I guess now that I’ve sold a picture book I’ve penned, I can call myself a writer. Not that I haven’t written other things, I have. Greeting cards by the score, ad copy, menu copy, marketing programs. Even an instructional script for a short animation about how to make the perfect Cosmopolitan. (The research was exhausting.) But I’ve been angling towards this – picture book writing and illustrating – from really, as early as I can remember. I have a file full of picture book ideas and manuscripts I’ve written in various stages of completion and share-ability. Some are certainly salvageable and others need to age another 10 or 20 years and hope they don’t become corked. And, yes, I know that was an incomplete metaphor. Or simile. Or whatever. The thing is, I’ve always felt uncomfortable calling myself a writer without a book sold. Now that I have not one but two sold, I am okay with the moniker, writer. Which is important to me on a number of levels, but mostly because it makes me feel successful in an industry I adore and has been coyly teasing me for years. As an illustrator I was half way there. I’ve had my successes illustrating books for other writers. I don’t want to suggest I am not hugely grateful for those opportunities. I am. Some went on to win national awards. Some won local awards. Some have sold in numbers well into the 6 figures. But in the end, they were always the “author’s books” and I just illustrated them. I know that is silly. I know it is a collaboration and that my contribution as an illustrator is just as important as the author’s, but somehow, someway, I’ve never felt real ownership of those books. Making the effort to promote “my” new book always seemed presumptive. Promoting it as “our” new book seemed curious unless the author was standing there with me. And promoting the book as Author X’s new book that I drew the pictures for is just daft. This may all just be illustrator anxiety, writer insecurity. Or just plain angst. I know plenty of other creatives with the same or similar self-validation issues. But now, with the sale of BUNNIES! and it’s yet to be written sequel, I can truly – and proudly – say, I’m a writer. An author! Even if it’s only 48 words long, right? Right?