“Loved it, loved it. This is a great way for children to not only dream, but to not be scared to go to sleep and dream. Children have wonderful, fascinating imaginations and may not dream of sugar crystals, the moon made of cheese or animal crackers performing acrobatic tricks, but regardless of the type of dreams that they encounter, they too will enjoy meeting the Sandman.”
-Reviewed by Vernita Naylor for Readers’ Favorite
To read the entire review, please click the Reader’s Favorite icon.
So you’re like me, huh? Been sending out manuscripts of picture books for some time, and you aren’t getting anywhere? It’s okay. It was only last week when I realized I’ve been doing it wrong this entire time! Say whaaaaat? No need to fear! Here are some tips to help you send out a better-looking manuscript.
Keep in mind that poetry and rhyming manuscripts will be formatted slightly different. I’ll break it down into three sections, settings, first page, and continuous pages.
Settings for the document
1″ Margins All Around
Most documents will have this already selected by default, but make sure it’s ticked.
What this means is that every time you hit the return on your keyboard, it will start typing on the left side, not the center and definitely not the right.
Jagged lines on the right
This just means you don’t need to have the text fill the entire line. It will automatically move to the next line when it needs to. The lines of text will appear jagged. You shouldn’t need to do anything, but if you see that your document is spacing out your letters to fill each line, you’ll need to make sure you do left-aligned text.
.5 cm paragraph indents
When you start a paragraph and hit the tab key, it will indent .5cm. Again, it should be selected by default.
This gives room for any notes and makes it an easier read.
12 pt. Times New Roman font
Use this font as it is said to be easier on the eyes for someone who reads manuscripts all day. There is no need to use any special font for a manuscript submission. Make it simple, keep it 12pt.
So the document settings are all set. Let’s dive in.
Create a header. On the left side leave your name, number, email, and website. Make sure it’s single-spaced, left-aligned. On the other side of the header, leave the word count. Round up the word count to the nearest 10. Make sure that this header is only for this page.
Go back to the body of the text, and come down from the header a few inches and type and center the title. Don’t make it too large, but feel free to go with 14 or 16 at the most.
Hit enter and put the subtitle here if there is one. Hit enter again and add the author’s name. Select this and make it single-spaced.
Now come down another inch or two and start the story on the same page.
Create another header on this page. All pages following the first page will need this same header. The header will contain the author’s lastname/thebooktitle on the left side and on the right side of the line, start the page numbers, and if you can, start it with the ‘2’.
Click out of the header and go to the meat of the page. Continue your story from page one. When you finish the story, hit return twice and type THE END.
If you want to download the free .doc template, feel free. I will attach one shortly.
If you found this information useful, consider supporting me, an independent self-published author, by sharing the articles, or getting a copy of Priscilla and the Sandman, or The Wondrous Wandering Acrobats Show.
The Wondrous Wandering Acrobats Show is off the press, in boxes and ready to ship to the US. If you want to order a beautiful traditionally printed autographed book, you can preorder a book directly from me. For those wanting to take a look at a cheaper cost before hand, you can preorder it on the Kindle!
Here are a few tricks and tips to making reading more enjoyable for you and most importantly, your child.
Parents have asked me for tips about how to read to child. Often, parents think their child may not be interested in books at all or that they just can’t focus. For many parents, the answers may come easy, but for plenty of others, they do not.
Let’s start with a very basic question – If you were a toddler, how would you want someone to read to you?
How does a reading like this sound?
- quick read
- no excitement
- no engagement
- forceful reading
- a parent that thinks it’s too much work
I don’t know about you, but for me, this sounds a ton better:
- soft excitement (soft “oohs”, and “awes”)
- changing voices with different characters
- making sound effects (bangs, creaks)
- being silly
- role playing afterwards
- a physical engagement
- a mental connection from a spoken word to a picture
- excitement from a parent
- blind reads from a bed or in the car
Although, I don’t expect to have everyone’s answers, I believe if you started out like I did, we’d have pretty similar results. If you’ve resulted to ipads more than physical books since they were a baby, it may be a different ball game but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy books! For us, ipad time is a treat and can be done as a reward. So, how have a read books with my child?
0-4 Months Old
Don’t teach, talk. And there is no need to speak in long winded sentences.
For being a baby, you only need to give them soft books to enjoy. Let them chew on them, and feel them. Buy them a good black and white book as the contrast really helps. Get them some soft books with crinkle paper inside so they can hear it crackle. Just because your baby is a baby, it doesn’t mean they aren’t learning.
