After a few years of sitting at your computer during all kinds of odd hours, you finally become a blogger who doesn’t hesitate for days to press the scary Publish button. And you are comfortable whether or not someone reads your scribbles before they fly out into the cyber space.
Your pile of edits for a post now averages 15 instead of preciously 50. And your images may actually pass for photographs. You enjoy the interactions within the friendly community of fellow bloggers. You make some really good friends. Then what?
I know it’s different for all of us. The professional bloggers, authors, photographers, etc. probably get better and better at their trade in the niche they have developed, and attract a huge, ever-growing following. But those of us who haven’t really decided what we want to become when we grow up, will probably be inspired to try various new things. That’s what blogging does to us. We dare to experiment. Some pick up the brush, start painting and get really good at it. Some will become authors and publish several books. Others will become good story-tellers, photographers or graphic artists. A few will dip their toes into various creative pots. The Indecisives. I would be one of those. But then, I predicted that when I started blogging three years ago. I said my blog would be multifaceted. That sounds a whole lot better.
So after writing countless professional articles, reports and a few boring books to bring home the bacon, I tried my hand as a novelist. Last year I published “Confessions of a Rescue Dog”, a fictional story based on Bumble’s life as a rescue dog. I’m happy to say it got fairly good reviews, even editorial ones, and has brought in a few $$$ to help homeless dogs, cats, birds and rabbits to find forever homes.
One day last summer, my good friend Jackie asked me to design book covers for her new mystery series “DeeDee Watson, PI Series”. That was another first, but since I’ve been dabbling with digital art occasionally, I bravely said I would try.
Jackie published “The Canine Caper” in August! It is a delightful short story available on Amazon as a Kindle e-book. It introduces the mystery series and its main characters: Dee, a Private Investigator and Tee, her canine sidekick, among others. A quick, fun read!
At the end of October Jackie published the second story in the series. “A Case of Deceit” is a full length murder mystery, and is available on Amazon as a Kindle e-book, and as a paperback. This novel takes the reader on a wild ride on Dee’s Harley and by other means, in pursuit of the killer. You’ll love the many twists and turns, and the cast of quirky characters!
And then, inspired by many encouraging comments on the salt marsh series, I wanted to experiment with children’s books. I have just published two small photo books for kids on Blurb. This type of publishing is very expensive, so these books are for sale in softcover at production price. I feel it’s important to spark kids’ interest in the many small miracles in the natural world early on in life.
The first book is written for small kids, up to KG age, and introduces baby birds and juveniles with beautiful photos and a simple narrative. A nice bedtime read.
The second book is little more elaborate, intended for kids from KG through Elementary School. It presents bird families and their adventures at the salt marsh with a fun and educative narrative and almost 50 full color photographs.
I am now working on transforming these photo books to Amazon kids books. The Kindle versions will be interactive photobooks, but due to the paper quality, the paperback editions will need to have cheerful illustrations. Both books/editions will be much more affordable, and hopefully bring joy and learning to more kids.
Please check the Firdemonte Press page for more information on these books and on all the other stuff that’s cooking. Or click on the book covers to buy now 😀
What an ongoing adventure blogging is! I had no idea. I just wish I had more time to dedicate to all these creative facets of life, and to enjoy the great variety of inspirational reads I always find on your blogs. Thank you for being here. Much love.
75 thoughts on “Dogs, Birds and Mysteries. Or What Blogging Can Do to You.”
Wow. Kudos for allowing yourself to try and finish so many creative projects. Like you, I don’t really know what I want to do when I grow up. I enjoy photography and writing, but don’t really see either as a way to make money. Good luck with your book sales. Back to packing and sorting. 🙂
Thanks Brad! It is indeed difficult to make a livelihood from creative endeavors. One has to be really, really good, acquire a “name” through something unique, or have powerful sponsors. But it’s good to find outlets for our creative energy, and if it brings joy to others, the better. I wish you the best with packing and moving. Sending warm thoughts 🙂
Thanks for the warm wishes. Yes, it feels good to share my creativity.
What a wonderful achievement Tiny, I do hope your books do well, as your photography is so good, and you have always had such a natural flare for warm story telling in your salt marsh series:-)
Thank you for your encouragement! I hope I will get the time in the next few weeks to make these books more affordable and available to a wider audience of kids. That would feel good 🙂
You go, Tiny! I have no idea where you find the energy, but I always knew you had the great creativity and heart to share. By the way, I’m still working on the growing up part, too. Plenty of time to try a number of endeavors for both of us! 😉
Thank you for your kind comment Cyndi! Yes, indeed, we have plenty of time to try new endeavors. The secret of youth 😉
I’m so grateful for your friendship tiny, otherwise I may have never had the courage to write, much less publish my books about Dee and Tee. I am so honored to be with you at Firdemonte Press. We are a team! I can’t wait to see your other books and find out what else we can get ourselves into. ❤
Thank you Jackie ❤ It's great to be a team! I'm sure we can get into much more mischief and other great stuff together 😀
This is fantastic news! I’m super proud of you and I can’t say this news surprises me. I’ve always known you had the talent to do this. Your gentle story telling just captivates the reader! Way to go Tiny! Also your other ventures…I think that is the way of creative people. We do a bit of this and that. It keeps the days interesting! Cheers, Koko:)
Thanks Koko! You are very kind. I know most people pursue one avenue, but accept that our creativity can have many outlets. You are creating real things, I admire all your useful creations, but could never do that 😀 Cheers to a wonderful week ahead ~
If you had more time on your hands, I have no doubts you would be quite handy! As I would love to be out in the marsh. Though I doubt I’d take as wonderful pictures as you do not could I wrote about them so beautifully. I am excited for what adventure lay ahead for the week. I hope you too find such adventures! 🙂
A new week may bring new adventures! I always look forward to that too. But handy? No, that’s not a gift given to me, but I’m happy it’s been given to you 🙂
Wow. Who knew! You are definitely the Renaissance Woman of the Year!
