Today we have a lovely treat and completely outside the norm for this blog! Please welcome children’s author - Marty Byk!
When did you start writing and why?
I’m not sure I can remember when I didn’t write. It’s strange because I’m quite verbal - and kind of a fast wit. For some reason, though, I’ve always enjoyed writing – especially when the writing gets a reaction. That’s when the work pays off. I probably started somewhere in High School. Things
usually took the form of plays or screenplays. They weren’t very good but that’s when the bug got me. They were almost always comedy based.
Being an author (especially of a children’s book) was never quite part of the plan. However, I always believe that when that germ of an inkling of a notion pops into your head, you should pursue it to see if it goes somewhere. Often times it doesn’t, but sometimes even the messiest dead ends get used in some other writing idea that pops up later on.
In some ways, my writing is what has moved my career in TV along. To this day, I still write scripts and screenplays. Nothing major has sold yet. However, every time those inklings start way back in the far reaches of my skull…I still listen and wonder if this is the one that’s gonna work. As always, hope springs eternal.
What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?
We want to entertain kids with a frantic and fun story that‘s full of action and memorable characters. It’s a story with heart and, with some luck, it might just be an animated movie or a series with heart!
Traditional or Self Publishing? Why?
I decided to self publish for a few reasons. The first reason was the challenge. I’ve never been one to shy away from learning something new and self publishing seemed like a way to do just that. I think we also liked the idea of control over the project. We liked the idea of owning the book outright. It seemed like a simpler and direct way to go.
Talk about your journey into the wide world of publishing.
Strap in for this answer. Once the story was edited, and the graphics were in place, it was time to make a book. I’ve passed over the million hours of proofreading that my wife had to endure during this part of the journey and I’ve left out the countless ‘conversations’ that became part of process. Mercifully, I’ve done this in order to save space and to hopefully keep my eyelids from twitching involuntarily once again. Lets just say that if you look at my first drafts, it’s apparent that I should never list English as my first language.
Once the proofreading was over, I purchased several books on how to create an ebooks. I crammed them into my skull. The eBook was a whole new way of thinking and my brain and I were at odds for a while on this issue. Eventually, one of us won this battle…but neither of us is quite sure who. We still argue about that to this day. I then scoured the internet for any, and all info regarding printing self published books.
After some deliberation, we finally decided to go with CreateSpace. Not that the others were bad, but CreateSpace seemed to make the most sense for our needs. Then it came time to format the book. This was the most difficult & frustrating part of the experience. For anyone who has ever tried going the self publishing route – they’ll certainly understand the hours of head scratching and mumbling over book formatting and the relentless and whiny sound of one’s own voice in their ears saying “why doesn’t this thing look right? It’s not supposed to be this complicated.” And when you least expect it, suddenly it’s done. It's not perfect, but it's done.
And then comes the realization that you have to sell the thing you just spent an eternity putting together. It not over. Not by a long shot.
That’s when you take the first steps past a threshold that launches you into an entirely new journey. It’s called Marketing. You’re now a member of the self publishing generation. It’s new, it’s revolutionary and if you don’t do it yourself, no one will know your book exists. So… here comes a new learning curve and a whole new level of coffee consumption. It’s time to learn Social Networking. You’ll learn about Facebook Pages and Twitter and Instagram and GoodReads and Tumblr and Jacket Flap and LinkedIn Groups and HootSuite and web design and Likes and Follows and Friends and Circles and so much more. Sleep? Did somebody mention sleep? Sure thing. See if you can pencil that in for somewhere around March of 2015.
What inspired you to write these books (or in this genre)?
Our book, ‘The Bug Barians® ’ originally started out as a pilot script for a children’s animated show. I was working at a channel called Discovery Kids and at the time they were getting into producing animations. I thought that it would be a great time to work up an idea to see if they were interested.
The short version of the story is, that by the time the pilot script was ready, Discovery Kids was not. However, I liked the idea of tiny Viking Bugs so much that I then developed the script into a screenplay.
This new version skewed slightly older, added other characters and even some drama. The hope was, that we could get some interest from DreamWorks or Pixar or someone along those lines. Although, the script is something I’m quite proud of, it sat in a drawer.
After a bit, the idea was rescued when JoAnn and I decided to turn the original idea into a kids book. The story would be told over 3 books and JoAnn would create new illustrations for each. Currently, the first part of the trilogy is available and the other 2 parts will eventually join it. ‘The Bug Barians®’ has had quite a long and interesting path but it’s been a valuable one for us.
Tell us why we should love your main character?
The Bug Barians® is an ensemble cast but if there’s one lead – it’s the jittery and accident prone ‘Clonk The Clonkerer’. Think of him as the Gilligan of the bunch and you’ll be in the ball park. Sure he causes things to happen, but Clonk means well and he’s as lovable and innocent as a clumsy six armed Viking Bug who winds up sitting on his horned helmet a lot – can be.
Plus…if it wasn’t for Clonk, the adventures wouldn’t be half as fun. He’s a Bug Barian through and through.
Thank you Marty for spending some time with us today!
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