Make Books Now!
Indie Publisher Training
& Action Program
Publish Your Children's Book. Let's Do This.... Together!
Ten Step Action Program with Maya & Matthew
You may be starting your own press. You may be publishing a book to showcase your work as a step toward traditional publishing. Or perhaps this is an experimental run for you or part of a traditional submission process. All excellent reasons to take action! And action is exactly what our kids need. In order to have an equitable representation of children’s books with White Americans, Latinx Americans need an annual increase of 94%, African Americans need an 83% increase, and American Indians need an 81% increase. These are stunning numbers, as is the continued misrepresentation of all of our communities, especially American Indians. Our kids need LGBTQI and disabled reflection as well as other marginalized communities, elders, and real stories about real life.
With action in mind, we created a step-by-step process geared for success and good-looking books and modeled after our own process when we co-founded our independent press. You will be supported to create a full color, 32 page, 8 x 10 inch paperback children’s book using IngramSpark and/or CreateSpace.
Through a series of recorded webinars we'll share our process as we develop, produce and publish a children’s book (or three!) through our independent press. There are numerous stages and decisions to the actual production of a children’s book and we'll touch on each one, providing you with action worksheets, book templates and advance overviews to make the necessary decisions in the most successful order for your own book. Suggested "assignments" are also provided at each step to support your book craft and help you stay on track, with referrals available for further development in specific areas if needed as well as the basic decisions and steps to starting your own press.
We'll get an overview of what's going to happen over the course of the program and what decisions need to be made at the start. We'll ask the important questions like...Why are you publishing this book? Are you starting your own press? and more. This program is geared toward fast, fun and expressive art. If you’re going to more formally illustrate your book or hire an illustrator, scheduling considerations will be provided here at the beginning as well.
In the next two steps you'll finalize your manuscript. We’ll look at the tools I use to finalize my own stories such as mapping and ways to self-edit with storytelling in mind, how to divide the text into different pages and more.
Do you need an ISBN? How many should you get? Should you start your own business? How? All these questions and more along with setting up accounts at two main Print on demand (POD) companies, IngramSpark and CreateSpace and the pluses and minuses of each.
How to do the most with the funds you have or how to get additional funds through crowdsourcing. We'll cover some basic steps to run a simple campaign and how to use it as part of outreach efforts.
Thumbnails, Drawings, Samples, Final Art...We’re specifically going to look at fast, easy, fun, successful ways to create good looking art. We'll talk about maintaining consistency, tracking your project and "signing off" on the final art. We'll also cover art directing someone else if you've decided to hire an illustrator.
We'll talk about putting it all together into PDF files for the printer and look at scanning/photographing art, using the book template, file specifications, working with a graphic designer or doing it yourself.
We'll cover uploading your files to the printer, proofing your book, file revisions, distribution considerations, and the glorious day when the box of books you created arrives at your doorstep!
We’ll look at a basic website template to share your book, and touch on curriculum, presentations, outreach, selling your book and more!
Who is this Program geared toward?
This program is for those who want to take action now. Most of our learning happened and continues to happen on the published page. If you’re ready to learn through doing an entire book, then this is for you. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to have all the answers. This is a success oriented framework. You’re also welcome to use it as a practice run.
What kind of time investment?
Amount of time is dependent on your personal goals and may vary. This course was originally designed to take place over 10 months with most months having 3 weeks to accomplish 8-12 hours of work. Some months may be higher depending on your illustration style and whether you'll fundraise.
Are there additional costs to consider?
As part of the program, we'll cover budgeting and fundraising for your project if you're limited on funds. Additional costs will vary depending on your goals and whether you will do things yourself or hire others. In general producing a book this way can range from $280-$3000+
There are probably as many answers to this as there are people who pursue it. For us it has been about retaining control over what kinds of books we can produce. For some it might be about getting to know the process as a step toward traditional publishing. For others it might be they need their book in hand in order to support the work they do. Whatever it is, the print on demand model allows for the fastest turnaround, lower up-front costs and less waste allowing us to make our books NOW!
(Read more: Self-Publishing is a radical, powerful act.)
Can I really do this in 10 months?
We asked ourselves over and over if this was possible and we kept coming up with the same answer. We do it. And we know others who do it. So it’s totally possible. We’ve also simplified and streamlined the entire process every step of the way based on our experience. Our intention is to provide a basic foundation for you to follow with all the decisions and steps laid out in order.
Which first, this Program or The Heart of It course?
If you've never taken any courses in children's books and are just starting out or if you feel that you have blocks to your coming into voice and/or moving out into the world with your work, we'd suggest taking The Heart of It first. That gives you a really nice immersion into children's books and coming into your power as storyteller and artist. If you've been working on a story for a bit now or you learn best through doing then perhaps it's time to think about taking action!
More about the Program & what it offers:
Access this course and more with classroom registration.
Maya Gonzalez is largely self-taught and has been making children's book since 1995. She has illustrated over 20 award-winning multicultural children’s books, several of which she also wrote, with not an end in sight! Her book My Colors, My World won the prestigious Pura Belpré Honor Award from the American Library Association. Her most recent picture book, Call Me Tree was listed in Kirkus’ Best Picture Books of 2014 that Celebrate Diversity. While still engaging in traditional models of publishing (she's currently illustrating a book written by the late Francisco X. Alarcón for Lee&Low), she also co-founded her own press in 2009 to provide more control, freedom and action for herself and others often mis/or under represented in children's books. Her fine art has shown internationally and appears in numerous books about the contemporary Chicano Art Movement including on the cover of Living Chicana Theory and Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art: Artists, Works, Culture and Education considered to be "the Bible of Chicano/a art." Ridiculously creative, she’s probably making art or writing stories as you read this or thinking about art & stories if she’s driving a car or using the stove. And one of her ultimate passions is inspiring others to create books, because she believes that creating children's books has the potential to be one of the most radical things you can do! www.mayagonzalez.com