I’ll be honest with you, I’ve just begun my search for an agent or publisher for my first children’s picture book and I’m feeling pretty discouraged. I’ve only sent queries to three agents and three publishers in the past 2 months. I’ve been extensively researching each company or agent, as I’ve read you’re supposed to do, but at this rate it will take years just to get any response at all. I know, I know, that’s how the industry is but the entrepreneur in me is kicking and screaming to get the book out to the public. Even if I found an interested publisher, I know the process could take a very long time, years even.So, while I continue my search for a publisher or agent, I’ve decided to research the self-publishing industry. I already have three self-published coloring books through Amazon’s CreateSpace. While this works well for black and white books, it’s not cost effective for color. It’s a great way to start if you’re printing black and white and you’re low on funds because it’s a print-on-demand service with no upfront costs. On the down side, there’s no support for marketing or distributing from Amazon and I’m still trying to figure out how to get the books noticed by shoppers on Amazon. I’ll be looking into different options for self-publishing over the next few weeks and I’ll share what I find here with you.
I’ve been wanting to become a children’s book author and illustrator for… well, let’s just say it’s always been in the back of my mind, maybe even subconsciously as a very young person. Now it’s in the front of my mind and has been for the last 3 years. It’s what I really want to be when I grow up (I’m 41). I finally have a book that I’ve written and illustrated that the perfectionist in me says, “It’s ready and more than good enough-it’s great!” Of course, I still have my doubts but I also feel that it’s time. “It’s time, Patricia!” It’s time to get out there and try to get published. I’m going to share my journey with you here, wherever it may lead. I’ve honestly been studying the children’s book industry for the past couple of years. I’m a member of the SCBWI and I’ve attended some wonderful conferences and met amazing writers and illustrators and people just like me who want to succeed. I go to the library and check all the award winning picture books and hot new artists and writers. Now that I’m more familiar with the industry (although I’m pretty sure I’ve just scratched the surface), I’ve started researching agents and publishers. I’m going to send out queries and see what happens. Not all at once! Because you’re not supposed to do that but to those people or agents who I feel I could connect with and who my book may fit with. If that doesn’t work well, on to the next blog post. My book is called “The Griffin” and here’s a tiny glimpse of it (very tiny). Wish me luck!
Every year around Christmas I am asked to paint some fun holiday decor on the windows of the restaurant Whitlow’s on Wilson in Arlington, Virginia. Customers who see me painting are so friendly and intrigued. I love when they stop to talk to me!
I never really know what I’m going to paint ahead of time and luckily Whitlow’s trusts me to come up with something great. This year I painted festive snow people. Local news site, ArlNow, snapped a photo of me while I was painting.
This year I was asked to paint windows on two other local restaurants. At Ireland’s Four Courts in Courthouse in painted the windows with festive garland and a nutcracker holding an Irish flag. For RedRocks of Old Town Alexandria I painted garland and “Happy Holidays”. With lights around the inside of the windows it really looked great in the evening.
Thanks for visiting! I’m Patricia Kouttab, artist and illustrator and Northern Virginia native. I’ll be writing here about art, things that I’m working on and my visits to interesting inspiring local places. I hope you find it enjoyable, helpful and fun!