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Journey of a Book – Part I – children’s literature creation under the microscope

Books are created from the imagination and inspiration of authors and the insightful vision of illustrators. They are then crafted. The authorial crafting may be right brain with a touch of editing or slow and laborious left brain plotting. For an illustrator, it may be  inspiration flowing like rivers from brush or  stylus or it may be  storybook or dummy creation then rethinks, scrap some ideas, adapt others. Eventually, a book emerges that is then ‘ready for submission’. These days, that may mean  adding animation and audio to make the book a digital production for app developers like  Utales or Flying Books, or for YA, formatting it for Kindle or Nook e-publishers. It may mean self publishing on Createspace  or Lightningsource, Smashwords or Lulu.  Or it will mean the long road via submission to traditional publishers.

If the latter is chosen, the publisher will often require more editing, changes and perhaps more changes. My own book, started under contract to one publisher, was already well underway with the inimitable Sarah Davis as illustrator. We were having a ball creating our book. Then our publisher was taken over and the new publisher wanted  to  institute changes. At first, the major change – ‘get rid of the dead bird’ – seemed straight forward. Then we realised  the book needed the bird but, to keep it, we had to  make some big adjustments. An injured bird can’t just disappear in a children’s book, it has to get better and be released, which, in our picture book, meant its story  had to be woven into the fabric of the main story seamlessly. No problem, a few days and Sarah and I had nailed it! As book creators, you have to be flexible and, especially if going the traditional publisher route, you can’t be too precious about your creation.

SO! This exhibition is about the journey numbers of wonderful children’s and YA books took from creation to  bookshelf! Each book has a different creation story to reveal – something the public doesn’t see, it’s behind the scenes. Now the reader can take a peek backstage, behind the scenes to how it all came together!

THE SET UP

Setting up was not straight forward. The spaces has to be utilised to best advantage and the  items displayed needed to be seen from as many angles as possible given I had a two shelf rectangular glass case.  I didn’t end up using everything I brought with me. It would have been too cluttered. Last minute inclusion, bulldog clips, proved life-savers! They held the  photographic prints in place.

I had never ‘hung’ a painting before at an exhibition and that proved ‘interesting. Sarah Davis sent up her wonderful original painting via kindly courier, Peter Taylor, but it was unframed. I had no time to find a frame. Fortunately, I had one around the house that was  a good match colour-wise though not quite the  perfect size.

Given my exhibit was about my close collaboration with Sarah, the items displayed needed to reflect the two minds working together to make a new creative whole – our book! Sources of inspiration, stages in text change, changes in images, cover and trivia relating to the characters, objects and places in the book, all combined to make a successful ( I hope you agree) exhibit!

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The Exhibition, Journey of a Book, has a wide range of book journeys exhibited, from YA novel, like David McRobbie’s, to real life adventure  by Prue Mason, picture books like those by Kathrine Battersby and chapter books like the one by Angela Sunde, to non fiction works on calligraphy as an illustrative art form by Peter Taylor.

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E-Book Publishing – iphone/ipad/e-book – some notes

Children’s books on ipad and iphone

Thought I’d share some notes on e-publishing, especially with all the excitement generated by ipad. I have two picture books coming out myself on iphone and am looking forward to having picture books on ipad!

Iphone

Pros

Most of the iphone publishers pay better [some much better] royalties than book publishers.

Though the RRP cost of books is low, volume of sales is high compared to hard copy books.

Folk buying an e-book for iphone often buy the hardcopy too if the child likes the book.

If you are publishing with an iphone company who works with  the big publishers or with big children’s media companies, then it potentially brings your work to the attention of  some important networks/people. It puts you book into good company!

Cons

Starts with costing you the author.

There is a setup fee or the set up cost is taken out of your royalties.

You have to make your own audio and ensure it is of ‘professional’ quality or pay to have  the iphone publisher produce it for you. American iphone book producers like to use American accents [sorry Aussies].

If they format the text into the images for you that is a cost as well.

You have to submit the completed book upfront  [not such a hassle for the author/illustrator] as a pdf. For author working with illustrator  it means either you pay the illustrator upfront or they work with you with  royalties in mind. If it is accepted  you may find you have to then submit each frame [individual jpeg image] resized to iphone format . This can mean force sizing, which can distort the image slightly.  If you do not do this yourself, there is a cost for them to do it.

Like all publishers, they are selective.

I have books soon to come out with PicPocket Books and istorytime. [See my website for updates www.jenniferrpoulter.weebly.com ] For a preview of “Toofs!”, to come out with PicPocket Books, see the interview with Susan Whitfield [http://susanwhitfield.blogspot.com/search?q=Poulter ].

e-book

kindle

Pro

Good format for b&w and has growing audience.

Con

No colour.

e-book

ipad

Pro

Is all the buzz – is touted as new direction in children’s publishing [most recently at CAL seminar in Brisbane recently].  Not seen as replacing hard copy but as important new outlet.

Penguin are already there, are going for interactive stories on ipad. Exciting! [see UTube and http://www.engadget.com/…/penguins-ipad-formatted-books-shown-off-making- waves/ ] All the same pluses for iphone also apply here and more.

Con

Same companies doing iphone are now doing ipad as well so the cost  structure may still apply – may change too as ipad is much more flexible than iphone and is beautifully suited to picbooks. Because of this, there may not [note may not] be the same need for audio.

Ripple Reader

Pro

If your book is already in hardcopy, it is ‘free’ [yep that’s right] to load your book onto Ripple Reader and free to join the company.  Ripple Reader pays royalties! It is an exciting innovation that makes your published book accessible much, much more widely.

Con

Your book must exist in a published version first, so that the editing process it has gone through ensures production quality.

Recommended Reading

Latest SCBWI Newsletter [March/April 2010] page 22 – article by Elizabeth O. Dulemba titled, “My 1st iPhone Picture Book App”. Elizabeth was published with a company called Rhodesoft.com [“Reading Rhino”]. I don’t know as much about them, but they do also require a set up fee.

LINKS

www.jenniferrpoulter.weebly.com

http://www.picpocketbooks.com/

http://istorytimeapp.com/

www.ripplereader.com

rhodesoft.blogspot.com/