Friday, March 14, 2014

Writing as a Collaborative Effort

     This past week I was reminded how much writing, particularly authoring a book and bringing it to market, is a cooperative team effort. This past Sunday I did the launch event for the new edition of my Word Guild award-winning book Little Froggy Explores the Big World. 

     This may sound like a huge exaggeration, but thousands of people were directly or indirectly involved in bringing that book to market. You might ask, "How could that be true?"

     Let's start with the obvious contributors to this writing project. Mircea Gabor produced eighteen stunningly beautiful watercolour paintings for this book. He worked directly with me in plotting out the pictures required and attended three school storytelling presentations, so that he could fully grasp the tone and the content of the story.

     Essence Publishing provided their expertise in editing, book design, layout and printing. There was a handful of people directly involved in that process, some of them I know by name others remain nameless and faceless to me, but nonetheless they made an important contribution.

     The new edition of Little Froggy Explores the Big World has an animated DVD included at the back. There is a whole other team involved in the production of that. Video production was done by my friend Ben Hoskyn with some editing help by Chris Dainty. The sound recording was produced and edited by Tristan Brake at CHRI FM in Ottawa. Musical accompaniment was skilfully provided by Matthew Smith. Finally, the DVD disc itself was pressed, assembled and inserted into the book by Glenn Carley and his team at Data Bridge. Most of the individuals mentioned here also had a network of support that made their specific contribution possible.

     Finally there's the audience. This book would not have happened without the feedback provided by the audience. I first told this story for an audience of one—my almost three-year-old son Timothy. We were living and working as missionaries in Japan at the time. Tim loved the story and requested it over and over. When his brother, Joshua, was born back in Canada, he came to love the story too. Every year my sons invited me to their school where I told the story to their classes. Soon I had told the Little Froggy story to hundreds and then thousands of children. The response was always the same. Kid's loved Little Froggy. Publishers didn't. When I took the book to publishers, the response was a resounding and consistent, "No!"
     No matter! My audience loved the book. I self-published, won The Word Guild Children's Picture Book Award in a competition against the top Christian writer and American publishing house of that time. Locally every year since then Little Froggy Explores the Big World has hit the bestsellers list here in Ottawa.
     It all happened and continues to happen because writing is a collaborative effort. It involves a team. It involves connecting powerfully with your audience and then listening and watching intently for their feedback. I am currently beginning a new Little Froggy book – part of what I hope will become a series. That next book won't happen without a team—a team of thousands.

Wishing you the best in your writing endeavours,
David Kitz

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

David, thank you for sharing the story behind the story of "Little Froggy . . ." -- as heartwarming and whimsical the story in the book itself. And, as you say, Mircea Gabor's depictions are truly "stunningly beautiful"!
Continued success to you and Little Froggy's bright future. :)

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