Self-publishing ‘Let’s Visit New Hope,’ Part 1: Inspiration and Timeline

lvnhcoverfront300The new children’s book ‘Let’s Visit New Hope’, written by Gayle Goodman and Roy Ziegler and illustrated by me, Pat Achilles, has just been released by the New Hope Historical Society. We used Amazon’s online publishing service, Createspace, to publish it.  This series of posts will follow the steps in the creation of the book.  

The authors of Let’s Visit New Hope contacted me last summer to ask my availability for taking on a book project.  Author Gayle Goodman, who has worked with grade-school children in the area, was the motivator, having realized there are no children’s books devoted to the unique, historic town of New Hope.  Roy Ziegler is a local author and historian whom Gayle brought on board for his particular expertise in the history of the area.


Art (c) M. Sasek

At our first meeting Gayle brought along two books from her childhood that somewhat inspired her to develop this project – and they became my inspiration as well. This is Paris and This is San Francisco are two of dozens of children’s books created by the incomparable architect-illustrator Miroslav Sasek in the 1950s and 60s.  They are delightful romps through famous cities of the world, with a dizzying number of beautiful illustrations drawn by Sasek, with the skill of a master but a child’s eye for fun.

They made me eager to do a book in this same vein, for our lovely local town of New Hope. The authors and I needed first to rough out a timeline for its production.

The authors had notes for the book but not a finished manuscript, and they planned to approach the New Hope Historical Society and other resources for grants or donations to pay for the art and production of the book.  From their typewritten manuscript, I would lay out the book from page 1 to 32, deciding which text and what art would go on each page.  I would sketch the illustrations and paint the finished art. And then the whole piece would be turned over to Createspace for printing – Roy had used Createspace for his other books and found good customer service and easy navigation. So basically we had to estimate the time needed to write the manuscript, gather donors, lay out the book, create the illustrations and have it printed.

Our ballpark estimations were developed: a couple weeks for the manuscript to be written; a month to lay out the book; 3 months to create the art; and a month to get it printed.  The task of soliciting donors, we decided, would come after I laid out the manuscript as a dummy book with pencil sketches.  We felt it would be a big selling point for donors if we could show them an approximation of what the book would look like, and also, having a 32-page dummy book would prove that we were serious about getting this book made.


Art (c) Pat Achilles

While we initially hoped to have the book ready for sale in December for holiday gift-giving, this was unrealistic for a full-color 32-page book. Instead we targeted March 1, which is Benjamin Parry Day in New Hope, as our hoped-for launch date.

In discussing the events and family-friendly places to include in the book, Roy suggested the idea of having Ben Parry himself – known as the Father of New Hope – be the narrator of the book, leading the reader through the town’s history and culture.  The Historical Society celebrates Parry’s birthday on March 1 at his historic home in the center of the boro, so Benjamin Parry Day was indeed the perfect time to aim for in introducing our book.

‘Let’s Visit New Hope’ is available at My next post coming soon: The Manuscript and Thumbnails. Please write questions in the comment box below the post and I will answer them asap. If you want to read future posts as they are published, subscribe to my blog by clicking on the +Follow box at the lower right of your screen and you will get email notifications when I have posted the next article.