30 Lessons Learned, #1: Always Have Another Project

It was exactly a year ago today that I received a call from Nicole Geiger, the publisher at Tricycle Press (Random House Children's Books). That was the beginning of my journey to publication as an author and illustrator. So, on that anniversary, it seems fitting to begin sharing some of the process. I've decided to do weekly blogs—thirty lessons that I've learned along the way. Some lessons are frivolous and some deeply meaningful (to me, at least). I hope they will be enjoyable for all. I'm also happy to answer any and all general questions from folks about the process. Please feel free to leave them in the comments. I am currently working on new projects and can only hope that I will learn another 30 lessons from each. :)

So, back to the phone call. Nicole told me that they were interested in the dummy I had submitted, asked me a few questions about myself and then said that she would be in touch soon. Barring anything unforeseen, she expected that Tricycle would make an offer on the book in a few weeks. I was thrilled. Writing and illustrating a children's book has truly been a lifelong dream. However, I was a bundle of nerves. Would the offer really come through? What if something unforeseen DID happen. I mentioned to a writer friend of mine that I was jumping out of my skin and she gave me one of the best pieces of advice EVER. She said, "It's time to start on your next project." I have gone back to that advice again and again over the past year. It has served me well because there is plenty of waiting during the process of making a book: waiting for the offer, for revisions, for comments on art, etc. Waiting is the perfect time to dig into something other than a tub of ice cream (or in addition to a tub of ice cream, more on that later).

That friend, by the way, is the fabulous Amy Novesky, author of two stunning picture books (and more on the way). Her latest release, Me, Frida, is illustrated by Caldecott winner David Diaz and is a captivating read about Frida Kahlo's time in San Francisco.