top of page
  • Writer's pictureManju Howard

Plunging into Blue Whale Press with Editor Alayne Kay Christian (Part 1)

I’m excited to dive into Alayne Kay Christian’s world as author and editor for Blue Whale Press.

Follow the directions below to win a signed copy of Sienna, the Cowgirl Fairy: Trying to Make it Rain OR a golden ticket to submit to Blue Whale Press.

About Blue Whale Press

Hi, Alayne! What’s your vision for Blue Whale Press?

Our vision is to publish quality books that have staying power and the potential to one day be called classics. We will entertain, inspire, and educate readers of all ages. We will launch authors and illustrators into long-lasting careers that they love and are proud of. And most likely as with most publishers, we envision our books as award winners on best-sellers lists. One of our first goals is to earn SCBWI PAL status.

Share your current and upcoming titles

Blue Whale Press has several books in development for 2019 releases, as well as two current titles.

Porcupette and Moppet is a picture book by Nadine Poper. In this comical story about a bumbling predator and his bibliophile-prey, disaster is averted not by running and hiding, but by simply reading a book – a very important book. Alicia Young’s art brings even more life and humor to Nadine’s great story.

Sienna, the Cowgirl Fairy: Trying to Make it Rain (second edition) is a chapter book by Alayne Kay Christian, illustrated by Brian Martin. Sienna is not your normal cowgirl. She’s half human and half fairy! But Sienna wants nothing to do with fairies. When her ma sends her to fairy camp instead of cowgirl camp, she ain’t none too happy. Not only must she deal with cliquish fairies who reject her spunky spirit and outspoken ways, she must also noodle out how to help Mother Nature end the Texas drought. Can Sienna balance cowgirling with some tried ’n’ true fairy skills to both fit in and make it rain?

Another picture book, No Bears Allowed, by Lydia Lukidis is a sweet and funny story about a rabbit who is afraid of almost anything, but most of all, he is terrified of bears—gigantic, monstery BEARS! Tara Hannon’s illustrations are going to be fantastic.

Randall and Randall is a picture book by Nadine Poper. In a very odd-couple relationship, this comical story is about a symbiotic relationship between two species that grows into an endearing friendship. This children's book entertains and educates young readers about ocean species. Polina Gortman will be working her magic as illustrator.

Little Lost Pup (working title) is a picture book by Sarah Hoppe. This is not your ordinary pup story. It is a sweet and educational story about a little girl who finds a little lost pup on the beach. She spends her day wondering, Who will care for this little lost pup? And asking, “Will you care for this little lost pup?” But she finds that it will take a very special person to care for this very special pup. Milanka Reardon’s beautiful art will help tell this sweet story and make the surprise twist even more exciting.

Laurie Smollett Kutscera will illustrate her own middle grade book The Misadventures of a Magician’s Son. This wonderful story is about twelve-year-old Alexander Finn’s personal journey dealing with the death of his father and the extraordinary gift he left behind. Besides heart, it is full of adventure, magic, and fantasy.

Written by Alayne Kay Christian and illustrated by Brian Martin, Sienna, the Cowgirl Fairy: Cowboy Trouble—the next chapter book in the Sienna series—is on its way. In this one Aunt Rose is getting married, and guess who she’s asked to be her flower girl. Sienna’s sadder than a coyote without a howl. “I’d look mighty silly in a dress. I’d trip over my own feet in them fancy shoes. And I ain’t much good at manners neither.” Ma signs Sienna up for cowgirl charm school where Sienna discovers she’s even worse at being elegant than she thought she’d be. To make matters worse, Billy Bob and his band of bullies see Sienna in her charm school clothes and raise a ruckus. Maybe Sienna can teach them a thing or two about manners and poise. But can she learn enough at charm school to walk down the aisle without embarrassing herself and Aunt Rose?

