Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?
I love storytelling and I wanted to create a different type of picture book which had a story that would entertain adults as well as children, and was designed in an eye-catching format. I researched what made a best-seller and I used my own skills as a graphic designer, and my life experiences to create the stories.
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
I took a few months off work a couple of years ago and wrote 14 stories that I had ideas for. Since then I have focused on getting my first book ‘The Dandelion Who Refused to be a Weed’ published, which is available as an eBook. I would also like my book to be available in paperback too so it’s important to try and create awareness of it.
How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?
I write my stories as they came to me - which can be when watching TV, or sitting in my garden. I then storyboard the stories as for me the visuals and words are inseparable as both speak the story. I then type up the stories on my MacBook.
What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
My favourite part of writing is seeing the story come together in a succinct and imaginative way and getting the rhythm of the words right, as picture book stories are very short.
Very often it’s the last line of the story that is the most troublesome, as it has to draw everything in the story together and be very meaningful.
How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?
I love a play on words and I also wanted to use my wisdom from life experiences, and my skills as a graphic designer, to write and design picture book stories primarily on self-development. Once I had written down my initial idea for ‘The Dandelion Who Refused to be a Weed’, I then developed it as a story board and the actual writing probably took around 5 hours.
What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
I am quite new to social media but I have a website and a Facebook page, and my book also appears on the Matador Publishing website - the publishers of my eBook. I spent a lot of time initially contacting bloggers and sending copies out for review and the reviews I received, primarily on Amazon, were excellent, but I need lots more! I will be arranging for a review in Publisher’s Weekly in the near future which I hope will bring my book to the fore.
What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
I am still working on raising the profile of ‘The Dandelion Who Refused to be a Weed’, but I have many other titles that I would like to get published as soon as my first book is more established. My next title might be ‘Bella the Bashful Butterfly’ about a misunderstood butterfly.
Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
Well there is a theatre company that is interested in buying the performing rights to my book and also an educational publisher that has me on their list of ‘possibles’ for publishing my book/s in paperback.
What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
Just keep trying. If you believe that you have a good product, eventually your talent will be recognised.
My website is: www.picturebooksbyann.com
The link to my book on Matador’s website is:
My question to you is:
Would you say it is more beneficial to have an agent or not? Personally, I have found that I would rather not have an agent who doesn’t totally believe in my books. Agents, like publishers, don’t seem to want to ‘take a risk’ on a different type of picture book story e.g. self-development, until perhaps it becomes ‘fashionable’.
I agree. I have never had an agent, although I was once in search of one. No one will have the enthusiasm for your book that you will have. But I do believe many writers limited on time and resources will find a good agent a handy resource. An agent can work on all of those places you'd like to send your manuscript, and many places you may not have even thought of, while you're working on your next book.