I had a plan that I made at the beginning of the year. I would write 4 picture books by the end of 2021. The first would be the global food book, followed by a picture book biography, and then 2 more that were not yet clear to me. It was ambitious, but I felt it was do-able.
Well, here we are near the end of 2021. As of a couple of weeks ago, I had completed exactly zero picture books. The global food book had ballooned and become a massive project. What I originally envisioned as a rhyming board book had become almost an encyclopedia. I submitted a draft to a professional agent-editor and received some really great feedback in September, so my revised goal is to edit and complete that book by the end of year.
But then a new idea for a picture book popped into my head just about a month ago. I was so excited about it, but I wanted to hold off and make sure that I finished my food book first. The book had other ideas though. I was writing it in my head and thinking about it so much that I couldn’t help myself. One night, it was bugging me so much I finally decided to type it out on my phone at 2am, just I could finally sleep.
It was the easiest first draft ever. Within days, I sent copies out to some beta readers. A week later, I brought it to my SCBWI critique group. I spent the next couple of weeks revising, and simultaneously drafting a query letter. I sent my query letter off for a critique as well and then spent another day revising that. At this point, both the manuscript and the query are as ready as they’ll ever be to send out for submissions.
While AJ’s Neighborhood is self/indie published, this project is one that is probably better suited to a traditional publisher. The query letter will allow me to submit the manuscript to agents and publishers, and hopefully get someone interested in putting it out into the world for me.
This whole new book process has been just about six weeks. For me (maybe for anyone) that’s crazy fast. When I think of the year that I have poured into the global food book–the research, the revising, the taste testing–six weeks is nothing in comparison! But this new book poured out of me. It’s based a lot on my own life experiences and family stories. And I am so excited because, as far as I can tell, no one else has written this picture book yet.
So, good luck, little book (whose title and subject I am keeping secret for a few more weeks) as you go out into the world! I hope you find a good, safe home where you can grow and reach your full potential!
And I hope you all can read it someday soon!