I started writing a children's picture book in 2022 for an undergraduate creative research thesis. For more background, check out "Diary of a First Time Author," where I wrote about the entire process.
This blog is really just a continuation of the first blog, but focusing more on the publishing side of things.
I will be adding new updates as I go, so check back for more!
Originally, my goal was to have my book fully published by 2023...but the process has been a lot harder and more time consuming than I had hoped. I spent pretty much all of 2023 submitting my manuscript to different publishing houses and agents. One agent selected my manuscript and had me go to the second round of submissions...but then I never heard from her again. I never got any no's, but from what I've gathered, radio silence is definitely the equivalent. I was pretty sad about nothing coming out of my submissions, but by September of 2023, I had decided that I would move forward with self-publishing. This would eliminate the need for an agent or publisher to take on my book, and would allow me to take the reigns on releasing it.
I did a bunch of research on how to self-publish, which company to do it with, how to print them, etc. So now I pretty much have a blue print of what I need to do. I started off by joining a critique group because I knew I would need some feedback on my work from seasoned writers and illustrators. I was so nervous to share what I had, but to my delight, they all congratulated me on how good it was. An illustrator complimented my drawing style, colors, and composition. Some other authors mentioned how they liked the structure and overall story line. I know that we're not supposed to live for the validation of others, but as a complete rookie, their validation really helped solidify my confidence.
Of course, they had many suggestions of how to make my work better. They advised that I cut down my word count, make the wording sound more like a child, add more pictures, and "show" more than I "tell." Some of them even added some page-by-page suggestions on the book dummy I shared with them.
After meeting with them, I realized that I had a lot of work to do to make this book publishing ready.
Since then, I have started editing the manuscript. The story structure is the same, but I have changed and rearranged pretty much every single line. I have gotten through 3/5 pages, and hope to be done with the major edits by this Friday. After that, I'll do a few more run throughs to make sure it sounds good. Then I will probably meet up with the group again to see what they say.
From there, I hope to move on to editing the illustrations and adding in those extra spreads.
I think the biggest problems right now are 1. being motivated enough to work on the edits, and 2. making time to really sit with the work.
I finished the first run-through of revisions for the entire manuscript. I cut down my word count by almost 100 words! I'm thinking to print out this new version and go over it again to see where I can simplify sentences, add in more descriptors, and look for grammar mistakes. After that, I'll split the manuscript into spreads and see where I will add in some additional pictures.