Four Perfect Words To Begin Any Beloved Book

What was missing from the paperback copy of my new book? What are the four perfect words to begin any beloved book?

Those four perfect words are not “Once upon a time.” For me, those four perfect words are “This book belongs to.”

When I look through all of my old books saved from childhood, the ones that I treasured most always had a special spot for me to write my name. And you can tell that “Woody Woodpecker Drawing Fun for Beginners” was especially treasured because I not only wrote my name, I wrote a whole sentence. “It is John Roy’s Book.” (Roy is my grandfather’s first name and my middle name. He was the best ever to me.)

“This book belongs to” are the most perfectly magical wonderful words to begin a book. And I had overlooked them. When I realized this, I knew I had to include them, and so I designed and drew what you see on the right for “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens.”

I hope it has all of the optimistic joy that I had back then when I took my own “Woody Woodpecker Drawing Fun for Beginners” book home. It shows Pearl at her best, sweet and wonderful, looking up and looking forward, optimistic and persistent, small in stature, but big in heart.

And of course, if a book is going to start with those four perfect words, then what comes next just naturally has to match. The rest of the book is being redesigned so that hopefully the visual elements match the story elements.

You will notice that the font for “This book belongs to” is a little different. It is a hand drawn font named Quimbly designed by Magpie Paper Works. I purchased it from fontspring.com because it matches so well with hand drawn illustrations.

I was able to confirm late yesterday that the license which came with it allows me to use it in PDF for print documents (not eBook documents), and so I will be using it as my font for the print version. That was exciting! I think it will add a great deal to the overall appearance of the book.

Here is a rough draft mockup of a page spread with this font. I decided to give each chapter a different gift wrap border rather than being all the same as you may have seen with the online version I shared a few weeks ago for test readers. This also reflects Pearl’s love for collecting pretty things like gift wrap that most other people would consider trash.

“This book belongs to:”…Those words may mean different things to different people, but to me, they still mean “This book resonates with my heart and who I am or who I hope to be.”

For our Facebook fans, we still have a free coloring page that you can download and print. Just go to our “My Life With Gracie” Facebook page and click the link there. It’s pinned to the top to make it easier to find. The coloring page will open in Dropbox, but you do not need a Dropbox account!

P.S. It is okay to print and color even if you are a grown-up!

 

So What Is Missing?

Last week, I made available an online version of “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens,” and while I was waiting for feedback, I uploaded the files to make a print copy with Amazon. I wanted to make sure that the cover and interior color images would print as expected.

I was pleased with the cover shown in the photo to the left. Though I must admit that I don’t like the “Not for Resale” that Amazon uses. (Barnes & Noble does not do this.) I was also pleased with the interior color illustrations as shown in the photo on the right.

The shorter length of only 8,000 words and lower page count allowed for color illustrations throughout, and that was good. But there was something missing. The book didn’t have the same “feel” as the old books I had saved from when I was a child.

One of my favorites was “Wood Woodpecker Drawing Fun For Beginners.” If you have followed my work for any length of time, you can probably guess why! (I have always enjoyed drawing.)

Most of the books saved from my childhood were about 25¢. This particular book has “29¢” printed on the cover, and so it appears to have been a bit pricier and more special than my other books. After all, Woody Woodpecker was quite popular back in 1959 when this book was printed! Fortunately, the  J.M. Fields Department Store sticker says “6/97¢” which may be why I was able to take it home with me. Either price certainly seems like a real bargain to me these days!

How do you know a book is truly treasured by a child even when you don’t know anything about the child or the adult they grew up to be? Where does that feeling begin?

As it turned out, the thing I thought of last was the thing that I should have been thinking about from the beginning. Can you spot it in today’s photos?

Next Time: Four Perfect Words To Begin Any Beloved Book

In keeping with the topics of drawing and coloring, for our Facebook fans, we have a free coloring page that you can download and print. Just go to our “My Life With Gracie” Facebook page and click the link there. It’s pinned to the top to make it easier to find. The coloring page will open in Dropbox, but you do not need a Dropbox account!

P.S. It is okay to print and color even if you are a grown-up!