Constantly talk to them. When you hand them a book, tell them a few times that it’s a book. When they crinkle it up, give a gasp or awe, and say, “Woooow, listen, it’s making a noise.” Everything, you do with your child can be verbally told at the same time. They will understand what a book is before they can even say it. Just speak verbally about things as you do them. You don’t need to talk about the past, and what you will be doing tomorrow. That would be pointless. They need a connection that meets the physical and verbal. You can do it with eating too. For example, you’re feeding them an apple. You tell them it’s an apple. Then, let them eat the apple, tell them, “Yummmy, apple. Do you like apple?” Most parents already do this with food, but you can start to do this with books too once they can hold their heads up.
That being said, don’t overstimulate and change it up. You are not “teaching” them. You are just connecting two points to a puzzle, and each time you bring out the same book or a book with the same image, you are reasserting that those two points connect. Turn the pages, talk about each page and go at decent pace for the child to enjoy, and not feel overwhelmed.
5-8 Months Old
Lap reading, pointing, and adding a few more sentences.
Your child is now able to hold up their heads when you sit them on your lap. They seem to want to look around at every one and everything. This is a great opportunity to get some board books with simple pictures. Buy the ones with textures and shiny things or anything that gets the motor senses going.
Sit them down on your lap and pull out a board book. How would you feel if someone just opened it, read words and closed it? Boring, right? There is so much more to the experience. But in my opinion, one of the most important things to do is to hold one of their hands in yours, and hold it in a pointer position. You can put the middle to the pinky fingers down, leaving the index up- so now they are pointing with your help.
As you read the word, circle the entire object. Talk about the color, the texture, what the object might do, what it might sound like or smell like. If they turn the page on their own, let them. The more you sound excited, the more they will wonder why it’s exciting. Again, don’t be overly excited. Just give a soft, “Awwwwe, look at that! It’s red. Pretty pretty red.” If they are focused, continue. Have them point to red on their shirt or something in the house. Make some soft sound effects, but again, there is no need to overstimulate. Sound out a crunching apple, or the wind blowing in the trees. Speak softly, even if you gasp or awe, you can do it in a soft voice. After all, you aren’t trying to frighten the child, you are just showing enthusiasm for how cool words and objects are.
Later, you’ll be able to ask them about objects in the book, and they may be pointing them out in no time.
8 Months to 1.5 Years
Step it up. Get some fun picture books and bring it down to there level. They can get something new from each time you read it.
By 8 months of reading, your child may be able to enjoy looking at more story driven books. I like to start off with the story books similar to the worded board books. Sit the child on your lap and make her a pointer finger. If they pull away, don’t force them. Use your own finger, and come back to theirs later. See if they are interested in pointing then. Talk about it all. Let’s take The Very Hungry Caterpillar for example. We could just read it in a boring monotone quickly, but where’s the fun in that? How about for the first time, talk about the caterpillar being small, and hungry. Give it a voice, “I want to eat”, and make some munching sound while putting fingers to your mouth. Let the child eat the apple, and other fruit from the book. What does it sound like as it crawls, “Pugee, pugee, pugee.” Talk about the sun, and it being big, warm and bright. Talk about it all.
The second reading, probably another day, you can try giving it a read through. Change your voice and give the caterpillar some lines. “Oh, I’m so hungry”, or “I’m full”, or “I have a tummy ache”. There’s no reason you can’t expand on any of it or take any of it out.
This goes for any book. You can shorten it and bring it down to their level. If you are on a page, and they want to move forward, move forward. My child and I looked through Jumanji at a young age, but I talked about the animals and the game, and probably didn’t read much of what was written. Just make sure you keep using their pointer finger if they’ll let you. As the rhinos crash through the wall, make an explosion, “Look out, run! The rhinos are coming!” You don’t need to get too detailed in long winded sentences. When reading the snake, you can make your arm into one slithering around.
From 1.5 Years on
Continue at their pace but progress.
From 1.5 years on, continue moving forward at their pace. They may not need you to hold their pointer finger any more but you can always try. You’ll want to continue to make reading enjoyable by adding noises, changing voices, and talk about the little things in the book.
As the child can speak, start to role play. Start to memorize books and recite them when something pops up like a toy or stuffed animal. Make jingles, chants, and sing songs.
Before, I would read it with easier words that my child knew, but as she got older I would bring in the new vocabulary and tell her what it meant.
Just a week ago, she said that her little bear was petrified. It was a word from Mouses Book of Fears, and we hadn’t read it in months. She was just turning three years old.
What kinds of books do I recommend?
