As an author, illustrator and artist, I am celebrating 10 years of self-publishing children’s picture books. I started my self-publishing journey back in 2009 when I wrote and illustrated a children’s picture book called If I were a bee. I have this year launched my 12th picture book.
What prompted me to start writing books for children?
I was very interested in keeping a beehive and went to a bee course nearby. I found out lots of amazing information about bees and lo and behold one night I awoke with a poem about a bee running around my head. I had a pen and paper by my bed and wrote it down. I really thought I had dreamt this but next day there it was. I had been painting in watercolours for years before and I put the poem with the art and decided I had the makings of a book. Up until that moment I had no notion to write or illustrate books so I always say I was inspired by the bee.
Why did I choose self-publishing?
At that time another wonderful author called Benji Bennett had just published a fabulous book called Before I Sleep and was working through the death of his little son Adam. I spoke with Benji and he was absolutely great and gave me some tips on how to go about self-publishing. I did send my book to many traditional publishers here in Ireland and also in the UK and America but to no avail. So, I decided to self publish.
What self publishing means for me.
For me it was writing and illustrating the story, getting the images and text scanned into Photoshop and then designing the book. I was very lucky to have a young guy who was training to be a graphic designer who worked on most of my books for me and gave me the opportunity to do most of the design myself. One of the most important things you have to do when you are self publishing is to edit, edit, edit, making sure that there are no mistakes. This procedure could take the best part of a year and when everything is in order the book is ready to go to the printers.
I became a sole trader and registered the my name with the Companies Registration Office. So, my self-publishing business is called DBeePress.
I then found a wonderful printing company in Knock Co. Mayo called KPS Colour Print and have been using them for years to print all my books.
When your books arrive on your doorstep then the work begins. Here are a few thing that I do to get my books out to the general public. I contact distributors, book shops, libraries, schools, newspapers, radio presenters, TV presenters. I use social media uploads to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin. I take part in fairs throughout the country to sell books.
Self-publishing is not for the faint hearted. You need to be passionate, determined, thick skinned and persistant to be able for the self publishing route but it is absolutely wonderful to see your books in shops, libraries and schools and well worth this route.
Every year I take part in workshops in schools and libraries during World Book Week, Midsummer Reading Challenge and October Children’s Book Festival. I have appeared on Irish TV and on many Radio Stations discussing my self-publishing journey and my books.
What the future holds for me.
In 2018 I submitted a children’s picture book called Dee the Bee to a publishing house in Australia and to my absolute joy I was offered a publishing contract. Dee the Bee will be traditionally published in Ireland and U.K. next May 2020 and will be published worldwide towards the end of 2020. I got very sound advice from Vanessa O’Loughlin of www.writing.ie for which I am truly grateful So for me I will experience both self publishing and traditional publishing.
Writing children’s picture books has been a tremendous joy for me and I really enjoy visiting libraries and schools and watching the children’s faces when I read my books. My books are all about nature, bees, hens, chickens, spiders, cats and are all picture books with not so many words and lots and lots of colourful drawings. It has been a wonderful journey for me and one I would never have wanted to miss. So, no matter what age you are go ahead and follow your dream even if it is self publishing your very own picture book.
You can find me on www.doloreskeaveney.com and read all about my journey and see all the wonderful reading events I have taken part in.
(c) Dolores Keaveney
About Meet the Fairies in My Back Yard:
Meet the Fairies in My Back Yard educates young readers on the many types of plants and flowers in their garden, as well as the beautiful fairy folk who live amongst their leaves. Its bright illustrations and rhyming text will make it appealing to any young reader, but it will be especially well received by children with an interest in the natural or magical world.
What a wonderful way to celebrate parks, gardens and fairies! @galwaybookfairy
This colorfully illustrated picture book is the perfect introduction to the glorious plants and flowers right in your own back yard; and the fairy folk who look after them! @bookfairiesireland
What a wonderful school for little people! #madeinwestmeath
Order your copy online here.