Thursday, November 18, 2010

Good News; Bad News

Let me tell you a story about a story.
It's a sad story about a funny story.
Kind of.
I think.
But, I'm not positive.
A long, long time ago, I wrote a book called Childhood Trauma #4, Give Auntie Lulu A Kiss. I sent it out to a few publishers and nobody was too interested.
Until I sent it to Tricycle Press.
An editor named Abi got back to me and told me that Tricycle wasn't interested, either.
"BUT!", she said, "How would you like to do an entire book of childhood traumas?"
Who could possibly say no to an offer like that?
I spent the next year and a half of my life creating the artwork for my book, Twelve Terrible Things.
This is actually the introduction to the story I wanted to tell you. Please stay tuned, here. The introduction is important.
Over the years, I have continued to send Abi my work and she has always been happy to reject it for one reason or another. That's okay. That's the way this business goes.
Eventually I sent her a book called Albert's Almost Adequate Adventure and Abi got back to me and told me that Tricycle wasn't interested.
"BUT!" she said, [do you see a theme developing here?] "How would you like to take the character of Albert and use him in a chapter book?"
Who could possibly say no to an offer like that?
I spent the next several months writing, rewriting, and rewriting again, not one, but three chapter books about a boy named Simon and his pals, Munch and Ralph.

I really enjoyed writing it and Abi seemed to enjoy reading it. I sent the first book to her almost two years ago. She made some suggestions for revisions about the characters, the plot, the excessive use of boogers and puking I had employed, and I dutifully revised.
I continued working on stories about Simon because I really, really enjoyed writing them.
While they were under consideration by Tricycle, Random House bought Tricycle.
"This will be great!" everyone suggested, "Random House has much bigger distribution!"
I waited and waited to hear back from Abi about the fate of Simon, Munch, and Ralph.
There were big changes at Tricycle but things were moving slowly for my poor book.
Abi had suggested the book to me in the first place and I really liked working with her, so I was patient.

Eventually, I decided that something needed to happen with Simon. Abi was trying to get it published, but I was tired of waiting. I told her that I was going to start sending it out to other publishers and Abi said that I had been more than fair, letting them have it exclusively for so long. She said that she was still very hopeful that it would happen soon, though.

I sent Simon out to another publisher and heard back from them after about two weeks. The editor thought it was very funny and suggested some revisions that she would like to see.

I was debating about whether this was a development I needed to tell Abi about, when she sent me an email.

Random House is shutting down Tricycle.

I was terribly disappointed to hear that. I enjoyed working with Abi and I had been waiting over two years to find out about Simon. Just as it seemed to be happening, they are being shut down by the company that just bought them. If Tricycle had bought the book, it could have just been orphaned there, I suppose. It happens.
Abi has very kindly offered to pass the manuscript on to an editor at a different imprint at Random House.

Presumably, one that isn't being shut down.

So, in spite of all the anxious waiting and the disappointment, the bright side is that the book got written and now there is a publisher interested in seeing some revisions.

Maybe they'll publish it before they go out of business, too.

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