A Bucket List Quest

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!

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