Many, many Octobers ago (521 of them, to be specific) Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas on a mission of discovery. He didn’t find what he was originally looking for—but what he did find was pretty extraordinary.
That’s kind of how we look at book-making. Even if you have a clear vision of what kind of book you want to make, the happy discoveries you make along your book-making path may take you to places you never dreamed you’d find. Join us this week on a journey of exploration and discovery. We all have a little Columbus in us. Go exploring on your next book project. See the world through a child’s eyes. Discover your audience. Trust your originality.
Creative exercise: Making a book through a child’s eyes
Getting creative is all about changing your viewpoint. This week we’re going to explore a new way to see things, inspired by the under-18 set. Discovering and exploring is the core theme of many great children’s books, and since you know how much we love children’s books, we probably won’t surprise you by saying we think it can be useful in all sorts of creative pursuits. It’s simple (and fun) to use your camera to explore the world through a child’s eyes. Let’s go!
Crouch down and snap pictures of the world from their viewpoint. Observe everything that happens closer to the ground—all the things you never pay attention to, like bugs, people’s shoes and socks, etc. What can you see from three feet off the ground that you never noticed before? (Besides that you probably need to vacuum and sweep more often.) We just tried it in the office and found:
- A bright pink purse under a desk
- A mysterious cable that leads out of a wall and then back in
- A stack of forgotten books
- That highlighter we were looking for (handy!)
Maybe not great art, but it changed the way we thought about the space (and maybe helped make this article a little more fun to write).
Put those photos into a collage and use it to inspire your writing. What did you see down there that you could incorporate into a poem or a short story or a tale from your own childhood? What’s it like being farther from the sky and closer to the floor? How could you communicate that feeling to someone else?
You don’t have to turn this insight into a children’s book, but it's a really great way to make a book that will really connect with kids. We all enjoy feeling like we’re understood, so explore making a book for kids from a child’s viewpoint. How would you talk to them on their level, now that you’ve seen things from their level?
We hope these questions and ideas will help you change up your point of view—and maybe even make a better book. Now get out there and explore, kiddo.
If you do choose to make a book for kids that’s inspired by kids and make it as an ebook (kids of all ages love ebooks), tell us about it. We’re having a little contest of sorts (see below) and will be featuring these books in December. We’d love to make yours part of the story.
A Blurb challenge: Share your little window on the world with us
As Picasso famously said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
This week we want to challenge you to go out and be a kid again, to see the world through a child’s eyes—with your camera. Take pictures from the height of a child (you may need to get some kneepads) and let your inner child be your guide on a trip of imagination. Come alive to the world of color. Tap into the joy of the new. Try to see the people, places, and things you consider “every day” as if you were discovering them for the very first time.
Once you’ve captured your set of images, put them all in a book and share it with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ with the hashtag #kidsview. Then we’ll share it with the Blurb community.
So put on your jeans and sneakers, grab your camera, and get ready to see the world the way you used to.
To be published, or to self-publish—there is no question.
A debate has been brewing for some time within the scientific and scholarly communities. The main issue facing would-be authors in this space is pretty basic: Academic journals reject almost all papers for publication. According to Professor Thomas Plümper of the University of Essex, UK, only about 3 percent of submitted manuscripts get accepted for publication in the leading general journals in social science. Even more concerning: An increasing number of submissions are never even considered for review.
To complicate matters, highly respected journals often have a standing two-year delay on publication–during which time the topic/research/findings can become outdated—and the audiences are limited.
Of course the recognition and acclaim that comes with being one of the lucky few who do get their work accepted cannot be denied. But there are clearly a lot of people with something valuable to share and no formal mechanism in place for sharing. Or so you might think.
That’s where self-publishing comes in. Self-publishing enables authors not only to get their work seen and read, but to bring it to market and promote it more quickly. A printed book can be sold at talks and lectures or offered as a promotional sample. Ebooks, on the other hand, can offer instant global reach and an affordable way to get a message out into the world.
Blurb makes all of this easy. Our book-making tools are free and our books come in a wide range of formats. We offer promotional tools and a platform to showcase and even sell your work (and keep 100% of any markup). The possibilities are endless.
Keys to a successful self-publication:
- Make sure the work has been copy-edited and proofread (hiring a professional for this critical step is always a good idea)
- Understand who the audience is and how best to reach them
- Be active online—generate interest in the book and create a following
Making a book with Blurb and getting it into the public domain can help open doors, increase network size, and reach a wider audience. In this new era of democratized self-publishing, the role traditionally played by peer reviewers can now be shared by the greater community.
Meet jAlbum: A Blurb featured partner
jAlbum is an easy way to process images for use on the web. Photographers, organizations, and families use jAlbum to create photo galleries. As one of our featured partners, jAlbum is offering Blurb customers a special offer this week. Check it out.