Saturday, May 28, 2011

It started out a couple of winters ago when I did up a little kids' book for my niece. It was a simple story with lots of pictures customized for one little girl. I wrote the story, drew the pictures, cut and pasted my niece's picture and used a print on demand service to publish it as a book. The print on demand (POD) publisher I used at the time was  Blurb - which was pretty awesome I have to say. The problem was that it was pricey and time consuming work. It wasn't something I could do for a living. But I didn't want to give up on the idea of doing something like that. So I thought about doing something else. Maybe bigger. Something like a novel for older children, my own childrens' ages maybe.

Unfortunately, this created another problem. I had to write something. And I'm not a writer. But really, what was there to stop me from trying? I was living in a small town. Work was slow and the winter was long. So I gave it a shot. It wasn't easy and now I have nothing but respect for people that actually can and do write. What a poop load of work it is! But since I already had kids, I was pretty used to poop. And I don't give up easily.

So when I finally finished the first story (and to be honest it's still not really finished - there will probably be a sequel) it was well over five hundred pages. By the time I formatted it, it was six hundred and forty pages. Realizing that was probably overkill for the average teen, I wrote a second unrelated story - only one hundred and eighty pages.Of course my original goal of a three to four hundred pager (average teen fiction book size)is still floating around somewhere. So I'm now working on a third ... but who knows what will happen with that? I might reach my goal, or...

I might get a real job.


When I asked my daughters what they thought of reading about themselves as protagonists, holding that real book in their hands and seeing their faces on the covers...  they confessed that they loved it. They both really liked the Cape Ingenue story, and my youngest loved the Chill Harbour one. She's been pestering me for a sequel, but she'll probably have to wait a while. Like I said, I'm not a writer.

On the upside, no one's complained that the writing is terrible. Those who have read the individualized novels - and gotten back to me - have enjoyed them. Even my picky older daughter has said, "Yeah Mom, the writing's really okay."

Not a glowing review, but I'll take it. Please remember, I was aiming for pulp. Not literature.

I have even done a few of these novels as gifts for friends of my daughters and so far the response has been positive. I think these novels make a very unique gift.

That's really all there is to it. I guess it's experimental as a business just now and I'll have to wait and see how it goes. There may be others out there doing this kind of thing successfully - and I just haven't found them yet. Oh well. If you happen to bump into such a site on the Internet, please feel free to let me know. I'd be curious to find out if making this a successful and affordable endeavor is even plausible.

One last thing about these books: The novels are probably most suited to teen girls in the twelve to fifteen age range, but my youngest was eleven when she read hers. I have read far more controversial teen novels than either of these ones, but I still think there is enough mature content to put the books in a teen category.

As I mentioned before, there is one more novel in the works - a book for the nine to twelve age set, with the option for a girl or a boy to be the main character. It will probably be available in the summer.

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