IndieView with Larry Baum, author of Bo, Go Up!
If so can you please describe it? Thinking that long words would trip up my kids, I looked for books with only short words. “Wait,” you say, “that’s a different book!” You’re right. Joanna and I finished the 3 books: Y, BO, GO UP!, and Cat Egg. Get your copy of Bo, Go Up! Don’t pay to print a batch of your first book; instead, use a print-on-demand service so that if you don’t sell many copies, you won’t lose money on the printing. Yes. 2-letter words? Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know? Although that campaign gained generous support from several friends, family members, and strangers, it didn’t reach my goal. It took much more time and effort to do everything else: study how to produce a children’s book, look for publishers, investigate how to self-publish, compare illustrators, discuss and produce the illustrations, assemble the book, upload and adjust the e-book and print-on-demand versions, and publicize the book. Revising the text took a bit of time spread over several months. How short can words be and still make a story? Publicizing the Bo Books
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Lie the series Facebook page. If yes, what gets the fingers tapping? The rejections of publishers and agents led me to self-publish. I like to do things that are different, to try to make a big difference. Where did you get the idea from? About You
Where did you grow up? The 2-letter word book is BO, GO UP! I listed all the common two-letter words that are easy to pronounce, sorted them into parts of speech, and considered some of the few possible combinations to build sentences and construct a story. I wanted to write something that could help children read at a younger age, or with less struggle. But they all rejected it. Do you outline? That accomplishment gives them pride in reading a whole book, and gives them confidence to continue reading. With only 1-letter “words”, Joanna’s illustrations do the heavy lifting of telling this story. A children’s book using only very short words should be easy, right? It’s such a short book that the whole story came to me at once. But it did start to spread the word about the books. About the book
What is the book about? Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Meanwhile, at a public reading of WE GO TO BO, I asked the children if someone could write a book with only 3-letter words, and they said yes. The pictures took far more work, and Joanna Pasek, the illustrator, finished in May 2019. You can get the e-books for free and the paperback books at about my cost. The story was too short to need an outline. Using all capital letters avoids confusing children about when to use upper case or lower case. Professionally. I didn’t want to write another story that parents read to children, because there are already hundreds of thousands of wonderful books like that. Other targets could be adults who hadn’t learned how to read and children with reading difficulties. Almost always I fail, but it’s worth an attempt. Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences? I hope these books help remove obstacles to reading. Hong Kong. If I limited word length to 3 letters, could I write a story? The story gathered dust on my computer for several years until I decided to start ticking items off my bucket list, starting from the easiest ones. Once I assembled the extremely limited palette of suitable words, actually writing the story was fairly easy. Reading this book by themselves will give kids confidence in their reading ability and encourage them to read other books. What are you working on now? About Publishing
Did you submit your work to Agents? I’m in a group of children’s book writers that help each other by critiquing our writing. But I had trouble finding books like that. There was only one verb, go, so the combinations were very limited! What happened was that teachers who saw WE GO TO BO told me it would be even easier for children to read if I used only the simplest sounds, and consistently used one sound for each letter. Larry Baum – 27 December 2019
The Back Flap
The first step in learning to read is a big one: from single letters to whole words. That makes it easy for kids to feel good that they can read a real book. Was it a particular event or a gradual process? Once children can read the alphabet, they can read the 1-letter word book, Y. I used very simple vocabulary: less than half the alphabet, and only 11 different words. What would you like readers to know about you? I made a spreadsheet listing a variety of places to publicize the book. Were there any parts of the book where you struggled? Do you listen to music while you write? I tried several agents for my original children’s book, WE GO TO BO. No. About Writing
Do you have a writing process? What about 2 letters? The 1-letter word book is about a curious kid, asking her dad “why?” about things in the park. What came easily? And if I write both a 1-letter word book and a new 2-letter book, maybe I can add a 3-letter book for a 1-2-3 series. Millions of people worldwide take a long time to learn reading, or never learn. It wasn’t very difficult; it just took a long time to figure out everything because it was the first time I did it. Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it? I wanted to write something that could help children read at a younger age, or with less struggle. Why is the grass green? The idea came in 2009, when I was teaching my own children to read. That would be a challenge. Sure. They’re fictitious. Do you have a target reader? I’m now writing to many bloggers to ask if they’d like to review my books. No. I thought so, but it took several more years to reach publication! Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors? Next, the 3-letter word book, Cat Egg, teaches 39 words, including 17 of the 100 most common words. Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself? That’s a lot to ask of young children. Why is the sky blue? With children’s books, I didn’t want to write another story that parents read to children, because there are already hundreds of thousands of wonderful books like that. They were very constructive and supportive. That started me wondering whether I should write another 2-letter word book following that advice. I did both. Joanna Pasek, who illustrated the interior of the book, also designed and painted the cover. What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Los Angeles. Talk with other indie authors to get their advice. The aim of the book is to teach reading more easily by using only very short words, no longer than two letters, which children can learn quickly. No. I had conducted a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, more to publicize the Bo Books than to fund them. To make the transition to reading as simple and easy as possible, why not use the shortest words possible, at least in the very first books that children read? I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and their local critique group of authors, who gave very helpful suggestions, as well as companionship in the lonely work of writing and publishing. Did you hire a professional editor? But I juggled them until I came up with a story, with characters, action, and even humor. No. Children who are ready to learn how to read. First, I found Joanna Pasek, who beautifully illustrates children’s books in a semi-realistic style I liked (http://akwarelki.net/), so we set to work, eventually producing our book, WE GO TO BO: https://www.wegotobo.com/. They comprise “The Bo Books” series: https://www.bobooks.org/. In the 3-letter word book, one kid has a cat, and when her friends play with it, they think it’s laid an egg. as a free ebook from Smashwords or as paper books from either Amazon US or Amazon UK. When did you start writing the book? Where do you live now? Then they can read the 2-letter word book, BO, GO UP!. Two letters? There are so few 2-letter words to work with. And then one smart aleck said “1-letter!” My first impulse was to ignore him, but then I thought, “Why not 1-letter?” If I use the letter “C” to mean “S-E-E” and the letter “U” for “Y-O-U”, maybe. I’ll use this answer to give a longer version of the story behind the book. Three letters? It starts with children playing with a ball and ends with a much larger ball, because one kid’s mom runs a hot air balloon company and gives them a ride. June 2016
How long did it take you to write it? Could I write one myself? “Bo, Go Up!” uses words no longer than two letters to tell a very simple story, with characters, action, and humor, to help young children cross the threshold into the world of reading. He doesn’t know, but she opens his eyes to the world. Again yes.