When I initially had a publisher they requested that I add a few more chapters to the original story as they thought it was a bit “thin” Seeing that the book- The Magic that’s Ours was all about introducing children to the wonders of their imaginations, the four extra chapters that I wrote touched on introducing the concepts of goal-setting, visualisation and affirmation. So from the time that I decided to self publish it was always with the idea of using the longer manuscript. This manuscript, along with the amazing illustrations by Dorothee van der Osten were passed on to the designer to produce the samples.
10 days later I had the most humbling experience when Linda presented me with my first ever copy of The Magic that’s Ours. Having a lump in the throat is a very watered down description-I was absolutely speechless. Every single positive emotion was running through my being.
The high gloss paper used in an A4 landscape format with Dorothee’s vivid illustrations made the book look like a work of art. Biased I might be, but the comments that were to follow only affirmed my belief that I had the best children’s book in the world. If I didn’t believe that then who would?
With the samples I could now test the waters. Not only did I send the book around to friends of mine that had children the age of my readers4-6, but I also sent it around to teachers, librarians, children and a psychologist. The reason for the psychologist is that I was writing about and promoting the use of our imaginations. I had to be 100% sure that there was nothing in my writing that could have an adverse effect on the readers. Librarians have a wonderful wealth of knowledge and experience, and are very well connected so it’s a good idea to get their views as they can help get the word out there. They are also very accurate in the assesment of what age the book is written for. Parents, especially moms are the buyers of books. If you’re writing a children’s book then they are your market. They also have a good idea what is out there and it is through them that I made the final writing changes.
One of the questions I asked everyone I had sent the samples too was to tell me if they liked the original version or did they prefer the version with the added chapters. It was the longer manuscript that was sent out but I marked out the two seperate endings.
Along with all the other feedback I reeceived, the split was pretty much 50/50 on which version was the more suitable.
The decision was mine to make. On the Sunday before the book was about to go to the printers I re-read the manuscript one last time to make the decision. I decided that the manuscript would go back to its original length. The reason was that in writing the 4 other chapters I now had content for a follow on book, if all went well that is. My other reason for doing this was that it felt right.
In doing the market research with the sample copies I came to realise that you are not going to be able to please everyone. People have different tastes and preferences. There were things in the manuscript that some people liked and others didn’t.
If you get caught up in trying to please everyone you will never get your book out there. Take on board what your market has to say but trust your own instincts.
On the Monday morning the original manuscript and illustrtations were on their way to the printers via Logogistics. the designers. 1000 copies were expected a week before the launch- 2 June 2007…