My Picture Book Master Plan

Today, I have something major to talk about. As some of you know, I’ve talked about wanting to illustrate picture books for children. My background in comics makes me PERFECT for this. How so? I draw in a funny style and my style communicates instantly on the page. Those are must-have skills to draw any kind of books for children.

The creation I’ve devised are two red foxes, Hilda and Richie. The concept is that Hilda is a wealthy blue blood living in a far away country in a mansion with Richie, a fox pup and legally adopted by Hilda. I have notes for about three stories with them including a picture book “dummy” (that means a rough draft in picture book jargon). These two characters are a part of the Sunnyville Stories universe. (Eagle eyed readers may have seen them as background characters in a few of my comics.) In fact, I am already planning a comic where Hilda and Richie visit Sunnyville, meeting Rusty and friends. I’ll talk about that later.

What I am planning is something ambitious, something that will require every ounce of skill I have, every bit of effort and lots of careful preparation.

In early 2021, it is my goal to crowdfund a picture book written and illustrated by myself with the aforementioned characters; this would be used to print and publish said work.

I know what some of you are thinking, especially those of you out there critical of my work (you know who you are). You think it is difficult or even outright impossible. There is some risk involved. Even though I’ve had success crowdfunding comic books on Kickstarter, crowdfunding literature of any kind is a challenge. Self-published books of any kind are still looked down upon. The funds that would be required to print up a picture book would be significantly higher. If I were to do this by the seat of my pants in a week or two, failure is guaranteed.

But I’m not doing that. To increase my chance of successfully funding and producing my picture book(s), I have spent some time working out a “master plan”.

The first phase of my master plan is now underway. It was initiated on Thanksgiving Day on November 28, 2019 and will go through the end of January 2020. I have to prepare for the enormous task at hand. I will be refining the characters of Hilda & Richie, developing their setting and also compose story ideas. The publishing industry in general must be researched and understood. What’s more is that I have to understand the niche that is children’s picture books. To that end, I was able to get a book that covers picture books in depth: Writing Children’s Books For Dummies, Second Edition from Wiley Publishing. As the time of this writing, I am reading the book and increasing my chances of success by learning some things I didn’t previously know.

The second phase of my plan will launch in February 2020 and will run through the end of the year. Elements of that phase are building more connections and cultivating fans. Running Kickstarters then (I have at least two and perhaps a third planned) is part of this phase as well. To succeed with raising a bigger amount of funding will require me to understand Kickstarter and the method of getting successfully funded. I must understand this more; lucky for me, I have resources to help. During this phase, outside help is going to be consulted in helping my manuscript improve. You don’t work in comics like I do without meeting all kinds of important people; during this time, I’ve made connections with freelance writers and authors. These people know editors and book doctors. I will be enlisting the services of said individuals to make sure the picture book is of excellent quality.

The third phase of my plan will take place in June 2020 and runs through the end of the year. That will be when I publicly declare the Kickstarter to fund the Hilda & Richie picture book. In addition, the details such as the funding, rewards and timeframe will be developed. To help promote the characters and build up interest for the Kickstarter, I am plotting a crossover with Sunnyville. Sometime in the late spring or early summer, there will be a Kickstarter with a small funding goal; it will be to print a minicomic or produce a digital only comic where Hilda & Richie visit Sunnyville, meeting Rusty and friends. This would help to promote the upcoming Kickstarter for the picture book plus to establish Hilda & Richie as part of the Sunnyville canon.

The fourth and final phase of my master plan is set for January 2020. That will be…the actual Kickstarter itself for the Hilda & Richie picture book. If all goes according to plan, then the Kickstarter will succeed and I can enter the picture book market!

That is my master plan. It is already underway. It is a big challenge but one I am up to.

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About Max West

I am a freelance artist and the creator of Sunnyville Stories, an independent slice-of-life comics series.
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