Aspiring picture book writers and artists should check out Storybird, a beautifully presented and well structured site that is a cross between online publisher, social media site and playground! Basically Storybird allows you to create your own online picture book using presupplied artwork. The artwork is uploaded by artists who are sharing their work for free. You type in a keyword, bring up some pictures and start pulling them into your blank pages. Add some text and you have created your own picture book which can either remain private or be shared on the site and commented on. If you want a hard copy you can pay for one (and the artist earns royalties), otherwise everything is free.
So what’s the catch? Well, you’re not really in control of the material because you can only do one search (keyword or artist). You have to use the pictures that your search brings up. The point is to be inspired and create, not to prewrite your own story and find pictures to fit it. Also it’s not the place to publish the picture book you’ve been working on for months as you don’t get any revenue for sharing it (and it may not be accepted by a traditional publisher as it will be seen as already published).
Instead, Storybird should be seen as a place to play. It’s a place to try out your style, connect with other people, admire the amazing artwork and see if you can do it justice with your words. Here’s my tips on how aspiring writers can use Storybird:
- Read other people’s books and see how they’ve stretched the definition of a picture book – writing for teenagers and adults, for example.
- Browse the artwork and get inspired.
- Try out some different layouts on your storybook text. Keep this one unpublished if it’s something you plan to send out to publishers.
- Create a book and get feedback from other members.
- Join a challenge or challenge some friends to come up with themed stories.
- Sign on as a teacher and create a ‘class’ for your writing group or friends.
- Create a story for your child, relative or grandchild.
- Create a story with your child, relative or grandchild.
Here’s my story The LapTopper. It’s a Catvert!
Have fun on the site and let me know if you create a book.