bookbaby

All posts tagged bookbaby

It’s Been Forever

Published March 30, 2017 by baileyquillincooper

It’s been forever. It’s honestly been so long that I kind of don’t even want to bother going into everything that’s happened to me since November. I’ve also been so stressed out over the past couple of months that I hardly even remember any of it. So here’s the extremely condensed version, in bullet points.

  • We bought a house. It’s our very first one, it looks like a fairytale cottage, and it is perfect.
  • Immediately after moving into the new house in early December, we got slammed with four freak blizzards that hit not even a week apart from each other. Well really, it was more like four and a half. After Portland Snowpocalypse IV in January 2017, which was the biggest and the baddest of them all and gave us an entire foot of snow overnight, we also got hit with a final ice storm just for good measure.
  • The flurry of the holidays came and went, and as promised my book was released on Amazon on Krampusnacht, December 5th, 2016. Between prolonged moving drama, DIY home improvements, blizzards, blizzard-related car troubles, fulfilling mountains of Kickstarter rewards for my books campaign, and a minor concussion from slipping on the ice and cracking my head on our new front steps, we somehow still managed to throw our first Yule housewarming party at our house, and I somehow still managed to have that book release party at The Fernie Brae. Toby Froud even came to the party to buy a signed copy for his son, Sebastian. It was truly unreal!
  • I also got to participate in my first tabling event for my book, the Eyeball Burp Zine East Portland Holiday Bazaar at the Jade/APANO Multicultural Space. It was the first year of this particular event and was a lot of fun despite all of the stressful things we were going through at the time. I really hope to do it again this year, as well as a lot of other events like it (since I should presumably have a lot more time for this kind of thing the second time around.) My book has been for sale at The Fernie Brae and Vine Gogh, the painting studio where I teach classes, but the next time around I hope to have more time to market it to all the indie bookshops like I had originally planned. Honestly with the way everything went down at the end of last year, I was super lucky to have even accomplished all that I did, so I really can’t complain!
  • Just as soon as we thought things were finally starting to calm down a little in February, Grendel squeezed through a gap in our fenced front yard to chase after another dog, was hit by a truck right in front of our house, and then ran away. We were both home when it happened but neither of us had actually seen the accident occur. I was inside of the house and Martyn was outside with Grendel when it happened. Martyn was just around the side of the yard taking out the trash when he looked up to see Grendel tearing down the street at an unnatural pace. Although Martyn is a really fast runner, Grendel was completely terrified and running so fast that none of us could catch him, and we soon lost sight of where he had gone. There was a good hour when we couldn’t find him, even with the help of the man in the truck who had hit him, a random bystander on a bicycle, Martyn in my Beetle and me on foot calling his name everywhere around the park and the neighborhood. Luckily the man on the bike happened to see Grendel run into the yard of a neighbor who lives on the other side of the park. The woman who lives there and the man on the bike discovered Grendel hiding behind a shed in her garden. Grendel then went to the emergency vet where it was determined that he had no broken bones or serious injuries, only some significant bruising and all his nails worn down to the quick from running so frantically. It took many difficult nights of doggie painkillers, assisting him in lying down and standing up, and dealing with an obvious bout of PTSD, but eventually, he recovered.
  • In March we got zapped big time on our taxes due to a silly error on a W-4, celebrated St. Paddy’s Day with our friends regardless, and then Martyn found out that he was being laid off from his job at the magazine. This was of course in many ways completely terrifying for us, but we were also both in many ways ready for a major change. When we found out that Martyn would be losing his job in two weeks, we just tried our best to stay calm and view it as another blessing in disguise. Martyn put together a gorgeous illustrated resume and went door to door searching for anywhere that would take him. He was hired at a local pub a week later, where we both suspect that he will actually be much happier. His orientation was yesterday and he will probably be starting his training next week.
  • The latest incident has been Grendel tearing up our house while we’re gone for the past couple of days. We’re not exactly sure what the issue is, but it’s all pretty extreme and out of nowhere. The latest unusual theory involves my old phone that Martyn had decided to keep for himself and use just for Spotify. A few days ago it apparently “woke up” on its own while inside of a drawer, and proceeded to sound off alert bings and buzzes for every text message that had been received on the current phone all year. Martyn realized that this could possibly be the cause of Grendel’s sudden and unexplained freak-outs when he was home with Grendel today, heard the old phone in the drawer buzz and his own phone bing with a Facebook notification, and observed Grendel waking from a deep sleep to start panting, drooling, growling, and trying to look out the window to determine where the sounds were coming from. We really hope that we might have solved it this time, but we’ve bought him another crate just in case. Unfortunately even that won’t fix our shattered blinds or all of the other damage he caused…but this is just another big expense and stressful situation that we have no choice but to get through.
  • And lastly, through ALL of this, I have just been all the more determined to continue creating in my new art room and to wrap up some projects that have been taking me much longer than I had originally anticipated. My idea to create posable mixed-media art dolls of all three of the characters from my book is well underway. I actually just finished up Mama Kringle over the past weekend and plan on taking some quality, non-Instagram photos of her this weekend.
  • I also was still able to attend the Toby Froud and Wendy Froud workshop at The Fernie Brae over the past weekend. It was a completely amazing experience that I still can’t stop thinking about it. We created polymer clay and mixed-media bust sculptures of faerie creatures over the two-day workshop. Everyone’s pieces turned out to be so beautiful and so different from each other that the group photos were really something to behold. I was pretty proud of my own piece, which was a creepy Spring pooka who I have decided to name Padraig. I will also be posting some photos of him after the weekend.

