Welcome to Stacy McAnulty! She's no stranger as she is featured in my blog hop from October 7 here. I'm honored to be a part of her blog tour for her humorous debut picture book, Dear Santasaurus. I asked Stacy to share how she landed her first book contract WITHOUT an agent at the time. (note: she now has an agent)
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
-Lucius Annaeus Seneca
This quote describes my writing life, and (probably) the writing life of many authors. Writers need to plug away and continue to create, all while hoping an opportunity will be available.
My first picture book, DEAR SANTASAURUS (Boyds Mills Press, 2013) was born at a writing retreat. I had an early draft sitting in front of me while an editor was addressing our group of 40 writers. My interest in her presentation was waning when she said something like, “I don’t want to see another dinosaur book come across my desk.”
And, of course, I thought the opposite. Dinosaurs! That’s brilliant. It was exactly what my book needed. Instead of a manuscript featuring a sometimes-naughty little boy, I needed a mischievous dinosaur. I probably should have thought of dinosaurs on my own, considering I had a three-year-old son who could pronounce Parasaurolophus without hesitation.
So I reworked my manuscript to star a fun-loving Spinosaurus. (Anyone can pronounce Spinosaurus.) I rewrote and rewrote. I shared with my critique partner. I read it to my children, husbands, dogs. Then fast forward six months, I attended a Highlights Foundation Workshop at Chautauqua. I was assigned a faculty member to work with, and she saw potential in my fifteen-hundred word dinosaur Christmas book.
I wish I could say she acquired it right there on the spot. Nope! We went through four revisions over two months before Boyds Mills Press bought the book. And even then, the editor gave me a four page editorial letter. We still had work to do.
I’m so thankful for my lucky break at Chautauqua. To have the opportunity to work with an editor isn’t guaranteed at any workshop or conference (at least that I know of). But I was prepared with a manuscript that I loved and had worked over.
I wish all my fellow writers a lucky break. In the meantime, I hope they are preparing by writing and rewriting.
And now for the daily cookie (a family favorite)…
Toll House Chocolate Chip
I make these often, and they never stick around long.
(visit http://stacymcanulty.blogspot.com/ for the recipe)
Stacy lives in North Carolina with her three children, two dogs, and one husband. (She has zero dinosaurs.) DEAR SANTASAURUS (Boyd Mills Press, 2013) is her first picture book. For more information on Stacy, please visit www.stacymcanulty.com
Thanks so much for sharing with us, Stacy! Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies are my favorite, too and will go perfectly with your book!
Tina M. Cho, children's author
I'm a children's author and freelance writer for the educational market. Welcome!