As I am pushing forward with my children’s book project, I – in retrospect – keep making mistakes. Or putting it another way: Things I will do different next time. If you missed the first two parts of this series you can check it out here: part I and part II
10. Earlier Beta-Reading
After I finished writing the first version of the manuscript, I waited until I had finished drawing all the illustrations for the book (which took me three months) before I went on with the manuscript. Furthermore, I created a prototype book, because I wanted to give the beta-readers a reading experience that was as close as possible to what would be the finished book. The illustrations were indispensable (I thought), because there are many scenes in the story, in which the text tells something different than the according image. In the end, the beta readers got my manuscript eight months after I had finished writing my first draft. Next time, I will send out my manuscript much earlier in order to get the book to the finishing line quicker.
11. Translations are Expensive
I wrote my manuscript in German. And as a returning reader you might know that my initial plan was to publish the book in English. Therefore, I knew that I needed some translators. The problem is, translating the manuscript (which has approximately 12,000 words) will cost me five times as much as I had initially budgeted for. I am not complaining here. Translating a literary text is a lot of work. The translator has to develop a sense for the author’s language and rhythm. He/she has to transport the feeling and the theme of the text while finding the right balance between not getting too literal (which in some cases might not work) and staying true to the text. It´s just something to keep in mind for the next book.
12. Coloured Illustrations are Expensive
This is somehow connected to lesson # 2. As stupid as it might sound, but if you are going the self publishing route, coloured illustrations may become a problem. As I mentioned in another post, with some printing companies, printing only some pages in colour will reduce the printing costs. But having only black and white illustrations will reduce it even more. I quickly checked out some of the major children’s books from the last years (How to train a dragon, Spiderwicks, Beast Quest) and they all have one thing in common: b/w illustrations. Now I know why. 🙂
In the end, I think that some stories need coloured illustrations, like the one I have in mind for my second book – which simply won’t work in b/w as the colours are an important part of the world in which the story takes place. Other stories might work well with b/w illustrations, though. – Like a postapocalyptic science fiction story for young adults. Even more so, I think that a depressing story (like the beforementioned one) would work even better with b/w illustrations. Just another thing to keep in mind next time.