My 10th Book from First Draft to Publication by Nancy Viau
The path to publication has so many twists even for experienced authors. Gratefully, Nancy Viau will walk us through the timeline of her tenth book, PRUETT AND SOO. It was illustrated by Jorge Lacera and published by Two Lions on March 22.
For Kidlit Creatives Members, you have a chance to win a non-rhyming picture book critique thanks to Nancy. To WIN this special prize, follow the directions at the end of this post.
First, I want to share illustrator Jorge Lacera’s fantastic cover art!
About the book: Pruett is from Planet Monochrome where everything is black, white, or gray, and everyone follows the rules and walks in straight lines. And they never, ever ask or answer questions. But then Soo arrives from Planet Prismatic. She's bursting with color! She zigs and zags all over the place! When Soo asks Pruett questions, he finds he wants to answer... and his whole world starts to change. With a palette that shifts from grayscale to full color, this engaging story reminds us that what you feel defines who you are--and sometimes a friend helps you see that best.
Thank you for featuring my latest release, PRUETT AND SOO.
I am pretty sure that many readers of this fantastic and informative blog are familiar with the writing and submission process. It’s often hard to visualize success, right? We want to believe that what we are working on will be the next best thing—New York Times worthy, a stellar bestseller! We hope an editor will fall immediately in love with our manuscript, then push it ahead for publication. Voila, it’s out in a year!
Did PRUETT AND SOO rocket into our solar system like this? Um…Not even close. Let’s start with a blast from the…
2015: The first drafts of PRUETT AND SOO were written seven years ago. It was completely different than anything I had attempted before. I wanted readers to see the value in having an open mind when it comes to change. Kids (and adults) have always been challenged to accept change in the environment, society, and at home. Little did I know how meaningful this would be.
2016: I had some connections from conferences and sent it out. Responses ranged from “this is a smart idea” to “too on the nose” to “we are looking for STEM projects only” to absolute silence.
2017: Twenty-six rejections, a hundred revisions, and a year and a half later, I got an encouraging response from Kelsey Skea at Two Lions. A few revisions, three status queries (hellooo, is anybody home?), and seven months later, I accepted an offer from Two Lions.
Yippee! Ready, set, GO and…
Summer/Fall 2017: Time…dragged…on. I heard nothing. Did my sci-fi story fall into a black hole?! Nails bitten to the core and the inability to think about PRUETT AND SOO’s future, I turned my attention to several works-in-progress—FIRST SNOW (2018) and TODAY IS A BEACH DAY! (2020).
2018: Hooray! Illustrator Jorge Lacera was chosen. He had a deadline, spring 2020. A tentative release date was scheduled for early 2021.
2018: Revision time. I was grateful for editor Kelsey Skea’s keen eye. Pruett’s story grew from 440 words to approximately 700. (Shorter is not always better.)
2019: More editorial revisions. The book was on its way! And then…
2020: Pandemic vs. Publication. Guess who won? Siiighhh. Heartbreaking news:Publication to be determined.
2021: Thankfully, things started to move again. Revision notes were passed between the editor, art director, design team, and the illustrator. I was kept informed and encouraged to “chime in.” Since the story progressed in color, there were details that needed attention, time and time again. Deadlines were extended. A publication date was set. (Fingers and toes crossed!)
PRUETT AND SOO was released on March 22, 2022. Yay!
This timeline still overwhelms me, but the thing is, this book needed that time. Sure, it was nerve-wracking, but I believed in it and so did my editor. That’s what kept me going.
A little advice? Change will happen—in your life, your world, and in publishing. Unfortunately, the latter happens at a snail’s pace, and you will have little control over it. Keep your chin up. Persevere. Be patient. Keep creating. Lean on your cheerleaders—friends, critique partners, your editor or agent. They really do have your best interests at heart.
PRUETT AND SOO had quite a long journey but that journey was absolutely worthwhile. I learned so much—especially how to honor my hopes and dreams and stay true to myself, but be open to change. And that happens to be a major theme in the book!
Thanks for sharing, Nancy!
Nancy Viau is the author of ten books for kids ages 2-12. A former teacher and librarian, she’s a kid-at-heart who loves to present interactive assembly programs, instructional writing workshops, and energetic story times. Her latest picture book, PRUETT AND SOO, explores intergalactic friendships and how a simple change can change the world.
Nancy lives in New Jersey, and when not reading or writing, she hikes, bikes, and travels wherever her frequent flyer miles take her. (She’s patiently waiting for those miles to transfer to space travel…)
Connect with Nancy
Prize offer: For a chance to win a non-rhyming picture book critique thanks to Nancy, leave a comment on our Kidlit Creatives page (must be a member) and share this interview on your Twitter or Facebook. Deadline to enter is Friday, April 29th.
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