Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Lazy Elf for Christmas

Thomas Bo Huusmann is a graduate of the excellent Animation Workshop in Denmark, surely one of the very best places to study animation in Europe. The school encourages its students not just to find work as employees in animation companies, but to be entrepreneurs, starting up small businesses and media enterprises. Since graduating in 2011, Thomas has founded his own independent company Huusmann Media. He has just published a new eBook - Lazy Elf - just in time to solve FLIP readers' last minute Christmas gift crises. Phew!

FLIP: You've just published your first children's book Lazy Elf - tell us about it! 

TBH: My Children’s Book Lazy Elf is the story about Santa’s busy package elves. One day, on their way to work in Santa’s workshop, they find a sleeping Elf, who they decide is very lazy. But in the end, things are not always as they seem.

FLIP: Where did the idea come from?

TBH: It all began on a November evening in 2012, when I was having a tea with my friend and former tutor Tod Polson in Viborg, Denmark.

I told him that I would make a Christmas story as an E-Book, to be released December 2012, based on my former classmate with whom I studied animation in Viborg - he had a tendency to sleep during class.

It was a joy to create the story but the project did become a little too big, which made me unsuccessful in getting it released in time for Christmas 2012.

(As a little bonus info: The final design for Lazy Elf is based on Tod.)

FLIP: How did you get it published?

TBH: I have self-published with an EPUB Book, through my own page using a Paypal approved online store named It is a free service, but they take 5% commission per sale.

My publishing career with Lazy Elf started in 2012 and after missing my Christmas deadline. I decided to take it up again in September 2013, intending to release it through online platforms such as Amazon’s CreateSpace and Apple's iBook Author.

Then something happened. I was working on an interactive theatre for small children, together with a 73 year old musician, script writer, and programmer named John. John told me that he had developed a tool that easily could make books into E-Books with an added voice over. So we decided to join forces and try that approach.

It took some time to get the tool working and we almost did not get Lazy Elf out before Christmas.

For the future of Lazy Elf, there is already considerable interest from publishers in Denmark and Germany. We will start approaching these publishing houses after New Year, for a big international Christmas release in 2014.

FLIP: What children's book authors inpire you?

TBH: There are so many and I find more all the time as the world gets smaller.

But in particular I like the work of Shel Silverstein, Chris Van Allsburg, Dr Seuss, Halfdan Rasmussen and Astrid Lindgren.

FLIP: Do you have another book in the pipeline?

TBH: Yes I have 2 picture books in the pipeline for 2014, as part of a series called Pippa’s World, and one that talks about the heavy theme about Life and Death.

It will not be so rich in pictures, as it is a book for parents to read for children about when a Grandparent dies. It is a book that should give parents the tools to open up and an easier way to explain why Grandmother or Grandfather is sad.

Also I am talking to translators for Lazy Elf at the moment, as I think localization is essential for success in publishing. Right now I only have Lazy Elf in English and Danish.

FLIP: What advice would you give to anyone hoping to get published?

TBH: If you have a passion for writing. Then just do it.

I believe that through actions, you will find out what is needed to succeed. And then do it again and again until you do succeed. When you work towards getting published I know that publishers will start noticing you.

You might not succeed the first or second time, but each time you do it you will get closer to the finishing line. You will have learned from the past and will be better prepared to get your next book out.

For me personally after releasing Lazy Elf, I now have new Ideas on how to make sure that my audience knows that my book exists and how to reach out to them. And I am sure, that it will be an fun, hard adventure with more and new unexpected twists and turns.

Everybody is welcome to contact me if they want to publish a book. I will gladly help with advice where I can.

You can buy Thomas's book here, and read more about Huusmann Media here.

 (Editor's note: You can also read our interviews with other animation authors such as Uli Meyer, author of Cuthbert was Bored, Matt Novak, author of many children's books, Tanya Fenton, author of 3 Silly Chickens, Vladimir Todorov, author of a new eBook, Stephan Franck, author of the graphic novel Silver, Sydney Padua, author of Lovelace and Babbage, and Tom Sito, author of the History of Computer Animation. Finally, check out Tod Polsen's new book, Zen and the Art of Animation Design.)

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