Introducing my newest “baby” – According to Corban!

That’s right!

My newest “baby” has entered the world!

I actually wrote this sweet story about six or seven years ago when I was a new mama. I spent hours learning to both live as a human and nurture, feed, love, and entertain toddlers. This meant trying to get laundry done, dishes cleaned, showers taken, food eaten… all the while having someone calling, pulling, yanking… or, if things were suddenly quiet, drawing, cutting, smearing…

And if you’re a parent or teacher or childcare worker, you know what all of those … mean.


Well, for the caregiver. The kid is usually having a great time! Thus, According to Corban was dreamed up. While scrubbing the floors, my son Corban was sure I was begging to be a horse on his adventure. Pillows were bridges needed to cross carpets of lava. A bath was an ocean full of his favorite wildlife. Our backyard was his personal jungle, complete with wild animals, the perfect hiding places, and lots of dirt. And worms.

AND, a little sister tagging along in his shadow.

It charmed my heart (when I could get over my desire to actually keep something clean and could just play with my kids). One night, around 1am, this story hit me and I couldn’t sleep until I got it all down. Twenty-some-odd revisions later, my firstborn (though not first-published) picture book has entered the world. I hope it’s as much fun for parents as for children. The current 5-star review on Amazon seems to say my goal is a good one!

Pay special attention to the mama in the background and the way Corban’s imagination grows and shifts to interact with her (without ever leaving his imagination!)

You can watch the book trailer here:

According to Corban is available on Kindle, paperback, and hardback!

Feel free to share the love!

Picture Book Publishing – IngramSpark or Create Space: Quality Comparison

Before I launch into my next comparison between CreateSpace and IngramSpark, let me show you a short video of the day I received the first proof of my debut picture book, Tercules, in the mail (from CS). The “funny story” I refer to in the video is the one I share in my last post.

I FINALLY received the paperback version of Tercules from Ingram. Ironically, it beat the journal that I published half a month earlier, which still hasn’t arrived. Neither has the hardback format of Tercules. My previous post discusses all about that.

Interestingly, there were things I liked better about the CreateSpace printing of my book, and things I liked better about Ingram’s. After the disappointment I’ve experienced with Ingram, my expectations were low.

While pictures won’t do the images justice, let me show a few to show the differences.

The cover:

The CS print is on the left, Ingram on the right. Aside from the spine being on the front cover (which was my bad…) the differences are interesting. The CS cover is more vibrant. The colors are brighter. The Ingram cover, however, shows the leaves in the background a little better. Also, as noted by another reviewer of Ingram vs. CreateSpace, I did notice that the CS cover is more apt to collect finger prints and minor scratches. Even after being handled a bit, the fingerprints aren’t very noticeable on the Ingram version. At the end of the day, I think I’d still go with CS’s cover.

Here’s a close up of the two:


So while Ingram had a darker, less bright cover, the interior was bright and colorful. CreateSpace had a darker image… which was fine until I saw how nice and bright Ingram’s was. I also pulled up the images sent to me directly from my illustrator, Megan Frank, to see which matched her art the closest. While neither perfectly match her work, Ingram’s is the closest.

Because I’d honestly rather not work with Ingram, I emailed CreateSpace to see what they could do about this. This is their answer (which I appreciated):

Hello Marcy,

Greetings from CreateSpace.

One of the most difficult aspects of desktop publishing is color matching–properly converting the RGB colors into CMYK colors so that what gets printed looks the same as what appears on the monitor or the same as another printed copy.

Unfortunately, we do not currently offer color management for books, and cannot guarantee that the printed book’s color will appear the same as another copy.

Each computer screen and printer has the potential to display and print differently than the printers we use for our print-on-demand process. For this reason we cannot offer an alternative other than adjusting your file accordingly.

You may want to make the images a shade lighter within your native files and resubmitting the files in order for you to check what the proof copy will look like.

If you are not satisfied with the color that is printed, you may need to adjust the colors in your file until you find the correct shade when the book is printed.

I understand that this might not be the response you were hoping for and I truly wish that I would have been able to accommodate your request, unfortunately this is a matter beyond our control.

I appreciate your understanding in this regard Marcy.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions or concerns. We’ll do our best to aid you.

