Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How a change of plans will help a little girl's dream come true

Earlier this year, I was inspired to write “12 ebooks in 12 months” – which would pretty much turn into 12 ACTUAL ebooks published each month next year. My friend and fellow author, Jenn Greenleaf, is the one who started this kinda thing, so when I heard about it, I jumped at that challenge!

So I got to work on the ebooks, figuring out which ones to write and when I'd work on each one. I’d write each ebook a month at a time, with the exception of one that was already written (which I found collecting dust on my hard drive!) and one that would be worked on a little here and there each month because it would be about a year-long experiment. My plan was to not only publish each ebook next year myself, but also to make each one available at 99 cents each.

Later on, however, I got into a discussion with a bunch of authors about ebooks being available for 99 cents, and ultimately decided that making the ebooks available at 99 cents each was not too much of a good idea. That part of my plan was dropped.

Another thing that changed was that one of the ebooks did not turn out very well. It was a year-long experimental ebook that ultimately failed, so it was crossed off my list.

However, one good thing did come out of all these changes to my plan: An ebook that I ended up collaborating with another writer on. And that will get published THIS year!

So how did that come about?

Well, in March, I started work on one of the ebooks, which is a short collection of poems about dogs (better known as a “chapbook” of poems). While I was writing it, I noticed my 10-year-old daughter, Jennifer, drawing pictures of dogs. Quite a few pictures of dogs, actually. On a whim, I proposed to Jennifer that we turn my ebook of dog poems into a project we work on together. In essence, I asked her if she wanted to co-write this ebook of dog poems with me. I already knew she was writing short stories and she'd written a poem here or there. So I wanted to know if this was something she was interested in doing with me. She said yes!

After that was decided, Jennifer got to work writing poems for this ebook. I enjoyed reading them with her and, after she was done writing the same number of poems I had, I put everything away and considered that project done for now.

Later, however, as I started working on the next ebook this month, Jennifer asked me about plans for the dog poems ebook. I told her that I wasn’t planning on doing anything with it until next year. That sad look on her face just crushed me. She looked so upset that this would not be a book for some time now. That look on her face made me rethink my plans. She told me that it was her dream to have her art published somewhere. And since this is the year that we are hoping to make dreams come true, I wanted to make this dream come true for my little girl. But how would I do it?

What would I do now?

I started to think of how we could turn this project of ours into the kind of book Jennifer had hoped for. For starters, it would have to be a print book, because she doesn’t read ebooks yet. Plus, a print book was something she could show to her teacher and friends at school. So, yes, it would definitely have to be print.

The next thing I thought about was how it would be nice to include her drawings of dogs in this book. Was there a way to make that happen?

And where would I send everything to make it all happen?

While I was going over this, a publishing company, Great Minds Think Aloud Publishing, released a new book that was a mother-daughter effort. Lee-Ann Graff Vinson, who is a fellow Gypsy Shadow Publishing author, published a book with GMTA, Queen Emily's Enchanted Kingdom, that her daughter, Emily, illustrated. I was fascinated by this and touched that the publisher, Kitty Bullard, had included the little girl’s drawing as the cover for this book. What a wonderful accomplishment for this little girl!

When this happened, I started to think, was it possible that Great Minds would do this for the dog poems book, as well? Could I make this book a reality for Jennifer?

I contacted Kitty and told her about our project. I asked her if it was possible to have the book published complete with Jennifer’s drawings. I was aware that Great Minds had published a short book in the past, so I didn’t think the length of the manuscript would be a problem in getting it into print. After some emails with Kitty, she said that it was definitely possible this would happen.

After I got the all-clear, I got to work in putting the manuscript together. I typed up all poems and went over them for any typos. Next I had to work with Jennifer on fixing up her poems. They WERE good poems, no doubt, but some of them were not very clear. There were times I had to ask her “what do you mean here?” or “can you say this another way?” The big issue with her poems was clarity. I mean, I did get what she was trying to say, but what if a reader did not? As I told her, “The reader does not know what you know.” So, basically, the only revisions she had to do with her poems was rewording some of the lines to make clear what she was saying.

After that was done, I gave the manuscript a final read, formatted it per the submission guidelines then sent it off. Next, I had to scan all of the illustrations. I had never scanned anything before, so I was nervous about not getting it right. I did goof on one of the scans, but I got the rest of them scanned okay. Then I sent that off the following week, as well.

Soon after the scans were sent off, Kitty emailed me with good news: She wanted to publish the poetry book. HOORAY!!

I told Jennifer the good news and she was leaping for joy! She was soooo excited and very thrilled. She was going to be a published artist! She was going to be an illustrator! She was going to be an author!

And she is going to be a cover designer, as well. Kitty has given Jennifer the okay to create the cover for this book.

Her dream was going to come true!

And so, the poetry book, Dogs Forever: Poems for the Dog Person, is not going to be just an ebook after all. It is going to be a print book, too. And it’s going to be a book that my little girl, Jennifer Wilson, will have her drawings and poems published in.

Congratulations, Jennifer!

And thank you, Kitty Bullard, for helping to make my little girl’s dream come true.

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