A Story Book Success
In May 2012 Margaret TerBush received a phone call from the LOS ANGELES TIMES. The conversation, she said, was mercifully short, so the self-described ‘screamer’ didn’t have time to emote. “We’d like to include Bob’s Booger in our recommended summer reading, which is also known as ‘The Big List.’ Look for it in a few weeks. Thank you, good-bye.” HEL-LO! Did she say the LA TIMES??? And thus a success story for two local artists was launched.
Bob’s Booger (you gotta love the title) is the name of a children’s book written by Scott Black and illustrated by Margaret for the four to ten year old age group. It tells the story of Bob, who is having one of those days when “he’s not feeling well, but his mom makes him go to school anyway. Even worse, Bob must deliver homework to his best friend, Joe, who gets to stay home.” And, oh, “everyone seems to be staring at him…for some reason.”
Composed in rhyme with eye-popping graphics, Bob’s Booger is sensational to look at and fun for both kids and adults to read. Just released in August 2012, you can find it at Barnes and Nobles and Kits & Kaboodle, as well as on iTunes and soon The Nook and Kindle. How did Scott and Margaret pull off such an artistic and marketing coup? It turns out that talent plus persistence pays off no matter what obstacles exist in the publishing world.
The odyssey began over five years ago at Scott’s home in Fishers. “I’d always liked reading to my twins and wanted to write something the whole family would enjoy. Though my educational background at IU was in speech and theater, I’ve been inspired by a range of media, one example being ‘A Boy Named Sue’ by Johnny Cash.”
Currently Scott teaches speech and debate to grades 9 – 12 at Warren Central High School, so he is totally with it when it comes to relating to kids.
“Gross is in with children, which makes it a great way to sneak in lessons about friendship and honesty. I started penning Bob’s Booger in my spare time in ‘07, usually on a Sunday afternoon or late at night when everyone was asleep.”
Margaret received the manuscript from Scott two years later. They’d been long-time friends, and as a stay-at-home mom in Carmel, Margaret was ready to take on the challenge of illustrating Bob’s Booger. “First I created sketches to fit the composition. Then I did cartoons for each page, which were more refined drawings. Finally I had to select the medium, which proved to be the most difficult decision. It was Scott who suggested ‘cut paper collages.’ My first attempt was the composition on page 7. Page 12 turned out to be the most complex and took 12 hours to complete.
After three years all the illustrations were finished and ready to be photographed.”When Brinkman Press on 54th and Keystone began producing the book in November, 2011, Scott and Margaret founded Broccoli Press. The name ‘broccoli’ was formed by taking its consonants from the names of their five children. With hard copies finally in hand, they initiated the arduous process of marketing Bob’s Booger. According to Scott, “The picture book niche is highly competitive in the publishing world. Critics like to review submissions three to four months ahead of their release date, so we immediately began mailing copies across the country to institutions like the Children’s Corner with the CHICAGO TRIBUNE and all major publications as well as newspapers. Then it was sit back and wait.”
The author and illustrator have already moved on, however, with a second book in the Bob & Joe series called Joe’s Jam. It explores another socially awkward situation with Joe having to choose between good friends and kids graced with more athletic ability for his class kickball team. It conveys a soft anti-bullying message with its whimsical rhymes, and is sure to charm both young and old.
And should you happen to look up the LA TIMES’ summer reading list from May 2012, where will you find Bob’s Booger? Not in the children’s section at all. Go to ‘quirky’ picks, where it appears right beside Zombie Tarot Cards. Hey, Scott and Margaret are happy, Carmel is proud and across the country their many fans are entertained.
Bob’s Booger by Scott Black
Illustrated by Margaret TerBush
Illustrated by Margaret TerBush