Good books! Okay, a good book is definitely subjective. I recommend soft, chewing books for the babies. Then you don’t have to worry about it being destroyed. Then I recommend nice board books with they get a little older – board books with something fun, interactive, and engaging. Let them keep those in their room. During the board book time, teach them to respect books. Don’t stand on them and through them, or they’ll break. So my daughter did break her first board book, but after explaining it a few times, she’s learned to really respect her books. I kept paper books separate from my daughters board books. While reading paper books, I woud use her fingers to turn the pages carefully and tell her, “carefully, and slowly. We don’t want to rip them.” I would make sure she wouldn’t grab corners forcefully, and if she did, I would hold her arm and turn with her and tell her, “Be careful, it can rip.” I remember a time or two when she wasn’t, I would stop reading, she’d cry, and I’d explain a little to her about treating books nicely, and we’d go back to reading.
When choosing my books, I tend to look for artwork that captures my eyes, and again, taste in art is subjective. After that, I’ll open a book and see the artwork inside. If it maintains the quality of the cover, I’ll check out how many words there are. If it seems too long winded, I may put it back right then. If not, I’ll read what the story is about. If I like the story, then, I’ll probably buy it. If I don’t agree with the message, it’s a coin toss, as it will heavily rely on how much I love the artwork. I am not a fan of “I’m a princess” messages or “women need to be rescued by a handsome prince.” That being said, I did buy a Rapunzel with amazing pictures. But I also laughed and told my daughter it was pretty silly, and the reason why it was silly.
I don’t let awards, or famous authors be the reason. I really only have one author that I absolutely love, Anthony Browne. I am interested in most of his books, but not all.
BUT THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT Tip
The most important thing is enjoy reading time with your child. If you act like reading is going to be a chore, then so will the child. If you are a parent that feels this way, you probably need an attitude change and some self-reflection on what it means to be a parent because guess what? Your child is forever changing, and with each age comes struggles but also a ton of enjoyment. Just think, in a blink of an eye, you could miss out on half a life.
The moment your child is born, they are connected by the umbilical chord. As soon as that chord is severed, they are forever growing away from you. As they get older, they’ll want less time with you and more time with friends. One day, they’ll be moving out.
I’ve loved being a father. Of course I want more me time, but I also want to be there for my kiddo as much as I can. Enjoy the struggles and for crying out loud, enjoy reading time.
Us self-published authors rely heavily on information handed down from other self-published authors. Big publishers have the luxury of knowing the ropes, and having the industry contacts. I want to share some information about audiobooks, cds, and metadata for those self-published authors that are a bit in the dark.
What is Metadata?
First, what is metadata? Metadata is all the information that you want to share with the public about your audio file, your audiobook. For example, your title, the author, readers, producers, mixers, composers, cd art, and album art are some of the metadata you may want to add to your album.
Before the internet databases, there was a time where you could buy a car CD player, put in the CD, and it would tell you the name of the song, album, and artist right on the face of the car cd player! This is written on the CD in the CD text.
But if you were to put that CD with the metadata in the CD text, your computer may not recognize the metadata and it may say, “Unknown Artist”. That leads us to the digital metadata world.
Submitting Your Metadata
When you put a store bought CD into your computer, a big nice clear picture of the album art pops up, as well as all the song titles. This metadata isn’t written on the CD itself, but is submitted into a database, most likely a couple databases.
If you produce your album through CDbaby, or other aggregators, most likely they will submit the metadata for you, but if you are a self-published author making an audiobook for your book, you may need to submit it yourself.
Of course you could, pay some money to CDbaby and publish it as an album, order a CD and copy that. For me, I’m living in Taiwan and find it a cheaper option to print CDs on the fly and burn them privately or with a company. But no matter if you have a polished audiobook CD , a self-burned version written in marker, or just a digital file. You can submit your metadata. I would focus on two main databases, Gracenote, and AllMusicGuide.
Many places like Amazon, or Itunes pull metadata from Gracenotes. Submitting to them is a painless process. Check it out below.
after you submit to Gracenote, everybody that has that exact CD copy and put it into their Itunes library, the metadata will show up just like you put it in. Could someone update that data? I doubt it would be that easy, but I guess it’s possible. I believe most people would leave it alone if the info were there.
The second largest database is AllMusicGuide. Adding the metadata to their database is a bit more difficult as you’ll need to send them a physical copy of the CD. I believe they used to manage the database, but now I believe AllMusicGuide created a sister company called TivO which maintains the database presently. You need to send your finished CD to them by mail:
100 Phoenix Drive, Suite 201
Ann Arbor, MI 48108-2202
For movies and television
For video games
More info here http://www.allmusic.com/product-submissions
There are a couple other larger databases to consider – MusicBrainz, and FreedB (for Linux)
What about Digital File Metadata Such as MP3?
