This was when computers were just beginning to be in homes. I nagged until my husband agreed to buy a computer – all 1 ½ gigs of HD! I went online and discovered a really great site for children’s writers. As luck would have it, several talented and generous hearted writers, now well published themselves, took me under their wing. I learned the writing rules. I learned patience. I became determined to become published. I began to value the benefits of rewriting my manuscripts and reading those of others. Oh, my, what pearls I learned from reading my talented critique group’s manuscripts. Yet rewrites and rejections still filled my days for a l-o-n-g time. Then I formed a private online critique group with other like-minded members, and my writing took a turn for the more publishable. YEA.
A friend recommended me to a publisher, and they accepted my first rhyming picture book. Eventually, this became Wild and Wonderful, a 7 book series that offered fun facts about animals from the US and Australia. Each book had a different illustrator from a different state, or part of the world. Finding them was as easy as asking on my writing list if there were any illustrators willing to give their career a boost by illustrating my books. You could never do that today, and expect wonderful illustrations for a cut of the proceeds. This was early days, and these were eBooks.
Kangaroo Clues, the first in the series, was illustrated by an artist in Turkey. He spoke no English and did not own a computer. How was this possible you ask? Again I have to thank the Internet. An online friend, also Turkish, and famous for her own children’s books, suggested I use her illustrator, Mustafa Delioglu. She sent me some of the books he had illustrated for her, and his work was awesome. His other art hung in galleries over Europe. I shouted, YES!
This friend acted as translator for both of us. Talk about a marathon effort for a friend. Fortunately Mustafa lived near her, so she went back-and- forth with my e-mails, and his replies to them, for months. Almost a year went past before the illustrations were completed and the book finally published. I was thrilled with the results. His magical illustrations came together with my rhymes in a delightful marriage of fun reading. It was information kids could enjoy, while learning about Aussie animals.
Instead of large land masses surrounded by oceans, the Internet has given us all a chance to become closer, learn about each other’s customs, and celebrate different people with different talents. I find this particularly true with Manuscript Critiquing. Clients come to me from all over the globe. We chat, I help them write tight and terrific books, and we share details of our lives and our countries.
One lady from Latvia e-mailed me every day about her life, her writing, and her country. I replied in like fashion – the difference from my end being, that I corrected her English in MY replies to her. At the end of a year her English had improved out of sight, and I had a firm friend from a part of the world I had never thought about before I became a fan of the Internet.
The Internet is the future: brimming with opportunities for improved lifestyles, good works and aiding others. Stopping those who scheme to use it for vice and other dangerous endeavors must be our current priority.
Hook Kids on Reading: http://hookkidsonreading.blogspot.com/
Margot’s Magic Carpet: http://perfectmagiccarpet.blogspot.com/