In Brooke Van Sickle’s debut picture book, Pirates Stuck at ‘C’, the pirates are on the hunt for treasure…but they’re not so great at finding any. Instead, Eric’s chasing eels, Killian’s tangled in Kelp, and Marty’s splashing with mermaids. (And that’s just to name a few!)
I had Brooke talk a little bit more about her kid’s book writing experience and new picture book. Read more about her below.
Congratulations on your upcoming picture book! Tell us a little about Pirates Stuck at ‘C’.
Thank you! Pirates Stuck at ‘C’ is about a crew of pirates that have landed on the perfect island for a treasure hunt — or so they think. Instead, they end up in antics for every letter of the alphabet!
Where did the inspiration come from for this book?
I was reading the jokes in a copy of Highlights and thought that the punch line would make a great title. From there, I began drafting an idea for an alphabet picture book about pirates.
Pirates Stuck at ‘C’ went through about 30 drafts before it was ready to publish. And from the point it was signed with the publisher, it still needed over 10 more rounds of edits. Including a full rework about halfway through the illustration process!
Your book is published by BiblioKid Publishing, which is your own company. Explain to us why you decided to go this route and the mission behind it.
Yes – I decided to create a publishing company, actually after having a coaching session with best-selling author, Ruth Soukup. We were talking about Journey to KidLit, my blog where I help other aspiring kid’s book authors, but it turned to my own books and my passion to want to start a company. To which she simply asked, “why not now?”
And that’s how we got here. I wanted a way to give back to education, particularly through reading initiatives, and this was the best way to do that. With a traditional publisher, my royalties would be too minuscule to have that opportunity.
That’s an interesting approach. What makes you passionate about education and reading?
I’ve always been a proponent of education because I believe it’s the axis that leads us to chase our dreams and become successful. However, it wasn’t until I was substitute teaching for inner-city schools that I realized the great need for kids to have access to books and feel empowered to want to read.
And with education being the first thing that tends to be cut from government budgets, it takes people giving to these places to help keep them funded. BiblioKid Publishing will start by donating 50% of its profits to 2 major charities, Pencils of Promise https://pencilsofpromise.org/ and First Book https://firstbook.org/ but will eventually venture into more local and individual school fundraising opportunities.
Does BiblioKid Publishing accept submissions from other authors?
BiblioKid will open up to other authors in 2021. You can find our submission guidelines when that happens on our website. And the best place to stay informed on when they open up is to join the email list. You can do that here: https://my.journeytokidlit.com/how-to-write-a-childrens-book-template and I’ll give you a free copy of my Children’s Book Template just for signing up.
If you had one tip for anyone wanting to publish their own kid’s book, what would you tell them?
You need to study the industry! The best place to start is by reading books that have been published recently and to be writing consistently in the genre you hope to write. Without being disciplined and having continual practice, it’s impossible to get better. (And you can read the other article I wrote here to get even more tips!)
If you would like to learn more about Brooke Van Sickle, visit her website at brookevansickle.com. Pirates Stuck at ‘C’ sets sail February 25th, but you can pre-order your copy here. (And 50% of the profits will be donated back to low-income schools!)
Brooke Van Sickle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) and Regional Webmaster for the Iowa-SCBWI region. She’s also a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MiPa).
PIRATES STUCK AT “C”, published by BiblioKid Publishing, is Brooke Van Sickle’s debut picture book. She also has 2 more books expected in 2020. When not writing her own books, Brooke teaches other aspiring writers how to write and publish kids’ books at www.journeytokidlit.com.
Learn more about her on her website www.brookevansickle.com and connect with her on social @authorbrookevs.
Brooke has also agreed to give away one signed copy to a lucky reader! Leave a comment below and share this post to enter. A winner will be chosen at random and announced on this blog. Good luck!
Darlene’s Review of PIRATES STUCK AT “C”:
Hop aboard Captain Scallywag’s ship for a fun-filled adventure in this pirate-themed alphabet book. Young readers will learn about life in the sea, and the life of a pirate with whimsical and colorful illustrations to add to the fun.