My first children's book – A Reedsy Success Story
Today, we're hosting a great story by Praveen Krishnan, a debut author who just published his first children's book to teach kids about science. Here's what motivated him to start writing it, and how he went about the publishing process.
Barely a month or two after my first son was born, as any dutiful parent, I was immersed in the world of children’s books. Every day I was reading books out loud to a curious, sometimes annoyed 8-week old. Most people who encounter children’s books for the first time as an adult come away thinking how easy it must be to write a children’s book. After all, most books have 10 pages, with a 5-word sentence in each page and some goofy graphics. I was in that “how hard can this be” camp.
As my son grew into a toddler and preschooler, his books got more ‘sophisticated’. He also started getting humor and absorbing body language from characters in books. The ‘Elephant and Piggie’ books by Mo Willems were huge hits. My son was constantly peppering us with questions, how does this work, why does that do this and so on. I found it fun and interesting to be able to explain real-world concepts and scientific ideas to him. Sometimes I’d be stumped. How do I explain how the internet works to a 3-year old using only terms he understands?
I decided that I should try to write a book for preschoolers - one that teaches Science. So, drawing inspiration from a number of popular children’s books, I put together a simple storyline. It would be a story of two friends, one curious and one brainy, learning about atoms and molecules. A friend of mine happened to be a good cartoonist and offered to do the artwork. Story in hand, art talent lined up, I was ready to go.
I came across Reedsy on a tech blog and decided to give it a shot. While I was making this book for fun, I wanted to find professionals to guide me through the process. I found a copy editor, Amy Betz, who quickly reviewed the script and artwork, and provided several helpful suggestions. For example, we didn’t notice that the pictures on each page did not have much variety. She suggested that the characters move around a lot from page to page. Kids love movement!
The next part was the hardest - getting everything into a design and layout that would be acceptable for printing on demand. My illustrator and I have no experience with books so we found the learning curve for getting the design laid out to be very time consuming and frustrating. The online resources and tutorials are not very helpful to us. We turned to Reedsy again and found, Annie Beth Ericsson. She was fantastic. She worked closely with us and created a layout in days. She advised on the book sizes, artwork style, font and pretty much everything technical except the story and characters.
The book is finally done and live on Amazon and we are happy with the result. Best of all, the book critics (my kids and their friends at preschool) had mostly positive reviews!
Have you ever thought of writing a children's book? Don't hesitate to ask us (or Praveen) any questions in the comments below!