Small educational publisher Sizzy Books has set a goal to make its way into the school systems and the hearts of children everywhere.
Sizzy the dinosaur, the brainchild of Antoinette Sheffield and Trish Mylet—co-founders of Los Alamos, NM-based Sizzy Books—has become a friendly face to many children as they begin to read.
From the beginning, Mylet and Sheffield were intent on creating children's books with a solid educational foundation, and as a publishing venture, Sizzy Books is the epitome of a limited-resource firm making ends meet in a competitive market.
How to teach and be taught
Prior to 1988, Sheffield, a former nurse who became an illustrator, and Mylet, a one-time-English teacher-turned-author, prepared for the monumental challenge of self-publishing. From learning about states' adoption processes to the art of paper purchasing, the co-founders wore many hats.
"We didn't have any prior experience in production," Sheffield recalls. "When we did the first books, we used the old cut and paste-up methods, but we soon decided that it would make more sense to create on the (desktop). That's when we started using PageMaker." PageMaker has remained Sizzy Books' software tool of choice.
Sizzy's illustrations—pen-and-ink creations of Sheffield's—are scanned and dropped into PageMaker files. While it makes sense that Sheffield transmits native application files to her printer (Towanda Printing, Towanda, KS), she prefers to generate camera-ready copy.
"We use a very bright white paper for the camera-ready copy," explains Sheffield. "For the covers, we use Astrobrites, because they're appealing colors for children. We also incorporate a lot of vellums and pastels. Text pages are 70# bright white—thick enough to be handled by children, and you can't see through the sheet."
Sizzy's press runs are short—1,000 or less. Press proofs are conducted whereby Towanda sends a laminate proof to Sizzy Books for approval on saturation, ink density and graphic placement. Bluelines are used to proof text.