I currently have three books under contract from three different publishing companies. Two of them are set to come out this year. The books are:
- Finding My Place (historical middle-grade fiction, set in Civil War) from White Mane Kids.
- Lucy (working title, picture book about Red Ribbon Week, and a little girl with a listening problem) from High Hill Press
- Maggie Mae, Detective Extraordinaire and the Case of the Missing Cookies (picture book, humorous) from Guardian Angel Publishing
I have been writing since 2000, and my first contract was offered in 2007. I had magazine publications and contest wins before that, but no book contract until 2007. That was for my MG novel, and it is just coming out at the end of the summer because of issues with the economy. But I have seen a cover. I have seen galleys. I am keeping my fingers crossed. . .
As for the other two, I am waiting for an illustrator for GAP and waiting for cover and teacher materials for High Hill Press. Publication is a lot of waiting, but that’s okay–I just keep writing.
Anyway, what I really want to tell you is that my MG novel is being published because of a few things I did. My story is not unique, and so again, if publication is eluding you, consider:
- Getting involved in a writing conference: I ushered agent Ginger Clark around at the 2005 Missouri Writers’ Guild conference. When I sent her Finding My Place, she wrote back and told me everything that was wrong with it. That was the best gift she could have given me. I added a whole new layer to my book because of her notes. She wouldn’t have taken the time with my book if I didn’t know her personally. BTW, I revised it and sent it out again.
- Listen to the experts: I sent my book to Emily Easton at Walker and Company. She read it and wrote a personal rejection back. She said it just wasn’t commercial. (NO BESTSELLER FOR ME!) But she suggested going to school and library markets because I had a good book, so. . .
- Subscribe to children’s writers’ newsletters/join SCBWI, etc: I got a newsletter called The Children’s Insider. In it was listed a small publishing company, White Mane Kids, who was looking for MG fiction set in the past in the United States. WOW! I had the perfect manuscript; and as they say, the rest is history.
As for the two picture books, I started getting smart. I knew Lou, publisher at High Hill Press, for years, and she was my friend. So, I submitted to her. NO brainer! As for Guardian Angel Publishing, I want to a conference with Lynda, and I went to her session and listened to her. I talked to her at the conference, and I submitted to her. She didn’t take the manuscript right away, but she suggested some revisions and invited me to re-submit. I did! And I have a contract with them now.
My story is not unusual. It takes persistence and patience. It takes networking and listening. It takes HOURS and HOURS and HOURS of revising. Most of the authors listed in my sidebar have similar stories. So, if you are submitting your work, keep it up. If you are published, congrats! If you are a reader, please read these authors, buy their books, or support them through the library.
Happy Children’s Book Week! Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter drawing below for a free picture book critique or bag of books!