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Old 01-03-2013, 02:45 PM   #1
magicbooks
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Lightbulb A new way for illustrated children books

Hi there,
I am from germany so my english is not perfect but I have friends from USA and Australia who help me in translating my stories.

I am also writing children stories. But my stories are very short and the books are combined with great illustrations so my young children (4 and 7 years old) will have a wonderful magic book.

To write a story is one step but to illustrate this story with perfect drawings is totally different. I am lucky because I have great illustrators who will help me illustrating my stories.

Now we plan to open this idea to everyone. What do you think if there is a web platform for authors who can send their stories and their ideas to and the illustrators will finish a fantastic ebook with illustrations, sounds and animations for free?

Instead of paying thousand or hundreds of dollars for an illustrator and programming the ebook the author and the illustrator will share the money of the sold ebooks. The only thing the author has to do is to send his story and tell everyone when the book is finished.

Would be great to discuss this and what is important for other authors who want to create wonderful children ebooks too.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:58 PM   #2
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Having fun with your own projects does not mean you have the knowledge to a run a publishing company. I'd strongly suggest not doing this right now. Take some time to learn how the industry works, and then you'll be in a better position to decide what to do.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polenth View Post
Having fun with your own projects does not mean you have the knowledge to a run a publishing company. I'd strongly suggest not doing this right now. Take some time to learn how the industry works, and then you'll be in a better position to decide what to do.
Hi Polenth,
we know how the industry works. We are a team of designers, marketing people, writers, programmers and illustrators. We worked several years for publishing houses as typesetters or designers. We also produced books for publishing houses. So we know a lot about the industry.
We talk also a lot with authors and small publishing houses here in Germany. They love that idea. I want to know now what about the people around the world think about that.
istockphoto was in the same position at the beginning with photos and music and now they are one of the biggest fish in the market and help more photographs and musicians to earn money than the normal industry is doing. Everyone who can produce music can now earn money with istockphoto. This spirit and idea we want to transform to the ebook market and to help authors to earn money with their idea or stories.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:23 AM   #4
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So the author pays nothing. The illustrator does the work for nothing. Both hope the work makes enough money for the illustrator to earn a profit from the time spent and the author to earn the same share. Why would any illustrator do this? What about the people who turn the work into the e-book and run the site? How are they compensated?

Who decides that the illustrations are terrific? What if the author hates what the illustrator does with the book? What if the author sends work that just sucks? Does an illustrator get to decline to work on it?

If I'm correct, the photos and music are not collaborations. The model of istockphoto wouldn't be quite the same. There, if you post something people like, you'll make money. But it's all on you.

US authors need to do a ton of marketing to have their work stand out. The global market of your site might help that. But "just letting everyone know the work is out" is far from enough here. For those who self publish, and many who are traditionally published, marketing becomes a full time job.

Those are the thoughts off the top of my head.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:37 PM   #5
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Hi Debbie,
hope you understand all my writing correctly, I am from germany and so be patient with my writing. My colleague, who is from US, is not here at the moment :-)
Yepp, that's our concept. A team with illustrators, musicians, ebook programmers, marketing and texter (only if the text needs to translate or the text needs some corrections if necessary) is working on the ebook.
The idea is following: you have an idea for a story. you send the story to us, same as istockphoto. If the story fits to our template and concept (how many pages, how many words, no content we don't want to publish like politics, racism e.g.) than we make the artwork and the ebook.
The question is: Do you have an idea of a story for an illustrated children book you want to make money with it and you can not do all the work by your own? The author is free to give the story a chance to be produced with us or to produce it with someone else.
Our illustrators are great. They are working for big companies and they have a great variety of different styles.
We love kids and we want to produce high quality ebooks and we think it would be great to have a great variety of different stories from different authors around the world.
An other way could be to illustrate a character and to ask authors to write a story for them.
We also want to promote the ebooks and we want to create tools for the authors so they can promote the books by themselfes. If more and more ebooks are sold the percentage of the authors royalty is rising. That's the idea.

You can read our idea on
www.storylorry.com

I am also a musician but my cd's does not sell good because my name is not robbie williams and my music is not mainstream. But on istock my music is selling very good. Why not to do something similar for children books and also unknown authors has a chance to make money with stories?

What is most important for you if I would ask you to write a children story for maybe a 20 pages children ebook? Each site can have text but also have illustrations of the story. Would you give such a system a chance for your story? Is this interesting for you?
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:53 AM   #6
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You're talking as though you're aiming this at self-published authors, but you're not a self-publishing service. You're going to have to be selective, because you can't take on every book that comes your way and keep the quality up. Which means you're a trade publisher.

