I’ve written and illustrated a lot of books. Many of them are very short. A lot of them are easy readers that are only 8 to 16 pages long. Some of them are Spanish translations that were not even translated by me. When people say Wow, you’ve written over 80 books! I have to shrug it off. It isn’t that many. I just kept plugging away, you know? That’s what you do when you are a single mom, working from home. You plug away. I could have written a lot more and I am still working on more… I could have written more masterpieces and spent more time on the details. I hope to do that in the future.
In the meantime, I’m looking for reviews. Reviews can make or break a book and where these books are sold (Amazon and Barnes and Noble online) books without reviews are books that are lost in no man’s land. They are just sitting out there all sad and morose in the dust with the tumbleweeds, wishing someone would read them. Poor books. So I’m asking my friends and family and you guys for some love in the form of a review or two! Just a few sentences. You don’t even have to write nice sentences though that would be best, of course. People do sometimes actually read the reviews and sometimes bad reviews can be more helpful than good reviews. Though bad reviews kill me slowly and painfully so don’t leave one if you don’t have to.
The nitty gritty is that the more reviews there are, the more of a chance my books have of moving up the chart on Amazon. I admit not a lot of these books bestsellers but some of them could be. Some of them I’m really proud of. I’ll go on about them below if you have the time to keep reading.
If you have Kindle Unlimited you can read these books for FREE on most days! Just a few sentences and I would be eternally grateful! I wish I could offer something in exchange for a review but that’s totally frowned upon and probably illegal.
Without further ado, may I present:
THE BIG LIST
Professor McNasty’s Collection of Slimes
Secret Agent Josephine in Paris
Hey, Kitty Kitty!
Secret Agent Josephine’s Numbers
Good Night, Kitty Kitty!
Snackle the Snake Likes to Snack
My Good Dog
My Cat is Sad
My Cat, My Dog
My Cat is Fat
My Cat Sits
Cody Eats Everything
Cody Poops Everywhere
Cody Sheds Everywhere
Cody Barks at Everyone
Knock Knock Boo Who?
It’s Snot Fair!
Knock Knock, Moo Who?
Knock Knock, Lettuce In!
Knock Knock, Blub Blub!
You are the Coolest
Knock Knock, Red, White, and Blue!
Too School for Cool
Knock Knock, Woof Woof!
Knock Knock, Olive You!
Knock Knock, Meow Meow!
Merry Christmas, Little Hoo!
Who’s Coming for Dinner, Little Hoo?
Happy Birthday, Little Hoo!
Who’s There, Little Hoo?
Little Hoo Goes to the Beach
Little Hoo Goes to School
Happy Easter, Little Hoo!
Little Hoo has the Flu
Little Hoo Gets the Wiggles Out
Little Hoo Goes Camping
It’s Not About You, Little Hoo!
Good Night, Little Hoo (Coming soon!)
Little Hoo Makes Valentines
Time to Get Ready, Bunny!
Time for Bed, Bunny!
Time to Eat, Bunny!
Time for Bunny (A bundle of all three Bunny books)
Nat Plays Baseball
Nat Can Code
Nat Can Help (link not working for some reason)
Raj Gets a Puppy
Raj Plays Soccer
Last Day of School
Where are You?
Ballet Lessons for Su
Nat Visits the Museum
Ready for the Test
Buddy is a Puppy
Su and Kat
Buddy Plays Fetch
Raj Cleans Up
Nat and Raj
Bandit Eats Grass
A Bath for Bandit
Let’s talk about them!
Professor McNasty’s Collection of Slimes. This book was written by my co-partner at Mettaprints’ husband, Chris Bickley. I told him I wanted to write a book about slime because my girls were really into slime back then. Joon used to beg for it daily. I hated slime because it got on everything. It stuck everywhere, I was constantly trying to get it out of backpacks, clothes, sheet, and rugs… it was such a pain in the neck trend back then. Do you remember? Chris turned out to be a pretty good poet and he turned out this yarn quickly. Illustrating it took a lot longer but it was fun. I only wish steam actually worked on slime. Wouldn’t that be amazing? We were inspired by Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat story where the parents leave the house and all hell breaks loose.
Be Mine is literally a book form of the “valentags” I made way back in the day. I tried to find a link to those old Valentine tags but it seems to be missing. Some people have given this book a bad review because it’s super simple. Just one phrase and one picture on each page. When I made it I imagined it would be swish-through electronic book that you would send your sweetheart over the phone. Good idea but maybe not worth spending money on for the print version. I wish it was a board book. It would be fabulous as a board book that toddlers could chew on. Sadly, my publisher doesn’t make board books.
