Bringing Obara to Life!
by Michelle Bodden
(New York City)
A page from self published book award winner Obara the Gatekeeper
Michelle is the author of Obara the Merchant, Obara the Gatekeeper, and Well, My Teacher Said
The two picture books I've written and published are adaptations of traditional stories from the Yoruba people of Nigeria. Out of respect for the elders who told me the stories, it was very important to me that they not be changed much from their original versions. I was very concerned that a traditional publishing company might want to change the stories to make them more commercial, so I decided to self publish.
The process was eye opening - writing the story was the easy part!
A very good friend of mine is an artist, and he illustrated my text by doing 13 original oil paintings which then had to be converted to jpegs for the designer to work with. I formed Water Daughter Publishing LLC, bought ISBN numbers and became a publisher.
I researched print on demand, but when I published Obara and the Merchants, my first book, the technology really wasn't there for full color books. After a lot of research, I found booksjustbooks.com, who could print picture books in runs of 1000; they also did the formatting and cover design. I'm very happy with the results, because my titles look beautiful and professional.
Obara the Gatekeeper, my second book, won Honorable Mention in the 2007 USA Best Book Awards competition!
While self publishing is hard and takes a serious upfront investment (the two titles cost about $13,000 to publish) I would certainly do it again and am right now working on my next title. I market my books to schools, child care centers and the Yoruba community; thus far I've sold over 2500 copies.
My latest venture is a DVD of my first book in collaboration with Kool Kidz Television; it has been shown in 20 film festivals, including the Cannes Film Festival Shorts Corner.
If you are thinking of self publishing, do a lot of research, be prepared to spend some money and market, market, market!
Visit Michelle's website, Water Daughter Publishing.