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What has been the most difficult part of my children's book journey?

Updated: Apr 24

Black girl coloring at her desk in her bedroom while red robot looks over her shoulder from the closet. Title of Book on closet says There's A Robot In My Closet
There's A Robot In My Closet Book Cover

My answer may actually surprise you. I came up with the idea for these children's books during the 2020 pandemic and my one year sabbatical. I had all of the books written within six months. So then you may ask, why did it take me until 2024 to publish them? Well there were several reasons. One, busy professor who started my entrepreneurship journey, NoireSTEMinist Educational Consulting, LLC, during the pandemic as well. I also worked with other engineering professor colleagues to launch two non-profits during that time, Black In Engineering and Black In Robotics. So, after getting the books edited, I honestly tried to query for an agent and publisher for over a year because I knew I had a good product. Similar to my #BlackSTEMRomance novels I was writing books I had never seen but wanted to see to #DiversifySTEM because #RepresentationMatters. However, after more rejections than I could count, I knew I was not going to continue down this path for six years. Some folks told me that this was how long some authors had to query before getting an agent or getting published. I was way too impatient for that so my #IndieAuthor journey along with my #IndiePublisher Rebellion LIT, LLC was going to continue. What finally put the fire in my belly was becoming the Visiting Scientist at the largest children's museum in the world, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. After giving a television interview about my work at the museum for Black History Month, someone said you should write children's books. My response was "actually I already have, several years ago." So that was just what I needed to get moving and have them put in the museum bookstore before my year as visiting scientist comes to an end. So, here we are, an engineering professor, roboticist, researcher, teacher, mentor, by day and STEM communicator, #BlackSTEMRomance and #KidLit author by night.

Black boy bounces basketball on court as  blue robot with red hat looks on. Tile of book says There’s A robot at my afterschool bt Dr. Carlotta A. Berry illustrated by Anak Bulu
There’s A Robot At My Afterschool book cover

So back to the question at hand, what has been the most difficult part of this journey? After I gave up on the querying, it was finding an illustrator. I am an indie author who does not have money growing on trees. I found some really awesome illustrators who were way too rich for my blood. Then I found some illustrators who were within my budget but the images just did not feel quite right. My brother is a graphic artist and has illustrated children's books but he is busy. I had already waited so long to get this project off the ground and I did not want to wait anymore. So now my illustration journey had come down to three things.

  • good

  • fast

  • cheap

  • Pick 2

I had already gone to #AIArt to make sample images of my vision so now just to find someone who could execute. Well thank goodness for FIVERR because after scrolling through more profiles than a little bit, I came upon Anak Bulu. She was good and reasonably priced and worked at a speed I could deal with. So here we are! I hope that you enjoy these books as much as I did writing them. Please pick up a copy for all the young people and teachers in your life. My books are about kids, STEM, robots, family, friends, creativity, curiosity, innovation, and learning. Allow young people to see who they can be. #Teacher #Academia #Education

My #KidLitArt vision as #AIArt

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