Now you made me smile. Thank you kindly, David.
Wow, I’m so impressed.This is just so cool and I’m so glad you have found success doing what you love! My grandchildren are all too old for this books now or I would get them for them. But I have taught them much of the same principles and encouraged a love for the natural world since they were babies. Congratulations, Tiny!!! Love and hugs, N 🙂 ❤
Thank you for your kind words, Natalie! I don’t know about success, but it’s wonderful if we can spread joy and learning doing what we love. That’s something to be grateful for. Nature is so precious, I hope new generations grow up to take care of it even better than what we have done. Much love & hugs to you too ❤
Bravo for publishing your stories and photos! I am not surprised though, and I am sure the books in any version will do well.
Thank you, Hien. I will try to make those books more affordable so more kids can enjoy these birds. The Kindle project is quite exciting, but requires lots of work 🙂
It takes courage to step out and show your work, but I am sure you will be very successful and your pictures are just beautiful Helen.
Thank you Karen! I am not really seeking success (for sure will need to keep my day job :), but if more kids can learn to find joy in nature and appreciate its beauty, that is reward enough for me.
To help others appreciate nature is indeed a gift.
It is, indeed.
Woo Hoo! That’s great stuff.
Have you checked out Red Bubble or Zazzle as a storefront for your photography?
Thanks Nancy. Yes, I have checked these and find both of them good if I want to sell like cards or canvas prints, but I’m not there yet. Unfortunately the photo book market only has a few players, and all the good ones are very expensive. The hardcover/image wrap, high quality paper version of the bigger kids book, for example, costs $39.99 to produce on Blurb and the best quality printer takes $46 for the same book. They look truly fabulous, but the price is prohibitive… unless you print large quantities in China and warehouse them somewhere 😦 So the only way to make these affordable is to use Amazon’s kids book program – which does not support high quality photos, other than on Kindle.
Good for you Helen! So exciting 😎
Thank Val! It is exciting, but the price issue is a serious obstacle here in the US for photo book publishers. I’d like to make these affordable, but at the same time they lose in quality…
I keep thinking there must be a breakthrough in technology coming that will make it all so much for accessible and affordable. Hold the dream ❤️
How very exciting, Tiny! You are amazing!
Thanks Nancy, but amazing is far too big a word 🙂
Tiny, what a great beginning to your career as a nature writer/photographer for children. I have looked at the Blurb preview pages……the prices seem reasonable to me.
Thank you…I’d love to do it more…maybe when I retire completely 🙂 The prices for softcover are little more reasonable, but the hardcover/image wrap looks so much better…just very expensive. I could get them onto Amazon now too, but they add 15% to the already high production prices. So I’ll try to transform them to Kindle kids books and illustrated paper backs…although it will be so much work and will take quite a bit of time.
With all these possibilities, I don’t believe you will be ‘retired’. How about ‘third age career’ ?
What a great idea to turn your beautiful photos and knowledge into books for kids. Congratulations! I think it’s great you dabble in a few different pies. This industry is always saying you need different streams of income. Well done!
Thank you Catherine…right now these kids photo books won’t bring home any money, but I’m happy if kids get to learn about birds and nature. Hopefully I have the time and patience to make them to kids Kindle books and illustrated (in stead of photo) paperbacks in the next couple of months.
Did you know about the Kindle Kids Book Creator tool it’s super easy 😄
Yes, that’s what I’m using, but need to resize all my images for optimal size for most devices. Right now they are sized for print layouts. Then do the pop-ups 🙂 Thank you, Catherine!
I am so impressed with all the strings you have to your bow and full of admiration.
Thank you for your kind comment, Susan.
This is fantastic! What a creative soul you are! My three year old grandson is very interested in birds and loves looking at my bird identification books. I have always wished that there were more kid-friendly nature books – bigger pictures and fewer words. It sounds like you have met that challenge head-on!
Thanks Stephanie! My grandkids (19 m and 5.5 years) will get the books, one each for Christmas. I have read so many of their books that I hope these will be at right level for them. I will soon know 🙂
This is so very cool ~ and also inspiring ~ wonderful post Tiny to see an even greater side to your creativity.
