You have created a lovable Children’s eBook character who is both tender and funny, perhaps inspired on someone you knew once, or made up totally from your imagination. Yet, no one seems to get it: the publishers don’t want to publish the book or even if it is self published in Amazon as an eBook, the readers are not buying it. You thought maybe your creation needed more time, but some months have passed now and still, there is no action!
Is there something terribly wrong with your characters? Not necessarily. Maybe they just need a little tweaking, or maybe they are just fine!
We’ve all heard the stories about Dr. Seuss and J.K. Rowling: how they got rejected time and time again and how they were ready to quit when they finally got their break. Just the other day, I was thinking about another amazing pair of creators who had to endure some tough times before their invention got approved. Do you remember Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster? They created a man dressed in blue called Superman.
Granted, Superman is not a Children’s eBook character, but he is the most famous superhero. And many many years ago, superhero adventures were meant to be read by children.
What most of us don’t remember is that the first version of Supes was created in 1933, five years before he was finally published by DC! The funny thing about that first Superman is that it was totally different from the man we know today. He was a bald villain trying to conquer the world and it was published as a short story in a small magazine the two kids had, simply called Science Fiction. The piece was written by Siegel under a pseudonym and illustrated by Shuster. Take a look at it below:
But it was clear even to the two young fellows that a villain would have a limited lifespan. What they needed was a good guy. After some time, they created The Superman, a dude with good intentions and some amazing powers.
It is reported that this guy, now in a comic book format, had no uniform and that he was just walking around in a T-Shirt and some pants. The Superman almost got published by a real comic book publisher… but he didn’t. Joe Shuster was so frustrated that in a fit, he destroyed all the art of his creation and only the cover depicted above was saved by Siegel.
Close, but still no cigar.
Sometime would pass before the pair finally came up with all the features that distinguished Superman from all the other characters that had come before him: the powers, the alien origin, the suit, the S on the chest, the secret identity, the girlfriend and a very long etc.
And was he an immediate, incredible success? Well, no…
Already in his final and most known form, Superman started doing the usual publisher rounds that the Children’s eBook characters probably do today. Some people said he was “too incredible.” Some other said he was “not incredible enough.” He was called an “immature creation” by yet some others and he ended up in somebody’s drawer in a company related to a publisher called “Detective Comics”.
By now, several years had passed and the two creators had been forced to take up on several odd jobs. These were difficult times, but Siegel and Shuster never stopped believing Superman was “The Most Astounding Fiction Character of All Time”.
Then, in 1938, when DC wanted to publish a new book called “Action Comics” and they had no material, someone said something like “Well, we do have Superman,” and they thought that Superman was better than nothing. This is Superman we are talking about, here. And someone thought that it was better than nothing.
Good ol’ Supes appeared in Action Comics No. 1. As they kept pushing new numbers out, Action Comics became a success, but nobody at DC seemed to know why. Legend has it that, to find out, some executive went to the nearest place selling the comic book and asked a kid buying Action Comics why was he getting it. The kid turned around and said “Because it is the one that has Superman in it, mister.”
From then on, nobody doubted the Big Blue Boy Scout. He has been going stronger everyday since day one.
So, what does that have to do with your Children’s eBook character? I see some teachings here:
- Don’t quit if your story or your character don’t become instant successes. Sometimes, all they need is an extra month, an extra year, or an extra five years.
- Sometimes, you do need to do some little adjustments. But, not necessarily what others are saying, but what your heart tells you to do.
- Never, never lose faith in your own creations. Always believe that they are the most fascinating children’s characters since Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine.
Have you had a similar experience? Are your characters struggling to find success? Have you made some small or major changes? We would love to hear about you and your Super story! Do share!