If youâ€™re a cartoonist, you have probably thought about illustrating a childrenâ€™s book. I took 2 kids book classes in art school that I loved. A decent writer/cartoonist can create a kids book, itâ€™s just getting a publisher to pick you up thatâ€™s the pain. That, or knowing you will have a long, rocky & expensive road of self-promoting, while trying to draw/write NEW books for your series. Itâ€™s tricky.
Well, about 3 years ago, my mom approached me with a script from a coworker of hers who wrote some stories, but needed an artist. I figured, what the heck. The story was cute, it had a moral, and was relevant to little girls today, plus she had a good 3 or 4 other ideas for future books. The writer & I tooled away with character designs and over a couple months, I hammered out the first book, â€œAbbyâ€™s Adventures: Picture Dayâ€.Â Abby loses her tooth the morning of her school picture day, and innocent cute hilarity ensues as she tries to find ways to hid her gaping hole in her smile (including sticking a mini marshmallow in there, lol). We were both very happy with the final piece and packaged it up for publishers, optimistic and probably naively so.
Then reality sunk in. Big publishers do not want a â€œpackage dealâ€. Publishers want writers to send in their work, and illustrators send their samples, & then they get to play puppeteer and match â€˜em all up. This of course leads to some writers not being very happy with how an illustrator depicted their characters, but at that point, the writer has no say. The old â€œYou want it published or not?â€ deal. (My writer has friends in the business with this very issue- the majority of the books sheâ€™s not happy with). Itâ€™s very similar to some of the headaches that comes with being picked up by a syndicate. â€œYou want to play in the big leagues, you gotta play by our rulesâ€“ we know best, not youâ€.
Fast forward 2.5 years, and out of the blue, my writer stumbles on a small publisher who loves the book, the series. She has 2 girls, who adore Abby and want MORE! Just from 1 book! A flurry of reformatting the book, size adjustments, logo changes, and other revisions.. And POOF. Itâ€™s on amazon.com and listed with Barnes & Noble. And I have a pile of stories to illustrate, haunting my every spare moment. The thing with a series is, you cannot leave people wanting more for too long, or they lose interest. So, these next books in the series need to be cranked out ASAP. All I have to say is thank goodness for coffee, red bulls, and my flex-time work schedule. Oh, yeah, and my love for cartooning!
â€œAbbyâ€™s Adventuresâ€ is still in itâ€™s baby phase. It could take off with the right promotions and advertisingâ€¦ And if I can frigginâ€™ get these new books done quickly enough. Weâ€™re finding some promotional ideas will only work once we have a fanbase, and others are simply too expensive and time-consuming. Itâ€™s all about baby steps, and word-of-mouth at this point. But itâ€™s a start, and thereâ€™s nothing more flattering than a rave review from a 5 year old who wishes Abby were her best friend!
And now for some sneak peeks at what I have been toiling over for months now…. (and why Z&F is only updating 2x a week):
Abby’s Adventures: Dance Recital (book 2)