Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Listen to Children then Write

As an artist I always find it amusing to listen to kids talk. Some sound so adult while others sound so innocent and naive. I am fascinated by the cartoony nature of some kids expressions. For instance, I once overheard two kids having a conversation in a park. One kid wanted to go to his house while the the other kid did not. He said, " your house is like a million, million gazillion miles away." I  then thought to myself, "what a great line for a children's book"!!!

Richard Olson

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Publish Yourself? Why the Heck Not?

When you can't find a publisher, sometimes you just gotta publish yourself. In this case, look to successful indie author/publishers like Russ Slater out of Michigan. They market locally, have booths where they sell autographed books, do school visits with happy kids reading their books and lastly, they talk about their events and post pictures on social media. Try to rub elbows with writers of this ilk and make the rounds - consider it one big be-in with lot's of new prospective friends.

Rich Olson

Friday, January 12, 2018

Should I hire a Digital Children's Book Illustrator?

You will definitely want to work with a digital artist for your picture book. The reason why is that there needs to be room for the writer's vision,  as well as the artist's vision. I have yet to see an illustrator get every image done perfectly without any edit notes from the writer. After all the story and images are a melding of two art forms. And it is this working together that realy brings out the best story book possible.
If an illustrator is working traditionally with watercolors, oil, acrylic or some other medium, it will be difficult and frustrating if the writer wants a full moon instead of hangnail moon - especially if there is no room in the artwork for a full moon. The piece might have to be started over. This will make both parties unhappy and a bit frustrated. Whereas a digital artist could fix the problem in 5 minutes, apply a color shift over the entire artwork, move text around, change fonts etc... the possibilities are endless for digital artists.
Most computer art programs have texture brushes that simulate traditional brush marks beautifully. So stop your tomfoolery, find a good artist - and make sure the artist can work digitally.

Rich Olson

If you have writer's block, then you need to stop what you are doing and feed your brain with stimulating input. One excellent way is to look for very creative artist's illustrations and notice all the storytelling being told without words. Examining images is a quick way to stimulate your own creativity. Eventually your head gets so filled with images that stories and ideas begin flowing out of your head. Jot them down quickly. What if this? What if that? etc... Now your creative juices are back in fine form. Pick and choose which ideas will help the story and then... run with it baby.

Rich Olson

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Indie Children's Books Author Russ Slater Strikes Gold!!!

Russ Slater is leading the charge in Michigan and showcasing the finer points of the state. His children's books center around Michigan themes and are a hit with kids during school visits. There is a goldmine of inspirational people and places in Michigan and Russ Slater has tapped into it. His new children's books have just been published so book a school visit to ring in the new year. Here is a link to his great collection of books

Monday, January 8, 2018

Creative Marketing for your Children's Book (idea 01)

Get in charge of a children's charity you are passionate about and then have a coloring contest with one of the characters in your book. Give out merit awards to everyone. Maybe the award congratulates everyone for "Creative Excellance using color." It might be a printout you made and copied at Office Depot. Then call and tell your local newspaper about the upcoming children's charity coloring contest event.
Some newspapers will gladly take it to print in the local newspaper. This is free advertising for you and helps promote you and your book. Other people who read about the event may want to get free personalized autographs inside the book copies you will be selling.
If this children's book marketing strategy is not to your liking, stay tuned for more creative marketing ideas.

Rich Olson

Do I really need an agent?

If you can self publish as a writer or illustrator and make enough to be comfortable, then you don’t need an agent. Why give up control. There is an intimate relationship between artist/writer and their clients or supporters. The business end of it has never been easier with Paypal and other internet companies. Power to the artists, you are free to determine your own destination and be an entrepreneur. There is no greater security than to be your own boss. After all, it’s your talent they want – you are in demand baby – now get behind the wheel and drive. Mahalo!

Rich Olson

How Important is the artwork in my picture book?

Story is king as they say so illustrations take a backseat. In much the same way as sound is more important than visuals with youtube videos. People are more likely to watch a video if the sound quality is great and the the visuals not-so-great, than the other way around. If the sound is garbled or missing completely then they will most likely turn it off. Picture books can have average illustrations and still sell as long as the story is well crafted and draws the reader in. Now if the story is great and the illustrations are greater - now that's a home run!!!:) Rich Olson

Thursday, January 4, 2018

15 Essential Rules for Children’s Book Writers

   1. Delete sentences that don’t add to character development or story development.
   2. Characters should not be predictable - nor should the story be predictable.
    3. Dialogue should not ramble on and on and .... It should only help further the story.
   4. Story should flow and not be confusing. Have a friend read it and tell you what the story is about.
   5. Use bold letters and punctuation for emphasis but don’t overuse it or it will lose it’s effect.
   6. Keep your tenses consistant. If you start telling the story in past tense, stick with past tense.
   7. Be sure characters have character. They should be consistant until a life changing event occurs.
   8. Instead of using thought bubbles, consider creating a new character to dialogue with.
   9. The main character must not be boring, otherwise, the reader will be bored.
  10. Stories should have a beginning, middle and ending in which there is conflict and resolution.
        this is what draws the reader in.
  11. Good guys should win and bad guys should lose.
  12. Fully rounded characters will have both strengths and weaknesses.
  13. The book should not be preachy - don’t treat the reader like a child.
  14. The story should make sense chronologically. If it goes back and forth in time,
        make sure a child can understand.
  15. Correct all grammar, punctuation and spelling errors before submitting to an agent or publisher.
        Let a friend who is good with English check for errors or pay an editor.
        It can mean the difference between being published and unpublished.

article by Rich Olson