Archive | May 2013

You’ve Written Your Fabulous Book For Children – But Where On Earth Do You Find Someone To Illustrate It That Won’t Cost You An Arm And A Leg?

Wow…sorry about the long-winded title of this piece….I’ll try and make up for it by keeping the post quite short.

The question is a tricky one for new writers trying to break into the children’s book market.

In the last 20 years or so I’ve met hundreds of wannabe authors who can’t wait to show me their fabulously written books for children….let’s use ‘Henry and the Magic Chicken‘ as an example (I’ve just made that up, obviously…but apologies to anyone currently working on their very own Henry/Magic Chicken book…there’s bound to be someone somewhere. Please feel free to get in touch).

In general, most of these authors are trying to save money, so what do they do? They illustrate the book themselves. Or their nephew/niece has a pop at it. Now I don’t want to be a party pooper but again, in general, the illustrations spoil the book. Not always the case, I admit, but as I say ‘in general’ it’s not a wise thing to do.

So, what should they do? Pay a professional illustrator to do it for them? Lay out an arm and a leg? Give away a percentage of their book’s profits? It rarely happens.

For those authors who can’t do their own illustrations the conversation tends to run like this….. “Steve, do you know any young, up and coming, wannabe illustrators who would love a chance to get into the profession? Would they like to work on my Chicken book for a small fee? If the book makes any money I’ll certainly see them right.”

Now, you may think my answer would be “Sure. No problem. I have a little black book with the names and contact details of hundreds of suitable young talented illustrators who’d jump at the chance to take a crack at your book. Now, let me see, who do I know who can draw great chickens?” Nope.

I can honestly say I know no one. Trust me, I’ve looked. No one. You might think every young, aspiring illustrator/artist would be interested, and would be up to the task, but I’ve not found them. Maybe they exist, but not on my radar. Oh sure, there are lots of young people who want to be illustrators but to be perfectly frank I’ve found very few who can actually draw. It pains me to say that, honestly. They tend to work on Photoshop, which is a fabulous tool (I use it almost every day), and there are some terrific images produced that way, but if you ask “Can you draw me a crazy chicken running down the street with its tail feathers on fire?” I suspect most would struggle.

So, what’s the answer? What am I getting at? Well, I have to hold my hand up here and say that I’m currently one of those ‘wannabe authors’ with a book without illustrations.

Actually, I now have three books I need illustrating, but they are all very much ‘spec’ books…..not ones I want to spend much money on….they are what they are, ‘written on spec’. They might come off, they might not. One might make up into an animation short…who knows….and it’s precisely at moments like this that you tend to think “I can’t afford to pay my usual illustrator his fee for just a ‘spec’ idea. If only I knew a young aspiring artist who might be good enough to do it for me!”

So what I’m suggesting is simple…if anyone reading this knows of any young (old, whatever the age, I care not) wannabe illustrators who would like to be considered for these kind of jobs please tell them to get in touch with yours truly and I will add them to my Little Black Book of Fabulous (and Inexpensive) Illustrators which is currently blank.

OMG. Six hundred and forty five words. I blethered on again. Sorry about that.



Un-Enrolling Your eBook From Kindle KDP Select – Keep An Eye On The Date

Just a quickie as I’m sure you’re all busy.

A pal of mine whose book I converted for Kindle and uploaded and enrolled in KDP Select got in touch the other day. The conversation went something along these lines… “Steve, I have a chum who wants to promote and sell my eBook as a digital download on their own website but I can’t do that if the book is ‘enrolled’ in KDP Select. Can we get out of KDP Select? Un-enroll?”

Okay, for those of you who are not sure about what KDP Select is and the reason it exists, here’s a brief explanation. Very brief.

Once you upload your eBook to Kindle you have a choice to make. Enroll in KDP Select or not. Enrolling your book in KDP Select gives Amazon (Kindle) the exclusive right to sell your digital book on the internet. The word you need to watch out for is ‘EXCLUSIVE’.

If your book is being offered anywhere else on the internet in digital form then KDP Select will not allow you to sign up with them.

There are all kinds of benefits to enrolling, you get higher royalty rates, free days to promote your book, and a share of KOLL the Kindle Owners Lending Library royalties….and more.

The fixed term for KDP Select is 90 days. Ninety. To save everyone messing about the 90 day period is automatically extended for another fixed 90 days…in other words it rolls over without you having to take any action.

Now, what about if you want to un-enroll from KDP Select BEFORE the 90 day period ends? Yep, that’s fine. BUT….you need to give Amazon 5 days notice. So watch out for that…..

But, you are also allowed to cancel KDP Select enrollment in the first ┬áTHREE DAYS of your next 90 day period. So that’s worth checking too. Otherwise your book is signed up to be enrolled for the full 90 day exclusive period and you are locked in.

Obviously, some of you may be wanting to know why you should enroll your book is KDP Select anyway? That’s another story I’m afraid, and a VERY long blog post, so best to go onto Amazon and check out the KDP Select Terms and Conditions and their very useful Frequently Asked Questions.

To sum up….my advice is to write down the START DATE of your KDP Select agreement for each of your books you have available for Kindle….that way you can see when your book is about to expire…..but don’t forget it’s 90 days (not three months).

Hope some of that made sense and was of some use……..have a good day.

If you want to know how to un-enroll from the automatic 90 day enrollment, let me know, and I’ll post something for you.