Thank you for reaching out to us. Have a good day.

Aren’t they lovely people? I got this personal email one day after I asked the question. If I were an illustrator, I would know how to do what they said, and I’d go in and do it and try again. Since I’m not (and don’t want to hassle my sweet illustrator again), I’m going to leave it.

About Author Images:

It’s not as easy to tell by this image (sorry) but strangely enough, the About the Author image looks pixilated on the Ingram print, while clear and crisp on the CS print. Maybe the brightness of their print had this affect on the author image… I’m not sure. But I don’t love that it looks that way on Ingram’s print. Strange considering how well the rest of the interior looked.

Ingram: Top CS: Bottom

Really, at the end of it all, either one would do perfectly well. Because I have seen them together, I’m going with the Ingram printing. However, I’m pretty sure for my next picture book (due in February!) that I’ll go with CreateSpace and just let my illustrator know to lighten the art a bit so it’s not so dark. But actually, my next book has lots of light, bright colors so it may not matter as much.

I hope this is helpful! I have a hard time finding much information on self publishing picture books. I’m happy to share my journey!

My next post in the series will look at hiring an illustrator. See you then!


Picture Book Idea Month – The Best Time of the Year!

Picture Book Idea Month… or PiBoIdMo (Pee-Bow-Id-Mow) as most affectionately know it… is one of my favorite challenges OF THE YEAR.

Maybe of my life.

Well, parenting has been a fun challenge too.

Anyway… every year for the past two years (this will be my third) I have participated in PiBoIdMo, hosted by none other than Tara Lazar (one of the most inspirational and coolest women and writers I know). Truly. Get to know her. You’ll feel normal.

There are quite a few reasons that I take the challenge, share the challenge, and keep writing.

PiBoIdMo is an entire month (November) dedicated to the art and craft of writing for children… with a guest post daily from someone in the kidlit field: other authors, agents, editors, illustrators. These posts have been inspirational. They’ve sharpened and given great directions to my own writing.

Real life people sharing real life stuff about the real life grueling work of writing.

I end each post motivated to keep on keeping on… because everyone with some level of success has been just where I am. And I know it because they spend every day of November reminding me.

And I love it.

Not only that, but if you’ve been in children’s writing at all you’ll know what a tight-knit, supportive community we have with one another. PiBoIdMo, I find, brings out such a spirit of camaraderie and support from everyone who gets involved… whether it’s conversations on Twitter, Facebook, or the comment sections of the various blogs. I’ve walked away from this event with more than just ideas… new friends!

PiBoIdMo feels like a digital home for me. Familiar faces. Friends and “Family” – getting together for a family reunion of the best kind… where we all leave better artists, writers, and people.

Then there is the challenge itself… come up with a new picture book idea every single day. I’ve never failed. Some are really crummy. Many are pretty darn awesome (if I don’t say so myself)… and my currently completed, critiqued, and home-less manuscripts (searching desperately for a home) have all been ideas spawned during this month of idea-forming intentionality. Which also goes to say that my first official traditionally published book will likely be an PiBoIdMo idea.

How simple! One idea a day! Some days I have a bunch… and some days I’m asking my kids for a good idea (hence numbers 15 and 27 on my PiBoIdMo idea list from last year).

I hope, one day, that I can be the same kind of encouragement that Tara and her crew are to so many people… a writer with a little bit of experience who can say, “Guess what, y’all! You’re normal! Keep at it!” To be the motivation at the end of a day that spurs another artist to go one more day, week, month, year without dumping their hard work and precious stories in the bin with all the rejection letters.

That being said, in the spirit of the generosity and resourcefulness of PiBoIdMo (which starts November 1st, with sign ups on October 24th) I have included links to the past three years of PiBoIdMo guest posts. There is such GREAT information in each post, each November… that you could probably put it all in a book and have a very handy “How to Keep Writing” manual… (idea Tara?) So in your free time (ha!) feel free to go back to those years and see what it’s all about! And if you’d like to jump in to this year’s challenge, go to and sign up on October 24th!

PiBoIdMo- November 2009 

PiBoIdMo- November 2010

PiBoIdMo- November 2011

PiBoIdMo- November 2012

You can also view my list of PiBoIdMo participants on Twitter!