As we welcome autumn/fall with its brilliant colour metamorphosis across the landscape, we begin to think of cooler weather and a new space to write. We transition from writing on the deck, in a beach house, or a lakeside cabin to a cozier study or quiet room with a view or flickering fireplace. The seasons affect our mood and in turn our writing. These seasonal changes can also add to our content.
If we are on the cusp of a new project, we can use the crisp mornings and evenings to walk in nature and percolate ideas. We can watch the flames dance in a fire-pit or the leaves dancing on the wind or crunching beneath our feet. Why not take day trips to a wine festival, a corn maze, a pumpkin farm, immerse yourself in the season and its special harvest of smells and sights.
Let your imagination experience this new season and bring your idea to life. Ask yourself what your new project’s genre might be.
Is it an autumnal romance?
A spooky horror?
A ghost story?
A contemporary ‘change’ of scene narrative?
If you are in the midst of a project use nature as an example and lose any extraneous content, edit with the thought that the project will be renewed, fresh and improved. It is a reorganization, much like changing your clothing to suit the cooler weather. The autumn/fall scenery can inspire more descriptive language – colour, scents, mood and more.
With the change to autumn/fall, we can utilize the season to promote a book that reflects it. For me, I begin to think about my little monster, Rumble, and his Halloween adventure. I will be looking at a specific promotion for this children’s picture book.
Halloween means that the internet is awash with spooky costumes, books and trick or treat candy. For many of us it is has been an enjoyable evening of dressing up and scaring each other on doorsteps or at themed parties. This year with the COVID19 pandemic, it will be a more muted affair. Social distancing, hand sanitizers, gloves to dispense treats and the wearing of masks. I’m sure there will be a plethora of decorations though, to make the streets look spooky.
There are other people who actually fear Halloween. There are several phobia’s associated with it. Phobia of Halloween is called Samhainophobia. Others are Wiccaphobia : fear of witches, Phasmophobia : fear of ghosts and Coimetrophobia : a fear of cemeteries.
Of course this is the time of year my little monster, Rumble is at his most popular. Rather than being scary for children, he is a cuddly cute monster and they can read about his adventure on his first All Hallow’s Eve.
I have a couple of events coming up this Saturday – one in a local book store – Star Wars themed and then an author reading later in the afternoon – Halloween themed. I have not decided which story I will relay quite yet. It depends on the audience. If there are a number of young children I will most likely read Rumble’s First Scare but if it is mainly an adult audience then I will choose a scarier story. Maybe the true story of my first encounter with ‘predictive death’ or a true ghost story. We will see.
What events do you have coming up this week?
Oct 24 7:00 pm – 21.00 pm
The Nook Cafe, 10153-97 Street, Edmonton T5J 0L4
OCT 28 STAR WARS READS 11:00 – 15:00 The Sherwood Park Bookworm 62 Athabasca Avenue, Sherwood Park, Alberta T8A 4E3
And my next reading will be here:
From October 25 to November 5, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival puts readers up where they belong, in Banff, AB.
This may seem like the easiest part of creating a children’s book – right? Not as easy as first appears as it turns out. Your idea has to convert onto the page in a language that your target audience can understand word usage is vital so take note.
What age group are you writing for?
Will you target pre-schoolers or an older age group?
Will the story contain a moral or lesson?
My children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare began life as a prompt for Halloween. I did not want to write the usual monster narrative but something more unusual and fun. So I wrote the story from the young monster’s point of view. Younger children love Rumble and monsters are not so scary.
Finding a Publisher
There are numerous avenues to research when it comes to finding a publisher.
You can follow children’s book agents.
Submit your story to contests with a book contract attached.
Attend conferences and find an interested agent/publisher.
Research local or regional publishing houses and submit your story.
I was fortunate to find a publisher locally and this made my publishing experience a more personally tailored one. Dream Write Publishing did an amazing job and I was part of the process all the way through.
The amount of illustrations is dependent on the age of your target group, the younger the age group the more pictures are required and less text.
If you are a talented artist you can illustrate yourself.
Do you know an artist that will collaborate with you on the project?
Does your publisher offer this service?
There are many artists on social media you can approach.
My Rumble character was the culmination of my imagination and crude drawings and a wonderful artist friend, Matthew McClatchie, who made my idea of what Rumble would look like into reality.
Again the amount of text needs to be balanced for the target age group. For example, if the books are for very young children the text needs to be simple and sparse with great pictures, but for independent readers, illustrations can be on the chapter headers only.
Do you want the story in rhyme form?
Choose simple pronounceable names for your characters.
Wrap the text around the pictures or along the bottom of the page.
Keep exposition to a minimum
The publisher will require your author bio and a photo
You will create a ‘blurb’ – a brief description of the story – for the back of the book.
If you wish you can have a dedication page.
The publisher will allocate an ISBN and the legal disclaimers and permissions for duplication.
Sharing my little book with friends and family was stupendous. The moment any author is handed their first book is overwhelming emotional. It is the closest an adult comes to childish delight. The reality that your words are now published, that many people will read it and your words will outlive you delighting generations to come is a heady feeling.
After your book is published your work is not done. Promotion becomes your master. Be creative and say ‘Yes’ to any and all opportunities that come your way. The more your book is noticed the more sales.
To promote Rumble I created a soft toy of Rumble, which was so much fun. Once I showed my writing group they all announced I should make miniatures for each book, I declined! Rumble accompanies me to readings and events and is always popular. As I had a good deal of promotion to manage without sewing into the wee hours, I did commissioned Rumble hats, and ordered T-shirts, which are a lot easier to handle.
Always creative, I came to writing later in life. A chance visit to a writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, propelled me into the written word in a way I could never have imagined. I delve into all genres expanding my writing muscles and with several books published; I am certainly making up for ‘lost’ time. As a free flow writer, my stories lead me rather than the other way round, delighting me with plot twists and turns. Writing is my passion, the source of new found fellowship and most of all fun.
I arrange an annual colouring competition prior to Halloween for Rumble fans. The picture is in .pdf format and downloaded from my publisher’s website – http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca. Once all entries are in I choose the winners. Prizes include Rumble hats, T-shirts, monster orientated toys and games.
My newest book will be launched this fall – Clickety Click is a YA monster story. Why do I have a propensity for monsters, I have no idea!
As many of you know I am a great fan of Stephen King, so scary stories are part of my every day reading. However, there are a number of other novelists that might peak your interest (or not!)
This list is quite comprehensive. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10411523/15-scary-books-to-terrify-you-this-Halloween.html
Which ones would you buy?
Have you read any of them? Care to share your thoughts?
It is interesting how different things scare different people. As a young single woman I identified with the poor rabid dog in Cujo but decades later as a mother, my fear was for the child. Perspective changes everything, even our fears.
After I had my children my recurrent nightmare was being buried in an avalanche with them – odd as at that time I lived in England so no fear of an avalanche at all. Now I live in Canada it would make more sense – but that’s dreams for you. As a young child my recurrent nightmare was being impaled on a rhinoceros’ horn and it running through a marquee full of people enjoying a party. (I was born in South Africa, so maybe this was a deeply subconscious fear). It took decades before I could even look at a rhino on the TV let alone in the flesh. Until, that is my daughter asked me to touch one. That broke the fear spell.
What are your fears? Do they carry over from childhood? Have they changed?