Makeda Ben-Naeh is an author & illustrator. She established Mi-Li Publishing in 2002, and is an active and supportive member of SCBWI Israel since 2003.
When did you decide to become a writer?
Never. It just sort of happened. I was always into arts and crafts of all sorts, but at some point I took a writing course and it introduced me to a whole other dimension of artistic expression.
So, what have you written?
Since 2002 I have written, illustrated and self-published ten children’s books in Hebrew and two bilingual humorous booklets for adults about child-raising:
Why Do I Have A Bellybutton?, Two Dads, Plain Jane, Grandpa In My Heart, How Much Money, Shabbat But Not, Sad Day, Brown Child, Mom On Wheels, Runaway Wee, Baby Maintenance Manual and From Cat To Cradle. The books deal with the questions of self-identity and emphasize the sense of belonging in different family and social structures. They have all been written and illustrated with simplicity, humor, and much love.
What genre are your books?
Technically they look like children’s books (and sound like children’s books…) but they are really meant for everyone. They are ageless picture books. Or a longer kind of a Hallmark greeting card.
What are you working on at the minute?
I am now working on a new special needs children’s book requested of me by a non- profit organization. I hope to share it with you soon.
Where do your ideas come from?
Just life, I guess. Birth, death, and everything that we feel in between. The constant need to belong, to feel loved, and to be special.
How do you market your books?
I have a distributer and they are supposed to be in book stores. But as there is an abundance of books and I am such a tiny book publishing company, they, more often than not, appear in their book catalogues and not on the shelves.
I usually participate in arts & crafts fairs to get them “out there”. And as I believe that every book is a messenger, they are getting the word out there on their very own, slowly, perhaps, but surely.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Plenty of patience. And do it for the right reasons. There aren’t too many J.K.’s out there, so don’t bank on the money. Keep your day job. Do it first and foremost for yourself. Believe in what you are trying to say. And love the process: The writing, illustrating, the eventual birth of the actual book(!!), and finally – getting to meet your audience.
More about Makeda at her website