I recently landed a 2-book deal, so I wanted to share my process in the hopes that maybe one of you will also land a deal with a publisher. Below is the cover of my forthcoming picture book from Waterbrook, Penguin Random House's Christian imprint.
1.Get to know who the editors are.
Since I belong to the writing organization,
SCBWI (Society of Children’s Writers & Book Illustrators), I read their
bulletins and newsletters that feature editors. I also follow editors on
Twitter. One editor I paid close attention to was Bunmi Ishola of Penguin
Random House’s Christian imprint, Waterbrook Multnomah. She was looking to
build up their children’s books. I read an interview of her in the SCBWI
Insight which gave her wish list around March 2021.
2.Tailor a manuscript or query that fits the
editor’s wish list.
Bunmi said she wanted a baby series for theology,
along the lines of the Nerdy Baby series. Back in 2002 when my daughter was born,
Baby Einstein was huge. We listened to Baby Mozart over and over with the hopes
it would help her brain. Since then, Ruth Spiro developed her Baby Loves
Science series and many others created similar series. I always wanted to write
a board book, so I ran with this idea. Author Nancy I. Sanders taught me years
ago, how to come up with a query of ideas, so I give her full credit.
3.If you have an agent, check with her/him, to see
if they agree with your idea, rather than wasting time on all the research and
writing. Since I’d love to see a faith-based science baby series, I came up
with Baby Astronomy. I ran the idea past my agent, Adria Goetz. She loved the
idea and had even met Bunmi in person! Adria suggested to write this one
manuscript first with descriptions for two others for a series.
4.Write the story tailored to the editor’s wishes
in your own unique style.
May 12, 2021 my agent sent the story to Bunmi. June 17th, Bunmi wrote back that she loved it! Wanted a proposal. She also would like to make this a picture book series instead of board books because of the rising cost of paper.
5.Revise the story according to the editor’s
I revised the story to be a picture book, rather than a board book, which meant I had to add more pages, which meant more research.
6.Graciously receive contract.
October 27, seven months after seeing Bunmi’s interview in the SCBWI Insight, I signed the contract for two books.
It’s been great working with Bunmi and the team at Waterbrook.
They ask for my insight. I helped choose the illustrator, cover, jacket copy,
and more. The wonderful Marta Álvarez Miguéns, who is
well-known for her illustrations in Shark Lady, has done a superb job with the
illustrations. I just finished the copyedits for book #2, God’s Little
Oceanographer which swims to stores in 2025. But first, God’s Little Astronomer
blasts into bookstores February 20, 2024.
So there you have it! Go
stalk, I mean, follow
editors! Find out what they publish, like, and want. May you be blessed with
Description of God's Little Astronomer: