“My book comes out this year.”
I’m one of those people, and it still seems a bit surreal that my first picture book, SOPHIE’S SQUASH, will be coming out Aug. 6 from Schwartz & Wade.
People who don’t write books are often surprised at how long it can take for a book to be published. (And don’t get me started on how long it can take to sell a book. That’s a separate post.) So I’ve developed a little speech that I trot out whenever people ask me, “So, is your book out yet?” and I respond, “No. It won’t be out until the fall of 2013.”
It goes like this:
Well, it takes a lot of time to publish a book. First, I had to make some changes to the text and then the book had to be copy-edited and there were a few more changes to make. Then, the publisher had to find an illustrator, and it can take a year or more for the artist to draw all the pictures. Then, the book has to be designed and printed, which often happens overseas, and most publishers only release new books two or three times a year, so anyway …
I find myself talking faster and faster while I explain this and when I’m done the person is usually looking at me like I’ve made the whole thing up and perhaps I don’t have a book coming out at all.
Fortunately, a few things happen during the long path to publication that remind you a book really is being made. Here are a few of the highlights:
- Seeing the art for the first time. For a picture book writer, this might be the coolest milestone. It’s great to see how someone who is totally objective envisions your story. Some picture book writers I know say they see scenes in their heads when they write. I usually don’t, so I was very excited to see how illustrator Anne Wilsdorf pictured Sophie, Bernice and their family. When I got the illustrations attached to an email, I smiled for three days straight. Plus, seeing the illustrations with the text made the whole thing really look like a book. As a side note, the most second-most common question people ask me after “Is your book out yet?” is “Did you get to pick who did the illustrations?” The answer is “No, and I’m glad.” I have a lot of skills but evaluating artists and styles is not one of them. I was happy to leave that in the capable hands of Schwartz & Wade. Check out the sample of Anne’s wonderful art to the upper right!
- Seeing the book listed online. I was passing time one evening Googling myself. (Don’t judge, I know I need to get a hobby.) And to my surprise, a listing popped up for SOPHIE’S SQUASH on amazon.com. There it was with an ISBN number, page count, release date and a lovely summary written by the Schwartz & Wade folks. (They called me a “creative force,” which is the sort of thing you could never say about yourself, but you can blush modestly if others say it.) It was even available for pre-order! I did some more digging and found SOPHIE was also listed on IndieBound, GoodReads, Barnes and Noble and Powells.com. Be still my beating heart.
- Hearing people talk about it. SOPHIE’S SQUASH is far from an Internet sensation like, say, “Gangnam Style,” but recently I was Googling again and found an interview with Lee Wade, who is half of Schwartz & Wade. She was answering questions about her career, and she listed SOPHIE’S SQUASH as one of the books she’s most looking forward to have coming out. Very exciting.
And there are more milestones to come. I haven’t seen the cover yet, which I’m really looking forward to. I haven’t gotten any F&Gs, a sort of advance reading copy for picture books. My new website hasn’t rolled out yet either. So there’s lots of fun to come.
The amazing Jeannie Mobley, whose book KATERINA’S WISH has been out for several months now, recently blogged about the top 10 lessons she learned as a debut author. I plan to apply as many of them as I can during the year ahead. And I look forward to sharing the experience with all the other EMU’s Debuts authors who have 2013 books coming out. (And if you want a look at even more 2013 releases by first-time authors, check out the Lucky 13s. I think you’ll agree, there’s a lot of good literature coming our way!)
But for now, I’m just going to take a moment to revel in saying:
“My book comes out this year!”