Writing a children’s book has always been on my bucket list. I remember
reading to my own young children and then to my students and watching
their eyes light up as they listened to a story intently. As we talked about the
story, I could see the wheels turning in their brains. They’d inquire, “But
what happened next? How come he was crying, or laughing, or afraid, or
silly, or so happy?” I enjoyed when they could put themselves into the
character’s shoes and discover how they could apply it in their own lives. I
wanted to write a book that would allow children to do that, but I wasn’t sure
what that story was.
Then a year ago, the story came! It came to my heart and mind like
whispers from heaven. I wrote and revised, listening for the feelings and
searching for the words to describe them.
As I look back, that was the easy part of writing my book. I took it to a friend
that had published her own book and she began tutoring me on what
needed to happen next. She told me to send it to five or six Alpha readers
who told me what they loved about my book. Then to five or six Beta readers
who critiqued it for me. I have to admit the critiques have been the hardest part
of this journey. I changed many things because of those critiques and I have
grown as an author and so has my story. Next, I sent it to an editor who helped
me make my story even stronger.
I had planned to self-publish, but because my book is a picture book I had
to find the right illustrator. That was a quest I had no idea would be so
difficult. I pursued about fifteen different avenues looking for an illustrator
to no avail. I reached out to an accomplished children’s book author and
she recommended that I send my work into a publisher. She said that I
would need to let go of the illustrations and trust that a publisher would find
the right illustrator for my story.
The process of sending query letters to editors began eight months ago.
The query letters are a challenge. Each publisher has their own
requirements. It has been humbling to say the least. I got a couple of
offers from “vanity” publishers who wanted payment for the cost of
illustrating and publishing the book, but that is not what I was looking for. The
queries take 3-6 months before the publishers decide if they will take the
manuscript or not. A few respond back, but the majority simply say that if you
haven’t heard from them in a certain amount of time then they are not
I recently won a contest to have my book critiqued by a children’s book
author. Again, the hard part! She liked my book and felt like it could be
successful if I cut the wording in half! Wow!
I’m amazed at the amount of time all of this has taken. Not only my time but that of family and friends as well. I will forever be grateful for the support, time and love so many have freely offered.
At this point, I’m working on the website you are at and writing my blogs to
share my stories. I’m waiting for the results on the five queries I’ve
submitted to see where I go from here. I appreciate your interest and will
keep you up to date as to what is next!