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That light-bulb moment!

Deciding to write a children’s book.

Hi, I’m Rich.  I’m the wrong side of thirty but the right side of forty and after a successful ten years in education I had a ‘light-bulb’ moment… For years I have been wondering how I can use what is probably my greatest talent, illustration.  Then it hit me! An idea came into my mind where I could illustrate, exercise my creative mind and utilise the years of experience I have gained in teaching… So, back in January of last year I started sketching pictures for my first children’s book.

12 months on and I have finished it!  The artwork is drawn, the text is written and I have submitted it to numerous publishers.  I’m pleased with my book’s beautiful imagery, exciting storyline and cliffhanger ending.  I wanted to create a children’s book aimed at children aged between seven and ten years old that has a combination of picture book-style artwork and an exciting, adventurous storyline.

Now I am at the painstaking stage of waiting to see if someone will take a chance on me as a new author…  After twiddling my thumbs and pulling my hair out waiting for a while, I’ve decided to be more proactive so I’ve started this blog.  I will share the process I have been through so far and keep the blog up to date with any new developments…  Be back soon.

lightbulb

Scorched earth – let’s slow down climate change…

Save our winters:

https://protectourwinters.uk/take-action/what-can-you-do

Scorched earth – let’s slow down climate change…

Whilst my current book projects are ongoing and out there, I thought I’d do a picture about something that is concerning me: climate change.

I don’t mean to be preachy but is anyone else bothered by this? The stifling heat, brown grass, melting icebergs, rising sea temperatures, heat related fatalities, wild fires and extreme weather swings are concerning me more and more. The problem I believe is that not enough people think about it. Everyone needs to try to make a difference for this planet’s future; it is becoming more and more inhospitable and I’m not just thinking about humans…

Scorched earth – let’s slow down climate change…

Whilst my current book projects are ongoing and out there, I thought I’d do a picture about something that is concerning me: climate change.

I don’t mean to be preachy but is anyone else bothered by this? The stifling heat, brown grass, melting icebergs, rising sea temperatures, heat related fatalities, wild fires and extreme weather swings are concerning me more and more. The problem I believe is that not enough people think about it. Everyone needs to try to make a difference for this planet’s future; it is becoming more and more inhospitable and I’m not just thinking about humans…

Back to the drawing board…

After a full week, I got into work on Friday to see there was a visitor coming in to school to work with the children.  After seeing his name, bells started to ring as I realised he was the children’s author: Richard O’Neill. As soon as an opportunity arose, I introduced myself and asked if I could pick his brains about the world of children’s books.    He was extremely helpful and gave me some excellent advice.  He even asked to see my book and went through it with me during the lunch break.  It was amazing to get feedback from a successful storyteller and I was particularly pleased when he said he liked it.

So, the journey continues as I’ve now had more input, which I will heed as I go back and edit my book once more.  I’m on a long road but it is a very interesting one as I continue on the cycle of sharing my book, getting feedback and then editing it.

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Feedback

Well, it has been an interesting couple of weeks… A few blogs ago I was talking about the importance of networking and there has been some movement on that front. Now people know about my book, word is starting to get around. I’ve been in contact with someone within the world of children’s literature, who has been doing some great work forwarding my book/ideas to the right people. On the back of this, I’ve had some very useful feedback on my book from people with excellent knowledge and experience, which has led to some new publishers interested in me sending them a proposal of my work. I’m not arrogant enough to think my first draft of a children’s book will be perfect so I’m willing to take onboard feedback and make changes to my story, design and style, if necessary. Let’s be honest, this is my first attempt and there are people out there with great knowledge and experience in this area.

This is going to be a long road but I’m really happy that there is a buzz developing and people are discussing my work.

Why I wrote a children’s book

As a teacher, I have read countless children’s books over the years. Some are fantastic but some are quite baffling… There have been many occasions where I have read a book to a class and felt underwhelmed because nothing actually happened in the story. There was no tension, no action, no drama and no excitement; sometimes there wasn’t even a moral undertone that children can learn from. More often than not the artwork was amazing but sometimes it really wasn’t. However, the most incredible thing when I read a book like this is when I see a golden badge on the front stating ‘eight million copies sold’… really? How?!

This got me thinking – I can do this! I know I have the artistic ability and I’m certain I can create stories which will excite, entertain and grip children. I already had some ideas and it was a matter of choosing the right flagship idea to go with first. My first story has tension, action, excitement, an educational element and a cliffhanger. Although I’m open to editing it on the advice of more experienced practitioners, I’m pleased with it and truly believe children will enjoy it and want to read the next one in the series…

What came first the chicken or the egg?

When I was trolling through dozens of publishers I learnt that unless you’ve already had a book published some publishers/literary agents won’t even look at your work… Okay, so how do I get my FIRST book published if I already have to have one published for them to look at me?

This scenario reminded me of other situations I have come across, such as premier league football tickets. A lot of top clubs will only sell tickets to people who have been before, but surely everyone must have a first time of going… Also, this reminded me of some employment opportunities, where employers want someone with experience. How do you get experience without being given an initial opportunity?

Thankfully, there are some publishers who will accept manuscripts from first time authors and these are the ones that I need to approach.