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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Washington

How It Began... An Authors Journey to Publishing a Children's Picture Book

Dear Reader,

Now that you know I have always been a writer, I'd like to tell you how "A Fish in a Tree" came to be. I was in the kitchen, preparing a meal for family, when my grandson and his family arrived. He came running to me saying, "Grammy, I saw a fish in a tree!" I said, "A fish in a tree, how can that be?" My husband said, "That sounds like a book."

Silas went on to explain the "fish" was a balloon stuck in a tree. It is awesome to enjoy the wonderment of children in such things like this. That evening, I thought about my husband's words and in probably half an hour, I wrote, "A Fish in a Tree". I was pleased with what I wrote, explaining to children in a fun rhyming way that balloons do not belong in nature. A story was born. My husband thought it was good. I shared it with some others, and they had a few suggestions and I tweaked it a bit. (It was much later that I learned, it was far from where it could be!)

I sent it off to a few publishers. For those who have never tried to get a book published, it is agonizing. You basically have to submit it and forget about it. The good news is no more rejection slips, the bad news is you have to wait 1,2,3 or more months, depending on the publisher, and if you haven't heard anything, you are "free" to submit it to someone else. Many publishers do not like simultaneous submissions--I won't say the ugly thoughts I am thinking about that. I only heard the crickets, as they say.

Now I was a member of a large local authors group for a few years. This group always was highly in favor of self-publishing. I worried about the stigma of that. "You couldn't get anyone else to publish it, so you did it yourself"--implying it may not be good enough. I had heard all the benefits that they had mentioned--more control, quicker publishing (traditional publishers could take over a year and they can change their mind--ouch, my heart!), and you get a bigger commission. The negatives of course, are upfront money you need to spend, and you need to market it yourself, though truly, most publishers are not going to do the marketing for you if you are a new author.

I weighed all these thoughts and the most pressing one of all was that time keeps passing. I am not getting any younger and all my life I have wanted to have short stories, a novel, children's stories, and more published. I also wanted to get this out for my grandchildren before they were adults!

So, I embarked on the journey of how to self-publish and with whom and it has been an interesting journey. I will tell you more next time.

As Always,


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