For all those young writers and artists out there, there may be a new way to see your dreams come true.
Developed locally by Eleet technologies, which is based in Oviedo, a new website has emerged on the scene that allows children, and interested adults, to let their fingers do the walking all the way to a published book.
Whether it be a young storyteller who has great tales to tell or a young illustrator who has art to show, Scribblitt.com is an outlet that puts dreams into hard copy.
The website, designed at a kid-friendly level, allows users to go in and write a story online and pick accompany ink illustrations provided. For those with artistic talents, the option to scan and upload drawings is also available.
However, for those interested in just writing, users can custom design characters already drafted on the site.
"We knew most websites like this are very cumbersome to use, so we took a step back from that and thought, 'What do you really need to do to create a book?' Well you have to have an account, and if you can just click and give your book a title, that's how you start," said Josh Strzalko, founder of the site creator Eleet Technologies. "Once you put a title in, you can just start writing page after page after page. When you create an illustration, you just click there and illustrate it or upload it directly into [a] book."
After the book is complete, there is an option to purchase a hard-copy, published version of the book for $24.99. Stories can be up to 20 pages long and come published in an 8-inch by 8-inch square book. The website is free for users, but an account must be created to begin so that work can be saved.
"I think it provides a great sense of accomplishment to kids to actually produce a professionally bound copy of something they've created, and having that sense of accomplishment is what it's all about," said Andrea Bergstein, founder of the site. "Putting their creative minds to work and that payoff of having something they can hold or give as a gift to keep forever is a great feeling."
Bergstein came up with the idea for the site after seeing her two daughters look for an outlet to show off their talents. With one daughter who loves to write and one daughter who loves to draw, Bergstein wanted to create a way for them to get their work published without the hassle of selling their ideas to a publishing company.
With money out of her own pocket, Bergstein set out to create the site with the help of Eleet Technologies. With much hard work, she said the site launched in May with a surge of interest. The site has garnered more than 40,000 hits since its debut and has accumulated 2,000 registered users.
"One of the things I wanted to do was help provide tools to create professional products," Bergstein said. "There are writing tools that help kids work through the structure of a story and build a proper story with a beginning, middle and an end, and tools for story starters in case you can't think of a story to write."
"...For my younger daughter, I would scan her drawings and upload them into the computer and include them in the story, but for my older daughter, I created a tool for those who can't draw and you can pick a head, a body, add on characters and create your own images. We hired an illustrator to create those images and there's some technology that allows kids to pick and click and do their own creating right there on the site."
The site also features interviews with popular children's authors to inspire kids to keep writing. This month the author is Gordon Korman, author of more than 70 novels for kids and young adults. Alongside these interviews, a featured "Scribbler" is selected to showcase some of the talent that is being submitted on the site. Additionally, the site announces contests and has word games.
Although there are still some bugs to work out, Strzalko said the site should be very user-friendly and the team is still working on some new features. Next week, the site will offer the opportunity to create comic books as well as storybooks for those who like a little action behind their words. Comics can be printed just like regular storybooks, but come in comic-book form.
Bergstein also said she is hoping to work with local schools so educators can use the site as a learning tool. Because the site is accessible through any computer, it allows teachers to use it as platform for children to expand their writing capabilities. The site also offers fundraising opportunities where participating schools can receive 10 percent of all the book sales made from their school.
"We're just beginning, but I'm hoping lots more schools will be interested in talking with me about doing a project with them," Bergstein said. "I know I would much rather have my kids be doing something like this that powers their brain."
For more information on Scribblitt visit the website at www.Scribblitt.com.