|Local successes! From left, Jennifer K. Mann, Alysson Valentine, Dana Sullivan, Elizabeth Rose Stanton|
Let's hear it for our local success panel! These are four hardworking, fabulous individuals whose first books have been published within the last year (some within the last few weeks, even!). The books are: Jennifer K. Mann's Two Speckled Eggs, which she just penned AND illustrated; Alysson Valentine's How Not to Find a Boyfriend; Dana Sullivan's Ozzie and the Art Contest; and Elizabeth Rose Stanton's Henny.
First books are, as Mann says, "a long haul...it takes a lot of faith." Stanton concurs. "If it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone." Sullivan points out that, despite feedback from editors and agents, "it's always your story." Valentine encourages everyone to keep working. "Everyone who keeps at it, they've all gotten published. Every single thing I write is actually helping me be a better writer."
Some stories are about luck, that serendipity that brings a writer/illustrator on a collision course with an agent or editor, and others are about hard work and perseverance. These four are stellar examples of how, with deliberate and dogged pursuit of a creative goal, it IS possible to publish. No one every said it was easy; but oh, the rewards are very, very sweet.
Just look at those books up there on the dais. That's how sweet it could be. Not just for them, but for every last one of you out there, toiling away! SCBWI is, as Sullivan says, "a great first step."
Now keep taking those steps! Good luck, and good work to all....