The old cliche’, ‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat,’ has never been more true in publishing than it is today. (Never mind that I’ve always wondered why one would want to skin a cat in the first place – morbid)
But I digress. Today I am hosting 12 x 12 in 2012 author Elizabeth Dulemba, who has a story about a story (LULA’S BREW) she wrote years ago that is finally coming to life as a print book. It’s spooky (in keeping with the Halloween theme) how similar Elizabeth’s experience is to my own with A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS. I’m so delighted that her book will now be available in print for even more children to enjoy.
LULA’S BREW: Never Give Up
We always hear that line in book publishing, “Never give up.” But what does that look like when put into application? I’ll share the experience of publishing LULA’S BREW, because she most definitely fits the bill.
I started writing the story back in 2005. I created an entire book dummy and began to submit to publishers. My family and friends loved it, of course, but I received rejection after rejection – you know the story. Then in 2007 I entered one of the dummy illustrations into the SmartWriters.com competition, and won! The judge was a top New York Art Director and breathed some life back into my determination, but sadly, not into my story. LULA’S BREW went into a drawer.
Then in 2009 apps came along. I’ve come to trust my radar for new ideas and it was dinging like a fire alarm. I sought out a start-up app development company (they were all start-ups back then), pulled Lula out of a drawer and got to work. I had a feeling Lula was the right story for the app – she was short, funny, and most of the art was sketched out… but not colored. I had one month to fully render the entire story to have the app out in time for Halloween. Luckily, since the art would be small (72 dpi for a small screen) I was able to work quickly. I even did the voice recording in a mock-up sound studio in my developer’s living room. And we met the deadline!
Back then, LULA’S BREW was one of the first children’s book apps available for the iPhone, so she got fabulous exposure by being featured in the iTunes store for months, and on the popular blog “Moms with Apps.” When the iPad came out, I adapted her again and again she was out for Halloween. All said, Lula was downloaded over 10,000 times.
People obviously loved the story. One mother even sent me a photo of her daughter dressed up as Lula for Halloween! Her daughter loved LULA’S BREW so much, she wanted a copy in hardcover. But I couldn’t oblige her… yet.
Meanwhile, as the iTunes library crowded with more and more selections, Lula lost her spotlight. I thought of self-publishing, but that was a beastie I knew I didn’t want to take on.
Then recently in the July 2012 Shelf Awareness, I read an article about a small publisher out of California, Xist Publishing, who was turning ebooks into print books. What? Again, my radar went off and I emailed them. They flipped over LULA’S BREW and now she will be physically available for purchase in early October. (Pre-orders for signed copies can be made now through my local independent children’s bookstore, Little Shop of Stories – via phone at 404-373-6300.) Wahoo!
LULA’S BREW took a complicated, seven-year journey to get published, but I never gave up on her. If you can’t get in the front door, try a window, but keep trying. It’s worth it.
Want to win a copy of LULA’S BREW? Leave a comment anytime between now and midnight EST October 14th. I’ll draw a winner on the 15th.
Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Apps, Authors, Autumn, Digital Publishing, ebooks, Giveaway, Guest Blogging, Picture Books, Publishing, Storybook Apps · Tags: apps, Author, Digital Publishing, e-publishing, ebooks, Elizabeth O. Dulemba, Giveaway, Guest Blogging, Halloween, Julie Hedlund, Picture Books, Publishing, Storybook Apps