Book Author/Illustrator Tests The Waters of YouTube
- by J. Kendall
- © 2008
"There's an awful
lot of picture books published every season", says Bob
"so as an author you're faced with the challenge of hoping
YOUR book stands out above the glut -- just a little."
As an award-winning
author and/or illustrator of over 45 books, most for children,
Staake is no stranger to the inner workings of the publishing
industry. "The truth is", he says, "that when
it comes to promoting their own titles, authors and illustrators
have to be very proactive. It used to be that you'd depend on
establishing some sort of buzz through a series of book signings,
but I don't think you can depend on that today -- not in this
One thing Staake
knows is "digital". He switched from traditional analog
pen and ink in 1995 and began creating his art in Adobe Photoshop
3.0 (he still uses the same version of the program in 2008).
His web site, BobStaake.com, debuted on the Internet
way back in 1997 and soon became one of the first examples showing
how an illustator could engage the new visual medium.
on the Internet in the beginning", points out Staake, "and
well before Amazon.com was only a dream in the mind -- and the
garage -- of Jeff Bezos."
He's also seen
the Internet grow, change, morph, and realign itself . "I
realized", admits Staake, "that I had to do the very
same thing -- unless I didn't mind being left behind in everyone
To help promote
his new picture book, 'The Donut Chef' (Random House - Fall
2008), Staake decided to try something a little different. He
produced a thirty second video tease of 'The Donut
with the intent of publishing it on YouTube, Facebook, and other
delicate trying to pull it off", says Staake, "and
you really need to treat the animation economically. Beyond that
the video can't give away too much of the story or then it negates
the book itself. Untimately, I think the video should be part
commercial, part art gallery, and part low-key commercial. If
you can pique the interest of a potential reader through the
simple animation, maybe you can compel them to buy the book."
It's the first
time Staake has created what amounts to being a movie trailer
for one of his books -- and he says it won't be his last.
of my books are in film and tv development right now", he
reveals, "and I think I have always had a solid understanding
of how to stage a printed book theatrically. Reformatting it
in streamlined animation is something I'm completely comfortable
Aware of the
tough challenges from new media facing today's publishers, authors
and illustrators, Staake looks at the effectiveness of the 30
spot and sees even greater potential -- one that could give him
increased control over his creative output while tapping into
all been assuming", says Staake, "that children's book
stories need to be told page by page. But the future likely means
that creators will be communicating with more readers less through
the page of a book -- but through the glow of a monitor."