Guest Post-Yvonne Herbst-How to write a children’s picture ebook, part 1
The road to publication had broadened for many writers and illustrators with the advent of e-books. But the process can be confusing to many. Where to start? What to do? How do you do it?
Well we feel the best way to learn is through the experiences of others. So join us as Writer/Illustrator Yvonne Herbst walks us through the first part of her journey to self publication! Learn from her journey and incorporate what you can into yours.
After many years of toying with the idea of actually illustrating and writing my first children’s picture book I finally realized that now is the perfect time to simply go for it. Why? Because we can all self-publish!
As an Illustrator I always knew that I was going to have a hard time finding a publisher who would not only accept my story, but would also accept me as the books illustrator. There are illustrators who are also the authors of their own books. It is very difficult to actually accomplish that feat. You need to both write and illustrate at a professional level. Even then that doesn’t guarantee that your illustrations are the best fit for your particular story. Most publishing houses want to choose who will illustrate a chosen manuscript.
Along came e-books and suddenly a whole new world of possibilities emerge. Not only can you publish yourself on various e-reader platforms, but you can also send your book to a printer and have it printed yourself. Combine that with the fact that you also have the social networks available to promote your work. You can really get your book out there on your own now.
It’s still a scary process however. You do not have a publisher/editor holding your hand along the way. Is your book good enough? In my case English is my second language. Although I think I am pretty good at communicating in English, I definitely have a hard time knowing where commas go and stumble over general grammar all the time.
It is also hard to write for children in general. Children’s picture books are especially difficult. You want the pictures to flow with the words. Your written words combined with the pictures should entice the reader to actually want to turn the page and see how the story unfolds. How do you break up a story into single pages with a nice cliffhanger of sorts at the end of each page? Do you write the story for each page first, or do you start illustrating first and then write the story to match? It was a bit of a puzzle to me as a complete novice.
I had many people read the story along the way. Some even wrote it for me at first. Of course, this was before I realized that in order for it to flow with my illustrations I really needed to write it myself. I had to make countless corrections in spelling and grammar. I also had about a large number of pictures that worked at first and did not in the end. I found that a mockup book (dummy) helped me very much! I stapled my sketches together and filled these pages with drawings and placed the text.
Surprisingly the real headache ended up being trying to find out what size and format the book needed to be for each e-reader. That was terribly difficult! There seemed to be a ton of opinions out there on that matter. Did I really have to learn xthml or pay hundreds of dollars to a company to do this for me? In fact, it was so confusing I almost gave up. I had already done so much work though that I didn’t want to.
What got me started again was my discovery of an ipad app, called Book Creator. It is a very easy to use app that simplifies the creation of an eBook. It saves your work as a fixed .epub file. This is what you’ll need if you are publishing a children’s picture e-book. It also saves your file as a .pdf which can be opened in many e-readers. This format also makes it easy to share your book with friends and family. Book Creator’s files also let me publish to Apple iBooks.
Here is the direct website for Book Creator so you can read up on the application.
So Book Creator got me on the digital path. Little did I know I was just at the beginning of many headaches. Luckily it got me on the path to success!
More of “How to write a children’s picture ebook” next week!
Find my book “Pigs Cannot Drive a Tractor!” on Amazon for Kindle (or the kindle app for ipad) and also on Barns and Noble, for NOOK readers!
Tags: yvonne herbst