Early this year I began working with Storybird to help launch their new longform books. If you are unfamiliar with Storybird, you should head on over to their web site and snoop around. People use the self publishing site for a variety of reasons, so it's a little difficult for me to summarize. Basically, one can log onto story bird to write and publish their own stories and poems. They can then receive comments and feedback so it becomes kind of a collaborative process. In addition, there is a library of art for them to choose from to enhance their stories. According to the editor, Molly O'Neil (AKA Wonder Editor), the creators weren't exactly sure who was going to get the most out of the site when it was first launched, but one pleasant surprise is that it has become really popular with tween-aged girls. I personally think that's awesome. Kids are gonna spend a ton of time on the internet. There's no way around it. But with a site like Storybird they are actively creating and putting their work out there for others to see. Sharing your writing is something that can take decades to feel comfortable about and here are these young girls putting themselves out there like it's no big deal. Pretty sweet if you ask me.
Storybird is still new and evolving. The creators began to notice that writers were trying to "hack" the picture book format set up on the site. They wanted to write longer, more complex stories. And so the new longform book template was set up. They asked several writers and illustrators to help create examples of this new format. Molly and writer, Bruce Wishart, came to me to see if I would like to help bring Bruce's story to life over the next several months. The first chapter of "Alone in a Crowded Place" is officially up and ready to read!
Over the next several months, Bruce will release the story chapter by chapter. I will also be creating a spot illustration for each chapter. Here is the first, a shot of where our story takes place, in a haunted library. Now you know why I've been drawing so many books this year!
New chapters (and illustrations) will be added weekly, so check back often!
Also, do check out their recent blogpost that goes into more detail about the new longform template. And check out all the other stories as well!