So there you have it, that has pretty much been my life over the past few months. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram all of this might have been extremely redundant, but I just felt that I needed to get the crazy catching-up post out of the way before I could return to my regular work-in-progress entries. I promise that my next post will have actual work-in-progress photos of Mama Kringle, and I actually remembered to take many of them this time! Until then, farewell, and thank you all so much for your continued understanding and encouragement. Getting all of this out has been a major relief!

Also, here are some photos of our new house for the sake of having some photos in this post!

Redfin photo:

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The day we got the keys:

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Grendel’s first day at our new home:

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Our house after the first couple of snowstorms:

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Our house during Portland Snowpocalypse IV:

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I need to get some Spring pictures now that the snow has finally thawed and the flowers are starting to bloom.

Oh, and here’s two last bonus photos from the book release party at The Fernie Brae!

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What’s Happening Now

Published November 16, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

On Tuesday of last week, which was the fateful night of the election, I came home to find these boxes from Book Baby stacked high on my doorstep.

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It doesn’t get much more exciting than that, and they came out beautiful!

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I especially love that they now have a barcode and ISBN number on the back!

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When you scan it with a smartphone it gives you the title of the book and all of the places online where it will available for pre-order up until the release date (which is December 5th, 2016.)

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I had meant to post right away with this update, but then I couldn’t really bring my mind to focus on writing anything after all of the chaos on Tuesday and the week to follow. Instead I decided to spend some time organizing and ordering the remaining supplies needed to put together the backer rewards packages.

So far, I now have…

The postcards:

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The Christmas cards, or Krampuskarten:

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The majority of the buttons printed; all ready for @powerpoppins to take to the button press:

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A bulk order of shipping supplies now ordered and on its way to me:

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Custom sheets of metallic gold sticker seals also ordered and on the way, which I plan to stick on all of the front covers of the first run of 150 books to mark them as the special first-edition copies:

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Two metallic gold Sharpies, for signing all of the first-edition copies:

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And a new (mostly vintage) outfit to wear to my book signing and release party. The dress is traditional Dirndl style from the 1950’s coming to me from Amsterdam, the peasant blouse is from the 1970’s and coming from California, and the horns are made from expanding foam in a silicone mold cast of actual goat horns, created by an FX sculptor in Boulder, Colorado.

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It looks like I’ll be having my book release party at The Fernie Brae on Sunday, December 11th. I’m currently planning the event with the owners of The Fernie Brae, Bryonie and Eric Arnold. It’s going to be such an honor, and as we finalize the details of the event I’m starting to get really, really excited about it! I will be sure to keep all of you posted as soon as I’ve got an official press release about it.

