The Monster Books are here!

Tickle Monster Front Cover

The Tickle Monster roams around the Monster Wood.

He looks for things to tickle.

For Tickling is good!

Welcome to The Monster Books blog! This is a very exciting time for The Monster Books Publishing Ltd as we are right on the cusp of sending to print our very first children’s picture book, and through this blog I want to share with you my journey of finally realising my dream and the road to becoming a self-published and (hopefully) successful writer.

It has taken a long time to get to this point – 8 years in total – from concepts and ideas to applying for the first batch of ISBN numbers needed to sell our book at a professional level, which we are now sending to print, with first editions available in December 2015 – (conveniently just in time for Christmas!)

The Monster Books blog will provide information on the Monster Wood book series, and as this is very much a passion project and completely self-led, I thought it would be the best way to reach people who are either interested in our books and up-coming publishing projects or are perhaps thinking of embarking on a similar path. I want to share with you how it all began and where this endeavour leads to, so over the next few weeks I will try to share as much information about this process as possible.

The idea for the Monster Wood book series came from reading the many wonderful picture books that my then two year old, loved to read. Books are a huge passion – and requirement – in our household and I was fervently reading to my son from the age of seven months old. He would snuggle in my arms to have his evening bottle of milk and as he did, I would read him simple but colourful picture books; getting him used to what was, and would become, an important part of his bedtime routine. He is now ten years of age and an avid reader, as well as being a huge support and inspiration for the writing of my first book in the Monster Wood book series – The Tickle Monster!

The creation of the Tickle Monster came from a silly game that I used to play with my then toddler son. I would pretend that my hands had been replaced by the hands of the very feathery, tickly Tickle Monster, whose only goal in life was to search for things and people to tickle! It was a great game and bonding experience, which over time inspired further ideas for other monster characters. Soon we had lots of them – I won’t share them names with you just yet for fear of spoiling the surprise of our future books – and soon they naturally evolved into a family of different monsters, who lived in, and came from, the beautiful Monster Wood!

I could see clearly the many monsters that roamed this small and secret part of the world and I knew I had to write about them, and so that is what I did.

Having read countless numbers of picture books with my son, I soon had a very good grasp of what he enjoyed, pictures that engaged him and words that had him thinking. For me, rhyming books by far are the most fun to read. I think children very quickly latch onto the concept that different words can sound the same; thereby creating a rhythm to the story which increases the speed at which they remember those end words and can join in with the story. Before I go on, I feel I should add that I am also a huge fan of non-rhyming books, for example, Where the Wild Things Are, Funnybones, Mr Men, Silly Suzy Goose, The Hungry Caterpillar to name a few – but it has always been the rhyming books that go down a storm in our house!

Deciding on the first monster to write about was easy enough – it was always going to be The Tickle Monster – him being the source of the entire Monster Wood concept. Showing off his wonderful, cheeky character and zest for adventure made the writing easier and the first draft actually took only an evening to write. Subsequent drafts followed, before I felt brave enough to send it to a small number of children’s book publishers who would accept unsolicited manuscripts. Every single one of them responded – with rejections – but I did receive some valuable feedback that shaped the next part of my journey.

During the next two years I wrote three further Monster Wood stories and during that time, I hatched a plan to self-publish them. I will admit that I didn’t have a clue at that point what the task ahead would entail and I still hadn’t decided on how to illustrate my book. Feeling overwhelmed by the possibility of becoming a self-published writer it was another year before I discovered a children’s programme that would change the direction and concept of my book once again. Excited by what I saw, I designed The Tickle Monster – whilst off from work with a few broken toes – out of old feathers salvaged from the bottom of my son’s toybox. The design of the other monsters in The Tickle Monster book quickly followed and all were in different mediums e.g. one was made from fabric, one from a condiment, one was hand drawn and the other computer designed. I won’t give too much away but using various computer design programmes, we managed to complete half of the book before creative differences got in the way and the journey stopped dead in its tracks – for almost three years!

And here we are today, on the cusp of printing The Tickle Monster book! The second attempt at completing this project has happened very quickly, spurred on by my first attempt at writing a health and lifestyle blog. Being in the writing mode had me banging on the door of my long suffering illustrator again with promises from me to have more patience and be less pedantic. From this, wonderful things have happened and the final book is testament to how important it is to be on the same creative level and the ability to let ideas develop. Care, time, passion and patience has gone into what is now the end result and this has all been done whilst working full time, raising a child and dealing with all the other obstacles life throws at you.

Before I go, I would like to say thank you for the support and feedback we have had so far and I’m really looking forward to sharing our first book with you all. Off to the Monster Wood we go!

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