With a file full of picture book manuscripts and a very talented, and surprisingly willing, friend, Toni Wilson, who agreed to illustrate for me, I will soon release my first picture book. I am self-publishing it; first as an ebook with a print version to follow this summer. The first book will be ready in just a couple weeks (and I will be having a Picture Book Party to celebrate :D ).
And, making it's debut.....my cover :)
(the size requirements for the e-version made it necessary to add the large blue border. The print version will be more squarely shaped, without the large blue border on top and bottom)
I am publishing my picture books under the name Michelle Raynor :) I decided to publish these books myself for several reasons.
1. I wanted to see if I could do it.
2. I wanted to control how things looked. Going through a traditional publisher, I would have had little to no say over the illustrations, which is a hard thing to consider when the illustrations are such a major part of the book.
3. Breaking into the PB business is even harder than getting a novel out there - and the same goes for PB illustrators. These books don't make agents much money, so very few represent them. And while there are several publishers who accept manuscripts (and art submissions) it's just a tough nut to crack.
4. I recently purchased a Nook. My kids LOVE to look at picture books on them. But finding a cute, decent quality epicture book for under $7 is dang near impossible. The books I've found around the $4 range are those early readers I can buy at the grocery store for $1. And yes, I read the article on Amanda Hocking right around this time. Now, I have no illusions about making it rich, but...with all my manuscripts and a good friend who can draw...I figured it wouldn't hurt to start putting my books out there, for a price that even a picky mother like me could afford :)
And so, I did some research, found a company I can publish through who will distribute my books to all the major ebook retailers, found a company for the print versions who will also distribute (at minimal cost), and away we went :D Toni and I will be working on several more books together, and I am also working with another very talented friend, putting words to her beautiful pictures.
This whole process has been absolutely amazing and more fun than I could have imagined. Creating a picture book is such a unique and all-around fun process, made even more so because it's one I can share with my children. They are my guinea pigs, my soundboards, my inspiration, and in many cases my co-authors :) No matter how this journey ends, it has been a wonderful experience and I'm enjoying every minute of it.
Stay tuned for more info on the upcoming Picture Book Party! We'll have some fun things and of course lots of prizes going on :D
*Update in response to Stephanie's question :D* The book will be available on all ereaders, as well as in html form and as a pdf. If you have any sort of ereader (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad, iPhone, etc), a computer or any other means of digitally viewing something, you should be able to download the book. And a print version (which will include color pages for your kiddies) will be available this summer :)