Pete the Cheeky Parakeet! My journey to getting my first children’s book published

After months and months of hard work I am so excited that my new children’s book ‘Pete the cheeky parakeet’ is now available to buy.   

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How it all started

I have always loved rhymes and the way they flow. Rhyming books are my favourite type of books to read to my girls.

I have written a couple of short rhymes in the past for my blog and on my social media for The Simple Mum and I received a good response from them so I started to think about writing longer rhymes. My children love reading so I decided that I was going to write a book for them.

I kept thinking up ideas and writing plots and characters but none of them seemed quite right. I always try to read myself before bed every night and I was reading a non-fiction book called ‘A parrot in the Pepper tree by Chris Steward’ and this book gave me the idea for Pete, that night I lied in bed plotting the story in my head.

At this point I was working full time, my partner worked away Monday to Friday and I had my 3 girls to look after on my own but I was determined to write this book. I had the story all planned in my head, I just needed to get it down on paper and work on rhyming the story together.

Every night, after I had put the children to bed I would sit there for hours on my laptop working away at writing my story.  I worked endlessly to finish and perfect it and finally after lots of nights burning the midnight oil it was finally finished.

When I first read it to my children I did it off my phone with no pictures and I didn’t tell them that I had written it, just that I had found a new story to read to them.

They really enjoyed the story and were laughing away at the funny parts of the book and afterwards they were asking me why the book had no pictures, why it was on my phone and how did I get it? 

You can never get anything past a child they ask so many questions.

After I came clean and explained that it was my story I had written they were really excited and started to ask if I was going to make it into a real book and if it was going to have pictures.

That got me thinking that maybe I could get my book published and fulfil a dream I have always had to be an author. I had no clue about publishing a book or even where to look. I also thought that you had to have the illustrations done first before any publisher would accept my work. I did sit down and start to draw some pictures for my characters but they were terrible, drawing is not something I am very good at.

So I turned to my old friend google to find out advice and where to start on getting a book published.

My Publishing Journey

I discovered that most publishers only accept books from a literary agent and you can’t just send them your book directly. Most of the agents I found had a 4-6 month wait time for them to get back to you and most of them said that if you are unsuccessful they wouldn’t even let you know.

I was feeling deflated but thought I would try to find a publisher that did accept unsolicited manuscripts.

I eventually did find a publisher on Google and sent my story off to them and they emailed me back to say that they would accept it and gave me a cost for illustrations and publishing. 

At first they gave me a cost for illustrations which I did think was rather high especially as they wanted the payment upfront in one lump sum but I was still on cloud nine from receiving an acceptance email that I didn’t really think too much about it.

It was my partner (the voice of reason) that said to me that I need to find out more about the publisher and look at reviews on them first. I reluctantly did this and to my surprise on just one review site there were hundreds of negative comments about the publisher, then I looked through the books that they had published and tried to find them available to buy but struggled to find them even on amazon, so I decided that I would not go ahead with them and was back to square one.

I spent ages going through all the children’s books in bookshops and libraries writing down the publishers information and seeing if they accept direct submissions but I couldn’t find any. I did find a few literary agents that I sent my submission to but they all had a 4-6 month turnaround so I was just waiting.

At this point I was feeling really deflated and wasn’t sure I would ever get my story published. I was at the point of giving up.

Again I was reading a non-fiction book called Mumprenuor on fire 2 about 25 mums who have overcome struggles and hardships to become successful business owners.  After I had finished reading this book it gave me an injection of inspiration and a kick up the bum to try again.

The book is written by ‘Mum’s in Business Association’ who have a very successful Facebook page full of helpful advice and tips so after I finished reading the book I headed straight there with my new motivation to see what I could learn and pick up about all things business.

Now call it coincidence or fate but one of the lovely members had just posted a video of an interview she had done with a new children’s book publisher who were looking for direct submissions. As soon as I had finished watching the video I sent them my submission straight away and they emailed back to accept my book and with very reasonable cost that I would pay for once each stage was completed.

I did of course still do a bit of research on them, as they were new I couldn’t find any reviews but I did look at all the books they had published so far and I found that I could easily find them available in online retailers. I also bought a copy of one of the books they had published to see what they could offer. After doing a bit of research on them I was happy to go ahead with their services.

This was the best decision I made, Blue Falcon Publishing have been amazing. They have guided me through the whole experience, explained every step of the process and have been on hand to answer any questions that I had. They also found me the amazingly talented Stephanie Jayne who produced the stunning illustrations that have brought the book to life. Their costs are very reasonable and as they charge in stages it is easy to see that you are getting value for money.

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About the book

Pete the Cheeky Parakeet is a light-hearted, fun story, which carries a message for young readers about the importance of friendship and compassion. Children will delight in Pete’s mischievous antics, and will learn key lessons as they see the consequences of his bad behaviour. This cheeky parakeet will bring lots of laughter and learning to story time! Don’t miss out buy your copy now.

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Why not take a look at my other children’s book reviews –

A Pirate Song by Justin Davis

Oscar the Orgo by R J Furness

Escape From Nettle Farm

Spy Danger

Why I wrote The Book of Silly Rhymes

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

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