Photo-2-cropJulie Hedlund is an innovator. She sees beyond the predictable and the possible to ask, “What if?” And the important thing is, she doesn’t stop at asking the question, she does something to find out what would happen if…

She asked herself what if she asked a few friends to join her in trying to write twelve picture book drafts in twelve months, and rapidly discovered she had a phenomenon on her hands in the vastly popular 12×12. She asked herself what if she invited people to join her for a writers’ retreat in Italy, and the second year of Writer’s Renaissance is now gearing up. She asked herself what if her picture book manuscript A Troop is a Group of Monkeys were published as a storybook app, and now she has two lauded apps, and is speaking at writers’ conferences on the topic.

Now, she’s asked herself what if she launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish her next picture book in a hybrid publishing experiment.

You may be wondering why she doesn’t publish her next book as an app, since she has done so well in that format. Julie has written a powerfully moving picture book manuscript, My Love For You is the Sun. I have seen the snippets that Julie has shared in the run-up to, and the launch of, this project. These words need to be read to little ones who are snuggled up with someone they love. Instead of interacting with an iPad, this manuscript interacts with the heart of both reader and read-to.

In traditional publishing, all the up-front costs of publishing a book are met by the publisher, everything from hiring and paying the illustrator to printing and distributing the books, and everything in between. Also, all the work of bringing the book into being, beyond the creative work the author did in the first place, is organized by the publisher.

In self or independent publishing, the writer pays all these costs, as well as doing the work of searching out an illustrator, a printer, a distributor, putting a marketing plan in place. Everything rests on the writer. It is being done more and more these days, but it is an onerous task.

Julie has a publisher who would love to bring the book to fruition, but does not have room on the list for it. Julie has taken this fact and asked “what if…” What if she brought together a team of publisher, editor, illustrator, and supporters? What if she ran a fund-raising campaign to pay for the publishing process?

Julie’s “what ifs” have meshed traditional publishing with independent publishing in what promises to be an exciting venture. Costs of publication will be met from Julie’s campaign — often the way self/independent published writers raise their funds. The actual technical work of the printing and publication of the book will be done by the publisher, which is, of course, their stock-in-trade. What a perfect hybrid of two forms of publishing.

The publisher who has produced her two apps (and a recent print version of the first one), Little Bahalia, was eager to become a part of this. Julie has found an incredible illustrator, Susan Eaddy, who is creating lushly detailed portrayals of animal families using clay. One of the illustrations is complete, and it is absolutely entrancing. Please go to Julie’s blog to see the Mama Wood Duck and her babies. Others have joined the team, and they’re ready.

To raise the necessary funds, Julie has launched a campaign on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. There are incentives for those who donate at various levels, but to my thinking, the greatest incentive is to help put My Love For You is the Sun into the hands of little ones and their families.

Julie is blazing a trail in this project. As I said, she is an innovator. Writers and illustrators who come after her will benefit greatly from her experience, which she’ll blog about as the project unfolds. Best of all, children will benefit. I hope you’ll consider contributing in some way to Julie’s exciting venture, either by donating, or by spreading the word, or both.

On Julie’s blog, you’ll find the LAUNCH DAY post. Be sure to go to that link. There is an amazing book trailer/campaign starter video that will tug at your heart, and make you smile. There are also quick and easy ways to share the news of this campaign on Twitter or Facebook. All you need to do is either click, or copy/paste.

If you want to go straight to the Kickstarter Page, because you just can’t wait to become part of the team, CLICK HERE FOR KICKSTARTER! The wonderful video is there as well as advance reviews from authors such as Emma Walton Hamilton and Eileen Spinelli. You can also read Julie’s own words about how she came to write this lovely, lilting, touching text. And, of course, there is the opportunity to join Julie and her supporters in an exciting venture that is filled with promise.

I wish Julie every success!

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