A Hungry Werewolf

Ever been so tired you couldn’t sleep? It’s a paradox. A very frustrating one, and it makes you grumpy. Maybe enough coffee will help, but some days, there’s not enough coffee.

My muse has been on vacation. It’s not, I said just recently in talking about this, that I have writer’s block. It’s simply that my fiction brain isn’t there. It hasn’t been since the last time I got really sick, back in November. I’ve been muddling along, making sure I write something for the weekly prompts, but even my art is faltering now that I’m not working on a project and don’t have a clear direction. I mean, I have my new year’s resolution to get better at drawing people?

Which meant that yesterday I drew an acorn. Because no can brain, and botanical illustration I can do in that state.

What I’m working on as a publisher, though! That’s the fun part. Sanderley Studios is proud to announce their first project in the new year…

An illustrated book of poetry for children who aren’t made of sugar and spice…

After doing The Cute Moose last year, I knew I wanted to make more children’s books. What I hadn’t expected is that I’d have people who would want to work with me, and my art, to make that happen. Jimmie’s poetry and flash fiction had already been something I was looking forward to, and his happy personality with ever-ready words of encouragement made him an ideal collaborator. We had so much fun with this book, and now it’s becoming very real.

We are using Bundle Rabbit to handle the accounting – the one thing I do not want to have to take on is managing royalties! – and they are good folks, if you haven’t yet encountered them. I reached out asking if this was something they could do, a picture book we want out in ebook and print format, and they got back very quickly with an enthusiastic affirmative. With that out of the way, I’ve been working up the cover. The manuscript will be submitted to publish this weekend, if all goes to plan. And it (mostly) did! You can preorder the One Hungry Werewolf now, or wait for paper arriving on Jan 31.

Can you tell I was having too much fun with illustrations for this book? We kept it all black and white interior to keep costs down, both for us and for the readers. It’s a full letter size page, too, taking off from a tip in the comments here at Mad Genius Club that the size comes with reduced cost – plus, this book could be used to color in. Some of the illustrations would lend themselves nicely to that method of interacting with a picture book.

I was paying loving homage to Charles Addams and Edward Gorey with my illustrations. There’s no violence on the page, but this book is for the child who thinks the monster under the bed would be a superior playmate. It’s a little creepy, a little cute, and we hope a lot of people like it.

If you’d like a preview of the poetry, check out Jimmie’s Six Spooky Stanzas, which appear alongside my illustrations for each stanza in the book, following the titular poem. I think once you do, you’ll know where the illustration below fits into the book!

16 comments

  1. Do you do events (when the world reopens)? I don’t just mean library and book festivals. I mean craft shows ranging from your church’s annual Christmas Bazaar to the community-wide craft show such as Art On Chocolate.

    The reason I ask is our own, observed experience compared to the people with charming children’s books. There we were at CultureFest (Saturday 18 May 2019) in Hershey. The booth fee was $85 for a ten by ten. We had our extremely niche books and were thrilled to sell thirteen.

    The woman next to us brought a large Rubbermaid tote filled with copies of her single book. A charmingly illustrated children’s book about her cat. She must have sold about ten copies of her book (at $10 IIRC) for every copy we sold. That box was 98% empty when we packed up at the end of the day.

    We made our booth, paid for the merchandise, and, if you don’t count time, made a tiny profit. We also saw a tiny boost in online sales.

    She made a much bigger profit.

    When we were at Fall Fest at Indian Echo Caverns (Saturday 5 October 2019) we barely made our booth ($45). There must have been 10,000 people there and half of them were kids. We were at the wrong show with the wrong books.

    If we’d have had kids titles, from picture books to tween, we would have sold books like funnel cakes.

    Everyone likes to buy a new book for a kid at a craft show: reading is good and we want to encourage it! It’s a lot harder sell with books for adults.

    It takes time and energy to do an event but I can say that kid’s books sell whether you’re at the Kiwanis Club Spring Fling or the St Joan of Arc’s Christmas Bazaar. Display them open (designate a sample copy to be leafed through by the customers) on stands to show what you’ve got. Coloring pages will add another reason for grandmother to say yes, I’ll take three.

    If you’ve got the stomach for it (salesmanship skills don’t tend to align with writing talent), this could be a way to get better known as a writer in your local area AND sell books and make some money.

    1. Funny you should mention this… my background is in family entertainment. I was, for nearly twenty years, a professional performer working with kids. Booth sales of books is right up my alley, and it’s something my collaborator and I are already discussing. We will have to wait until Covid is passed, of course, but I think both of us plan to hit craft type fairs, local libraries for readings, and so on. It is a ton of work. I’m going to be limited by day job. But it’s a very viable method to sell children’s books.

      1. Most shows take place on Saturdays, if that helps. Before the world shut down, you could find shows of all sizes from Valentine’s Day until New Years. January is normally dead.

        It’s MUCH easier to start small and indoors. Indoor venues don’t require a canopy. Sometimes they even provide tables and chairs so you don’t have to haul your own.

        If you do outdoor venues, you *&MUST&* have a ten by ten canopy. Outdoor shows are rain or shine. Get one with sides in case of windy rain. You’ll also need weights. They are in addition to the guy wires which you often can’t use because you’ll be setting up in a parking lot. A craft show canopy (not a dining fly), side panels, front sign, and weights will run about $300.

        Email me if you have any other questions. We learned all this the hard way, including locating shows.

        Because of Covid-19 shutdowns, the craft show industry is in disarray. God in his heave knows what will happen this year and next.

        But yeah, based on the samples you’ve shown here at Mad Genius, you can sell your kid’s titles easily. And they’ll be signed and personalized!

        1. I used to use buckets of sand for weights, those worked nicely even if you were set up on a parking lot and were easy to replace if needed. Also, could be camouflaged if so desired.

          Banners are fairly cheap and easily had these days – certainly more so than when I started out! You can get popup banners that rollup into their base and they look great while not needing any pipe and drape to set up.

          I concur on the tent – and spending a little here pays off on not fighting with setting up if you are doing an event solo. I’m trying to remember where I got my last one, may have been Costco. It was about $150 (and fell victim to a windstorm when it was being used on the deck at home, after I’d retired).

          I can also sell prints and such, in addition to the books, so I can do a nice little table display. It probably will not be an option until this fall, anyway.

          1. It sounds like you’re all set.

            Will you use Square to take credit cards? At some venues, Square made up half our sales. I like cash better, no question, but we got sales we otherwise would not have so I recommend it.

            We also take checks (very rare these days) and have never been stiffed.

            Bring everything, even if your focus is on your kids books. You never know!

            We’ve been very successful handing out multi-page catalogs (which we update and print ourselves) to all and sundry. The catalog lists all our books, provides buying information, website data, etc. It lets us give a prospective buyer something to take away and look at later. I haven’t seen them littering the ground like business cards after a show so they work. We often see a small uptick in our online sales afterwards and I believe the catalog is one reason why.

            1. I use bookmarks and signable postcards as swag for conventions, too. Useful giveaways!

              Yes, either Square or Paypal swipe for taking cards. You really need to be able to do that these days. I have accounts for both already, although I’ll have to make sure Square is still active.

              I also have two coloring books out already, so this should be fun.

  2. My muse is willing to revise but trying to tell me it’s the stupidest story to ever disgrace paper.

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