From Idea to Book #5

design, idea, illustration, kids, publishing, stories

Sometimes writers and illustrators question their ability. That’s normal and keeps us pushing for excellence. However, they shouldn’t question their saleability. That is for someone else to do, so let it go. There are people who know as much about selling as you do about creating, so you are in safe hands…

Teamwork is what makes a book succeed or fail. Besides the writer or illustrator, the editor, art director, designer, marketing, publicity, production and printing team members share the responsibility of making an idea the best book it can be.

This means you can concentrate on your special skill, safe in the knowledge that everything else is under control. No one knows for sure how many copies of a book will sell in a given period. You might think yours is the best idea ever, only to find its not a commercial success. Or, you might question why your idea is being taken apart, interrogated so aggressively, only to find on publication day that it is going to be a massive success…. Each member of the team has a valuable contribution to make, raising the overall quality.

Within the team there can be as much conflict as harmony; Editorial and design opinions are historically tense (editors often want more words, designers less). Or, authors who have a strong conviction their words are the exact right ones, and editors who weigh that conviction against sales and marketing insights. And no one is happy when sales people dismiss a cover that they all love. But the right thing for everyone to do is step back have a think and come back with a different option.

So, when you are finally ready to present your masterpiece to a publisher, you should also be ready to let go of your emotional attachment to it. Instead, be open to what your new team will have to say. They will probably point out things you haven’t considered and, more importantly, remind you that presenting your idea isn’t the end of the book building process but the beginning.

Books about food for children are tricky to get right, even trickier to sell.

Chicken Newspaper for Children

african, children's books, idea, illustration, kids, publishing

Chicken Newspaper for Children is five years old! Every issue is sharper and introduces the world to children from 5-12 years of age in the coolest way we know.

We work with many creators and professionals who have something to say or explain and we are always hungry for more knowledge.

So if you have a nugget of wisdom or fun, or if you know someone who would like to reach thousands of children through our website, digital or printed publication, why not get in touch

Help us feed their minds with Chicken!

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Chicken Newspaper, The Food Edition

african, children's books, design, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, kids, publishing

Chicken Food Edition copy

It’s taken a while to learn how to build a digital publication, longer than I thought, but it’s finally done. It will be available throughout January on the iBookstore, Amazon and on Issuu.

If you don’t know, Chicken Newspaper is a unique way to bring current affairs into the primary school classroom because it’s written and designed especially for them.

It is available in print and now digital three times a year.

I started the project because there are many stories that are good, but not books. They are more about how life is, or about what is happening elsewhere right now. These are the kind of stories that parents might discuss with children on the way to school, or that children might overhear, or they might be news stories that need further explaining.

Chicken Newspaper has become a great way to discuss the world. Take a look at a previous issue

We’ve managed to see pit free for schools for the last four years, but the realities of publishing means that is about to change. Still, subscription isn’t expensive (from £7.95 a year, which is roughly $10.00). ITs been an exciting and fulfilling project so far!

Animals? Me?

character, design, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, kids, pre school books, Zimbabwe

I’m not known for painting animals, it has to be said. It took a long time to accept that I could draw and paint animals that look like humans , mainly because I got hung up on the word that describes this process; Anthropomorphism.

Or, perhaps I couldn’t let myself enjoy considering the possibility.  The work I do is mainly about people and objects and how they interact. I spent a lot of time doing that.  But, as every day is a learning day, last year seemed like the perfect time to start focusing on a new skill – two new skills, actually; creating animal characters and then creating stories where they could be free. Creating them in my own way  is like cutting through a thick jungle with a blunt blade and maybe one day things will start to come together.

It’s taken all this time to believe, understand and get excited about this new process. Here are a few from the sketchbooks. All of these characters have made their way in to a book idea with the working title ‘Norton’s Nose Knows’… I’ll leave it at that for now!

K

 

 

Slightly Worried Animals

african, children's books, design, idea, Ken Wilson-Max, kids, publishing, Zimbabwe

beardedmonkey

What if animals knew they were endangered? Just an idea…