Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rasana Atreya Describes How She Helped Her Youngsters Publish Their First Book

When I learned how this amazing mother helped her two young children publish a delightful book they'd written and illustrated I invited her to write a guest blog to share their inspiriting story.
"This summer I helped my children get published," by Rasana Atreya.

Since I’m a published author myself, it is quite common for us to do story telling/writing related activities. On a long car ride we might try a story-building exercise. The key is to make it sound like FUN.

We start off with a random sentence, the wackier the better. Something like, ‘the rat got into the autorickshaw’ (open three-wheeler Indian taxi.) The second person builds the story by adding just one line to it. The line has to be connected to what came before, and it has to move the story forward.

Each person gets a turn, then we circle back to the first person. The kids have learned to mine for lines that get them the most laughs. This has helped them in creative writing at school, as well. Given a prompt, they know how to take a story forward creatively.
My daughter’s journey to being a published author started when we were on a long train ride from Hyderabad to Chennai, India. Aamani, then six-years old, was done reading her books. Since I limit the amount of time my kids can play electronic games, she was bored.
Happily, I also carry notebooks and pencils on long trips, so I suggested she write stories. She agreed, but wanted writing prompts with two characters – one living thing and one non-living thing at a time. That’s how she ended up writing about the mosquito and the teapot; the window, the curtains and a person (technically that’s three characters, but we’ll let that go.)
Almost three years down the road my daughter decided it wasn’t fair that I was published, and she was not. So I decided to help them get published on Amazon. My eleven year-old wanted a shot at illustration so I downloaded and showed him the tutorials. Not only did he do the illustrations, but also designed the cover for the ebook.
My daughter’s stories have also gotten great reviews:
"The Mosquito and the Teapot" by Aamani Gurajada is an astonishing short book written and illustrated by two very young and very talented artists. The stories are short pieces in which usually two or three people, animals or things meet and resolve the conflicts between them. The simplicity of their form is disarming and there is a potentially very wise head behind the writing. The illustrations however are not second to the writing but a clear equal. I was amazed at their beauty and professionalism, not at all what I had expected from a young illustrator. They are simple, full of character and masterly executed."
 Joel Friedlander, a book cover designer, had this to say about the cover Sunaad Gurajada designed and created for "The Mosquito and the Teapot":
"Absolutely charming and appropriate. Tell him to keep going!" 
Our writing-illustrating-publishing experience has been a heady one. My daughter is tickled that she might possibly be the youngest author ever. And it has helped build my son’s confidence. After all, he’s now a professional illustrator.
If you’re looking to help your child self-publish, you might want to check out my blog post: FAQ. 
The ebook, The Mosquito and the Teapot,  is available on Amazon Kindle, and in the UK\Amazon at The Mosquito and the Teapot
Rasana Atreya is the author of Tell a Thousand Lies . Her novel was shortlisted for the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia prize.

Guidance plus a wee bit of story-editing was Mom's contribution to her children's successful publishing endeavor:
"My daughter wrote seven stories, under 500 words total. My eleven year old illustrated the book, including the cover. I downloaded for my son. I then pointed him to the YouTube tutorials. He drew up the cover and did the illustrations."
As always, your comments are welcome.

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