This month, I’m delighted to have debut picture book author Kaye Baillie. If you’re in the query trenches, her path to publication is inspiring. Plus, Kaye has offered to critique one query letter. To WIN this special prize, follow the directions at the end of this post.
When someone announces the arrival of their new picture book, there is usually a story behind the story. Not everyone has the same experience. Let me take you from the first flash of an idea to the final creation of “Boo Loves Books”. It’s sometimes bumpy, at times downhill, but shows how persistence and finding that one “yes” can result in two adorable characters coming to life who have lots to offer anxious children and forgotten pets.
I read an online article about kids reading to cats at an animal shelter. The positive outcomes of the Book Buddies program impressed me so much I wanted to write a story to help kids who might be anxious about reading and to shine a light on animals in shelters.
I wasn’t so good at getting critiques in these days so when I thought the story w
as ready, I sent it out to one US agent.
Submitted story to Australian publisher.
Submitted story to US agent.
Sent story for a paid critique through Kidlit College to Sarah Miller at Sleeping Bear Press. I thought my story would suit this house. Sarah gave me encouraging feedback. When I didn’t get an offer, I took it personally and hastily assumed the story wasn’t good enough. I put the story away for over one year. (What I know now: Feedback is gold. Stories must be reworked and do not give up, get better at writing.)
3 August 2018
I decided to take another look at Sarah’s comments. I realized how encouraging they were and decided to work on the story once more.
I sent it to my new critique group formed through SCBWI. With their feedback I renamed the story, did more edits and prepared to submit it again.
Entered story in RYS contest. It did not earn a place.
Late August 2018
Submitted the story to four publishers - 3 Australian and 1 small US one.
Late August 2018
Rejection from US publisher who said the story was well written but because they are small, they had to be extremely selective.
Late November 2018
Silent rejection from 1 Australian publisher as they stipulate 3 months is a ‘no’ on their website.
6 December 2018
One publisher replied and said my story was delightful and asked if story was available! I replied ‘yes’!
Checked with remaining publisher who had not replied. They said it was on their ‘to be considered’ list.
12 December 2018
Interested publisher told me they were keen to publish and were negotiating with an illustrator and they would let me know by end of year.
January came & went
Silence. Started to worry deal might not happen.
5 February 2019
Gently nudged interested publisher to see if things were still ok. No reply.
18 February 2019
Another gentle nudge.
19 February 2019
Publisher asked if I would consider changing cat in story to a dog? Replied ‘yes’ as I know that kids also read to dogs and reading to any pet is a good thing.
22 February 2019
Good news from publisher that illustrator is on board and to expect contract soon!
March – Sept 2019
Publisher sent through various editing suggestions and I worked those into the story and had opportunity to suggest minor illustration changes too. Publisher asked that we brainstorm a new title. New title chosen.
Digital finals of book sent to me. Loved it!
The publisher, New Frontier Publishing confirmed release date for “Boo Loves Books” as 1
May 2020 in Australia/UK/New Zealand and October 2020 in the US!
Book launch of May 9th cancelled.
Tracie Grimwood the illustrator created a gorgeous book trailer which we are proud to present! “Boo Loves Books” is available for pre-order in all good bookstores.
1 May 2020 Book Release! Yahoo!!
Thanks for sharing your path to publication - full of highs, lows and tons of waiting.
For a chance to WIN Kaye's critique of one query letter, leave a comment on the Sub Six member page. Let us know if you are currently querying and where you shared this post. Deadline to enter is May 28th.
In October, please consider reading and reviewing Kaye Baillie's picture book, Boo Loves Books for ages 3-6.
Some dogs are shy and anxious and so are some children. Can Boo and Phoebe turn their fears into a positive experience? A charming story of friendship between a shy little girl and a huge, gentle rescue dog which celebrates the joy of reading.
All post's on Manju's blog are written by Sub Six Authors and Illustrators.
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