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Publishing A Book - Where to Start?

Updated on December 22, 2010

i need advice, this is how i started...

I’ve been writing for over thirty years. I’ve had formal training in almost every kind of writing, editing, researching, and public speaking skills imaginable. I can also market myself. I have no children of my own, but I have been around many children and I was one myself and I think that counts.

I’ve written poems, short stories, long essays, briefings, research papers, school papers, reports, technical papers, graduation speeches, eulogies, letters, cards, etc. I am a storyteller. When there are a group of kids, I naturally sit them down and start telling stories. Somehow they seem to be enthralled with the things I come up with. I’m amazed at their imaginations, intelligence and love it when they ask questions. My stories get better each time because of them.

I’m Irish; I figure it’s in my blood to craft fairy tales for children young and old. I feel now it’s a calling I can’t ignore. Now, with all this time and my disability keeping me from being able to get around and do much else, my imagination and need to contribute something to the world is on overload.

  • · I’ve come up with a fictional world.
  • · There are worlds within these worlds.
  • · I’ve done basic character development on the main characters and intend to grow them in the stories. I’ve written them down and given them names and backgrounds, nicknames, special abilities and families.
  • · I’ve created a map of the entire world they live in, but it will be revealed in pieces.
  • · I have not plagiarized any of this from any other story I’ve heard although you can’t help but feel that some of it sounds familiar to something you might have seen before – I think that every book I’ve read has an element of something I’ve read before, an idea that someone created from an offshoot of someone else’s work and then made it their own story by changing everything about it. That is not plagiarism, right?
  • · I’ve created a PowerPoint to show to a publisher on how I intend to write a series that will include at least 8 titles based off of the first book so far – by the time I am finished integrating all of the worlds, they will probably include at least 15 different titles.
  • · The stories start with books intended for the 9-11 year olds. But to be sure, I’m setting up a practice group where I am presenting parts of the first world/book to a test group of 9-11 year olds at a pizza party and letting them tell me if they would be interested in hearing more and what they think would be interesting in characters and plot lines.
  • · I plan to take notes and their ideas and integrate some of that in the first book – with their and their parent’s permission of course. Before the party and before the book is sent to the publisher.
  • · This is going to be dedicated to my focus group and some of the characters personalities are based on personalities of some of my favorite kids, although you will never be able to tell in the book.

my goals, help if you can; i need advice!

  • I don’t know who the best publishers to go to are.
  • I want to give back to the people who mean the most to me and touch children everywhere with a little magic, intrigue, and positive messages about courage, strength, and the human spirit.
  • I want them to teach the value of finding your own special gifts and using them to work with others in community toward a common goal. When others believe in you, it can be the first step in learning to believe in yourself. That faith, or prayer, and belief in help from another power, whether it is from a God, Goddess, Prophet, the Planet itself, Science or the power within oneself and working in harmony with the energy with the planet to do good is universal. Manifest Destiny or whatever we send out – positive energy – prayer attracts goodness. Any religion on Earth believes that the power of Good can conquer evil. And in a world so full of adversity, we need that lesson so much, we need to believe we are not helpless, we are not just one, and we are larger than ourselves.
  • These books convey much more than a fairy tale.
  • And they are meant to grow with the kids – I can’t write them all and publish overnight so some in the later series will be written for the 11-13 age group and then finally 13-16 and In between I’ll publish some already written adult works as well that I have already ready for publication.

I would appreciate any advice, feedback, or comments. This is a new endeavor for me. I am not formally published, nothing in hardcopy. Any words of advice are greatly appreciated and criticism is taken always in the spirit in which it is given.

Namaste’ – “I honor the spirit within you that is also within me”

Erin LeFey


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    • Erin LeFey profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin LeFey 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      Docmo, how can I thank you enough? this is exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping to elicit. I will reread this several times for all the helpful information. I've decided to publish a couple of other manuscripts first, before this book I'm working on - which you are correct, is well on the way but is not finished. The other books, one is finished, the other in the final stages of completion. I just need another pen name. Thanks again so very much. Namaste.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      7 years ago from UK

      Wonderful goals, Erin. As one story teller to another I feel having clear goals is definitely important. There is a lot of information on publishers and market out there. Both from the annual Writer's Market book and online.

      As someone who has also been scribbling since childhood - I've published short stories, edited a college mag and also had won a BBC competition and broadcast a story- I realised long ago that the motivation is key.Inspiration is another. But best of all is perspiration and hard graft.

      From your goals it is clear that you have worked hard and have a vision for your children's book - however I can't help feeling this book hasn't been completely written yet. Am I right? If so you need to get writing the book you intend to publish- there is a lot of plans, world building, incorporating feedback etc. Until the first book is fully written it is hard to speculate . I went through a phase researching markets and buying copy after copy of writer's market- I realised I didn't have a complete manuscript in my hand for me to edit, mature, revise and work on. when opportunity knocks I had to be ready. Now I am 22 chapters down and counting I feel good that my book is finally gestating and on its way to completion. Hubpages has given me plenty of opportunity to hone my writing too and get feedback.

      If you have already written the first book then get shopping the manuscript around, submit to either free author sites like ( run by Harper Collins) for revision, polishing and editorial input or to an agent or a publisher. I will be wary of a publisher who just wants summaries because a true editor/publisher/agent will want the finished product to assess the quality of writing and ability to engage.

      Even the popular best sellers like JK Rowling had to shop around over a dozen times before acceptance. Perseverance and belief in our product is key - As you demonstrate so well.Well done on stating your goals and sharing! All the best! We will get there as story telling is a passion that drives us...

      Sorry about the length of this comment .. I got carried away with your passion!

    • Erin LeFey profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin LeFey 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      Thanks Rich!

      CMHypno, I found a self-publisher that I like and kind of put the rest on the back burner while I am finishing the book. I guess I will self publish the first run and take it from there...The book is good and is writing itself now, if only I had all the strength and good health to stay up and write for as long as I wanted to! If I did, it would already be finished!

      So I will self publish with the people I've chosen first and then send a copy to major publishers if they want to print a second run or change anything. I've already gotten feedback and done a market research test on what I've written so far, and it seems like its going to be really good for the young adult market.

      Thanks for asking!

    • CMHypno profile image


      7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Hope that you have found the advice on publishing that you are looking for Erin. I keep on not finishing my children's book and this partly because I find the idea of finding a publisher so overwhelming. Good luck

    • richtwf profile image


      8 years ago

      These are great aspirations and I admire your energy and enthusiasm for them. I wish you all the best in your book writing and publishing endeavours!

      God bless and peace to you!

    • Erin LeFey profile imageAUTHOR

      Erin LeFey 

      8 years ago from Maryland

      thanks for all your comments! I have gotten a lot farther in my first book. I did find a great self publisher who is very hands-on in their marketing techniques and keeping you motivated and keeping in touch - and very personal. They are excited about working with key authors they find promising and they don't need to see mauscripts, just summaries and like to spend a lot of initial time talking with you. I've enjoyed my time planning with them so far, where I've only been disappointed talking with others. I've already signed on with them and have a plan for publishing this spring. I'm very excited, my publisher has been so helpful. I'd love to share with you both if you want to talk. Email me on! Look forward to hearing from you, and would love to meet with you Cristina! I enjoy both your hubs!

    • CMCastro profile image

      Christina M. Castro 

      8 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

      Hey Erin, you and I have a lot in common because I too have a children book series I want to publish and I want to do the right things too and hopefully with very little money. Of course, it's going to cost something but hopefully it will be well worth it. Oh, I have some Irish in me. Let's meet sometime and talk about it. Enjoy your hubs. :) CM

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Wonderful goals. I too am (part) Irish and have often told my friends that my family is a family of storytellers. Must be the Irish in me. I too, write children's stories, have attended childrens writers workshops, yet have failed with reaching out to a publisher. Too scared of rejection right now. My solace is in hubpages and feedback here.

      Thanks for voicing your intentions. Well done. I don't have any advice, except to continue asking here. I would suggest the forums, if you have not yet discovered those. It is a great place for support and advice.


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