Showing posts with label Publishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Publishing. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How to publish your own children's picture book

We're pleased to have a guest post today from Kirby Timmons, indie author, speaker, and television writer who published his first children's book in 2009:

The Unopened Stocking: A New Holiday "Yarn" For Dads & Families Who Love Them

One of the great things about being a writer today is that you don't have to wait for a publisher to decide to accept and publish your work.  You can publish it and market it yourself with the help of the internet, the great equalizer.   It's easier than you might think to get your children's picture book out into the world.  What's the worst that can happen?  No one buys it?  What the best that can happen? You create a grass-roots movement and sell copies of your book, or perhaps you get the opportunity to decide whether or not you want a publisher involved when they come knockin'...

by Kirby Timmons

One of the pleasant things I remember about 2009 was that it was the year I published my first children's book, "THE UNOPENED STOCKING".  Thinking back, it seemed like a pretty daunting challenge. But once I broke it down into some manageable steps, it actually came about rather easily. And it could happen for you just that way also.


I chose a holiday story I'd written years ago, one in which my twin boys teach me a touching lesson about Christmas spirit. Whether you're adapting a story or essay you've already written, or writing something original for kids, focus upon something simple and personal that could appeal to young minds. If it's universal, it will appeal to adults, as well.


A children's book is really just a small artbook which mixes text, pictures and white space in an engaging way. So, take your original story and break down the text into self-standing, manageable bites. A good way to think about this is to look at individual sentences to see what is "illustratable". That will help you to define which text and pictures will live together comfortably on a page.


Each set of facing pages of a children's book really needs to be designed almost as a single page, so that, together, you can lead your viewer's eye down and across the left page and onto the right page. For those of you who have up-to-now been primarily formatting text only, this will take a little trial and error to achieve a pleasing flow.


For formatting, you can utilize writing programs you may already be familiar with -- Microsoft Word and PowerPoint both allow you to mix text and pictures. There are several online book publishers that will allow you to input your book online. When completed, you'll be able to print one-at-a-time copies for a very reasonable price.So, whether it's a children's book, a small art book for adults, or some other project you decide on, there are lots of advantages to starting small.

Not the least of which is that you'll be able to mark the passing of a very special year -- the year you became a published author.

Kirby Timmons is a professional writer, trainer and speaker who has written scripts for some of TV's most enduring series, including THE WALTONS, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF GRIZZLY ADAMS, and THE INCREDIBLE HULK. Kirby has also written, produced and directed hundreds of training programs, including THE ABILENE PARADOX, named one of the 5 best business videos of all time by Fortune Magazine; GROUPTHINK, winner of the American Psychological Associations Award for Best Training Program; and TEAMWORK IN CRISIS: The Miracle of Flight 232, now used in disaster programs worldwide, including Columbine High School in Colorado.   While he has concentrated in scriptwriting, Kirby is also a published author, and has contributed articles to THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, THE LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS, THE HERALD-EXAMINER, MARRIAGE & FAMILY LIVING Magazine, among others. Kirby taught Scriptwriting For Informational Media at California State University at Northridge, and has lectured at Los Angeles Valley College. He has also taught high school screenwriting workshops with the Writer's Guild Foundation.

Also Kirby Timmons is the Moderator of our upcoming Santa Clarita Writers Group Group and Creative Writing Workshop

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Your Hyphenate Brain – How Fiction Writers Can Play the Hollywood Game to Their Advantage

Today we're happy and excited to feature Zoë Green, a guest writer for!

Zoë Green has recently been hired to write projects for Rob Reiner and George Clooney and is currently writing a superhero(ine) movie for Stan Lee. To learn about writing for film/TV visit her site


Picture the scene. A young woman emerges from film school, secures a literary agent and writes her first screenplay with the idea that she will sell it to Hollywood. It hits all the right notes – it’s a big budget sci-fi / fantasy extravaganza, and is hailed by all studio readers as a unique blend of character and ‘world building’. Compliments fly. High powered meetings ensue. But alas, no studio can actually buy it. The reason? The work is original and not based on an existing underlying intellectual property.

A number of years have passed. I (the young woman in question) have been lucky enough to build a screenwriting career from this original screenplay. It did the work of a good spec – it got me many meetings which led to much free ‘take’ work which led (eventually and often in anti linear fashion) to a number of TV and movie sales. But the cold hard truth remains that in today’s sputtering spec market an original screenplay will rarely sell unless it happens to be a commercial enough twist on a public domain concept to pique the interest of a studio. All those of you who want to see your own stories up there on screen may as well hang up your hats. But wait! There’s another way. Call it the double-edged sword. The buyers want original content to turn into movies. They are gasping for it – to the extent that producers rabidly comb short story websites, galley manuscripts, random tiny comic book imprints and blogs to find something, anything, with an existing built in audience, however tiny. So if you’re an aspiring screenwriter with a fictional bent, consider yourself as the progenitor of a multi-faceted creature ‘the idea’ and make sure that it exists in the right format for them to find. Come up with a high concept idea and get it published. Almost anywhere. And then make damn sure you have the screenwriting skills to insist that you get first pass at the script when they come clamoring to option it. It will serve you to have the screenplay version already written. They may well buy it from you and you could suddenly find yourself a card-carrying member of the WGA. You may even then be asked to write the tie-in movie novel in an interesting reversal of media. Result!

Remember this --- producers and studios have an endless devouring need for new material. So understand that a person who can strategically write both fiction and film may well be the only kind of person who can retain any kind of control over original ideas in this very precarious, ever shifting game.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Helpful Hints ~

Often writers sabotage their chances of getting published without realizing it. Not utilizing the spell-check feature is one way. Another is by not making sure their work is professional-looking. To help guide your pieces to publication, make sure they look good. Jendi Reiter, editor of Poetry Contest Insider and judge of the Winning Writers poetry contests, has listed several important formatting tips to help guide the writer to success. Along with valuable suggestions regarding fonts & paper, front matter, cover & title pages, table of contents, acknowledgments, text, cover letter, and the famous SASE, she includes links to samples that provide a concrete look at what she means. Take a few minutes to read her Manuscript Tips, and help yourself avoid some of the more typical ways writers can unintentionally stand in their own way.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Another Good Agent Blog

I'm quickly becoming a fan of agent blogs. Finally the publishing world seems to be catching up with the digital age (God bless all you gen-y'ers). To think I was all excited when agents gradually began accepting e-mail queries.

Read Elizabeth Jote's blog - she already has some great advice that will keep good writers from making stupid political and green mistakes:

Paper Cuts! Glorious Paper Cuts!

She also links to Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips, one of my personal favorite podcasts. Who wouldn't love an agent who listens to Grammar Girl?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Premier Book Awards

Premier Book Awards is now accepting entries for the 2008 Awards in both fiction and non-fiction.

With so many new titles published every year it is increasingly difficult for any given title to stand out. One of the best ways for a book to gain credibility, exposure, and increased sales is to win an award for writing excellence.

These awards were established to recognize meritorious works by writers who self-published or had their books published by a small press or independent book publisher. POD books are welcome. The contest is open to selected book length fiction and non-fiction titles with a 2007 or 2008 copyright, published in the English language and targeted for an adult audience in the North American market. There are $100 cash awards for the winners in each category, plus a $500 award each for the best fiction and best non-fiction of the year. Winners also receive a certificate suitable for framing and Premier Book Awards will issue a press release to announce the achievement. Check out the website for details: