I liked Ella’s boots (based on my boots, though I still had them on) but her face was wrong, and the longer I look at it the wronger it got (spellcheck says wronger is wrong, but it feels OK to me). The new sketch is a quick scribble, but it is a nicer image of Ella. It is interesting to go back to a graphic medium, I am enjoying myself; but I just couldn’t stand the doe-eyed creature with the big hair, however much the boots felt right.
Time to get back to the hares, whilst at the same time trying out the delicious crayons that cover my table in the studio. The process of self-publishing is not something I regret for a moment, though I was so involved in the production of the book, I didn’t do enough research, and underestimated the difficulties that a one-off publication would have as getting a distributor is concerned, even from an author who has had many books published in the mainstream both here and abroad. I didn’t send out The Midnight Hare to any publishers, it was always going to be a self-published work, as I wanted to see what would happen. The new story will be sent out to publishers/agents, and if I don’t get a contract, I will print 500 copies under the Moonwuzo Books imprint. Much easier to store 500 copies rather than 3000. Meanwhile, The Midnight Hare flies off into the world – repeat orders come in – this has been a very good week, so now I need to do some more work on this website, and put some graft in outside the studio. Though the studio is the place where I most like to be.
This was the original page three, but I decided I wanted the hare in the foreground, and Milo full face and actually trying to approach the hare. There would have been too large a jump in narrative if I had had this as the first page, and then the second page having him chasing the hare. I think Milo changed a bit from this earlier version. But I think this page is quite pretty, so gave it away rather than leaving it in a drawer.
A couple of days I composed a letter in French, with some help from Google Translate, as it is a long time since I spoke or read French at all; and sent the letter, with a copy of the The Midnight Hare, to L’Ecole des loisirs, a publisher in Paris who published two books of mine in France, originally published here by Orchard Books. The French titles are Vingt-Six Lapins sement la pagaille and Vingt-Six lapins fetent Noel. A long shot, sending this package to Paris, as these other books were published a long time ago, but why not? I am trying to be more energetic about selling the book. And the postage was minimal.
For now, I am off to the studio to work on the new story.
After a long time, and many hesitations, (including a typo that had wormed its way somehow between one moment and another on to the back cover – a typo luckily put right in an instant by the printers) The Midnight Hare is entered officially on Nielsen, is ready to print, and has a publication date of June 21st. I am ordering a little greetings card A6 size consisting of the back and front cover, which will be sent out with publicity material. I only put the book on Nielsen a month before publication date, but this does not worry me too much, as although it is late, I suspect my early sales will be local, as the book has a Borders setting; and there are quite a few people who have stocked my books and before. One of the reasons for doing this book myself was to keep this connection with the people who buy; and to know what is going on with the book. I need to sell about 650 copies at wholesale price to get my actual printing expenses back, and am not in that much of a rush. The book is a story I like, and it will find its own level. There is plenty of work to do in the marketing department, but I have found in the past that people are very pleasant to deal with, and are usually happy to look at new work, so this is hard work but not too daunting.