After working as an architect and in the fashion industry, Andrés Quintero has found his calling: writing and illustrating picture books. His first title, Hairy Harold & His Extraordinary Trip to New York, was self-published last year and praised as an “impressive debut” by Publishers Weekly.
Like many self-published books, Hairy Harold was crowdfunded. After Quintero wrote and sketched a draft, a friend suggested Kickstarter. But Quintero admits that if he had known how difficult crowdfunding was, he wouldn't have done it. “Thank goodness I didn’t know that at the time,” he says.
Before self-publishing his book, Quintero read Children's Picturebooks: The Art of Visual Storytelling by Martin Salisbury – which includes chapters about self-publishing – and he suggests aspiring authors spend time reading books in their genre.
We asked Quintero for his tips for other indie authors:
Get Feedback from Your Audience
“Share, share, and share your story with as many people as you can and make sure to get their honest (and painful) feedback. My church in NYC was full with friends with children, so it was easier to get a sense of my target -- plus I have two boys that judged me at every turn.”
First, Spread the Word. Then Start Crowdfunding
“Before doing crowdfunding, make sure lots of people are familiar with your project and use all the tools at hand. [Only] do crowdfunding if you have a least 600 faithful, very generous Facebook friends. And forget about doing another project in the next few years if you want to keep those friendships.”
“There’s so much you don't know. You think a picture book is just 32 pages, but you’re wrong. It’s a whole universe. It could very well take you years to print your first book, and that requires perseverance. Also, it’s a cliché, but don't be afraid to fail. I have failed in so many ways printing these 32 pages: people will tell you your plot doesn't make any sense, your drawings are weird, nobody is reading physical books now.... I re-wrote my story more than 40 times -- people are still telling me the story needs improvement. So don't be afraid of failing. You are never going to get things right the first time, but for the second book things may become easier. (Spoiler: I'm lying.)”