If you have a digital file you are letting people download and want to add metadata to the digital copy, there are numerous ways to go about it.
Aggregators like CDbaby
I believe you can do a free version but the file is only sold on Cdbaby. If you want to sell your file on Itunes or elsewhere, you need to pay.
Audible may be the only place at the moment to get your audiobook on Amazon. Ii haven’t tried to do Cdbaby for an audiobook, but I suppose it would still get on Amazon, but not as an audiobook.
One cool reason to do Audible would be they plan to have audiobooks sync with Kindle Ebooks. That was a big bonus for me. However, my audiobook has yet to be synced.
Free Online Tag Editors
If you want to just edit the metadata, and distribute the mp3 yourself or on your site, going to free online tag editors may do the trick.
I’ve used http://tagmp3.net/ but for some reason seems to be down.
I’ve just tried out http://www.watermark-images.com/mp3-tag-editor-online.aspx with some success. It’s pretty simple. Just add your metadata and export again. I noticed with them, the image doesn’t show up on my Desktop, but when I play it through VLC it does show the image. I’ve had a better file outcome with tag.net. Just do a Google search of “Online Free Mp3 Tag Editor” to see if there are more options. For me, having the image there is a must.
Free Metadata Tag Editing Software
I haven’t tried http://www.mp3tag.de/ but it’s free, and the programmer seems genuine. They list some awards from their software and you can contact them, too. I may go that route in the future if tag.net isn’t working.
Purchase Metadata Software
If you are going to be doing this a lot, sure go a head, but if you are tossing out an ebook every year, why???? I haven’t purchased any and don’t plan on it right now.
There are numerous ways to get your metadata online in databases or inside your mp3 file. For my audiobook, I’m planning on going with Gracenotes, and AllMusicGuide. I have already added tags with an online editor for my mp3 file that I give away free for those who purchase my picture book. The CD, I plan to have as an add on to the shopping cart and just want some metadata there.
If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to ask. Good luck with your endeavors.
The circus wasn’t something that happened over night. Actually, the earliest form of the circus wasn’t really a circus at all, at least not how we know it today.
Before television and movies, people got their entertainment from theater, plays, and live shows. Sometime around 1770, a horseback trick-rider named Philip Astley wanted other types of performers to join him and his horseback trick-riding show, hoping it would bring a novelty to it. What he found were super-humans; people with extraordinary gifts and amazing talents. Together they formed the beginning of a modern day circus show. But to keep people coming, they needed to make the show even more spectacular.
Tricks on horses got more daring. Acrobatics were bending in ways nobody had seen before. Trapeze artists were soaring above crowds. Exotic animals, such as lions and leopards, were brought in from across the globe. Unlike today, people didn’t have televisions, phones, smart devices, or computers, so the only place they could see such exotic animals would be in a book or newspaper. Now, with today’s technology, children have the ability to search for animals online, or observe them up close and personal. In our modern time, there is a growing concern for the care and treatment of wild animals in circus shows. Although care has greatly improved for these animals, some performing groups have completely banned animals from their acts, relying solely on their amazing acrobatic skills and phenomenal performances.
The Wondrous Wandering Acrobats Show is a piece of circus history right at your fingertips. If you enjoy reading it and want to see my other products, please visit my website. To stay updated about new products or books, please join me on social media and watch out for The Wondrous Wandering Acrobats Returns.
Thanks for reading!
I just want to let those following The Wondrous Wandering Acrobats Show picture book know that the book is now re-designed and much more pleasing to the eye. Before some pages seemed chaotic as they were too large for a child’s eyes at reading distance. We went from 8.5×11 to a beautiful 11×8.5. It will cost a bit more to print, but in the end, it will be worth it.
You can pre-order the book at a discounted price, or wait. Here are some mock-up images.
Helen Ward/Wayne Anderson
The Dragon Machine has to be one of the best picture books ever. Wayne Anderson delivers on some of the most amazing illustrations I have seen. You can’t go wrong with dragons! Like most of Wayne Anderson’s works, the illustrations have a soft grainy quality about them and aren’t overpowered with contrast. The story itself seems simple, but there are plenty of questions one might ask behind the meaning of it all, if there is one. This is a book I would think Hollywood studios would love a crack at and I hope one day to see a motion picture version.