About Us


Press Release - Saratoga Today

 

Our Mission: Let's give every child a fun way of learning how to read!

My Dream: My dream is to have children fall in love with farming and my characters..

My Story: My name is Jennifer Claire Hockford and I am a children's book author and illustrator. I have always been a very creative person which was encouraged by my grandmother who taught ceramic paint classes in her home for over 30 years.  I have loved painting for over 15 years. Children have always commented on my artwork saying that "it made them happy".

Having completed this phase of my book project in the Summer of 2018, I started this website.  It has been a long journey and process which began in the spring of 2016. I have completed my first three books and I am excited to start promoting and sharing these with others. 

                                                                                                                         

Q: How did I come up with inspiration for my children’s books?

A: Great question. Inspiration struck me about five years ago when I was going to work at my artist CO-OP.   By nature, I am always making lists and doodling. While I was still home, I had a cardboard box and I started drawing a farmhouse. I was adding different colors and really had fun drawing this imaginary farm. Once I got to the CO-OP, I showed my artist friends my doodle and mentioned I wanted to write children’s books. That afternoon, we brainstormed some animals that might live on the farm, gave them names and personalities based on people that we knew, and, the farm animals they might be. That CO-OP has ended. It was one of my favorite places and a group of people. That area of upstate NY got hit very hard with flooding and it had to close. I will forever have very fond memories of this creative artisan co-op group. I know to make these books make them proud.

 

Q: How did I come up with an idea and plan for my children’s books?

A: The idea for the book began when I was searching for pre-school learning toys as gifts for several coworkers who had recently become parents.  I was disappointed in the selection of ABC books. Then, the wonderful “Ah-ha moment” happened.  My first book would be an ABC book using “my little farm” as the setting. 

An idea becomes the plan when you write it down. I recruited my niece and nephew to help me brainstorm. The task was to come up with a meaningful farm related item for each letter of the alphabet.  As we were writing down different letters and farm items, the creative juices began to flow. By using the farm setting, the animals and activities, I knew this was going to become the foundation and a springboard for other books that could teach children about the farm while learning colors, numbers, and activities.

 

Q: How did the story develop?

A: There is no magic wand.  Writing stories is a process. I shared my ideas with others seeking their thoughts and input. I had several people proofread the text and give suggestions for edits and changes. This fall (2018) I had real feedback about my counting book. I discovered that I had not created the original drawings in a format that children naturally read. With this feedback, I recreated all the artwork and updated the book. It was well worth it. I love all the new drawings.  I like the Latin saying “ars gratia artis” meaning art for the sake of art.

 

Q: How did you create your storyboard?

A: Once my story was complete, I began looking at how I wanted to illustrate the story. Since the alphabet was the first book, I decided to have a page for each letter. I then did a rough sketch of what I thought each page should look like. Once I had the “storyboard” created, I asked my captive “test group”, aka niece and nephew, for their feedback. They were great and really helped develop the different pages.  Once I had the design, I started to create the final versions of the illustrations.  When the originals were complete, I scanned with an upgraded fax machine to make the images electronic.

 

Q: How did you create the Layout?

A: After researching “self-publish” books, I narrowed it down to two types of software that would work well for anyone depending upon the project. My goal was to make a children’s book that I could sell to others on the internet (print on demand). Once I have a vision, I don't mind putting in the time but you have all heard the term "starving artist" LOL. I decided to use an Amazon partnered company called Creativespace.com. It walks you through designing a cover, gets you set up with an ISBN number and once your project is completed, you can sell your book on Amazon.  I created a design and downloaded a working template that outlined the book format.  I then used that template to add my text and images.

 

Q: How do you promote the book?

A: Since I am not in the “publishing business” this type of promotion is new to me. With creative space software, my books are available through Amazon. 

I am also sharing this out to all my friends and family on social media asking them to share.  In this upcoming year, I'll be going to be looking up book fairs and local craft fairs. I would love to partner up with some local daycare and preschools to do a fundraiser.

 

Q: What would be your best advice for others?

A: Don’t be afraid, it’s never too late to start any project. Life if a like a giant pool...it's not until you jump in the water that you learn how to swim.

Good Luck. Please feel free to email and keep me posted on your projects.

 

Jennifer Claire Hockford