Anyone who has tried publishing a picture book knows it’s very challenging. Breaking into the industry as a first time author is extremely trying. You think you have the next ‘Pete the Cat’ craze and you start to dream about your book signings and selling out at Barnes and Noble…But then you’re hit with rejection letter after rejection letter and start to question if this is something that will ever happen at all. Meanwhile, you’re reading ridiculous books that have seen questionable success like those ‘SkippyJon Jones’ books that are so hard to read and make no sense at all yet they are on the book shelves in all the book stores and in every classroom library. How in the world does this crap get published but my brilliant idea is rejected by every major publishing house in America??
Yes, I too have written a book. I wrote a children’s picture book over 6 years ago. It has gone through so many drafts and different versions, submissions, rejections and critical reviews that at times I felt like why even bother? As a Montessori Preschool Teacher and new mom, I knew I had to press on to get it completed because like any other frustrated author (and teacher), I couldn’t stand to read another ‘SkippyJon Jones’ book in the classroom let alone see it sell out in the book stores without wanting to throw up.
As I just mentioned, I was a preschool teacher for several years. Reading picture books was something we did multiple times a day. I am in love with books for children. I love all the classics from ‘Curious George’ to ‘Goodnight Moon.’ I love books that send a message to the child. I love books that are relatable and engaging to the child; that can spark up conversation about their daily lives to get their language going. Children are drawn to relatable subjects, rhythm and participating in predictable language. They love insightful illustrations and are captured by colorful imagery. There are some great picture books out there these days. But, there is also a lot of fluff. As a teacher, I need books that I can use as part of the classroom. I need books to spark up conversation and imagination. I need books that make sense to the child. That’s why I wrote “A Little Goes a Long Way.”
“A Little Goes a Long Way” is a simple story about a little boy who helps Mom and Dad around the house, but can’t seem to grasp the concept of ‘a little goes a long way.’ He learns to be more careful when doing practical everyday tasks while learning that no matter what mistakes he makes, Mom and Dad love him no matter what. This is a great lesson for any young child to learn. I can’t tell you how many times a day I would use the phrase ‘a little goes a long way’ in the classroom. Now, if only there were a colorful aid to illustrate to children in the 2-6 age range how to be more careful with practical life tasks such as pouring or spooning (which happen to be a part of the Montessori Practical Life curriculum).
That’s where Paper Farms Press comes in. Kevin Staniec, author of “How to Catch a Cloud” and co-founder of Paper Farms, saw the potential in this project and took it on board straight away. The draft I had initially submitted was a bit different than the one you will see in print. If you would like to see a selection of the drafts this book has seen over the years, check out the ‘drafts’ page. Kevin put the project in the talented hands of artist Vivian Nguyen and there the project really started to come to life. Kevin, Vivian and I worked together for several months under contract of Paper Farms until Summer of 2013 when the publishing house had to close down. After a small hiatus and a little luck, a small publishing company called Reading Tree Press, took over the project and continued the journey to the printing house. We are now on Amazon.com and Amazon UK and working hard to spread the word as much as possible. As a first time author, I am basically in charge of marketing this on my own.
The point of this blog is to share the process and my personal experience in getting my first picture book published. I will be talking about where this project has been, how it came to the draft you will see in print, how the characters came to life, working with the illustrator and sharing ideas on how we plan to market the book. Follow us on this blog and you will get an insight to this whole process, following it step by step. If you are a parent or teacher or an aspiring author of children’s books, or maybe you’re just a huge fan of picture books in general, then this blog is for you! I will be checking daily for comments and suggestions you may have. Together, we will be watching and talking about how this book will unfold and come to life. I am so excited to share this whole process with all of you.
Ashley M. Monaghan