I first wrote Summer in the City in 2006 after finishing my graduate program at West Chester University. It was after I completed a children's lit course. I had an awesome teacher who loved children's literature as much as me, if not more. She brought such an energy to our lectures and she was passionate and very knowledgeable. Prior to taking this class, I considered myself to be an avid reader and collector of children's books. After taking this class I knew that I was going to be an author. I knew that I wanted to bring that magical story to a child that would widen their eyes, pique their interest and stimulate their imagination. If a professor chooses to use it in their class lectures, that would be an added bonus!
Well, I wrote my story....and it sat....I shared it with family....and it sat. A few years went by and BOOM it hit me. I need to publish my book!! Initially I considered self-publishing (back in 2006) but what made that difficult was finding an illustrator. I was so green....I had no clue where to start which is why it sat. Then when I decided to publish I started looking at self-publishing companies again and learned that they now offered to illustrate your book...for a small fee! Well....this is where it all started. I paid for the package...I worked with an illustrator for about 3 months. I told them my vision, I mapped out each illustration. I sent pictures in to give the illustrator an idea of what certain things looked like and a few weeks before I was ready to go they sent me the finalized images. I cried. It was NOT my vision. And I most definitely got my money back (never enter a project without a money back guarantee) So.... I had a thought. Maybe I can find an illustrator and maybe I can branch out and self publish independently. By this time I had spoken to several people who have written and self-published novels. I had a general understanding of what I needed to do but I knew that if I was going to do this, I had a lot to learn. Unfortunately, I was going to learn this on my own in the early stages because I didn't know anyone at the time who could really give me insight on publishing a picture book.
Enter Jerry Craft. I started researching and reaching out to illustrators. I was on a networking mission. Now, let's rewind for a second....a year ago I had read the book The Secret Olivia Told Me written by N. Joy and illustrated by Nancy Devard. I remember saying to myself I would love for Nancy Devard to illustrate my book. How about she was from Philadelphia. I did a few searches on her but I couldn't really find any information so I sent a few emails, mailed my manuscript to the publishing company she was working with and moved on. Okay so, I reach out to Jerry Craft and we talked on the phone for at least an hour. And he broke it down!!!! He basically told me what I needed to do on my own so that I don't have to pay a self-publishing company. He shared with me that what they were charging me to do I could do. For example, they were going to charge me almost $300 to copyright my book, buy and register my ISBN(one ISBN) and submit my book to the Library of Congress. Let's just say you can buy 10 ISBN's for $250. I will share more about the process later but the moral of the story is, if you are willing to do the foot work you can save some money and have complete control over your project. Prior to speaking with Jerry Craft I had sent a ton of emails again to any and all websites that had any information about Nancy Devard. About a month later, she responded! It took several conversations and meetings and conversations and meetings and finally she decided to take on the project! From there, the ball was completely rolling and it was just a matter of time....a lot of time because you cannot rush art (trust me I tried but that will be another blog posting : )
So here we are...the book is complete and the marketing and promotions have begun. I have a team of supporters and I have FAITH. I know that this project is a true work of HEART and I am proud to announce that in February SUMMER IN THE CITY will be available for purchase!
Click here to follow my Summer in the City Facebook page. This is so exciting and I plan on making it fun for everyone : )
Have a great weekend!