I am very excited to have completed my second illustrated children’s book in the Gee Bee Series, The Spirit of Lindy. After two years of writing, working with the artists, and endless tweaking, I recently sent it off to the printer!
It’s a great story based on the famous flight Charles Lindbergh made from New York to Paris to win the Orteig Prize in 1927. I came up with the concept, wrote the story, and had two great Disney-trained artists, Dominic Carola (pencils), and Ryan Feltman (paint), do the artwork. We came together to create a beautiful book that, we all feel, has more potential than my first book, All of Life is a School.
The first book was actually a condensed version of a feature film script I’d written. At the time, I owned several of the ten airplane characters in the book. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to collect another character here and there and eventually realized life was leading me to collect all ten! I now have seven on display at Fantasy of Fight! There’s a possibility to collect two others but the third, Curtiss, will have to be built from scratch, as only the original exists and is in National Air and Space Museum in Washington. Something tells me, I don’t think they’ll be willing to part with it any time soon! :-(
While creating the next book, and to save myself some money, I got smart this time and made sure I only included new characters that I already had in the collection! This will be my approach for future books in this series, as I’ve got plenty to work with.
Two new characters making their debut are Geoffrey D. H., an enthusiastic DeHavilland 4 Mailplane with a grand idea, and Lindy, based on the Spirit of St. Louis. Of course, it all takes place at Fantasy of Flight where Gee Bee Zee, Puff, and all their friends pursue Geoffrey’s idea, build the plane, and learn a valuable life lesson in the process.
Currently, I’m awaiting a sample copy from the printer to approve before we run the presses. As with All of Life is a School, the first run will be for 5000 books. I’m hoping to have them by the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In in late March 2012 but this may be somewhat tight, as the printer is currently on vacation and I’m not sure where I may end up on their schedule. If I don’t make Sun ‘n Fun, I will definitely be signing copies at the Oshkosh Fly-In in July and the Reno Air Races in September.
So far, I’ve sold over 6000 copies of All of Life is a School out of the Fantasy of Flight gift shop, on the Internet, at airshows and other smaller events. I’ve had no luck trying to break into the major bookstores so, I’m quite proud to have sold this many on my own. I actually have signed so many books the non-autographed ones are rarer and probably worth more! :-)
Since the book will now be printed in 2012, I’ve missed the deadlines for entering any 2011 contests. I’m excited to submit it, as I believe it has as much, or more, potential than All of Life is a School, which won a Bronze independent Book Publishing Award!
I have concepts for another dozen books in the Gee Bee Series and now have to think about which one to focus on next! Once I get The Spirit of Lindy books in hand, the real work will begin trying to promote and sell them! At least I’ve laid the foundation with the first book and already have an email list and somewhat of a following.
I’m still learning the business, which is all but impossible to break into for a first-time author. I can only apply what I’ve learned so far and hope to implement some new things as well. But, hey . . . now I’m a two-time author! We’ll see.