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Have you ever dreamed of bringing a children’s book to life? Let me take you behind the scenes and share the ups and downs of creating my first book!

The Beginnings of an Enchanting Tale

Our first stop is where every tale begins—a spark of inspiration. For me, my dad, a captivating storyteller, ignited that spark. I grew up enthralled by the stories of Xieng Mieng, a Lao trickster. Realizing that this unique character was unknown to many outside the Lao community, I was struck by an idea: Why not introduce Xieng Mieng to the world?

Trading Animation for Books

At first, I wanted to make an animated short. But life with my first child coming changed all that. I needed something I could create in smaller chunks of time. Children’s books were the perfect fit! But they’re deceptively simple. I took workshops, read piles of picture books, and practiced drawing constantly.

The Magic of Illustration

With kids’ books, the pictures tell half the story! I mixed traditional Lao art styles with playful cartooning, using Photoshop to make my own brushes. I wanted Xieng Mieng to burst off the page and into kids’ imaginations!

The Rocky Road to Publishing

Once the book was done, I learned how tough the publishing industry is! Rejections piled up, so I took a chance and self-published, starting Sahtu Press. A Kickstarter helped me print my first run, and A Sticky Mess was out in the world!

Lessons (Thankfully) Learned

This journey taught me so much about creativity, storytelling, and plain old stubbornness! Here’s the hard-won advice I’d give anyone starting out:

  • Build excitement: Start talking about your book early, even when it’s just an idea.
  • Seek Feedback: Good editors and beta readers are life-savers. Different perspectives keep your story strong.
  • Define Your Brand: What makes you different? Sahtu Press is about sharing Lao stories, and that focus carries through in everything I do.

Your Turn!

Product designer, artist, or daydreamer—everyone has a story to tell. The hardest part is starting, but you’ll find magic in the creative journey. Now, go make something wonderful!

Resources for Aspiring Children’s Book Creators:

*affiliate links

  1. Books on Writing for Children:
  2. Illustration Tools:
    • Procreate for iPad
    • Adobe Photoshop
  3. Self-Publishing Platforms:
    • Amazon KDP
    • IngramSpark
  4. Crowdfunding Platforms:
    • Kickstarter
    • Indiegogo
  5. Courses and Workshops:
  6. Design & Layout Software:
    • Affinity Designer
    • Affinity Publisher

Do you feel like sharing your thoughts or your creative journey? I’d love to hear from you. Join our community of storytellers at Sahtu Press.