So that’s all the major stuff that is going on right now, besides the obvious that my book is now available for pre-order from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and a few other online retailers. I’ll also be putting together an order form of some kind very soon so that local people will be able to order from me directly and not have to pay for shipping. Again, the official release date is December 5th, which actually falls on Krampusnacht. The more pre-orders I can get before the release date, the more books the big online retailers will want to stock in their warehouses so that they can have them on hand, available for immediate shipping…which is always a good thing!

All I can say, folks, is that it’s about to hit the fan for real. My fortune cookie from last night not only had two fortunes inside of it, but it just might have been onto something.

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I’ll be doing my best to keep you updated over the next couple of weeks, so don’t give up on me just yet!

Kickstarter: The Final Three Days

Published September 28, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

The Kickstarter campaign for Kris & Krampus Kringle has come a looong way since I last posted! It seemed like we were at 70/80-something percent funded for a good while, and then this past Friday it really hit the fan. Over the course of the day the campaign got five new new backers in addition to two adjusted increased pledges, and shot past 100% funded! When I last checked this morning it was at $2,910 or 116% funded because the goal was only for $2,500! I’ve had so many fears and self-conscious doubts along the way that I’m still kind of in shock with how well it’s been doing, and there’s still three days left to go until time’s up!

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With all of the additional funding I am hoping to order a slightly larger first run of books from Bookbaby. That way I’ll have enough for all of the backers who have reserved their copies first, and some left to bring to the local indie bookstores and libraries here in Portland on consignment or donation. I want to see if the same library on Belmont where we hold our monthly Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators Meetup group would be willing to take one off my hands.

Some pictures I posted on Instagram featuring the custom Krampus button sets that my husband Martyn is making as rewards for the backers. In case you didn’t know, he runs his own button company out of our house called Power Pop Pins, and his buttons kind of rule!

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Close up so you can better see the designs on the smaller vintage Krampus buttons. I’ve always found Victorian Krampus Christmas cards, or Krampuskarten, to be simultaneously beautiful and hilarious!

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On Saturday Martyn and I spoke with four different independent comic and book shops that had an interest in stocking my book during the holidays (and a few that might even let me read my story to some kids!) One is a children’s book store on Alberta Street called Green Bean Books, and the other three were all on Mississippi Avenue–Bridge City Comics, Another Read Through, and Reading Frenzy. I also hope to speak with Floating World Comics sometime soon and possibly some people at Powell’s Books. The Fernie Brae on Hawthorne is my favorite place of all of these, and they’ve always been there to cheer me on as I worked on my book. It’s going to be the biggest honor of all to see my book on the shelf in their little bookshop this Christmas right next to their various signed Brian Froud books!

Another photo I had posted of all of the buttons pinned to my stocking. I really didn’t want to have to look at any of the Christmas stuff in the garage at this time of the year, but I figured that I should share because it was kind of a clever gift-giving idea that Martyn thought of last Christmas when he made me some special “I don’t like Star Wars” buttons as presents.

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Beyond my daily annoying posts about Kickstarter on the Official Kris & Krampus Kringle Facebook page and my working double shifts at both jobs multiple days in a row to save up some extra cash for an upcoming big purchase, I haven’t had a lot of time for much else. I did get a very brief start on the illustration for my own Krampuskarten that I’m making as part of the backers rewards packages. They’re going to be based off of this vintage Christmas card of St. Nicholas and Krampus on a motorcycle:

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Only my version is going to be of my own characters when they were reckless teenagers. This was the pencil sketch:

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Here’s it with some of the inking done, but as you can see I haven’t quite finished with that step yet:

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If you’ve been following me on Facebook I apologize that I don’t really have any new visual material to share with you. Thankfully this weekend I might get a few seconds of free time so I can finally bust this one out and post it again when it’s all finished! Overnight Prints did such an amazing job with my last professional artist postcards that I can’t wait to see how they turn out!

In case you haven’t seen them, these are my professional artist postcards. Overnight Prints printed them with a beautiful soft matte finish that really lends itself to my style.

