Friday, November 17, 2023

All Summer in a Day: The Sweet (and SHORT) Journey of a Picture Book by Patti Richards

 (This is the final installment of a three-part series. Read part one and part two here.)


goes out of print 
At the end of our second installment, I left you with the news that my publisher was going out of business. That meant my book would be available for a few more months, but at some point, in 2023, it would go out of print.

People who know me know I’m not a quitter, so after receiving the news, instead of resting on my laurels, I went to one final book-selling event in January of 2023. With my husband’s help (he is the king of schmoozing) I mingled, visited booksellers’ booths, and even had a radio interview and book signing! 

After that event, I stocked up on as many copies of MRS. NOAH as I could afford. I kept checking Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and on a day in late June I read the words “out of stock,” and I knew it was over. Approximately 18 months after her release, MRS. NOAH sailed out of online book retailers and stores. But what a ride we’d had. My picture book journey truly felt like all summer in a day!



MRS. NOAH all dressed up
in her award swag!

I couldn’t possibly share how blessed I have been by this journey. The frustrations were many, but the reward of getting to see a book you’ve loved into existence in the bookstore and on the library shelf more than makes up for them. I’m also pleased to say that in MRS. NOAH’s short life, she won five awards, including a Northern Lights Book Award for best first picture book. Do I wish MRS. NOAH’S journey had ended differently? Of course! Do I think I’ll try to self-publish now that I have the rights back? Ask me again in a few months when the sting fades a bit.


The Takeaways

 When the life of a book begins and ends at this record pace, it’s important to pause and reflect.


Here are a few of my takeaways for those who are un-agented that might help someone else:


1.    Do your homework. If you get an offer for one of your books, find out all you can about the health of the company making the offer. Use your SCBWI membership, ask other authors who have published with the same company about their experience, and check with the publisher’s state business website. None of this is foolproof. It’s impossible to predict the future ever, but especially in publishing. Getting as much info as possible can help you make informed decisions for your book.

2.    Lead the discussion. In the excitement of having someone love your book, the temptation is to let the offering company lead the discussion. You might feel like you can’t ask for time to do your research and even to ask for changes to your contract. But you can! It’s also a good idea to have an attorney who specializes in contract law look over your contract to make sure you’re getting the best terms possible. At the very least, an attorney can help you know what questions to ask. Will this cost money? Unless you have a friend who can help, yes. But it’s money well spent. The Author’s Guild also provides contract reviews and other services for their members.

Faith Radio interview at the
Christian Product Expo in
 Georgia in February

3.    Learn how to market! As you can tell from my story, I had to fast-track my marketing knowledge. If you have the luxury of taking your time with this step, then do it! Budget some of your weekly writing hours for marketing education. Learn how to use Canva. Build a professional-looking website. Take advantage of free services like Pinterest, Goodreads, and Instagram to keep information about you and your books in front of your audience. When that contract offer comes, you’ll be glad you did!

4.    Get your eggs out of the basket! Having a book release and then go out of print so quickly resulted in the entire process becoming almost all-consuming. The fight to keep MRS. NOAH in front of people for as long as I could forced other things to take a back seat. Writing, revising, submitting, looking for an agent…none of those things should stop while you’re in the middle of what feels like a sinking ship. It’s what keeps us balanced as writers. I’ll admit to losing my focus in the middle of the flood of work that came with MRS. NOAH’s release, but I’m grateful I have it back.

5.    You are more than one book. This takeaway speaks for itself. Your success as a writer should never be measured by one contract. No matter how much the end of one book can break your heart, you and your work go on.    


So, there you go. The story of a book’s journey…All Summer in a Day! I’m so grateful I got the chance to experience it, and that there are many little loves enjoying MRS. NOAH. That is the best gift of all.


And did poor Margot ever get out of that closet to see the sun? I’m not telling. You’ll just have to read that story for yourself.


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,, The Lookout Magazine, Worship Leader Magazine,, 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, to learn more!  



  1. Thank you, Patti, for sharing your insight into the publishing process!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and what you learned from it so that we can learn from it too.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story, Patti. I wish things had turned out differently for you and Mrs. Noah.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story, Patti. I love your thought about being more than 1 book. :) You are always an inspiration!

  5. You are more than one book, Patti--here's to the next one!

  6. Patti, what a roller-coaster ride to go through! But you have triumphed by making it into a growth experience and then shared what you have learned with all of us! How good to know that Mrs. Noah was received so well and earned such awards right away. I’m sure your efforts to self-publish it now will be very successful! Blessings to you always, Beth

  7. Wow, talk about braving a storm! Thank you, Patti, for sharing all your insights and wishing you all the best on your journey forward. And may may you find rainbows in every raindrop.