Joanna Marple is a 12 x 12 in 2012 participant and the author of Snow Games, an ebook published through uTales. Like many picture book authors, I am closely monitoring trends in digital publishing and keeping an eye on platforms available for authors and illustrators. As part of Joanna’s blog tour for Snow Games (congratulations Joanna!), I asked her to tell us a bit about why she chose the uTales platform to publish her story. Please welcome Joanna, and be sure to check the adorable Snow Games!
I am a new picture book author with a desire, along with 1000’s of other talented picture book authors and illustrators, to have my stories out there touching children’s lives. I am busy writing and revising (rinse and repeat) to have manuscripts submission-ready for that lucky agent just waiting to find me. While optimistically believing in that happy-ever-after ending, I am also a pragmatist, and in considering uTales as an approach in tandem with traditional publishing, I see a win-win situation for myself.
I wanted to become involved with the growing number of families enjoying digital books with their young children. I also wanted to have an opportunity to experience publication and promotion now, knowing that even when that agent finds me, the time between her/him selling my story and it being published, could be, at the minimum, a couple of years. So, why uTales as the digital platform of my choice?
- Editorial control and quality
- Rights to book retained
- International focus
- The founder’s heart
- Foundational commitment to supporting the charity Pencils of Promise
In short, I would say that uTales is built around a community in ways other platforms are not. We want to be a family of creators, rather than just a digital bookstore. This is a huge joy to me and the best example I can give you of this is The Friendship Alphabet.
Initiated by Swedish illustrator Anders Lindholm, the project saw more than thirty uTalers from fifteen different countries creating together! This is unique and precious! It showcases different storytelling and illustrative styles from all over the world. The creative friendship behind this project was amazing to be part of, and even more gratifying, perhaps, is the fact that all proceeds from this eBook will support Pencils of Promise and their work to build new schools in developing countries. I found my fabulous illustrator for SNOW GAMES, Maja Sereda, from her “O” page for this project. My collaboration with Maja was a pleasure throughout and we hope to work together in the future.
uTales is also very keen on making the books truly excellent stories for kids – and that’s why it stays away from turning the books into games, and is careful about the addition of sound and animation, so as not to detract from the story! uTales values the joint reading experience between parent and child, and welcomes inspirational stories from a great variety of sources. It is working on some unique educational projects including an upcoming book about “Ubuntu” created together with hundreds of students in South Africa and the non-profit The Lalela Project.
I think these examples illustrate how innovative, open, relational and quality -focused the founder, Nils von Heijne, whom I have met personally, is. In all I do in life, I think relationships will always hold the greatest value, thus Nils’ ethos and vision are very important to me, as is his choice of Emma D. Dryden to oversee the Editorial Quality uTales Panel. I have used Emma’s freelance editorial services, drydenbks, so I knew the level of professionalism, publishing experience and care that would go into uTales editorial control. This week Nils held a Google+ hangout to discuss new ideas and I can vouch for his willingness to receive ideas and feedback from all uTalers! We are in this together.
You will probably notice I haven’t mentioned financial gain as a main motivation for selecting uTales. A percentage (of our choosing) of any profit Maja and I make on SNOW GAMES goes to Pencils of Promise and we split the 60% profit equally between us. Have I earned anything? Why, yes! J But I still plan on being part of the work force after the school summer holidays! uTales is a new platform, which launched in November 2011, and I was aware in joining them, that the benefits I have mentioned above would far outweigh any financial gains at this point, though Nils and his team are constantly working on their marketing strategy.
This has been a highly positive experience for me thus far and I encourage readers to join our Facebook uTales Collaborations page, if they are at all interested. Thank you so much for allowing me to share on your blog, Julie.
Other Stops on Joanna’s Snow Games Blog Tour
Wednesday, Mat 16th, Darshana’s Blog, Flowering Minds – Interview
Wednesday, May 23rd – Krista Rausin’s blog, Parenting with a Dash of Inspiration - Multiple Characters in Picture Books
Tuesday, May 29th – Sharon Stanley’s blog, Sharon Stanley Writes – Interview
Tuesday, June 5th - Clarike Bo Jahn, Clarbojahn’s Blog - The Story Behind the Story
Wednesday, June 6th – Diane Tulloch’s blog, The Patient Dreamer – Book Review
Wednesday, June,13th – Julie Hedlund’s Blog, Why uTales?
Monday, June 18th – Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog - The Process of Submitting a Story to uTales
Wednesday June 27th – Patricia Hilton’s blog, Children’s Books Heal, Book Review
Author Bio: Joanna grew up surrounded by the architecture and awe of the city of Cambridge, UK, and immersed in the books and the landscapes of the Brontes, Tolkein and Beatrix Potter. Her tall tales were not always appreciated as a young child, but her passion for storytelling remained unfettered and was fuelled by the marvelous people and animals she encountered during her humanitarian work across the continents. More recently her years as school librarian in Southern France relit her passion for children’s books. Her stories focus on her love of the natural world and the richness of the cultures she has encountered in her travels. She lives presently in Nice with two quirky cats and a stream of visitors from all over the globe.
, Children's Books
, Digital Publishing
, Guest Blogging
, Picture Books
, Self Publishing
, Storybook Apps
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, Digital Publishing
, Emma Dryden
, Joanna Marple
, Julie Hedlund
, Picture Books
, Self Publishing