RR: Thanks for sharing your time for this interview, Jay! From your Kickstarter campaign, I’m already really excited to see this book do well! “It’s Time to Sleep” is a book that I’d love to have on my bookshelf for my own toddlers!
In your kickstarter campaign, you’ve already gone into a lot of detail about how this book was inspired and what your plan is for releasing it. So, my questions will focus more on specifics.
As a father of two little ones myself (18 & 6 months as of this interview) I know how important it is to make sure they get enough sleep. Lullabies and reading are two of the time-tested methods of letting your child know it’s bedtime. I really love that you’re immortalizing not only an effective and beautiful lullaby, but also sharing it with other parents and kids.
Q1: Beyond the obvious costs of illustration and publishing, what are some of the challenges that you’ve encountered in getting this book released?
Jay: Whenever I commission a new art for the book, the wait is both excruciating and mesmerizing. The time that it takes before seeing the newest beautiful take on my toddler and me is only trying because I am so excited to appreciate our wonderful illustrator's depiction and to finish the book. On the other hand, I get the privilege and pleasure of seeing it come together from base picture to sketch to draft after draft, so I get a special look into the mind of the artist as life is breathed into each painting.
I would also be remiss not to give a well-deserved shoutout to the artist behind the book: María Jesús Gormaz. She, too, is passionate about this children's book, and I could not be more thankful for the bubbly, bright, colorful, soft style that she has proven to be so good at crafting. She didn't ask me to do this, but if I may plug her site and bring more traffic to her gallery, her website is http://m-go.deviantart.com/gallery/
Aside from this, as you know, the minutiae of publishing your own book can be difficult your first time. Even the simple steps of getting my own copyright registry, ISBN, barcode, etc. proved a bit overwhelming at first. I'm thankful to my local library's writing society for helping me through the process.
RR: Glad you had your local writing society to help you out! You have an amazing artist who has really brought your work to life! I’m more than happy to give her a plug.
Q2: This isn’t your only children’s book that you’ve written. Could you offer a sneak peek into the other books you hope to release in the future?
Jay: Absolutely. "Easy on the Cherry Cola" is based on a time when my daughter and I played with one of those custom soda fountains that are popping up everywhere. I let her press whichever buttons she wanted, and this "random walk" led us to a whole lot of cherry in our drink.
"So Many Stuffed Animals" is, well, pretty self-explanatory as to how I decided on that name. It's a tool to teach toddlers and up about all kinds of animals, and I admit that getting it to rhyme and have the kind of structure I prefer is proving more difficult than I had thought, but I love a poetic challenge.
Lastly (for now,) "Glass-Bottom Boat" features Evangeline and me learning about the sea as we travel from beach to beach, meeting friendly fish, awing at colorful coral, and maybe even looking for treasure. If "It's Time to Sleep" does not succeed in its campaign, there's a chance that I'll make an anthology of these and more instead.
RR: These all sound awesome!
As an author myself, I know it can be difficult to find a target audience for your work, but “It’s Time to Sleep” has such a clear target and you’d think it would be the easiest book ever to market. The same is the case with your other books you have planned.
But there are so many books coming out every single day now and more and more people that promote books are turning down self-published authors for coverage. But it appears you have a truly quality product that deserves a real shot.
Q3: Beyond the obviously brilliant illustrations and the lullaby itself, what do you believe is something or some things that set “It’s Time to Sleep” apart from other bedtime books? In other words, what do you think will draw parents to your book in particular and what will give it staying power?
Jay: I think that it's pretty clear that there's a deeply personal touch to this work. Plenty of children's books are inspired by our kids themselves, but how many show the love and play as personally and closely, featuring parent and kid in every art? Those are my favorite children's stories, and my goal is to have the most stand-out of the subgenre. I would think that I achieved a goal of mine if loving parents can see themselves in our precious playtime and rest.
RR: Thanks so much for interviewing with us, Jay! Good luck with your book and we hope to send many potential readers your way! Purchasing this book is an investment in our kids and there’s nothing more important than our kids!
** Disclaimer: I was compensated in absolutely no form for this interview. It was done purely for the good of the writing community and the goodness of my own heart ;)
If you're an author, we'd love to interview you on Life Successfully! We are always working to get exposure for both up-and-coming and established authors.
Interested? Tweet me or DM me at @wintargetgame.
Alternatively, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm fine with doing interviews on Twitter or by email.
At this time, I'm not doing instant message, podcast, or video interviews. (Due to little kids and other commitments, I can't be live on camera or on a podcast right now.)