Blog

From time to time I'll update this page with images and descriptions of my creative process, what I'm currently working on, and other picture book related topics. Stick around if you enjoy that kind of thing.

TURNS OUT...

...I only write a children's book when I have an idea for one - and that happened once. I do, however, from time to time, every once in a while, when the motive strikes me, still create artistic things. Just follow my instagram @gregporterbooks to keep up with these erratic spurts of drive and creativity. Until then you may or may not expect another children's book between now and infinity.

My most recent endeavor was the creation of a painted skateboard paying homage to Virginia Beach and it's unique ocean front vibe.

I have prints of these available on Etsy so BUY! BUY! BUY! while the product is hot. I can almost guarantee there won't be a reprint because I have a very weak marketing policy (I don't advertise or try).

Anyways, here's the link: Virginia Beach Painted Skateboard Deck Poster

Stay sneezy

Thank You for the Support!

My first book launch and 5 day free promo was a success! Over 500 people downloaded the free ebook version of The Curse of the Unending Sneeze, left great reviews, and bought the paperback. I consider this a success for an entirely unknown author/illustrator. It feels especially great knowing that my book has been read to kids in classrooms, and that they enjoyed it. In light of the successful book launch I leave you with this:

Remember to grab your copy of The Curse of the Unending Sneeze today!

It's Book Launch Day!

My first book, The Curse of the Unending Sneeze, is now available online as a paperback and Kindle eBook at amazon.com! Even better, the eBook version will be available for FREE DOWNLOAD from 7/12-7/16! The picture book is intended for children but can be enjoyed by all ages. Watch Gerald learn a valuable lesson after enduring a strange, magical curse. 

If you like the book please share or write a review. Share the book on Facebook, tweet about it, pin it on Pinterest, post a picture on Instagram and tag me, write a review on amazon, etc. Do one of those things, or do all of those things! Word-of-mouth is crucial for any author to succeed, especially the unknown ones like myself. Spreading the word is appreciated more than you know! And it's free, remember?

Also, check out the 'Free Books!' link at the bottom of the page to sign up for the newsletter. I only send out emails when I'm announcing new releases and when my books are available for free, so it's impossible for me to spam you.

I've already begun work on my next picture book so follow me on social media to watch it come to life.

Inspiration, Writing Habits

I sometimes have trouble getting to sleep. When I do, I watch an episode or a few episodes from The Curriculum by The School of Life on YouTube. Each episode of the playlist covers the main ideas of the most famous people in history and why they are important to us today. All of this is taken care of through thoughtful narration and relevant animation. After a few videos, I'm nodding off and may feel just slightly more virtuous than I did before. 

Now I know you're already a genius and don't need this kind of thing, but it's been highly beneficial to me for coming up with ideas for storybooks (or something unrelated) in three ways.

Firstly,  my inspiration can come directly from the ideas being presented in the video in the most unoriginal sense. I could be watching a segment on Plato where they're discussing eudaimonia and fulfillment, then subsequently think, "I'm going to write a story where the main guy seeks fulfillment." Very basic "inspiration." The ideas don't usually go too far from there, and I don't get too excited about them.

Secondly, many of these videos generally orbit the idea that humans need to be happy and don't know how. By watching philosophers, political theorists, artists, etc. present their theories on this matter, I get a better feel on how to make a conflict more visceral. I feel it helps a story in the relate-able human aspect.

The third way these videos inspire me is the most common, and I'm sure you've had some great ideas this way too. Sometimes while watching I inevitably lose concentration and my mind wanders off, much like when you're in class and your mind drifts into la la land. Or if you've been reading a book and find that you read the last two pages with your eyes but recorded nothing in the mind because you're in deep space. These videos are like a catalyst to getting there. Great, weird things happen there - epiphany and such.

Regardless of the inspiration factor, these videos are interesting and well made. Watch a few of these if you're feeling uninspired or looking to learn, but don't actively look for inspiration. A watched pot never boils.

Self-Publishing Resource: Joanna Penn

Joanna Penn is a best-selling thriller author, as well as a best-selling non-fiction author with focus on creative entrepreneurship and internet marketing as a writer's resource. I have personally found her YouTube videos extremely helpful in regards to clarifying the marketing world of independent authorship.

While writing and illustrating The Curse of the Unending Sneeze for the last month, I would play her YouTube interviews as 'background music' to my work. This way I could be somewhat knowledgeable about the challenges I would face as an independent writer, and how to deal with them when the challenges presented themselves - all while getting some illustrations done. On her channel she interviews other successful independent authors about writing, marketing, editing, the creative process, and more - all focused around self-publishing. She does podcasts and classes that I'm sure are incredibly useful, though I have not checked them out myself. 

I have employed much of her advice as well as the advice of her interviewees in launching my first book. If self-publishing is something you may be interested in, I suggest you check out her website, or at least her YouTube channel. One month ago I was completely inexperienced and had no idea where to begin with self-publishing. Joanna's resources provided much needed insight.

You can find Joanna Penn online at www.thecreativepenn.com

Picture Books I Enjoyed As a Kid Pt. 2

This next book to be featured is The Berenstain Bears and The Truth. Although the moral of the story is kind of overbearing, it didn't seem to bother me when I was little. It kind of put things in perspective to be honest. The book starts with the two bear children playing ball in the house (if I remember correctly), and they accidentally break a lamp. Mom comes home after the fact wondering what happened and the bear cubs make up a story that becomes increasingly exaggerated and inconsistent. Mom knows they're lying, and they find out she would have been less upset had they just told her the truth. It's a classic moral that everyone has heard a million times, but it's an important moral nonetheless. My parents bought many books of the Berenstain Bears series, but this one sticks out in my memory the most. I remember liking all of them; however, in mentioning the series to friends it seems the books have come under scrutiny after the son of the original authors gained full authorship in 2012. Regardless, there are plenty of good Berenstain Bears books available that pre-date the change. The new ones could be great for all I know. Also, the bird in the book was cool.

Picture Books I Enjoyed as a Kid Pt. 1

This is the first of a series of posts that will last until I can't think of any more picture books that I used to enjoy as a kid.

The first picture book in this series is clutch. I don't know exactly why, but The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper had a profound influence on me. It's probably been 20 years since I've opened this book, but I can tell you with certainty that this book was good for me as a kid. From what I remember it's all about determination, confidence, and giving it the old college try. I remember enjoying the illustrations immensely, but it seems that now they have multiple versions out by different illustrators. The version that I enjoyed was originally illustrated by George and Doris Hauman, but it seems reviewers on amazon.com praise the new illustrations too. If I could only recommend one children's book in my lifetime, it would be this one. I firmly believe that people should keep trying things even when they seem really hard to do, or if they are in doubt of their own capabilities.