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…
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.
Now I’m in this stage of hiatus, waiting to hear from publishers, I wanted to do something productive that may help me along the way. At first, it was a big secret that I had written/illustrated a book and I’m not sure why. Perhaps I wanted to surprise people, perhaps I was worried about not finishing it or perhaps I was afraid of failure. In the end, the few people who did know about my book encouraged me to tell people and get the word out.
The best quote from one my friends was, “You’re writing a secret book… that’s going to sell well!” This got me thinking; I’m not going to get anywhere if I don’t get myself out there. Ever heard of the theory of six degrees of separation? You know, that you are linked by a series of seven or fewer acquaintances to anyone in the world… So, here I am spreading the word and asking people who know me to spread the word as all it takes is for the one right person to see it.
Oh, and as for failure, well Mr Churchill said it all, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts…”
I guess it’s true of any opportunity/goal; it takes good timing, a bit of luck and a lot of persistence.