The past 5 months have been an absolute whirlwind as I’ve been thrust into the world of children’s books (quite happily, I might add). To think that last Christmas, I was just a guy who wrote a book for his kids when they were young, figuring my agent would eventually come back and say, “Well, we tried. Now, where are you at with that other book you were working on?”
Not long after the fat man came down our chimney (we turned the burner down so he wouldn’t get hurt), my mailbox was crammed with the best present of all – a contract for my picture book! That is was a contract with Schwartz & Wade Books, a division of Random House, made the whole thing almost too much to believe. The closest I’d ever come to Random House was, well, having random thoughts. I have my agent, Louise Fury (Go Team Fury!), to thank for sending my manuscript there in the first place. Thank God she aims higher than I do!
The contract itself for The Dandelion’s Tale (that’s the name of my book) was about a dozen pages and even though I deal with contracts of a different nature in my 9-5 job, there were still plenty of clauses and tidbits I was unsure of. Here’s a huge tip. When you get a publishing contract, you don’t need to go out and hire a lawyer. Odds are, they know as much about these types of contracts as you do. In this instance, your agent is your guide. They see these all the time and could probably write one from scratch while under anesthesia. Louise and I both read through it several times, and there were a few changes that we went back and forth on with my editor, the great Anne Schwartz (she of Olivia the Pig fame). Then we read it some more, and eventually I put my name on the solid line. It was a moment I’ll never forget.
I’ve been learning every step of the way, and I hope to share it all here in the coming months. In fact, my next blog should be about the editing process. It was longer than you’d think for a small picture book but well worth every ounce of effort.