Today, please welcome Clara. She shares her path to publication for Annie’s Special Day with a small publisher. You’ll have to read to the end to know what kind of dance she did. I wrote about the book here.

My Publishing Story 

By Clara Bowman-Jahn

After I wrote “Annie’s Special Day” I started sending off query letters that my writing group had critiqued to a list of publishers my mentor friend, Bobbi Carducci had given me. There was a list for snail mail and a list for email.  

I started sending off letters to both of them simultaneously. I got many rejections and few agents were polite enough to say anything on the SASE form letter they sent back to me. 

Then I happened to look at my query letter. I saw blatant errors! Typos! Sentence structure! I couldn’t imagine how I had sent such a letter out on such an important errand! How did that happen? I couldn’t imagine how. I was crushed. It’s one of those things you have one chance at.

Then I learned about the Muse online writer’s conference. On the website I saw where authors could pitch their book to a publisher or agent and maybe get a manuscript looked at. However by the time I saw this there were no openings on the publishers who specialized in picture books. Then, the last day, Saturday, two publishers I hadn’t seen before opened up at 10 a.m. with a pitch session. 

One was eTreasurespublishers. There really was no time for me to any research before 10 a.m. So I put in my request and waited till the time for me to go into the pitching session.

Martha, the publisher of eTreasures was very friendly and easy to talk to (or should I say type to) LOL. She laughed with me when I misspelled her name. That kind of broke the ice right then and there. Martha liked that the kids themselves would be able to read the book because I had written it in easy to read text. She asked for the manuscript right away and from the web site under submissions I saw were she would reply in two to three weeks. 

After three weeks I contacted them asking about the status of the book and she said she had filed the contract in her filing cabinet but had not sent out to me. LOL. So I got the contract! Did my Scooby dance, looked it over and sent it back. And that’s the end of my publishing story.
But when you get a small press the story doesn’t end there. You need to have the illustrator, the book cover, the text embedded and the book formatted. That’s all up to you. Fortunately my husband was up to learning all this with the help of a printer friend, Sue Walls. And my story about how I Found my illustrator is famous. I’ll tell you all about it on another post.

Clara Bowman-Jahn worked as a registered nurse for thirty two years finally trading that job for her true love, writing. Clara’s short  stories have been published in the anthology of the “Campaigner’s Challenges 2011” Book.

When Clara is not writing, she does volunteer  work for a local elementary school and her church. She also likes taking long walks with her husband, blogging, and reading books. She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Pennwriters, Bethesda Writer’s Center and Round Hill Writer’s Group. She lives in rural Loudoun County, Virginia with her brilliant husband, a senior dog and  two cats. And she  is the proud mother of two wonderful grown sons and a grandmother to a delightful grandson. 

You can learn more about Clara over at Patricia Tilton’s Children’s Books Heal. Patricia’s author interview appeared on Nov. 12.