As a wannabe writer Iâ€™m aware of the long odds of getting my story into printed book form. Apparently itâ€™s harder to get an agent (so many wannabeâ€™s throwing themselves at their feet weeping â€˜pick me, pick me oh please, pick meâ€™?) than it is to get your book in front of the Publisher with a capital P. Although how this works I’m not entirely sure, because it seems that every publishing house and its dog wonâ€™t see your bookÂ unless Â its presented on a silver platter by an agent cloaked appropriately with terms like extensive social media platform, copious followers etc.
Recently I have found myself trawling through the sea of information that is the Internet and slowly learning more about the field of self-publishing. Reading the success storiesÂ Â of the self-published; the people who took the risk with their novels and sold over a million books. Wondering if the stigma has lessened or if the 2nd rate work that has been self-published with minor editorial issues (spelling, punctuation, plot and character development anyone?) has given it a reputation that wonâ€™t ever be shaken.
But as a writer of picture books, the idea of a DIY picture book is somewhat daunting. Can I do this? Self-publish my book, sell several bazillion copies and be wonderfully successful? YES! I repeat to myself in a mantra that would make Shakti GawainÂ proud. I visualise fame, fortune and the pleasure of reading emails from my fan base (well my fans parents) telling me how much they love my stories. And let me tell you, I can work this fantasy a loooong time until I hit the stumbling block. My childrenâ€™s stories are going to involve incredible artwork to tell half the story and the cost of professional artists is astronomical. I comfort myself with the old adage that you shouldnâ€™t judge a book (or illustrations) by its cover. DIY publication, DIY illustrations, right? Â But book buyers are very visual creatures.
Itâ€™s been running for sixty years and over 400 books â€“ including childrenâ€™s books, were entered this year? Well all I can say is they have done a **brilliant** marketing job. Because everyone judges a book by its cover; inevitably we are drawn to read the blurb because of the â€˜cover artwork.â€™
Art work is a vital part of the book buying process. And just try reading a picture book to a class of children who arenâ€™t attracted to the illustrations! So for the timely reminder in my meanderings of self-publishing education, I understand that if I do go the self-publishing route for my childrenâ€™s picture books, one way or another, I am going to have to get an artist to do the illustrations. Because I know for a fact itâ€™s not just children who judge a book by its cover.