Mom's Children's Books and Cartoons

One of the nice things about being an experienced publisher with some unused ISBN numbers is you can publish new books very inxpensively, providing they don't need a lot of work. I've stayed away from publishing books by other authors in the past, in part for for liability and mental health reasons (authors are a pain in the neck:-) and in part because I didn't have a financial motivation to expand my publishing business. However, my mom didn't have any financial motivation to expand herself with me for nine months, so I owe her one, and I'm looking over some of her unplublished books for a candidate to publish.

My mom has written many children's books over the years, I think she started when we were children and we helped in the process. I still remember some of the titles and phrases, but they were largely illustrated with color drawings, and mom doesn'thave the patience at this point to go back and really make them press ready. I hate playing the heavy with her, but I did make clear that the printed book never looks better than the original, so if the original isn't something she'd be happy to see in print with her name on it, it's better to let it be.

Fortunately, she also did a series of cartoons with various subjects, including a pretty funny collection about squirrels and one man's quest for a squirrel proof birdfeeder. The cartoons are all black and white, as the were designed with newspaper publication in mind, so the should make a pretty good match for print-on-demand, as long as the page counts are high enough. I'm leaning towards doing the squirrel book, which has the added advantage that I won't have any libel risk, since squirrels have very limited rights under our legal system.

The problem, of course, will be marketing. I don't have a cartoon oriented website, though I did publish cartoons in two of my earlier computer books. Since there's no traffic coming to my site currently for either cartoons or squirrels, I'll have to use more traditional "push" advertising if I want to generate some sales to show her. While it would be an interesting challenge, I don't know anything about the cartoon market, so I wouldn't give much for my chances of success. It would give me an excuse to hire my sister to design a cover, an area she's expanded into professionally with several childrens books in the past year. That would really make it a family affair, since the model for the birdfeeder owner character who combats the squirrels is my dad!

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