Inside a Children’s Book Author’s Mind

Inside a Childrens' Book Authors' Mind

Q: Out of all the books you have written do you have a favorite? If so, which one and why?

Ha, good question, and I have been asked that one numerous times as people want to get inside a childrens’ book authors’ mind. I reply, that’s like asking me to name my favorite child. Hmmm, still not sure of the answer to that one. All our books promote multiculturalism, diversity, inclusiveness, diversity, acceptance. But then, the more quirky titles like “What is Dreaming?” I love too and of course “What is Death?” is one that I am also proud of.

Q: Which topics have you found to be the hardest to write about? Why?

Interestingly enough, “What is Peace?” has given me the most problems as a writer and publisher. There are so many nuances to this subject that I had to write and rewrite and rewrite. I even had to make a cover illustration change on that book for the second printing because the two kids on the cover are standing off holding wooden swords and gazing pensively into each other’s eyes. On the second printing, I had the illustrator drop the swords so they are just lying on the ground. That made the scene less aggressive. Also, with the text of “What is Peace?” a Mom came up to me at a book fair when we had just released that title and said, “Hey Etan, we have all your books but I have a problem with this one.” Wow, when a Mom has a problem with your book, you better listen. I said, “Really? What’s the problem?” She said, “Page 8.” Wow, right? She said, “You say that ‘sometimes there is a bad king who has bad police and does bad things to people.’ Well we have taught our kids that there are no bad people but there are people who do bad things, and the police are our friends.” Whew! Well, needless to say, I changed those lines on our next printing. Now, that is really getting inside a childrens’ book authors’ mind, as well as a publisher’s mind.

Q: Where do you hope Veronica Lane Books will be ten years from now?Love this question! Inside a Childrens' Book Authors' Mind

Love this question! We continue to release two or three titles per year in the “What is?” series. The Next Big Thing is the TV show! Every 30 minute episode is one book with celebrity Mom host, real kids (not actors), readings and discussion from the book, animation, music and songs and dance and special effects! I already have 24 more titles picked out for the “What is?” series so the TV series can be easily go for three or four years. Ha, do you know any investors?

Q: Are there any upcoming projects and/or events to mention?

We plan to be at the Brooklyn Book Festival at the end of September. Summer is quiet for us because schools are mostly closed. Also, I do numerous book readings at schools, libraries and bookstores around the country. Check our website for that info.

Q: Does Veronica Lane Books accept submissions from other authors? If so, what are the qualifications?

Yes, we do accept submissions but mostly we publish in-house my own titles, though we are expanding into adult genres like mystery novels, cookbooks, and art books. Qualifications? Do your homework and know how to put out a professional query and sample.

How I Was Inspired to Write My Children’s Books!

Interview with Etan Boritzer, Author/Publisher

Q: What inspired you to become an author?

At age 7, my 2nd grade teacher (Mrs. Cooperman at PS 70, Bronx) liked my poems and put them up on the bulletin board in our classroom. I was first published at age 13 when I wrote an essay on the assassination of JFK and it was published by The NYC Board of Education as a book tribute to JFK by NYC public school students. I think I have writer genes from my Mom who wrote short stories but gave up after too many submission rejections. Growing up in the 60’s, we had Dylan, Beatles, lots of great writing going on, inspiring us. I published my first book (er, stapled pamphlet) of poems in 1969 and sold them for a dollar per book on the street corners of Berkeley and San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Writing is natural to me.

Etan and Reader at Book Expo America, New York

Author and Happy Reader at Book Expo, NY. This is the real payoff!

Q: Why do you choose to write about the “big questions?”

Returning from my first spiritual sojourn to India in 1971, I visited my sister in Tucson and her then 7 year old daughter, my niece (now 41), asked where I had been so long. I said, India. She said, “Where’s that?” I said, “Far away.” She said, “What were you doing there?” I said, “Studying about God.” She said, “What is God?” Wow, I thought, how can I answer that one for a 7 year old? Let me trying writing an answer. That is the title of my first book, now is in its 22nd reprint with over 300,000 copies sold in 5 languages. I enjoyed writing that first one, and went on to the other Big Questions that my niece and other little people ask us know-it-all adults.

Q: When and why did you decide to start your own publishing company and how was the name selected?

Etan Boritzer

Etan Boritzer, Author/Publisher

First of all, have you ever tried getting published the traditional route, going through an agent, trying to get through the publisher’s door, to their chief editor, etc, etc? My first book “What is God?” was rejected for over 15 years! I still have over 100 rejection letters from agents, publishers, editors. About 1989 I met a rotund drunk Dutchman at a bar in Hollywood who said he was a publisher. He became the publisher of that first book. He understood what more than 100 “professionals” did not understand, a strange and beautiful and necessary little book by an unknown author. After that tedious experience, I went independent, formed Veronica Lane Books in 1992, and have never looked back. I teach authors that you can be a successful independent author/publisher just like me, and Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Louise Hays, and numerous other famous American independent author/publishers. The information age has made it possible today for anyone to bypass traditional publishing and still be successful. My very influential Aunt Veronica Lane, who loved literature and gave me lots of important books to read, inspired the name of our company.