One of the great things about DIY publishing is that you get to break rules when you feel like they need to be broken.
One of the rules in traditional publishing it’s the children’s picture books should be 32 pages. There are a few exceptions, but not many. The irony is that those exceptions often tend to be exceptional.
As I’m perusing books pilfered from Thing2’s bookshelf, some of the most dogeared titles — The Giving Tree, Where The Wild Things Are — break rules with regard to page length.
As I dig deeper, I also notice that the books that still stand out for us are those that may not have perfect “story book” endings but are somehow still satisfying. They may hint at a darker side of life but enlighten their readers.
They do something truly exceptional. They trust children.
As I’m whittling words and laying out spreads, I’m keeping in mind that there is at least one rule I don’t want to break – and that’s to trust kids.
What started as an exercise in learning to storyboard a kid’s book for The Truth About Trolls has morphed into it’s own project–a way for me to laugh instead of cry about the eternal black hole that is T2’s room.
I’m almost done inking the drawings for “Dweezil’s Perfect Plan.” T2 has been happy to contribute his Defcon 5 messy room — one of the perils of encouraging creativity in your kid — for me to use as life model.
The plan after the inking is to convince T2 that it’s time to move to Defcon 1, but as the past few weeks have shown, even the most perfect plan can produce unexpected results.
Back in April, just about the time I was trying to untie my creativity from a paralysis of over-analysis and get the last few pages of The Truth about Trolls laid out, Thing2 was exploring his and putting my resolve not to limit it to the test.
His spring time creative effort led to a rock pile in the middle of his room, the fruits of a “quarry” he and a couple friends had started near the kids’ Lord of the Flies training ground in the woods behind our house.
That was three weeks ago. The rock pile is still there.
He’s cleaned his room. I have cleaned his room-a bit. Laundry has been done. Baths have been had. But that rock pile is still there.
At first thing to wanted to hang onto it. Then he was afraid he wouldn’t clean it up the right way.
It was a story writing itself (Élly has been very understanding, as long as her pages keep developing).
Thing2, aware that the rock pile and the absurdities of our undeclared battle are serving as inspiration, is more determined than ever that it should stay. To his credit, however, he has moved it out of the center of the room so the rest of us can get from point a to point B without breaking or next.
I’ve decided to exercise my mom authority and remove the “inspiration” as soon as he goes to camp or I finish his story, whichever comes first.
Ironically, in an age when digital publishing makes everything easier and faster, getting the Kindle edition of this book out was the toughest part of being a new publisher. Because “A is for All-Nighter” is illustrated on every page, converting it to an iPad-friendly format was not as straightforward as I would have thought. In publishing, as in life, however, there is little you can’t teach yourself with some persistent googling.
The Kindle edition of “A is for All-Nighter” is $1.99 or $.99 if you already purchased the print edition on Amazon.
The proofs for the new book came today. The UPS guy dropped them off at the Big Guy’s work, and he got to look at them first. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning waiting for the parents to come down so I could open my stocking as I waited for his workday and mine to end.
Opening the proof on a rainy Tuesday proved to be better than any Christmas morning I could’ve imagined as a kid-even if their head at actually been a pony in one of my stockings. Well maybe not quite that good but you get the gist.
There are one or two punctuation marks missing to fix, but, barring any major disasters, the book will go on sale next week. More to follow.