Title: The Enchanting ABC
Author: Jessica Spencer
Illustrators: Amanda Esho, Lauren Hakavalu, Renee McGrath, Natalie Muscatello and Kylee Gilbank
Publisher: Adored Illustrations/Captain Honey
Genre: ABC Picture Book
Age Group: 0-6 years
Please tell us a bit of what your book is about.
The Enchanting ABC is a collection of whimsical inspired words and illustrations. The book was created to help Children learn the ABC (using alliteration) while being enchanted by beautiful illustrations that capture their imagination.
What kinds of themes / issues are raised in this story?
Who or what inspired you to write this story?
I have always loved to write – I have many stories, some finished and some not and find it a great creative outlet when I can find the time! There are two people in particular who inspired me to create this book being my Nanna and Uncle who sadly both passed away with a couple of months of each other 3 years ago. They were writing a book together when they passed away and it made me so incredibly sad that their talent wasn’t going to be showcased. It also made me wonder if there were other artists out there that that may want the opportunity to have their work published in a book. My daughter was also a driving influence for the book! I was inspired to create this book for my daughter after noticing a lack of books in the market which featured beautiful illustrations as well as engaging words. My daughter Ayla loves all things make-believe and beautiful (angels, fairies, mermaids – and always with a flower crown!) and I wanted to find a book that featured these characters but also obviously had an educational element.
What is your favourite part of the book?
I can’t pick a favourite letter illustration (it’s too hard as they are honestly all so beautiful!) But I have always LOVED the front cover. I worked with Lauren to create the wreath on the front cover and she did the most amazing job illustrating the exact picture I had in mind! I tossed up for a long time about having gold foil on the front cover and am so incredibly glad I did as I think it adds something a bit extra special.
How would you describe the publishing process? Were they supportive? How long did it take?
I self-published with the help of Captain Honey. I was really impressed with Roz Hopkins one of the Director’s and her enthusiasm for my idea as well as the design team. I had contacted numerous publishers during my research into self-publishing and found many didn’t understand the market I was aiming at (mums on Instagram mainly) and the concept I had in mind. With Captain Honey however I was well supported and communicated with and can’t recommend them highly enough. We are now working on my second book together! From when I contacted Roz to launching the book it took 7 months.
What was the collaboration like between author and illustrators? Juicy gossip, please!
Amazing! My whole idea of putting this book together was to contact artists through Instagram whose work I loved and ask them if they would be interested in illustrating a book with me. I used illustrations from each of the artists existing portfolio of work as well as asking them to create new illustrations to match the letters I allocated to them. We worked together throughout the whole process and the artists would send me pictures of their sketches and ask my advice/thoughts – each artist was absolutely wonderful to work with. In fact I loved them so much they are all working on my second book with me ‘The Incredible ABC’ which will be more ‘boy’ focused and based on my son Will.
What has the feedback / audience response been like so far?
Fantastic. I launched the book primarily through Instagram and the response has been wonderful. I had to close sales on my first weekend of launching the book as I was so overwhelmed by the volume (never a bad thing!) and the response has continued past the launch. I am now wholesaling the book to various stores as well (including my first overseas stockist in New Zealand!) and it’s nice to hopefully be able to reach a wider audience this way. The book is also being featured in the spring issue of the ’ ‘Mama Disrupt’ magazine which will hopefully help reach a wider audience again.
Please let us know where we can find more on you and your book.
The best place to find out more about my book is Instagram @adoredillustrations – I have a loyal group of customers and followers who continually tag me in beautifully styled photos featuring The Enchanting ABC. The book can be purchased via my website www.adoredillustrations.com.au and I also have a Facebook page.
The Enchanting ABC has been such a success for me I am now working on my second book The Incredible ABC with the same artists due to launch in February 2018.
That’s remarkable, Jess! Thanks for sharing your gorgeous book with us!
Jess is a mother of two from Adelaide who has had a passion for writing from a young age. Jess has always been interested in writing and gained a particular interest in Children’s books after her daughter was born. The Enchanting ABC is the first book written by Jess and is a collaborative project with artists she met through Instagram. The wonderful Mums Jess has met through Instagram and Facebook is part of what has made this whole experience so enjoyable and she now has a loyal base of customers through these social media outlets. Jess is now working on her next book ‘The Incredible ABC’ which will be similar to The Enchanting ABC in terms of layout and style with the same illustrators involved and is based on her son Will’s loves and interests.