Picking a fight
Fishers author Scott Black and Carmel illustrator Margaret TerBush publish kids’ book “Bob’s Booger”
Fishers resident Scott Black and Carmel resident Margaret TerBush picked a new fight when they decided they wanted to write and self-publish their children’s book, “Bob’s Booger.”
The book, which made this year’s L.A. Times summer reading list, is about the social phenomenon of having a booger in your nose and no one having the kindness to tell you about it – except that one true friend who has the decency, honesty and compassion to tell you.
But no one told Black and TerBush about the challenges of getting a book into readers’ and critics’ hands, leading to the founding of their own publishing company – Broccoli Press.
“It started kind of casually and sort of as maybe we were going to have a legacy piece for our kids,” TerBush said. “It just really grew a lot in the process of creating it [the book].”
Black and TerBush have been friends for about a decade. Black, a Warren Central teacher by day, always dreamt of being an author and knew TerBush had the requisite art skills for illustration.
To get the book to print, the duo dove into the vast body of information on publishing available online. They picked up kids’ books and dissected how they’re all put together, and eventually found that the majority of national news outlets don’t review self-published books. And thus, Broccoli Press, their very own publishing entity, came to fruition.
“We wanted to just go through the steps of doing it [publishing the book] legitimately, having the publishing company and having it done well,” TerBush said.
But why call it Broccoli Press? The first letter of each of their respective kids’ names make up the consonants of the notorious green vegetable.
Black said he tries to make a publisher’s duties at least a small part of his everyday routine. With the book going on shelves soon, one issue in the handful of roadblocks is getting the book exposed.
If they could start all over from page one of the whole process, TerBush and Black both said they would have given themselves more time to put the book into production.
According to Black, national reviewers typically like to have the book three to four months in advance, and because of that, the official publication date of “Bob’s Booger” was pushed back to August.
Beyond the wide release of “Bob’s Booger,” Black and TerBush have big aspirations for their little book and local company.
Black stops me in the midst of our interview at a Starbucks patio on a sunny afternoon.
“Dan, you know, I’ve got to pause for a second with the questions. It would take me two or three minutes. So you have a better understanding – can I read this to you?”
In a sing-song voice, Black reads “Bob’s Booger” to me. As he turns the pages, TerBush’s art almost pops off the page. The illustrations are what they like to call “stacked paper illustrations rendered in cut paper.” Each picture of poor Bob or his jeering classmates is almost three dimensional.
They hope the book takes on a new dimension by going viral, garners another print run and possibly leads to a full-time job as an author for Black.
“I want commercial success to give Margaret and I the freedom to maybe do this on a greater scale,” he said.
Black said Broccoli Press receives e-mails from kids hoping to publish their own stories, and he hopes to inspire kids to write.
“You don’t have to have a large publishing house behind you to do great things.”