Thursday, April 7, 2011

For The Sake of Grandma's Legacy

I was the oldest of many cousins.  There would be a lot of us running around during Sunday visits to Grandma’s.

I seemed to have a knack for quieting the younger ones down by gathering everyone into a circle and telling one of my stories.  

My soon to be seven year old granddaughter also loves my stories.   Sometimes, in the middle of a story I would catch her staring off into space.  At first I thought she had lost interest, but she would stop me,  ask a question or want more details.  It was then that I realized she was trying to imagine what I was describing, creating the pictures in her mind.

About a year ago, when Bella began to learn how to read, I started to write down some of my stories.   Since she lives about an hour away, I would email a copy to my daughter and she would print it out.  Then Bella and I would Skype and read the story together.

I thought having a story professionally illustrated, printed and bound would make a nice Christmas present for her.

Now, I knew nothing about this process.  I Googled “self publishing” and got a list of sites.  I chose the website Blurb

Since I cannot draw, I knew that the next thing I needed to do was find someone who could.  I decided to use Etsy 's Alchemy bid request tool for that.   By the way, I found out today that the Alchemy function is no longer available on Etsy.

I received about 25 bids from people with all different levels of talent and expertise.  The price ranges were also very varied.

I selected a young woman from New Zealand.  The price she quoted me was very reasonable.  She also had experience in book layouts.  I accepted her bid in July of 2010. 

It was very exciting for me to see the characters I created come to life in illustrations.

The book was completed by September and uploaded into Blurb.  When the finished copy came in the mail, I knew I couldn’t wait until Christmas to give it to Bella. 

Bella’s reaction was one of  calm acceptance.  Why of course Grandma wrote a book for me.  Doesn’t everyone’s Grandma do that?

Bella has been asking for another story.  In November I contacted my illustrator and asked if she would be interested in helping me again.  She agreed.   I thought this would be a nice present for Bella’s 7th birthday, which is April 21.

As the illustrator got closer to the finished product, I figured I should ask what the final cost would be.    The price of the first book was $133.00.  

My second book was a little longer. I did agree to her new price per page quote, which went from $10.00 to $15.00.   I estimated the cost of the second book would be around $300.   A little steep, but I justified it to myself.  After all it was something Bella could pass down to her children.

When I received the illustrator’s reply, I had to re-read it several times to make sure I was seeing it correctly.  It couldn’t possibly be $750.00, could it?  Maybe she had made a mistake and she meant $150.00.  Nope, no mistake…. $750.00.

There was no way I could justify that, not even for the sake of legacy.

I sadly wrote back to and told her that I was sorry but I could not afford her services.

She wrote back and kindly agreed to do it for somewhat less.  I must say that my illustrator, Serena, has been extremely helpful to me.  I could not have done this without her.  I understand the time and effort she has put into these books is priceless.  

So a second book will be “published”.   I hope in time for Bella’s birthday. 

Maybe, I should buy a “drawing for dummies” or “anyone can draw” book.   

Or, perhaps, just let Bella’s imagination create her own pictures from my words.

If you would like to see the first book, it is in the Blurb Bookstore, Igbee And The Pink Bird.