Based on that, I'm going to compare your services to other trade publishers. Other publishers would offer an advance, which I'd get to keep whatever happened. They'd have a large stable of illustrators, and they'll try to pair me with one who fits my work. They'd offer editing and marketing. They'd print the books and get them into book stores and libraries. Picture books don't have a big ebook share, so being ebook-only isn't a plus point.

Saying authors don't have to pay is not a big lure. It's a basic expectation from a publisher. It's the other parts of the publishing process, and the exact contract terms, that matter.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polenth View Post
You're talking as though you're aiming this at self-published authors, but you're not a self-publishing service. You're going to have to be selective, because you can't take on every book that comes your way and keep the quality up. Which means you're a trade publisher.

Based on that, I'm going to compare your services to other trade publishers. Other publishers would offer an advance, which I'd get to keep whatever happened. They'd have a large stable of illustrators, and they'll try to pair me with one who fits my work. They'd offer editing and marketing. They'd print the books and get them into book stores and libraries. Picture books don't have a big ebook share, so being ebook-only isn't a plus point.

Saying authors don't have to pay is not a big lure. It's a basic expectation from a publisher. It's the other parts of the publishing process, and the exact contract terms, that matter.
It is a different way of publishing. We believe in ebooks and not in printed books for our project. And a lot of other services want to charge you with money if you want a special sevice. We talk to other authors and we have now the fist authors who like our idea and who want to join our service. It is up to everyone which service they want to use. Printing books are much more expensive to produce and the risks are higher. Also to sell them to bookstores. There are a lot of publishing houses doing this. We want to go digitally. We have been at the book fair in germany and there you could see that the way in future is going more and more digitally. We want to create ebooks. If an author wants to have a printed version or wants a different way of publishing, he can do this.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magicbooks View Post
Hi there,
I am from germany so my english is not perfect but I have friends from USA and Australia who help me in translating my stories.

I am also writing children stories. But my stories are very short and the books are combined with great illustrations so my young children (4 and 7 years old) will have a wonderful magic book.

To write a story is one step but to illustrate this story with perfect drawings is totally different. I am lucky because I have great illustrators who will help me illustrating my stories.

Now we plan to open this idea to everyone. What do you think if there is a web platform for authors who can send their stories and their ideas to and the illustrators will finish a fantastic ebook with illustrations, sounds and animations for free?

Instead of paying thousand or hundreds of dollars for an illustrator and programming the ebook the author and the illustrator will share the money of the sold ebooks. The only thing the author has to do is to send his story and tell everyone when the book is finished.

Would be great to discuss this and what is important for other authors who want to create wonderful children ebooks too.
I don't know how this is going to work. What's the business model?

This is precisely my area of publishing - ebooks for children - and I have worked with a lot of people doing e-publishing platforms for kids. Magic Town, for example. What I know about this stuff is that it all costs money. Good illustration, animation, web/app programming and eproduction cost thousands and thousands of pounds. (Magic Town required millions in venture capital.)
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:07 AM   #9
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It's a nice idea on the surface and seems to pair what people need with those that can provide it, but I foresee many of the complications Debbie and Polenth mention here. Even the tangled issues of profit sharing aside, the author in this type of scenario should have a right to vet the illustrator as the success or failure of the book will rest heavily on their skills, and vice versa. Beautiful images will not sell books if the writing is subpar. Just offering to put these together does not a business model make.

Quality needs to be addressed, as well as marketing and many other things. A person can't just throw a book onto Amazon and hope for the best. That will not generate a strong ROI.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:26 AM   #10
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I can tell you as a children's book illustrator, I do not touch a project that doesn't involve money up front. There are SO many people looking for free art and so many people who promise to pay royalties when the books earns money and all of them mean well and none of them ever earn out...honestly, I can't think of a single way that someone could stand out far enough from the crowd to make me rethink it.

...maybe a REALLY big name that I was sure would sell through, but I don't see Neil Gaiman needing to use such a service.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:21 AM   #11
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Well, I wouldn't touch this from any angle. Lots of good warnings here. The OP seems only to have come to AW to try and promote this venture of his, so I'm locking the thread and letting it collect dust and spider webs down in the dungeons.

I saw a spam fritter in a chip shop today and so nearly gave it a try. Spam. You gotta love it. In a fritter. Not on a forum for writers.
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