Local author’s class covers publishing kids’ books
Four years ago Park City resident Katie Mullaly published her first children’s book, “Land of Or,” which was the start of her “Land of…” series, which gives kids and their parents a glimpse into mindful living.
“If I had known how hard it would be to get the book published, I may not have done it,” Mullaly laughed.
That’s why she is teaching a self-publishing class through Compass, Park City’s community education and aquatic center.
The two-hour sessions are set for 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13, and Tuesday, March 20, in Room 144 at Park City High School, 1750 Kearns Blvd.
The cost is $59. Writers can register by visiting registration.xenegrade.com/pcschools/courseDisplay.cfm?schID=6801.
Sign ups are scheduled to run through the afternoon on Monday, March 12.
Mullaly said the class, which will follow her outline in her book “How to Self Publish Your Children’s Book,” isn’t a writing class, although she will address different topics with regards to writing.
“We’ll talk about the style of writing that pertains to children’s books — word count, reading level and rhyming,” she said. “One of the biggest thing that the children-book industry complains about is bad rhyming. There is a lot of bad and painful rhyming out there.”
The class will also cover components of good story, working with an editor, story length and different ways authors can publish, Mullaly said.
“We will talk about what traditional publishers do for you and what they don’t, and we’ll talk about the things you will take over if you decide to self publish, and that also comes with pros and cons, especially because you are taking over everything,” she said. “My perception, as a self-published author, is that there are more pros than cons if you take that avenue. I’ve really enjoyed it. Although it’s expensive, and it’s time consuming, but it’s my way.”
Throughout the class, Mullaly will discuss legal issues that authors must face in the publishing process.
“I’ll go over everything from nondisclosure agreements to contracts you may have with your illustrator or editor,” she said. “These are things people tend to forget when they get caught up in the joy of creating a story or seeing the illustrations.”
That segment, which is based on a chapter written by Mullaly’s illustrator, Toby Allen, will include advice on when and where to use illustrations.
“This is something you need to know before you even talk with an illustrator,” Mullaly said. “This part of the class will hopefully prepare the writers to know what to expect with the collaboration, concerning how long the process will take with all the back-and-forth and idea sharing.”
Mullaly found she needed to have a clear idea of what she wanted from an illustrator, and she has the copy to prove it.
“I will bring a bunch of samples that of early ideas that led up to the finished product,” she chuckled. “That way people can see the transition from my horrible drawings to Toby’s wonderful works. I knew I wasn’t a good artist, but didn’t know just how bad I was until I saw Toby’s drawings.”
Another topic the class will examine is book layout.
“There are many different sizes out there,” Mullaly said. “You can have a tabloid [newspaper] size book, or you can have a book that is tall or one that is long, big or small. And we will talk about the hard covers and paperback books as well as the printing.”
The March 20 class will look more closely at the publishing process itself.
“I think publishing the book is the easiest part of the whole endeavor, because all you have to do is follow a series of steps — setting up a small business, registering with the Library of Congress, getting an ISBN (International Standard Book Number), copywriting the book,” Mullaly said. “We’ll also talk about what those things mean.”
The last thing the class will address is marketing, which Mullaly said is the hardest part of the whole process.
“When I first started, I didn’t think it would be that difficult, but I was wrong, because the reality is that marketing never ends,” she said. “If you don’t hire a marketer for any reason, whether it’s lack of funds or things like that, you have to ask yourself if you have the personality to go out and do the marketing yourself.”
That’s where many authors fall short, Mullaly said.
“You have to be extroverted and learn how to self-promote yourself,” she explained. “You should always have some books with you to show people and look for opportunities to sell books at any given time.”
The class will then discuss the other aspects of marketing — social media, business cards and bookmarks — and distribution.
“Small independent publishers have a hard time distributing books because they are small and independent,” Mullaly said. “So, all of these things need to be considered before you even start going down the route.”
The author wants the class to inspire people to tell their stories.
“I always say this class can be a guide for people who really wants to write and publish a book,” she said. “But it can also serve as warning, because the students will see how much work it can be.”
Park City-based author Katie Mullaly will teach a two-part class about publishing children’s books from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13, and Tuesday, March 20, in room 144 at Park City High School, 1750 Kearns Blvd. The cost is $59. Registration can be done by visiting registration.xenegrade.com/pcschools/courseDisplay.cfm?schID=6801.
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