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Jacquie Trajan's debut picture book was published in 2009 and her second, Tiggy was released in early 2010. She lives in the heart of Bath, with her husband Mark, Oliver their very bouncy five year old and four cats. She has spent all of her adult life living in the west country, where she studied to become a Civil Engineer, and where she worked as a consultant civil engineer / transport planner for a number of years.
She also has two grown up children and it is through and because of them, that she was inspired to write, although this ambition was not achieved until after her youngest son was born. First writing the stories, and more recently summoning the courage to illustrate them.
Tiggy and Tumbleweed are the result.
SELF PUBLISHING - Jacquie's experience
'Never give up'
Back in 2006 when my youngest son was eighteen months old I decided to take a couple of months out from being a consultant civil engineer and write five manuscripts for illustrated children’s books. The ideas I had had for a while and it seemed like a good time to get them down on paper…once completed I was conscious that although they were written for illustrated books there were no illustrations to go with them…however I was very pleased with my efforts and having bought a copy of “Childrens Writers and Artists Yearbook 2006 found 12 publishers who I thought might be interested ….so with manuscripts sent I duly waited ….and waited, three months later the first of five responses came back..some were standard rejection letters, a couple were specific to my work..and yes quite good, but sorry to disappoint but they had enough manuscripts and did not need anymore!!!!....so in the bottom drawer they went….and I concentrated on being an engineer….over the next three years I realised that I needed to get an illustrator on board as that would be the only way of bringing my words to life…so I trawled the net searching for an artist who I felt could do justice to my Tumbleweed, my Tiggy, my Bert, and here was the answer, I had to do the illustrations myself…so in early 2009 I started on Tumbleweed…once completed the next hurdle was to publish…having taken the step to illustrate and to use a very poor analogy I felt as if I had given birth, I did not want to let go ….and to be honest part of me did not want to wait 3-6 months for yet another round of rejection letters. Letters which I felt would be based on profit and sells, I believed in my books, but having looked at so many out there on the shelves I had tried to make them different, however it had a down side, I knew that many mainstream publishers would view the book as a risk, one which in the current economic climate they could ill afford, I was not established as an author or illustrator and had no agent…so I never approached a publisher with a completed manuscript….I decided to take the bull by the horns, and self publish…..
This some may say is the easy way, well yes if you just want to get your words and illustrations into a book it is ….there are loads of websites out there that will print a book for you…at a cost…..isn’t that why it’s called vanity publishing…but if you are truly serious, you want your book to sit on the shelves alongside the likes of Julia Donaldson and Lauren Child all over the country..then that is very different …and if that is what you are looking for then you will soon discover that the writing and illustrating was the easy part…
For us the learning curve was steep,…where does one start if you have never done it before…yes printing costs are the main consideration but lets not forget all the on costs such as barcodes, ISBN numbers…fonts ….computer software …..then designing jacket covers …cover blurb…and where to print, England or abroad…1,000…2,000…10,000…nobody wants an attic full of books that have never been sold…and don’t forget the quality of the product..poor paper, and poor printing shows…it needs to be as good as any already on the shelves ….. and then there is the time..hours and hours spent …..so what is the unit price…finally after weeks of learning some of the ropes we had a product…it was such an exciting moment for me, but also quite scary too… who will sell it…and more importantly would anyone buy it …so we approached the mainstream sellers ….they were happy to buy but would not stock unless we could show good sells!!!!....main book retailers said the same…yes great book really liked it but not quite good enough!!! we are happy to sell if someone wants one but stock it nationally sorry not until you can show sales….eeek the old chicken and egg scenario….so we worked harder …giving them to anyone who said they might review it, we send out e-mail after e-mail to anyone who I think might be interested ….we now undertake book signings which in all honesty are really great fun …but to be realistic you cannot go everywhere….and they don’t guarantee stores will stock after you have gone…
Somehow you need people to know it’s out there …the book and you need to be recognised …you need reviews…submit for awards….unfortunately most awards are not open to self publishers…it takes time, and continual effort. Self publishing is not for the faint-hearted, you need to be persistent, your product needs to be as good if not better than those already on the shelves…but most of all you need to believe in your product and your work because if you don’t then no one else will….
Its still early days for us and my guess is we have still much to learn…but we will not give up easily. From the feedback I have had I know my books are worth the effort, not everyone will like them but I want them out there on the shelves so that people can make the choice. I wrote and will continue to write and illustrate as it gives me so much pleasure…. Self publishing has not beaten me yet!!!
A delightful picture book written and illustrated by a newcomer to the world of picture books. Tiggy is the story of an unhappy pig, a pig who desperately wants to look different, perhaps with long legs or a different nose and perhaps even some fur, so she asks her friend Bert to help, but things don’t quite go to plan. Thankfully in the end Tiggy realises that just being herself makes her the happiest pig around. In case of difficulty in obtaining a copy through us or via Amazon then you can always go direct to the publisher - www.barnebeepublishing.co.uk. Also recently available from the same author is Tumbleweed.
Tumbleweed is the story a wonderfully funny chicken but he has a problem. He only has one leg so the wind is always blowing him over. All Tumbleweed really wants to do is play football with all his friends in the farmyard. So one day he asks his friend Bert whether he can help. It’s not long before Tumbleweed is up and running on two rather than one leg. Why not also check out the author’s other picture book, Tiggy. In case of difficulty in obtaining a copy through us or via Amazon then you can always go direct to the publisher - www.barnebeepublishing.co.uk
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