One Pea Who Burst From Her Pod
by Elaine Pease
Even Sharks Need Friends
Nestled tightly in my pod of four, I never thought I'd end up creating, printing, marketing, and peddling my picture book. Maybe it was the turn of the century 2000, maybe I was just "ripe" to spring the pod and bring a dream to reality. But my story took on a life of its own as I embarked on one of the scariest and most fulfilling journeys: self-publishing.
My family was very supportive, both with the creative end (my kids' suggestions) and the financial end (my understanding and business-savvy husband). I'll Never Leave
was born after an inspirational hike on a warm, November day. The story of Little Leaf - a new leaf on the tree who loves her work so much that she doesn't want to leave in fall - was rejected by many editors, mostly, I think for "personification."
A local, self-published children's author/illustrator read it out loud in the writing class she was teaching and said she loved the story and would be willing to illustrate it. She very kindly, showing me the ropes of self-publishing, as well as--
- how to get an ISBN and bar code
- how to comparatively price a hardback picture book
- the merits of 28 vs. 32 pages long
- how to die-cut the cover so it's more appealing face-out on a shelf, and
- how to approach schools for author visits and conduct a successful visit (a huge hurdle for me because I hate being in front of any audience--even when they are only five years old).
She was my mentor (an invaluable person to have in self-publishing) and now a very good friend.
I'm now on my third picture book manuscript, having published Even Sharks Need Friends
in '06, again with the help of my friend, who illustrated one of the characters. (I proudly embarked on illustrating this book--another fear overcome-- and developed a mixed media collage style.)
I also enlisted help from my then ten-year-old to paint the ocean backgrounds. She did a tremendous job and was rewarded with her name on the cover!
I will continue self-publishing, since I love seeing my dreams come true and letting kids know, through school visits and books signings, that this publishing thing is attainable and they should never give up.
I've found the only insurmountable hurdle is major distribution. I've had to be content with local and states-I've-visited distribution. But, as my husband would say, "It is what it is."