thank you for your experience and your good tips! We wish you and Konrad good luck!
In my blog I tell even more about the creation of the book: diekleinmoegel.wordpress.com
Do you feel like reading Sabine's book? Then comment here and under the facebook post. We are giving away the book twice. The raffle runs until March 4th, 2018. Good luck!
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