Have you ever had an idea that stuck with you for 20-30 years? Maybe it's a business you thought about starting. Or a book you wanted to write. And no matter how many years went by, no matter what else was going on in life, whenever you had a few seconds to sit down and daydream, there was that old idea again. Ready to get started.
And every time you think about this idea, it makes you happy. You dream big. You're not worried about all the dreaded logistics. How will I make this happen? What's the ROI? What's the business plan? No. None of that adult "reasoning" that can take the fun right out of the idea. Instead, you have a childlike joy. You're creating for the sake of creating.
Earlier this year, I received a message from David Ovitt with one of these types of ideas. He shared with me about his "Long Overdue" book called Cecil the Centipede. He was looking for help with the publishing step.
What I found out quickly: This wasn't just an idea. He had the whole children's book written. Cartoons too. Back in the 90's, he had a TV pilot script. A cereal box designed. A toy created. He had other stories from the other characters. Workbooks to help children with colors and learning math. This was a whole world he created and I found myself joining in on the daydream; I could picture the finished book. Getting the toys out there. Maybe reaching out to some TV studios.
Another thing that's cool about this book: the drawings/cartoons are left unfilled like a coloring book. Children get to be part of the story, coloring in the characters. One of David's friends from church, Travis Haines, had a copy of the printed pages, and when he and his wife read the story to their kids, they immediately asked, "Could we color the book?"
But all of that pesky adult reasoning eventually kicks in.
Long Overdue Books has never worked on a children's book before. How much will this cost to produce? Where do you even start?
When I take a step back and tune out all of those questions and just daydream of what I think comes next, this is what I picture for Cecil the Centipede: We'll design the official cover. I'll work with a freelancer to format the pages of the physical book. Make sure the pages are good for coloring on. I'll set it up on Amazon so it's easy to order for anyone around the country.
But I want those first readers, whether that's 10 people, 20 people, 100 people, I want them to be part of this publishing journey. I'd like to send you updates on how the book goes from stapled pages to a finished copy. I want you to be connected to this project and I also want to show you what this process looks like for one of your own book ideas. And then in the "Thank Yous" I'll print everyone's name, the community of supportive readers. Your pre-orders helped this book come to life, why not make you part of the book?
And who knows, maybe a more established children's book publisher reaches out after these first copies go out there, maybe they want to do the next edition. And theirs will look better than mine. Maybe it'll be hardcover. Maybe they'll have better distribution. Hey, that would be awesome! If it's a good deal for David, it's a good deal for us. I'll be there to celebrate with him, wherever this publishing journey goes next.
I love to dream big. I love to picture these books in a local bookstore. I can definitely get lost in the daydream. But the first step is getting a first edition out there.
To help get this book off the ground, we're looking for 10-20 pre-orders. The money from your pre-orders goes toward the design and creation of the physical book, the cost to print and mail each copy, and then also royalties to David as the author. The amount to pre-order Cecil the Centipede and have your name printed in the book as part of this initial group is $25.
If you're interested in being part of this supportive community of readers, please reach out to either me (Chris O'Brien / firstname.lastname@example.org) or Travis Haines (in person or via email). As for type of payment, whatever is easiest for you be that check, Paypal, Venmo, etc.
The release date goal: I'd like to have these books available by Christmas. So this means we'll have the pre-orders open until Thanksgiving and send updates out along the way.
If you have any questions or are looking for other ways to be involved in the project, please don't hesitate to send me an email.
And if you have one of these ideas of your own that's been brewing for a year, two years, 30 years, I'd love to hear about it. Who knows, maybe your idea is the next Long Overdue book.