(This is part one of a three-part series. Read part 2 here.)
I think I was in middle school when I first read Ray Bradbury’s, “All Summer in a Day.” Then I got to study it in more depth in high school and fell in love with the journey of Margot, the girl who believed that the sun was going to come out after seven years of rain, and her classmates who didn’t. When their lack of faith and what she knew was true ultimately collided, she ended up locked in the classroom closet, just as the sun came out. The children, forgetting about Margot, ran from the school building and stepped out into the most powerful light they’d ever seen. Then, almost as quickly as the sun came out, one raindrop, then another and another fell, until the clouds rolled in and the sky closed over it again. How long did all of this take you might ask? One. Single. Day.
So, what does this story have to do with my publishing journey? I’m glad you asked.
Back in 2019, I participated in a Twitter pitch party called #Faithpit. Faithpit was designed for authors who write faith-based children’s books to share their pitches in the hopes of grabbing the attention of agents and editors. As you all know, finding an agent in this business is extremely challenging. Writing for both the main stream and faith-based markets makes it even more difficult. There are very few faith-based publishers that take unsolicited manuscripts, so I knew this Twitter pitch event was a good opportunity.
I had written the first draft of a manuscript called MRS. NOAH about eight years earlier, and after many rounds of critiques and drafts, I had a picture book I was ready to submit, and the #Faithpit sounded like a good place to begin. So, I pitched!
Miracle of miracles, I got a heart for MRS. NOAH and for another manuscript. I followed the submission instructions for the interested publisher, and in a few months, I got the email offer for both books. This was in October while at a writing retreat with my critique group! What a sweet moment I got to share with my dear friends. I had the contract in my hand by Thanksgiving, and by Christmas, I had signed a two-book deal with release dates planned for 2021 and 2022. This was in late 2019. Enter 2020 and. . .
In the first few months of 2020, I received my first round of edits for MRS. NOAH. Revising is one of my favorite parts of the writing process, so I was excited to dive in. By March, both of my adult daughters were back home, and now there were four of us working from all over the house. Thankfully, I had moved my office out of the corner of the dining room into a spare bedroom, so I could shut the door and enjoy the process of seeing MRS. NOAH come to life. No matter what was going on outside, I forged ahead.
It didn’t take long until the first interior sketches hit my inbox for my feedback. I still had to stop now and then, take a breath and make myself believe this was happening. I was running around in the sun like the children in “All Summer in a Day,” enjoying every moment of this thing I had worked so hard for and waited so long to come to pass.
As the year progressed, it became clear the continued shut down was having a significant impact on the publishing world. Small houses were already having trouble staying afloat. My publisher began working on new projects to help increase revenue, while we continued getting MRS. NOAH ready for her debut. By the end of 2020, we were still on track for a Fall 2021 release.
But how would things progress given the continued shutdown? Would I make the release date, or would Covid stop me in my tracks?
Tune in next month to find out. . .
Patti Richards has spent more than 30 years writing stories and telling tales. Her first fiction picture book, MRS. NOAH (Little Lamb Books, October 2021) was a Selah Award Finalist, A Northern Dawn Book Award Winner for Best First Picture Book, a Purple Dragonfly Honorable Mention Winner, and a Royal Dragonfly Honorable Mention Winner. As a freelance writer, Patti has provided content for Capstone Publishing, Red Line Editorial, the Foundations Recovery Network, Uptv.com, The Lookout Magazine, Worship Leader Magazine, Songs4Worship.com, Metro Parent Publishing Group, and various other local, regional and national newspapers and magazines. In 2003, her article, “Timing is Everything When Treating Infertility,” (Metro Parent Magazine) won a Gold Medal Award for Special Section Within a Publication (Circulation of 55,000 or more), from Parenting Publications of America. Patti also offers professional picture book critiques. Visit her website, www.pattigail1.com to learn more!