Hybrid Publishing with Little Steps

Little Steps Publishing selected my manuscript, and collaborated with me to bring this special book to life. Unlike self-publishing, their hybrid publishing model combines the advantages of a traditional publishing house with greater creative and marketing control for the author.

Little Steps select submissions to be published under their cannon, and then provide the same level of care and attention as a book published by a major publisher with a traditional contract, including extensive editing, professional illustrations, dedicated designers, and distribution support.

I had creative input along the way as to ‘the look’ of my book. I am grateful for the expertise offered by the Little Steps team. Although a huge learning curve, I am very proud to directly sell and market my book. I really want to see ‘A Winter’s Kiss’ find its way into homes, libraries and classrooms.

Illustrations by Naya

My publisher connected me to the very talented Illustrator Naya Lazareva. Based in the Ukraine Naya fell in love with  ‘A Winter’s Kiss’ and loved to bring the story to life through watercolour & pencil illustrations. Naya was a perfect match for me, we both share a deep appreciation for the natural wonders and the small beauties in the natural world around us. 

During the creative process Naya was caught up in the war in Ukraine. Naya was heavily pregnant when Putin invaded Ukraine, causing chaos, disruption and devastation. Naya had to flee Kyiv, making her way across borders, leaving loved ones, to seek safety for herself and her unborn child. In a new country, new language, separated from loved ones she welcomed her beautiful baby boy into the world. Naya adapted and worked out this new situation and continued to work on the book.

My life experiences might have inspired the story but the innocence and the joyfulness of the books character – Dawn, Naya captured so beautifully, despite and during an incredibly turbulent time when her life was turned upside down. So this book for me is now also forever connected to the war and upheaval in Ukraine. It is a tribute to Naya, and her country’s resilience. 

Support kids in Ukraine

With 4.1 million children in need, the war in Ukraine continues to have a devastating impact on all aspects of children’s lives.   

Since the war escalated in February 2022, there is not a single aspect of children’s lives that the conflict has not impacted, with children killed, injured, forced from their homes, missing out on critical education and denied the benefits of a safe and secure environment.

Access to essential services has been devastated, with more than 800 health facilities reported to have been damaged or destroyed by shelling and airstrikes. Thousands of children fleeing conflict across the country are also missing vital vaccines to protect them from polio, measles, diphtheria and other life-threatening diseases.

The percentage of children living in poverty has almost doubled from 43 to 82 per cent. The situation is especially acute for the 5.9 million people who are currently displaced within Ukraine. At the same time, an estimated 1.5 million children are at risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions, with long-term implications for their physical and mental health.

Now is not the time to look away. Ukraine’s children need us more than ever. 

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