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Creating a Children’s Book

 Creating a Children’s Book: The Book

 

 How did you come up with the idea for Poor Corrie?

I had no plans of creating a children’s book. I literally woke up at about 3am one morning with this story buzzing in my head completely out of the blue. After this, I got up and scribbled down the outline of the tale of a young crocodile who had no teeth.

Creating a children's book: Poor Corrie book cover

 How did you go about the project? Did you complete the paintings first and then the words? Tell us about your process.

The next day I worked on the story, researched some of Africa’s animals and very quickly over the next few days I was fairly happy with it.

Then I thought: Who can I get to illustrate it? I had, in my teens, done a lot of pencil sketches and although I had not done anything artisitic for many years I decided there was no reason why I could not do them myself.

Creating a children's book illustration of a giraffe

So I started going to evening painting classes where I started to do the illustrations. It took me about two years to complete the paintings, but I wasn’t working on them all the time. I did one or two a month. A friend helped me get it all onto a digital file and another friend helped me make a rough dummy book to show people.

 Creating a Children’s Book: Self-publishing

 What happened next?

Unfortunately, I hit a ‘going nowhere stage.’ I sent the rough copies to a few children’s book publishers and had them politely returned saying ‘very nice but no thank you.’ I am not a pushy person and did not persue it.

Creating a children’s book or self-publishing a book in general was more expensive twenty years ago and I couldn’t afford it at the time. So, after twenty years of the book gathering dust in a cupboard, I called into TJ INK. They are just down the road from where I live, so I just popped in. I asked their advice on my printing options.

creating a children's book: the interior

Before I knew it a beautiful copy of Poor Corrie was in my hands, with the help of the marvellous TJ INK team.

 What do you think is important when creating a children’s book?

I think it’s important to remember that young children absorb knowledge at an astonishing rate in comparison to us ‘oldies.’ They love bright colours and something that will make them laugh.

 What was the trickiest part to self-publishing your children’s book?

I think it was probably having no self-confidence in myself. I was very lucky to fall into the hands of the wonderful TJ INK team

Now I have to face putting the book out on public sale, which I find quite daunting. I have already sold a few and hopefully I will gradually sell the books I have printed.

In conclusion, for me it has not been a case of doing the book for profit, but to complete my own little masterpiece.

creating a children's book illustration of a bird

 What advice can you offer other writers?

There’s a mine of advice out there on how to self-publish a children’s storybook, or any book, in fact.  The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook is a great source of information and is available at most bookshops. It also helps gaining wonderful help from the team who are printing your book. This is a great bonus.

 What’s your plan for Poor Corrie?

My only plans for the book at the moment are selling the copies I have. It’s been great to get this far! Should there be any major interest from bookshops I may look into having more printed and spread them further a field.

 And, if you were stuck on a desert island, what book would you wish you had?

I think I would take The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. They are the books from my teens and I’d like to rediscover them again.

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