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How I Got My Children's Book "Tommy the Courageous Bird Book" Self-Published

Updated on March 13, 2018
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Husband, father, and author of the children's illustrated book "Tommy the Courageous Bird"

Tommy The Courageous Bird Children's Book
Tommy The Courageous Bird Children's Book

A Children's Picture Book About Courage

What is courage? That was the question I asked myself when I came up with the idea for this story. Is courage having no fear at all? Is courage what Superman has? Or is courage being afraid but not letting you that stop you?

For me being courageous always meant facing your fears. Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to overcome it. So what happens when you are a bird that loves to fly but is afraid of heights? That's the question the book tries to answer.

It's a great story about courage, fears, and family that both children and adults will love.


The idea for Tommy the Courageous Bird came to me quite by accident. I was walking through a park when I noticed a bird land on a tree branch a little too fast. He kind of fumbled forward on the branch but quickly corrected himself. That's what factually happened but my imagination decided to make up it's own story.

I immediately thought that that bird was afraid of heights. And the reason he fumbled was because he landed on too high of a branch. After that initial thought the idea stuck in my head. After a few days of letting it stew, I started to think about the definition of courage and what it really meant. Then it came to me, the exact words that would be said to Tommy about the meaning of courage.

Submitting Your Manuscript

I went ahead and did a lot of research on how to submit books to publishers. The conclusions I came up with were these:

  • Buy the latest edition of "The Writers Market" (shown above). It's an amazing source of crazy information for authors. It's a must have.
  • To get a book published by a big time publishing company you pretty much need a book agent. To get a book agent you pretty much need to be a published author.
  • Your best chance as a new author is to go with a small publishing company.
  • Buy a notebook. Keep track of who, when, and where you sent your story to.
  • Visit each individual publishing website and see how they want you to submit your book.
  • In said notebook keep track of how they want it and when you sent it.
  • Be ready to get rejected. Some companies receive thousands of manuscripts in a year and only publish 5 titles.
  • Proceed to self publish if all else fails

Self Publishing

When I had had enough of being rejected from traditional publishing companies, I decided to self publish. After looking into CreateSpace, Lulu and Mascot Books I decided to go with Mascot simply because they offered a hardcover version. Plus it's not print on demand so more hope was creating that maybe I could get the book into a brick and mortar store.

My experience with Mascot Books was nothing short of amazing. Everyone was very helpful and they seemed to want your book to succeed. They offered great advice and i never felt alone in the entire process.

I also had total control over everything at Mascot Books. From the layout, illustrations (I was able to choose the illustrator from a list of contracted illustrators plus go over every page with her), cover design, and editing. Not only that but when I received my physical order of books I was able to go to bookstores and gift shops to see if they would take my book through distributors (Mascot books are available to bookstores through Igram and Baker and Taylor) or on consignment.

This Kickstarter Video Shows Some Very Cute Illustrations From a Friend of Mine, The Early Version of Tommy

Kickstarter Campaign

I decided to go with Kickstarter as a means of funding my book. It worked or me but from what I understand books tend to get lost there under all that other cool stuff.

You can also try to crowdfund on Indiegogo. For more information on how exactly they can help authors please click here.

Check out the fees for both below then watch my video on the right from my Kickstarter campaign!

Prices for Crowdfunding

Crowd Funding Site
Crowd Funding Site Fee
Processing Fee
Total Fee
3% - 5%
8% - 10%
3% + 30c
7.5% + applicable wire fees
As of 10-06-17

Book Reading

Author Victor Castelo Reading Tommy the Courageous Bird at the Children's Museum at La Habra
Author Victor Castelo Reading Tommy the Courageous Bird at the Children's Museum at La Habra | Source

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      Spurwing Plover 5 weeks ago

      Looks like Blue Bird and he is ging to prove he wants to fly just like most all birds can do