The galleys for Sarah Gives Thanks arrived in the mail last week. They are gorgeous. They made me giddy. They also brought into sharp focus that, hey, I have a book coming out.
That should be obvious, but I’ve been living with Sarah for such a long time that, until that delivery, I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around the idea that a book with my name on it would actually be sold to people.
My first Sarah draft was sent to Albert Whitman & Co. a couple of days before Thanksgiving 2009. I was asked to expand the story in February 2010 – which is ironic as the bulk of my initial writing labors consisted of trimming the story down to fit the publisher-mandated 600-word picture book limit.
“Don’t worry about length,” my senior editor contact, Wendy, assured me. “For something like this, our usual word count is too skimpy.”
So be it.
I delivered my impeccably researched, knowingly bloated 2,400-word draft on March 31. (“The last day of Women’s History Month!” I crowed in my email to Wendy, hoping to earn brownie points, I suppose, for knowing that the month existed.)
After a period of uncertainty, the manuscript was accepted that July. The plan was for a Thanksgiving 2011 release, but then the freelance editor assigned to my book mysteriously vanished and the illustrator kicked out. So the book got bumped to 2012.
This turned out to be fine, however, for my 2011 was surprisingly busy Sarah-wise. Children’s books go through a lot of editing, apparently. At least mine did; in the end my story shed almost 1,000 words. What surprised me was that this didn’t bother me nearly as much as I thought it might.
I soon learned to expect an almost-daily communication from Kristin, my editor. Her emails almost always outlined another chore for me to complete, but I liked getting them because they kept me busy and made me feel oddly important.
Furthermore, Kristin’s emails also projected an unwavering chipperness I couldn’t help but enjoy. It was a tone that was soon reflected in my replies: “Hi Kristin!” I’d write. (I am not the type of person who normally uses exclamation points in my salutations, but chipperness is more contagious than swine flu – and thank goodness for that.) It also didn’t hurt that Kristin is an excellent editor who selected an equally excellent illustrator in David Gardner.
So yada-yada-yada I now have the galleys – a tangible sign that the writing of Sarah is, at last, over and that I now must shift gears and get all promote-y. This is both exciting and a bit terrifying as this is new territory for me.
So! Any and all ideas on how to proceed are more than welcome!