Postcard Front and Back

So anyway, that’s it for now. I CANNOT WAIT for this campaign to finally be over and done with, it has been more hard work and headache than I ever could have imagined, but I’m forever grateful that it’s already funded so I can stop stressing about it so much. I’ll post on here again after it ends!

A Welcome Good Day & The Hardback Proof

Published August 17, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

The last week has been very stressful and upsetting. Martyn and I were struggling with the home loan pre-approval process for what seemed like an excessively long amount of time, only to come to the rather horrifying realization that the $12,000 or so odd savings that we have barely managed to scrape together over the past couple of years might not even cover the closing costs of our theoretical house in question, much less a down payment. Just a recap: we also spent the better part of this year battling debt that was still left over from our cross-country move in order to make our credit look as squeaky clean as possible. After a few extremely depressing conversations with our bank and our future realtor about the skyrocketing prices of houses in Portland and the greatly more monetarily endowed competition that we’re going to be up against in what is currently one of the most cutthroat markets on the West Coast, we were both about ready to give up on the dream before we even really began. It really seemed like the past decade of running the rat race, being a stickler about my credit even when I would have much rather been another irresponsible partying 20-something year old, working so hard towards moving to a state where I would want to grow up and settle down, and having the strength to decline dream jobs in order to continue working at dependable places where I no longer want to work for years and years just for the reliable job history that looks so excellent on paper had all been for nothing. We were, in a word, crushed–and literally both facedown on the bed in a sad crumpled pile in a darkened room in the middle of a beautiful sunny August afternoon.

Then, somehow…and I don’t really know how…we managed to pick ourselves up, do a little frantic research on the computer, and make the decision to try it again anyway. Maybe it’s still all pointless, but at least now I feel that we’re a little better educated on some of our other options for low or no down payment option loans. It’s almost enough to dare to hope again, and goddamnit if that’s not something!

So it was such a welcome surprise today to find out out that we have in fact been pre-qualified for $250,000! I know that might not be much for Portland anymore, but it’s at least enough to finally give it an honest shot! There are plenty of three-bedroom, rough-around-the-edges ranches and well-worn bungalows on my Redfin favorites list for under $250,000 that I know we could make shine with a little TLC if only we could be lucky enough to score one. Our real estate agent has advised us that unless we experience a miracle, it will probably take us a couple of trys…so all the reason to start our trying right now. I’m just so relieved that at long last, we can at least do that much!

In other news…THE HARDCOVER PROOF ARRIVED TODAY FROM BOOKBABY! And it’s…well, gorgeous.

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The inside is even better. I’m so incredibly happy with it!

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Even Grendel was curious why I was so excited about the little flat thing that I found inside the box on our doorstep.

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Next is the launch of the Kickstarter campaign, where I will include all of the information I know up to this point about the release of the book and the amount of fundraising that will be needed to reach that goal. I’ve never used Kickstarter before, but my understanding is you need to spend a lot of time making a very informative page complete with an awkward and embarrassing home video to plug your proposed product.  I wish I could afford to just pay for the whole thing out of pocket, but alas, I am not one of those aforementioned greatly more monetarily endowed persons…so awkward and embarrassing home video it is! Now that I’ve got my book in the mail Martyn and I will most likely try shooting a little something this weekend. I’ll let you know whenever that atrocity goes up!

 

 

ALL THE PUBLISHERS!

Published August 5, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

The other big project I did last week was submit my book to ALL THE PUBLISHERS! Well, you know, maybe not ALL of them because most publishers don’t even take unsolicited submissions in the first place and I definitely still don’t have an agent yet…but I did submit my book to twenty publishers in total, and that is a lot!

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That’s what the living room table looked like for a good week as I scrambled to put together the best-looking submission packages that I could come up with. I got info on about probably two-thirds of the publishing houses from The Book, the official guide to children’s book publishing that the SCBWI puts out every year. For the other third I just did some research on my own and Google searched the names of the publishers that I found on the dust jackets of the children’s books that I’ve bought recently (and yes, I am a childless adult that has regularly purchased children’s books my entire life, because this has always been the sort of thing that I am into!)

I mostly submitted to publishing houses in the USA, but I also submitted to a couple of UK publishers that I really admire. Every publisher has their own set of rules and preferences for how they would like their materials submitted. Luckily all of the UK houses that I submitted to were ok with email submissions, so I didn’t have to worry about figuring out international postage. As for the US publishers that required a physical submission in regular snail mail post, which were eight in total, I made sure to send them a couple of copies of my cards:

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Also a printed dummy book, as pictured below with my first run of five submissions:

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The first round looked similar to my initial test print copy that I made for the SCBWI Spring Conference, except the colors have since been tweaked a little by my editor, graphic designer, and husband Martyn Cooper to print brighter and truer to my original artwork. We also decided to opt for a clear covering on the back of the book that was just like the covering on the front, instead of just sticking to the default black back cover of the original print. It seems as though every time I get this dummy book reprinted it evolves in some positive way, because for the print round after this one I discovered that you can even get a clear plastic spiral binding instead of what I had thought to be the default black. The clear cover and clear spiral bound books looked so excellent that I still wish I had kept a copy for myself, especially since I don’t even have a picture of them because I had to mail them out while they were literally still hot off the press! Anyway, here’s that super exciting, shining moment when I was done packaging up that first round of five submissions at Office Depot:

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Of course I remembered to include in every submission the full printed manuscript of my story and a personalized query or cover letter. Apparently query letters are meant to be really difficult and intimidating to write. Almost like you’re supposed to feel so threatened by this theoretical publisher that you are just crouched down in the fetal position, fearfully handing them this impossibly formal and clean document with a trembling hand while you defensively hold your other arm over your eyes. I dunno…although I do definitely understand wanting to follow certain guidelines to not come off as an ignorant tool and sabotage your chances, I also think that with such a wealth of completely contradicting information about “how to write the most perfect query letter” that can be found on the internet or otherwise, you probably gotta take all of this hullabaloo with a grain of salt. I did a lot of research on the subject, figured that I’m at least pretty ok at communicating with people in words, and that, come on, THEY’RE JUST PEOPLE…it’s not exactly like we’re dealing with those Sphinxes from The NeverEnding Story here! Life is too short for that level of anxiety. I just picked out what parts made the most sense to me out of a mountain of other example queries that I found online and came up with this basic format for my own query letter:

(Name and address of publisher.)                                                          (My name, address, contact                                                                                                        info, portfolio website, and this blog.)                                                                        

Proposal for Picture Book:

KRIS & KRAMPUS KRINGLE

Please find enclosed the complete manuscript and illustrated dummy for my children’s picture book entitled, “Kris & Krampus Kringle,” which I would like you to consider for publication.

Kris Kringle just wanted a normal little brother. Instead he ended up with the hairiest, smelliest, messiest, clumsiest, weirdest, rudest, and worst little brother in the whole wide world! If all of those things weren’t bad enough, Kris’s brother doesn’t even understand the most wonderful time of the year. Will Kris be able to stop him from ruining Christmas, or will his favorite holiday be wrecked forever?

“Kris & Krampus Kringle” is a 32 pages, 829 words, winter holiday tale about sibling relationships and tolerance. It is also a unique spin on age-old Christmas mythology from around the world. The character of Krampus was inspired by the yuletide monster from Alpine folklore, however my story is a re-imagining of both Krampus and Kris Kringle as brothers. The majority of the story takes place when Kris Kringle is about eight years old and Krampus Kringle is about five years old. Kris and Krampus Kringle’s mother, Mama Kringle, is the third and final character in the book and is also the only parent figure who is present in the story. “Kris & Krampus Kringle” was written to appeal to children of all ages as well as adults who may have a special affinity for Kris Kringle, Krampus, and stories about familial love and diversity.

