Creator of InklessTales.com
Elizabeth Williams Bushey is a freelance journalist, illustrator, photographer, musician and web developer. She is an associate member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and a former trustee of the Southeastern New York Library Resource Council.
InklessTales.com may not make a million dollars, but it touches millions of lives, and it only took one person to do it. THAT’S why the big yellow banner across the top of the site emphasizes: “YOU can do it” — because every kid, every person, can do what I did — fulfill their dream. Even on their own, with no fancy equipment, and no assistants. I create all the text, images, video, and music, and I own nothing particularly out-of-the-ordinary. I use nothing that’s ludicrously expensive, and I make a point of using nothing most families don’t have at home.
In fact, the only thing I might have that most people don’t have is audacity. It never occurs to me I can’t do something. Even when I don’t get it right the first, second, or seventeenth time, I just figure I’m practicing.
Now that the site gets two million hits a month, and my Google Analytics map of the world is solid green with visits, you can see how a little perseverance pays off.
When my literary agent and I parted ways after my first daughter was born, I had stories, poems and pictures piling up.
I also had this nifty new digital medium, having been asked to become the local community college’s webmaster. (“You know I’ve never done this before, right?” I asked them in 1999. By 2000, I liked it so well I’d co-founded a state-wide organization for higher ed web professionals, and was giving presentations on how to do it right.)
So I pondered.
After all, I wasn’t getting paid for these piles of creativity.
After all, there wasn’t anything out there for kids on the Web like I envisioned.
After all: it sounded like fun.
So I did it. I registered the domain name: inklesstales, because of course, they were pixels, not paint.
I started posting. People started visiting. I’ll never forget the day the hit count reached 200,000 – all without a single word of advertising.
I created the whole thing all by myself, all while I was working full-time, and freelancing, and mothering. No mean feat.
Of course, if you visit the site, you’ll see my daughters collaborated: not only do they provide some of the voices, but they also do testing of the games. As a usability expert – usability is a term web folks use when they talk about how people use web sites, and how hard or easy it is to do – I want to make absolutely sure the games aren’t just fun and educational (in that order), but also easy and workable.
Many is the time I’ve sat next to one of my daughters or her friends, simply watching them play one of my games. “What should I do next?” they’ll ask.
“What do you THINK you should do?” I’ll ask. Then I think to myself: “back to the drawing board.”
No matter how talented you are, no matter how persistent you are, it’s difficult to get a children’s book published, which has been the dream of my life since I was a child myself. The standards are far higher than that of adult literature, as they ought to be, and there are far fewer published.
Creating InklessTales.com, for me, has been a way to deliver my work to kids everywhere, and create something beautiful and useful that will last: for my kids, for educators, and even for me.
Now I have a new literary agent, a poetry book due out soon, and more and more content on InklessTales.com all the time.
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