Monday, July 15, 2013

Q&A a La Ann Landers: Self-Pubbing a Picture Book

You probably already know I often use a question and answer format in my newsletter and that sometimes I recycle them here.  That doesn't mean you wouldn't benefit from the newsletter, but I sometimes worry if I think you might have missed something important.  So what's so important about this one? It's an example of how--without credible resources--new authors can waste a whole lot of time and money getting in over their heads.




Dear Carolyn,

I have a project that the idea is still in the cradle not developed yet.  I want to publish a picture book and text about people taking public transportation in Los Angeles.  What kind of transportation is available.  Why people are using it.  Where they are going, etc. A photographer friend and I are taking the Metrolink to Oceanside. We want to interview people and take their pictures. Do you have tips for me?



Catherine, here is something to consider before you start on a project like this. Picture books are either very expensive to produce or very difficult to produce. So there is either a high cost of hiring the work done or a huge learning curve if you want to do it yourself. My advice: This is one time where it would pay to write a book proposal first--before you do a lot of work on the book itself--to get an agent and let him or her get a publisher for it. You want an agent who has contacts with publishers who have published excellent picture books in the past. You want a publisher with a catalog of books that attest to their expertise as well. 

Here are three advantages to approaching it this way:
1. You don't have to do ALL the work until you have a contract in hand. You'll only have to have the book proposal 
2. You end up with a book you can be proud of 

3. A good publisher will help you market it.

By the way, if you need a fast and easy guide to writing a great book proposal, consider my The Great First Impression Book Proposal. It's only 6.95 in paper ( and 2.99 as an e-book.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:

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