I am both the author and the illustrator of “Kris & Krampus Kringle.” This is a simultaneous submission to see if this story garners any interest from traditional publishers, but if not I plan to move forward with a self-­publishing company in the late Fall/Winter of 2016. I even have some ideas for a future sequel story, which would take place about three years after the first book and include some other characters based on Christmas folklore from Alpine and Nordic mythology. I am an active member of the SCBWI and I also enjoy illustrating other stories besides my own. I am submitting to you as an author/illustrator for this book in particular, but also as just an illustrator for future projects. Thank you so much for your time and consideration!

Sincerely, Bailey Quillin Cooper (Except this was my actual signature signed in black ink.)

I customized this basic query letter format for each publisher that I wrote to, because odds are, the reason that I chose to submit my book to them in the first place was because I liked how they were doing things. I made sure to mention if they had published a specific book that I liked, or if they had ever published any books that contained similar general themes to mine: non-religious Christmas holiday, monsters and mythology, family, new sibling or sibling relationships, unusual friendships, diversity, tolerance, and acceptance. I know that it might be kind of a long shot to imagine that my very “out there” story might fit in enough with the subject matter in most traditional publishing houses that they would be interested in picking it up, but why not give it my best try anyway? At the very least, the publishers will hopefully see my book and remember my artwork and maybe, just maybe, even decide that they want me to illustrate for them on another project someday down the line. We can only hope!

So now that I’ve submitted my book to enough publishers that I can legitimately cause a flood of rejection letters (even though most people don’t even send those anymore), you might want to know what’s next on the agenda for Kris & Krampus Kringle. Well, I’m totally stoked to report that a couple of days ago we placed an order for the first hardcover proof of my book from the self-publishing company, bookbaby! Let’s just say that I’ve been waiting for this moment for…quite a while!

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Hell yes!

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It was such a good feeling to finally get the ball rolling on after nearly a year and a half of working on this! Once I receive and approve of the hardback copy from bookbaby in two weeks, I will be setting up a Kickstarter page to fund the publication, ISBN number and print on demand/online distribution service, and printing of the first run of 100 books! I’m going to have to raise a lot of money to fund this…maybe something in the neighborhood of $2,500 to start with, but fingers crossed everything will continue to run smoothly and my book will be ready to purchase by November-something of this year! I will continue to keep all of you guys posted on the fundraising and publishing process on this blog, so be sure to check back in every week or so!

Edit: To follow up with my last post, Sarah got the Advance Reader’s Copies of Beyond The Bramble back from Lulu and they turned out amazing!

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And they even match her nails…CUTE!

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Book First Print!

Published May 18, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Guess who got the first test print of her book from back from Office Depot yesterday?

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Martyn up finished formatting the text on Sunday and we made some last final edits just before it went to the printer. Although it’s just a test print dummy from an office supply store (note the spiral binding instead of what will eventually be a real hardback cover) the pages still look absolutely beautiful and quality! The text and the layout also worked out perfectly, including some of the trickier pages that had multiple spot illustrations or double-page spreads. At first I was a little bummed out and worried when I found out that I wouldn’t be able get my first printed copy from bookbaby in time for the SCBWI Spring Conference this weekend, but now I’m just glad that this test print ended up working out so well. It’ll definitely be more than good enough to show off my vision for the book at the conference!

Here’s a close-up of the cover. The protective sheet of laminate makes it near impossible to photograph but hopefully you get the idea.

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If you are someone who gets to see me in person on a regular basis I’d be more than happy to show you the first print of the book. It represents about a year and three months of hard work. If that thing was a human baby it would be six months old already!

Besides finishing up this first not-so-dummy copy of my book over the weekend, I also have been working on one last final piece for my portfolio. It’s another illustration of Lucia because she’s pretty, and because I wanted to have more examples of my illustration style besides just the artwork from my book. I know I posted this on my Facebook/Instragram already, but here was the line drawing before I began any of the coloring:

Lucia Linework

I’m almost finished with the coloring now and I hope to be all done with it by the end of the night. I’ll post the completed illustration tomorrow if I can!

So yeah, this weekend I finished the test print of my book, almost finished the last illustration for my portfolio, and I even remembered to vote!

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I feel very productive. I also might have even had two job interviews lined up for this week, but I’m not even going to tell you about that. You’ll just have to guess if that’s true or not till next time. Bye!