By Yvonne Blackwood ~
“Perseverance is a great element of success. It you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.” These words by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is the creed that I have lived by all of my adult life.
So why am I sharing this with you today? I recently achieved a milestone, one I embarked upon twelve years ago. Yes, twelve years ago I was determined and excited to publish a children’s book. You are probably saying, “What took you so long?”
The story, in a nutshell, goes like this:
I worked as a career banker all my working life in Canada. In 2005 I was promoted to Commercial Credit Advisor at my bank and informed that my new office would be downtown. I had been fortunate up to that time to work in the suburbs where I drove leisurely to and from work everyday. Now I would have to take the sardine-packed subway during the rush hours. But what was there to complain about? I had gotten a promotion; it was all good.
One crisp autumn morning after exiting the train, I walked briskly up University Avenue to my office. I noticed there was a tiny park next door to a large courthouse, and a gang of squirrels were frolicking and having a good time there. The crab apple trees in the park had lost all their leaves. It was a beauty to see the slender branches covered with thousands of little ripe crab apples. Some were strewn on the ground and the squirrels were feasting on them.
Suddenly, an idea came to me; write a children’s book about squirrels living in a city. At that time, I had already published one adult book and had been working on a second, but I knew nothing about writing children’s books.
The next day I took my camera with me and stopped at the iron fence which separated the park from the sidewalk. I took pictures of the crab apple trees and the squirrels—they were still there feasting! The pictures were supposed to give me inspiration to concoct some delightful squirrel stories.
In life, I like to do everything properly, therefore research was required. I joined a children’s authors group, I bought some children’s books, and I borrowed both children’s books and books about writing for children from the library. Once satisfied that I could manage the task, I completed manuscripts for two children’s picture books and sent out several query letters. Although the editor from a major publishing house in New York wrote to say she loved the stories, the firm was unable to offer me a contract and so it was with all the other publishers I queried. Eventually, I put the manuscripts aside and focused on my adult book.
Perseverance kicked in when a few months ago I retrieved the children’s manuscripts, dusted them off, polished them up and hired an editor—to make sure they were error-free, then contacted Amazon.
My first children’s picture book, NOSEY CHARLIE COMES TO TOWN, is now published, and I am as proud as a peacock to announce its arrival. While there are no guarantees of success with sales, the fact that I pursued an idea and that it gave me so much pleasure during the ride is more than enough satisfaction. Great sales will be an added bonus.
So do purchase paperback copies for your small children (ages 3-8) all your nieces and nephews, and all the grandchildren at:
Amazon.com : http://tinyurl.com/z83785u
Amazon.ca Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/z3td925
You can also download a free Kindle version for a limited time period.