A picture book, Butterfly Kisses for Grandma and Grandpa by Alayne Kay Christian, illustrated by Joni Stringfield. This is a story about the special bond between a grandchild and her long-distance grandparents. Emily loves visiting her grandparents where she is showered with affection and enjoys the freedom to eat sweets, stay up late, and help Grandma in the garden. When Emily’s visit with her grandparents ends, she’s saddened by thoughts of missing them. To comfort her, Grandma gives Emily a book that teaches her to use her imagination, memory, and natural surroundings to help her feel close when they are apart. In a surprising role reversal, Emily comforts Grandma by sharing her own secrets for staying close.

Follow Blue Whale Press on Facebook and Twitter, as we will be revealing more details about the titles to come.

How is publishing with a small press different from self-publishing?

In self-publishing, authors and illustrators are on their own. This often leads to guessing and doing the best one can. The result is not always a quality product. Creating a quality self-published book usually requires hiring an illustrator, editors, book designers, and paying for printing and marketing as well as software tools and a steep learning curve if one decides the lay the book out themselves. This means a large time commitment and financial burden falls on the self-publisher.

The following bullet points about self-publishing expand on the above.

  • As a self-publisher, you assume all publishing and marketing costs, including the risk of investment loss and assumption of personal liabilities if you are not legally incorporated

  • You will also spend much of your time doing bookkeeping and administrative work instead of creative work, and you’ll likely need an accountant to do your taxes if you want to benefit from all the investment tax breaks business are entitled to

  • You either pay for design and development as well as copy editing or risk publishing a poor quality book that will not be reviewed or win awards

  • You must be very knowledgeable in Adobe InDesign or pay a professional to design your book (cost of which can be hundreds to thousands of dollars).

  • You may spend a great deal of money trying to market your book only to find it has had very little impact (the old marketing adage of “50% of my marketing budget is a waste of money, but I don’t know which 50%” applies here)

  • You are responsible for applying for copyrights and obtaining ISBN/EAN codes as well as CIP data required by some customers

  • A self-publisher cannot achieve PAL status with the SCBWI. Only publishers of multiple authors can apply for PAL status

  • Books are generally locked out of trade electronic catalogs if you are not a publisher of multiple authors with a web presence

  • Your distribution channels are usually limited

A reputable and quality-focused small publisher does all of the above for you without you paying a penny. I think one of my favorite things about publishing with Blue Whale Press is that budding authors and illustrators can gain knowledge and experience from our close guidance. The potential for that kind of growth is highly unlikely for the self-published author or illustrator.

Where are your books distributed?

Our primary distribution is through Ingram Content Group and Follett School Solutions, which provides access to tens of thousands of retail and trade outlets worldwide. Retail outlets and libraries generally purchase through channels like these because they order and return multiple titles at a time while receiving trade discounts as well as credits. With regards to Amazon, we sell direct as well as indirect through Ingram. In certain cases, we sell direct to bookstores and other commercial end users, but there is no real advantage to them in going this route, so we prefer to channel them through our distributors instead. That said, our marketing efforts are directed at the end consumers (commercial and retail), which is what drives demand at the wholesale level.

Thank you for inviting me and Blue Whale Press to be featured on your blog. To express my gratitude, I’d like to offer a choice of two drawing prizes to your readers.

Anyone who comments on this post (or part 2) and on the Blue Whale Press Facebook page (with a follow) will be included in the drawing. The winner’s choice will be a signed copy of Sienna, the Cowgirl Fairy: Trying to Make it Rain OR a golden ticket to submit to Blue Whale Press and go right to the top of the slush pile. This means, even though we are currently closed to picture books and chapter books, you may still submit. It also means that your manuscript will be read before any other manuscripts waiting to be considered. The deadline for the drawing is September 29, 2018.

Alayne Kay Christian is the content and developmental editor for Blue Whale Press and an award-winning children’s book author. She is the creator and instructor of a picture book writing course, Art of Arc. She has been a professional picture book and chapter book critique writer for five years. She has been a critique ninja for Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 picture book forum for three years. Alayne is a graduate of the Institute for Children’s Literature and she has spent the last ten years studying under some of the top names in children’s literature.

Where can you be found online?

466 views0 comments
bottom of page