Thanks for your kind words, Randall. It seems I held my creative energy hostage to a 24/7 work schedule for quite a long time, and now that I work less, it’s out of the “bucking chute” 🙂
Congratulations! This is awesome 🙂 Someday, I also hope to try and publish some of my photos in a proper book. Maybe someday!
Thank you! You should do it, Takami. You take such wonderful, tender pictures. They would be enjoyed by kids and adults alike 🙂
You’re too kind 😀 Thanks so much for your nice words ❤
It’s true ❤
My dear Tiny, a creative mind is a non stop fountain of energy and new ideas where you have the opportunity to make choices but can not stop the impetus which they flow. Cheer up my dear friend! 🙂
I think you’re right, my dear friend. Sometimes it just feels foolish to experiment with so many different things…thank you H.J. 🙂
So well done to you, Helen. You’re an inspiration, but I’m sure you must have a lot more hours in your day than most of us have. I wish you lots of luck with your books, especially the kids’ photo books, which I’m sure will be immensely popular. 🙂
I’ve been trying to create more hours for my day for quite a long time, but have to say I’ve not been successful 🙂 Thanks for your kind words, Sylvia.
My goodness, I just love how one thing can lead to another but never in the way you imagined – two steps sideways and five steps forward, LOVE IT! Congratulations, the book jackets are simply fabulous. How thrilling for you! (Oh, and Miss Rosa in her “reflective” mood is as gorgeous as always, lol!) 😉
Yes, isn’t it funny that one thing can just lead to another… but I think blogging has to do with all of that. I took very little photos before I started blogging, and definitely not of the “Miss Rosas” of this world 🙂
Thankfully blogging can be such a positive game-changer – being able to introduce the likes of the gorgeous Miss Rosa, oh and yourself of course, to me and the rest of the world! 😂(Fancy missing out on my sense of humour, lol!)
That’s so exciting, Helen! I have great nephews and nieces who would love your kids books! And how great that blogging has led you on so many paths 😊
Thank you Kathy! Yes, blogging can actually lead us into all kinds of creative endeavors 🙂 At it encourages us to experiment and get better by time.
I bow to you and remove my hat in a respectful way. I once tried to write a novel fifty years ago but reading it made me so depressed by its banality that I have never tried again. You have sticking power.
Your comment made me smile! You should try writing again, my experience is that we learn something along the life’s path…and our writing evolves too.
I think about it but although I love language and writing, no story or character comes to mind.
Congratulations,dear friend,Tiny!I am so glad to see that all those wonderful experiences by the salt marsh and your magnificent photos you share with us are published!When I read your posts I feel as if I read a wonderful book for adults and kids too.You vividly present everything in a very warm and convincing way that makes the read really engrossing!Hope your books get the success they merit!Love & Hugs, Doda xxx
Thank you Doda! Sorry I missed your (and many other) comment. I am happy the photobooks are now published, but they are too expensive to produce. Whenever I have time, I’m working on making Kindle versions of them. And contemplating editing my photos into illustrations that can be printed on “ordinary” paper. That way many more kids could enjoy the stories about these birds 🙂 Love and hugs to you too ❤
My pleasure,dear Tiny!They must be fascinating books and very pleasant and motivating for kids!Yes,go on,I think that way,they will become really affordable.Sending Love & hugs your way 🙂 xxx
My hat off, He!en. I showed a new side of you to me.
Thank you Matti! Sorry for the late response, I have been extremely busy the least couple of weeks. I hope the winter hasn’t arrived in Finland as yet. I will visit end of this month – early December.
Thank You. At this moment, snow is in Lapland from 2 cm to 30 cm. It has been forecasted that next week winter / snow will arrive. We are now in Oulu, no snow, and the temperature varies on the both side of zero Celsius. Next Saturday back again to Mikkeli.
Wow, what an exciting and fruitful adventure you’ve been having! Congrats on the publications and the book covers/photo illustrations for your friend! I’m so glad you shared this extended world of yours 😉
Thank you for your encouragement! And sorry for my tardy response. Life’s been a bit too busy lately. I discovered I really liked to work on the book covers. My friend is now writing the 3rd book in the series and I’m volunteering again 🙂 I also hope to make the photo books much more affordable in the next few months.
This is all so exciting! Kudos to you on your creative accomplishments ~!
Bravo to you, Tiny!! Blogging is an amazing world. There is a genuineness to it that I, personally, don’t find anywhere else on the internet. You are an inspiration. Congratulations on all your projects! Keep on creating!
Thank you so much for your kind words, Tahira! Blogging has made me try so many creative things, and I am so grateful to be part of this wonderful community. You are an inspiration too! I hope one day you’ll come to one of the events organized here in Clearwater so that I can come and cheer on you 🙂 XX
Wow! Tiny!! Congratulations 🙂 I am so impressed with your incredibly beautiful creative spirit!!
Thank you Lorrie. I don’t make any profit out of these books as they are so expensive to produce, but I’m trying to make more affordable editions available on Amazon in the next few months. I’d love kids to have an opportunity to learn about birds 🙂
A very noble ambition dearest Tiny…may your vision come true!! Have a blessed weekend!! ♡