Rhyming can be tricky in children’s books and that’s because it’s challenging to get a natural flow and rhythm. But when rhyming is done well, it works and kids love it. For example, in my opinion, here are three books that use rhyming effectively: Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty, Baby Danced the Polka by Karen Beaumont and Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker.
Another rhyming book that works is Dinosaur Boogie, the newest project from Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan, a children’s author and freelance writer based in the Pittsburgh area. I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth to learn more about her new book and her love for the process of self-publishing. She also shared some words of advice for aspiring writers.
Dinosaur Boogie doesn’t have much of a plot but it has a purpose: get young readers moving and grooving like dancing dinosaurs. The text is written in rhyme intended to evoke song lyrics and the illustrations by Felix Eddy seem to dance right off the screen. This book is only available as an ebook on Kindle right now and I loved using the pop-up text feature to add dance move prompts for kids to try.
What about this book’s theme inspired you to write it?
My self-published books are largely inspired by my children. My oldest has been a dinosaur fanatic since he was little and long ago asked me to write something about his favorite extinct creatures.
Tell us about how you go about publishing your books? Traditional publishing, self-publishing – and why?
I actually really enjoy the process of self-publishing. It’s not as intimidating as many people think it is. I love making a connection with an illustrator, working on concepts and layouts together, fine-tuning my text and finding an editor to review and revise it (pro tip: ALWAYS hire a great editor to review your writing!) and then working with a graphic designer or on my own to lay out a book for publication. I have helped other authors bring a book idea to self-publication and love the feeling they have when they see their work completed. The traditional publishing industry is still an extremely powerful and valuable piece of the writing community, but there is also a place for well-written and targeted self-published works. My books have helped me build my network, expanded my workshop audience, and helped me develop wonderful new professional relationships as well as contribute to my writing income.
What advice do you have for other writers who are hoping to write a book?
There is so much excellent advice out there, but I think all writers can benefit by identifying their goal. Just like in running (which I do as often as writing), you need to know what you’re training for and working to achieve. That can help keep you focused and on track. Do you want to sell a book to a traditional publishing house? Or do you want to write a book for your family? Goals are so important so that you can celebrate successes when you reach them.
What was your writing process like for this book?
Lots and lots and lots of revision on the text. Though there are very few words in this book, I worked on the rhyme and rhythm for many months.
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