Thursday, January 18, 2007

Childish ideas

Focus focus... okay scattered focus.

Took a look at some of the children's books I've been working on. (WhatNow?, sorry if I've neglected to more directly answer your inquiry previously). I've got two pretty good ones I'm honing right now, both playful, introducing concepts (colors, life cycles of plants, seasons, money), and both including a newly composed song that accompanies the text. I think these could fly. There's a third as well, without music, which may be the best, about creativity and discovery (a found object becomes a number of useful and playful things for a prehistoric boy and girl). I took inspiration from having found an object that plays the role of protagonist in the story, but also from books like "The Glob" (1952, by John O'Reilly--the first book I ever read) and the "Clan of the Cave Bear" series (by Jean Auel).

For now, I've put aside the two earlier ones that I had submitted to that agent who turned me down. They were more personal, dealing with emotional issues (sadness, death) a bit tougher sell. (To be honest, maybe they were a means for purging some of my own feelings at the time). I may return to them at some point down the road and rework them. If I can come up with ideas for a series it might work better. Problem is: I'm no artist. That doesn't seem to be a deal breaker as many children's books are the combined effort of a writer and an artist. But do I let an agent or an editor choose the artist for me, or do I take more initiative in finding one I think is appropriate, and attempting to coax their involvement?

At this point, I'm wondering if I should try submitting to another agent, or if I should try my hand submitting a couple (well-honed) books directly to publishers. Or... if I should try a "Baby Einstein" approach and just start my own label. How would one go about doing that? Do I have enough to make that work (perhaps I'd have to come up with say 5-10 good, publishable books to start)? Do I have the commitment to this project to make it work?


What Now? said...

Barefoot Books started up in the co-founders' homes, so clearly this is a model that sometimes works. I didn't know that Baby Einstein had a similar founding.

Your books sound fabulous -- especially one with its own song! I hope that this is material that you keep working on so that others can share it.

ArticulateDad said...

Thanks, WhatNow?,
For the sake of getting feedback, and to satisfy the curiosity of you and others who might like to see these books in their present state, I have posted them to the subdomain of my PRW, linked to from a now defunk old blog. If you can't figure that out, but you'd like to see them, send me an email, and I'll forward the link.

trillwing said...

This is exciting news!

Have you looked into self-publishing on Lulu? They do nice work.

BTW, my understanding is that publishers prefer to use their own illustrators.