Goodnight Del Rio: A Mom & Daughter's Journey to Self-Publishing a Children's Book (and How to Support These 30Seconds Tribe Members!) by Tiffany Zook
Over Christmas, our daughter received a board book written about the quaint town we called home for eight years in Northern New York. Now living in Texas, I was drawn to create a book that highlighted our city, to celebrate the geography, landmarks and organizations that make Del Rio, Texas, our new home.
Teaming up with a freelance writer, my mother and fellow 30seconds contributor Marge Jesberger, I booked a plane ticket to my folks in New England and we got started. We wrote rhymes and researched printing companies, we laughed over slaphappy rhyme wrecks and drove my father crazy with our antics. When I flew back to the border, the book had taken shape on a yellow legal pad.
Our book was created to be a fundraiser for an organization near a dear to us, The Gem Foundation, home to special needs children in Uganda. With a budget of zero, we knew hiring an illustrator was out of reach. I remembered my teenage daughter playing around with filters and cartoon apps on her phone. I downloaded one and began running photos of our city's landmarks through the app. It was an easy way to illustrate on a shoestring, only costing $2.99 for the download.
At high noon on sunny days, I was out with my trusty iPhone 6 taking snapshots and asking friends to do the same. Neighbors became editors, friends photographers and we bootstrapped the cost of printing. I quickly learned how to create a domain name, website and copyright the work. The wheels were turning.
April arrived, and so did 500 copies of Goodnight Del Rio. The creative process has now shifted into creating marketing and fundraising strategies. One of the kindest comments from a customer has been, "When does the sequel come out?"
If you are looking at a way to celebrate your city or you've always wanted to write that novel, go for it! Take one step at a time, enjoy the process and don't forget to laugh at your mistakes. Before you know it, 500 copies will be sitting on your front porch.
Learn how you can get a copy at GoodnightDelRio.com.
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