Well, the festival wrapped up today and I've caught my breath. WOW! I'm just blown away with the reception my book received. We sold around 65 copies, way more than we anticipated. In fact when we broke down the booth there were only 10 books left that the publisher brought for the festival. And all but five or six of those 65 books were bought by complete strangers.
I guess I'm going to have to get used to that shock, that people will buy my book! It's a very gratifying feeling, but part of me is like, "Are these people ever going to find out I was painting this book in my penguin pjs while watching Kill Bill?"
And while I probably talked to more parents, it was the kid's reactions that I was really excited about. I mean the parents can appreciate the aesthetic of the Chinese brush paintings and things like that on a mature level, but the kids were the true critics. In fact the kids scared me to death! That nervous part of me was waiting for them to pull a "children of the corn" and come after me, but the kids all loved it.
I was surprised with the range of ages, too. I had little 3 year olds all excited about the kung fu kicks and chops, and I had early readers around 7 and 8 who liked reading it and the cuteness of the characters. That's a plus about the size being more narrow, it doesn't look like a kiddie picture book for the early readers.
And not a single person passed on it because it wasn't in color. In fact a lot of people commented on how beautiful the illustrations were then later realized it was done in black and white. I've always thought that if black and white is done right, you don't even notice that it's missing color because the black and white are so rich. And the book was printed so well, that there is wonderful range in the grays and blacks.
Eric Rohmann was one of the highlight author/artists and I had him sign a couple of books, and showed him my book since his rabbit book won him a Caldecott medal. He was so encouraging and thought my book was "fantastic." He also liked that it was in black and white, and told me the next hurdle is dealing with the critics.
Well, now to plan my school and library visits (yikes!). I've also got a couple of storytime engagements in December at several Barnes and Nobles. Whew!