Alison Garwood Jones

Storytime with Alison

July 20, 2022

My latest title is a video book for kids.

Even though I adore books on paper, I’m obsessed with experimenting with 21st-century publishing formats.

I self-published this picture book through my imprint, Pen Jar Productions. Private imprints are another nod to our ever-expanding creative frontiers.

PenJarProductions Imprint by Alison Garwood-Jones

When you are the writer, art director, and publisher you can pretend your digital imprint has international offices in London and Cape Town. This is where my parents were born. Hamilton is where I came of age. And Toronto is where I live.

Everything I draw and write is dedicated to my parents. I don’t want to gloss over those really personal tributes. Now I don’t have to.

Making things on my own excites me. Waiting to be picked does not. Nor does throwing myself at a century-old hierarchies built by others, with gatekeeping rules known to a few.

All the tools traditional publishers have relied on, we now have at our disposal. I really enjoy being an impresario in charge of design, layout, distribution, and marketing. But, I do need the help of a really good freelance copy editor before I hit publish.

Today you too can create your very own ecosystem of illustrations, comics, essays, videos and audio stories, and attend to it so it spreads freely like bacteria. Viruses get everyone’s attention, but they can permanently blow out your creative flame by devouring the host (i.e. you!).

If you’re in it for the work, the growth, and the meaning, and reaching those who might need your creations — vs. chasing fame, making noise, and demanding attention —  it’s such a welcome option.

Now go forth and create your own an ecosystem of meaning. The human connections you make will nourish you.



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