Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How I Got My Book Deal

Short version:

I joined a critique group, wrote lots of picture books, accepted Corey's offer to write together, wrote more picture books (including WHAT ABOUT MOOSE?), revised and submitted, revised and submitted, then Corey got an editor's attention with one of our other stories, but it didn't work out, so we submitted others until, finally, the editor fell in love with WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? and made us an offer!

Long version:

It's hard to know where to begin. Do I tell you about how much I loved to write poetry since I was old enough to write? Do I explain the way I transitioned from a wannabe poet to an aspiring author? Do I tell you about all the successes and failures and bone-jarring bumps along the road?

I'll skip most of the boring stuff and tell you that there came a time in my life when I surprised myself by wanting to write stories for kids. Picture books, mostly. Novels too, but those came a bit later.

I did a lot of reading about writing, and I followed some basic advice: w
rite a lot, read a lot, and join a critique group. I became involved with a wonderful and talented group of aspiring children's authors, many of whom have gone on to have varying degrees of success in the world of children's publishing.

One of those people was Corey Rosen Schwartz, who eventually asked me if I would like to collaborate with her on a project. I was hesitant at first, primarily because I was a greedy little hoarder that didn't like the idea of sharing credit. But Corey was a good writer, and she already had a book deal, so I decided that it would be pretty dumb for me to say no.

We wrote and wrote and wrote. In the process of working together, we both stretched and grew as authors, and we wrote some pretty darn cute rhyming stories with fabulously fun language and meticulous meter.

Our work got some attention from editors and agents. But nothing stuck. So while we continued to work together, we also each pursued our own writing. I sold lots of stories and poems to children's magazines and wrote a few novels for older kids. Corey got an agent, attended conferences, and eventually sold THE THREE NINJA PIGS.

It was at one of those conferences that Corey showed one of our stories to Emma Ledbetter, an assistant editor at Atheneum. Emma loved our manuscript and wanted to see it after revisions. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for that story, or for the next two we sent her. But the good news was that Emma really wanted to work with us! So, Corey and I decided to take another look at a story we had written way back in 2007, WHAT ABOUT MOOSE?

We polished it up, sent it to Emma, and waited.

And you know the rest!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

And the winner of the celebratory giveaway is...


Congratulations, Angie! Because you are one of my international followers, you win a $20 Amazon gift card.

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest and/or stopped by to congratulate me on my book deal.  Here's hoping that this is the first of many celebrations to come!

Coming soon: the story of how the sale of WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? came to be. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 15, 2013

We have an illustrator!

But before you read all about it, please go enter my Celebratory Giveaway if you haven't done that yet.



I am pleased to announce that we have an illustrator for WHAT ABOUT MOOSE?! Her name is Keika Yamaguchi, and she did the adorable art for the book SICK OF BEING SICK

It's so exciting to be moving forward in the publishing process. So far, I have been loving this adventure!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Celebratory Giveaway!

UPDATED 6-11-13 

In case you missed my exceedingly exciting announcement, I will say it again: Corey and I have sold our first picture book! WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? has been picked up by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon and Schuster (and the publisher of some pretty dang good books, I must say).

To celebrate this milestone in my (and Corey's) career, I have decided
to give away a copy of one of my favorite Atheneum picture books, RED HAT by Lita Judge.

So, how do you win?

1. Follow my blog (Facebook users can "like" my page, just follow the link on the sidebar)
2. Leave a comment on this post (or on my facebook page) telling me what your favorite picture book is, and be sure to leave your email so I can contact you if you win

Only residents of the U.S.A. are eligible to win a copy of this darling book. However, because I don't want to leave my international followers out, I will offer an alternative prize of a $20 Amazon gift card if the winner happens to live outside the United States.

This contest will remain open until 11:59 p.m. (CST) on Wednesday, July 17, 2013.

That's it! I am not going to ask you to blog or tweet or update your facebook status about this giveaway. This is mainly about rewarding you, the people who have been with me on this fun and frustrating up-and-down journey toward becoming a published author.

I love you all! (Now, go enter the contest.)

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

An exceedingly exciting announcement!

I have been trying to come up with a creative way to say this. But all that has come to my mind is this quote from Sid Phillips in Disney's Toy Story:

"It came! It finally came!"

What came? Why, my FIRST EVER book contract, of course! I am delighted to announce that Corey and I have sold our first picture book!

WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? will be published by Atheneum, an imprint of Simon and Schuster.

Hurray! Who's doing the happy dance with me?