My brand-new picture book Waiting Out the Storm was released by Candlewick Press this month. Yippee! My generous fellow Teaching Authors offered to organize a series of brand-new-book interviews like we did for April’s New Year at the Pier (starting here) and Esther’s S is for Story: (starting here). But spring is a busy time for me—especially this year! School visits and teaching fill up my days and nights in March and April. So I’ll write this week about the beginning of the process and continue the story in next Friday’s post. In the meantime, you’ll have a chance to win an autographed copy of Waiting Out the Storm. See the Giveaway Guidelines link below. I’ll post the winner next Friday.
I couldn’t write about terrorism. Not only did I feel it was not appropriate for the audience, but I knew I wasn’t equipped for such a task. A thunderstorm seemed a common childhood fear that symbolized a vague threat but that parents could explain and reassure children about. I’d write about a storm.
Between September 2002 and June 2003, I submitted the manuscript five times. Even though the rejection letters included positive comments, they still stung. One said it “felt too sentimental.” Another called it “not quite special or unique enough.” Ouch! I still cringe when I read them.
What did I do next? I put the manuscript away. I must have been discouraged. I kept writing, though. I submitted other manuscripts.
I pulled out Waiting Out the Storm again to submit to our 2005 SCBWI-Wisconsin fall retreat. There, I had the great fortune of receiving a critique from a Candlewick editor, who gave me suggestions for improving the manuscript and said she’d be willing to look at it again after I revised it. I felt so hopeful!
With help from my brilliant writing group, I revised the manuscript over the next few months and resubmitted it in January 2006. We returned from a canoe trip that April to find a message on the answering machine from the editor, who said she’d like to offer a contract. I'll always remember the thrill!
For a chance to receive an autographed copy of Waiting Out the Storm, read our Book Giveaway Guidelines. Then enter our drawing by posting a comment to today's post that includes your name and e-mail address. I'll continue the story of Waiting Out the Storm and post the winner next Friday.
JoAnn Early Macken