From Radio to Picture Books
by Marc Kuhn
Never Goose a Moose
I knew absolutely nothing about publishing a book, especially a children’s picture book.
Most of my writing was part of my career in radio--news copy, feature reports, commercials and promotional campaigns. What did I know about children's picture books? I have six grandchildren--that's it!
Not much to go on, but I went for it anyway. However, I had no delusions of grandeur, and I often tell people I wrote and self-published my book just for grins and self-satisfaction. One highlight...
I searched for an illustrator on Craig's List and was referred to a young mother in the U.K. (I live in Florida). Put your pencils down everyone; she won the job instantly and the two of us spent the next eight months marrying text to picture--entirely via e-mail. We never met, never spoke on the phone or text-messaged each other...just e-mails! What a great experience. And, if you don't like the rhymes I wrote, you should at least appreciate her crafty contributions.
So, in the end, I did experience many grins and I enjoyed the experience of self-publishing. However, and it's a big HOWEVER, if you self publish and you truly want to sell your book, and maybe even experience some success as a writer, you will need to be an incredible marketer with exceptional reach and an impressive list of worthy contacts.
As an individual, everyday wannabe writer, you simply do not have the punch it takes to get your self-published book out there, at least the kind of book I wrote.
If you write non-fiction, help/advice books for example, and you are an acceptable authority in your genre, then you stand a chance to claw your way to some notoriety if you are persistent. The internet will help you here.
No-name picture book authors, on the other hand, don't have much to hang a hook on.
They are not sought-after experts for talk shows, Oprah and Ellen just aren’t interested and neither will your neighborhood B&N or Borders give a hoot. You are pretty much on your own, and once you’ve deluged the media and book industries with your offering, your roaring expectations will settle down to a very, very quiet squeak.
So, grins and encouraging comments from friends and loved ones are what you have to go on. Use them to motivate yourself to carry on. Keep writing, keep trying. But keep on!
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