Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Writing of a Children’s Book, The Sid Series

I began writing The Sid Series when my grandson, Sidney, was very young. The stories were inspired by Sidney and things we did together. I typed the stories into a Word doc, and would later read the stories to him while he sat on my lap in front of the computer. He wanted pictures to go with his stories, so I attempted to illustrate them and bring them to life with colored backgrounds.

Everyone loves to hold a book in his hand; so, I formatted the first three stories and printed them in black and white since my printer was out of color ink (as usual). I didn’t have a stapler with an arm long enough to reach to the centerfold, so I stapled the left edges together to hold the pages tight. It looked like a kindergarten term paper! It just didn’t “feel” like a book. I wanted a better way to bind them, and the pages needed to be in color according to Sid.

I took the file to Kinko’s thinking I would have the stories printed in color on both sides. Shocker! It would cost a dollar per page to have them printed. With the illustrations, the stories were about 15 pages each.

I decided if I was going to go to the trouble of printing and binding the stories, I might as well go ahead and publish them. I found a commercial printer that offered to produce the books in color with a center staple for about $7 each. I printed about a dozen copies of each title thinking I would sell the ones I didn’t need. However, printing them at $7 each didn’t allow any room for profit because folks weren’t willing to pay more than $7 for a 15-page book. Since it cost me another $2 to ship them, I would actually be paying people to buy them.

But none of that mattered. I didn’t write or publish them with the intention of getting rich! I was happy that we could hold and read the books together when it was time for bed. Sidney was so proud of our books that he took them to school for his teacher to read to his kindergarten class.

As time passed, Sid and I added more stories to the collection. He would dictate a story while I typed it. Sid became interested in the computer and was able to play games and get around quite well on the Internet. Once he learned to read, I formatted some new stories into e-books that he could read to himself any time he wanted. I still offer the e-books on my Web site for $3 each.

Still, I wanted the new stories in printed format. That’s when I decided to put all twelve stories in one book and publish them as The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children. I’m glad I did. Now I have a lasting and tangible reminder of the times Sid and I spent together and we have a way to share them with other children and adults. See

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