So now you know why I wrote and published “Jellybeans Morning, Noon & Night” (see Mission Accomplished: My Self Publishing Journey – Part One). Now here’s a little bit of background on how I went about making my “brilliant plan” happen (insert maniacal laugh here).
It started with an idea of course. The idea turned into a story. Sounds “simple” right? I’ve always enjoyed writing and telling stories and in my professional marketing career, creative writing was part of my daily job and I was good at it (at least that’s what they told me). I thought, “Publishing a book – I could do this.” It is a brilliant plan, isn’t it?
Well, looking back now, the description “simple” would not exactly be how I would describe the process of publishing a book (I know, I know … anyone could have told me that). I have to say that the biggest lesson I learned in self publishing my children’s book, “Jellybeans Morning, Noon & Night,” was that writing the story was the easiest part (for me anyway).
After writing the story, which was about 8 pages typed in length (remember it’s a children’s book), it needed to be edited. I don’t just mean correcting any grammar mistakes, I mean editing the story down in length. Having worked in publishing, I luckily had a friend who agreed to do this for me. Without her (and the help of the illustrator), parents all over the world would be skipping page after page as they read my story to their kids. “And they lived happily ever after … the end.” (You know you’ve done it before. I know I have. You can admit it).
Editing the story down to fit on 25 scenes (spreads) was quite a grueling process at first. I thought that the illustrator would just find a way to make ALL my words fit onto her illustrated pages. In reality, I had to find a way to make my words fit on her illustrated page using a lot fewer characters than I had planned. It required re-working and re-editing the manuscript, quite frankly too many times I care to remember (I try to block those memories out).
At the end of the torturing, I mean editing process … when all of the red pencil marks, the back and forth, the debating on what to keep or the arguing about which way sounds better FINALLY stopped, what I had left was still MY story – just better (and shorter). Even more importantly, I learned a lot about the process of writing and editing a children’s book, which is helping me as I venture to self publish my second (Follow the progress of that experience at ElfUnderCover.com).