Secret Agent Josephine in Paris Ah, an oldie but a goodie. This was my first real story book and a labor of love. Sadly it didn’t sell well. I’m super proud of the illustrations though and the story is cute. Writing a spy story is tricky because spies can be well, to put it plainly: very bad people and I didn’t want to write about SAJ poisoning someone or sneaking into government buildings to take pictures of top secret documents. I also didn’t want to write about the blueberry caper stealing pies so I was kinda stuck plot wise and maybe it shows. But I do love that I got to include so many real life references. My brother is the evil art thief. Bug comes with me on a trip to all the touristy spots in Paris… it’s fun. I think it’s cute and definitely worth it for the print version if you collect picture books about Paris like I do.
Colors I like this one. It’s simple but I love the illustrations if do say so myself. I was working with gradients a lot back then. I’ve kinda let gradients and shading go by the wayside in efforts to speed up the illustration process. That’s the thing about me, I’m a quick illustrator. Oftentimes too quick. But when we were making these books, the digital book industry was brand new and we had to act fast to stay at the lead. It was good advice for back then. Now I’d probably go a lot slower and add more detail but at the end of the day did emotion I wanted to convey come across? I think so. Quick can be good too.
Hey, Kitty Kitty! Funny fun fact about this book: the artwork I have says “Here Kitty Kitty.” That was the first version of this book but they changed it to “Hey Kitty Kitty” after it was published. Maybe there was already a book called “Here Kitty Kitty,” I’m not sure. Also, the Kindle version of this book is black because black looks really cool on screen but not so great in print. We decided pink was nice for print. I don’t have many pink books so this one is special to me. I also love this book because some of the spreads are designed vertically and you have to turn the book to read them. Other readers hate this. I think it’s cool. I also like that the color palette is very simple. What can I say? I was a graphic designer before I was an illustrator. Simple lines and colors mean a lot to me. :)
ABC Flashcards Remember the flashcards I made for Bug and all you readers chimed in and we came up with what I should illustrate for each letter together? Wasn’t that amazing? I think that was one of the best things I ever did on this blog. Of course, that was a million years ago and probably not many of those original readers and commenters are still here but oh, the memories! That was something else. They hit right at Christmas time and it was before the big crash of 2008 when we all lost all our money. Oh, those were good times. Back when pandemics were things of fiction… Sigh. Anyway, this book is just those cards made into a book. If you want to keep all your alphabet cards in a book, it’s handy! If you want to swipe through the alphabet on a tablet and not play 26-card pick-up, it’s handy! If your toddler likes to eat alphabet cards…well, you know where I’m going with this.
I’m going to stop there because this is the mother of all posts and I’ll come back tomorrow with another grouping of books. To those of you who are just here for the tea and gossip, I’m sorry. We’ll get back to our regularly scheduled posting in about two years.
Just kidding! I’ll be back.
In the meantime, be a pal and leave me a review. I’ll love you forever. (I already do!)
Okay, die hard SAJ fans (all four of you), I need some opinions. I’m finally trying to make a real calendar out of my banner illustrations. Not the usual edges of illustration around boxes as a free printable (like I’ve done in the past) but full 8×10 illustrations imported into calendar program (like shutterfly but cheaper) so I don’t have to manually typeset number by number of each month. (It’s a lot of work and as you know I make a ton of mistakes!)
I’m not sure it’s a good idea because I want to have this printed and I’d love to recoup my costs by selling it BUT I’m not sure anybody is going to want a calendar that is so personalized. SAJ and her two teenagers and boyfriend aren’t exactly in demand as characters. But I have all these illustrations and I want to make something out of them. I need your thoughts. I am also working on a SueBea (based off my mom) calendar as well and I think that might be more marketable but what if I made a calendar out of these images… what do you think?
I do like this one (above) and I think it works.
I like this one (above) too.
I love this one (above).
And I like this one (above).
I don’t love this one (above). It looks like I phoned it in but it is funny. Maybe I need to make the dogs show up more.
I do like this one too (above).
I don’t like this one (above). I love flowers but the smile is too simplistic. I should draw a better face.
I like this one but it’s pretty personalized. I don’t know, I guess everyone needs to read books about how to be kind to themselves… it could work.
This one I dont’ like. I like the flowers but it’s too personal to us and our trip to New York. Will people wearing masks still be relevant next September? I hope not.
I made this one today (above) and I love it! I think it could work for anyone.
Eeck. Don’t love this one, though I remember loving it when I made it. I need to make a new December banner anyway so maybe I’ll come up with something new for this one.
What do you think? Should I keep working on this or maybe just print one for myself and go back to the old freebie formatting?
Thanks you guys