On The Shelf! It's A Towel! It's A Pillowcase!
I've been writing and illustrating fun books for kids for about 16 years. Working with traditional publishers has its own special set of challenges and I'm hoping to overcome all those challenges by self-publishing my most recent picture book, A Cape!
A Cape! is a simple, fun picture book about a young boy who finds out what kind of super powers his new pillowcase cape gives him. And what kind of super powers it doesn't give him.
A Cape! is one of the few books I've ever created that just came to me all at once. Generally, the process of writing a book takes week, months, or even years. While there was still a lot of editing and revising as I worked on this book, the basic story came to me one day as I pulled a towel from the linen closet. The simple-looking artwork was not so simple, however.
I've spent a long time developing the look of the art for the book. I experimented with lots of materials, techniques, and styles before finally deciding on a simple, loose look for the art to reflect the dynamic excitement of the boy. The artwork went through a LOT of changes while I was developing it.
Here is a series of pictures showing the development of the style I used in the book - from initial thumbnail sketch to final artwork. I tried a LOT of different styles, techniques, and looks before I created one that I really loved.
Sometimes I'm amazed at how much time and effort goes into something that looks so simple.
I got my first huge boost for the project when Cheap Joe's Art Supplies generously donated all the paper for the final watercolor artwork.
The Big Picture - The Big Project
The 32 page, full-color book will be printed in hardcover, with a spot-gloss dust jacket by a large, reputable printing company. It will be 10.25" high and 8.25" wide.
It's going to look amazing! This book will not be a print-on-demand project. As such, the quality is much better, but as you would expect, the up-front costs are considerable.
This project is much more than a picture book, however. I'm a former second grade teacher and I love visiting schools. I get to talk to tens of thousands of kids at 50-75 schools each year to talk about how I create my books. I have developed a new presentation called "Imagination Is A Superpower" based on A Cape!.
I am working hard to promote the idea that imagination is as important as knowledge to young learners. If this project is funded, I will be able to promote the "Imagination Is A Superpower" program at all the schools I visit.
Right now, I'm planning to make the book available for sale only at schools that I visit. I want to be able to make a direct connection with the readers and allow them an opportunity to have something special that not everybody can run out and buy at a big chain store.
I may eventually make the book available through a great local independent bookstore, but for now, you can only get it if I visit your school or if you donate $25 or more to this Kickstarter.
I've already shared the Imagination Is A Superpower program and an early version of the book with a few hundred students at several schools and the response has been incredible. The kids and teachers have loved the book and its subtle but important message that Imagination Is A Superpower. And–let's be honest–the kids loved the fact that the boy in the book is running around in his undies.
I have worked hard to keep my funding goal at the bare minimum to help me complete the Kickstarter and get an initial run of 1,000 books printed. That is the minimum order the printer will accept.
Funding above my goal will be used, in part, to purchase larger quantities of books, thus bringing the price-per-book down so I can make the book as affordable as possible for students.
In an effort to keep this entire project very kid-oriented, my stretch goals also include adding a website where students and teachers (and everyone else) will be able to download and share fun, free activities to help expand imaginations.
If I'm lucky enough to get more funding than I planned on, I'll build myself a giant fortress inside a hollowed-out volcano where I can implement my plan to take over the world.
I'm kidding, of course. I'd never build my fortress in a volcano. Too hot.
Any funding beyond my stretch goals will be used to help promote A Cape! and Imagination Is A Superpower so I can make the book and the program available to even more people.
And maybe I'll buy a jet-pack or something.
Oh, boy - there are all kinds of cool things available to donors: Postcards; posters; copies of the book. I'm also offering original pencil drawings of the boy from the book, a chance to get your name in the illustrations, and a few lucky donors can get some of the actual artwork from the book.
In keeping with my desire to highlight reading in schools with this book, I am also offering rewards like a book donated to a school of your choice in your name and Skype Author Visits with a classroom of your choice.
Check out the rewards over on the side of the page to see all the cool stuff that's available.
I'm Marty Kelley, a full time author/illustrator of children's books,
a recovering second grade teacher,
a part time musician in a children's music band,
and an occasional hiker in the big mountains of New Hampshire.
I'm incredibly excited about this project and sincerely appreciate the fact that you are considering it. Thank you so much.
Risks and challenges
Most of the artwork is already completed so the biggest challenge will be the wait time associated with printing and shipping. The book will be printed by a reputable printing company who does great work for large publishing companies. It will not be a print-on-demand book. The turnaround time is longer with large-batch printing, but the quality is vastly superior.
Honestly - having worked to help other authors self-publish before, the only possible risks I can foresee are delays in the printing. If anything does happen, I'll make sure that everybody knows what's happening and what I'm doing to fix the problem.
Waiting a few months to get your sweet prizes is difficult, I know, but the end result will be totally worth the wait!
- (30 days)