Fantastic news–my first book sale!

Okay, so this post is a little late in coming. I’ve been carefully thinking about related revision notes as well as enjoying just a little bit of basking and celebrating (okay, a lot of basking and celebrating!). Now that my feet are back on the ground, please allow me to share the official announcement…
I’ve sold my first book!

I can’t yet reveal all of the details (there’s a top-secret Awesome Illustrator involved!), but I  can say that in my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined anything better. My picture-book biography about Emmanuel Osofu Yeboah (see previous post) will be edited by the lovely Anne Schwartz at Schwartz & Wade (Random House). Here’s a bit of a blurb about the book, courtesy of my amazing agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette:

“When Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah was born, his right leg was short and twisted—completely useless. It was 1977, and people with disabilities in Ghana, West Africa, were considered cursed, and left their homes only to beg for food or money. Emmanuel challenged the norm from his youngest days. Then, in 2001, he decided to prove that people with physical challenges could do amazing things, so he bicycled across Ghana—almost 400 miles—with one leg. His ten-day ride helped make him a virtual celebrity, but also a national hero. As a direct result of Emmanuel’s efforts, Ghana eventually enacted progressive disability laws.”

Her full announcement is on the Erin Murphy Literary Agency website, here.
Part of what makes this the ultimate dream come true for is that this is the story I could never let go of. It’s the first book I ever tried to write and has been through at least 30 MAJOR rewrites, changing genres and target age groups several times along the way, and varying in length from 200 words to 1500 words and everywhere in between. I’ve put it away, studied and learned, pondered and thought, written other things, and been pulled back to this one again countless times, over and over, for almost 7 years. This project has been my own personal 400-mile bike ride, one that I don’t know if I could have completed without the inspiration I’ve derived from the story itself. To have it be the first book of mine to sell AND to have it land in such a perfect, wonderful home at S&W is truly unbelievable. But please don’t pinch me, because this is one dream I don’t want to end.

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15 thoughts on “Fantastic news–my first book sale!”

  1. What a fabulous story — both Yeboah’s and yours! It’s so great that you were both willing to push through so much — and that there was success at the end! Hurrah!!!

  2. I have one of those, a story of my grandmother’s that I kept trying to turn into a picture book. It must have been through 17 revisions so far and it still is quite dead. Your persistence gives me hope–maybe that picture book will someday be published, too!

    • Loralee, perhaps it’s not working because it’s your grandmother’s story, not really yours? Try making it your own: What is it about the story that keeps you coming back? Maybe rethinking it so it comes from a more authentic-to-you place will breathe some more life into it. Keep working on it, though! There must be a reason it speaks to you, and that passion is what will make it sell.

  3. I, too, am inspired by both stories.
    After over a year of not writing, some of my old ideas are tapping again.
    If I decide to follow the taps, I will use you as a guiding light!
    Congratulations, Laurie! This is a book I am already looking forward to reading.

  4. Congratulations, Laurie! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. I can’t wait to read this book and share it with my students (some of whom come from Ghana).

  5. Congratulations! Your success is as inspirational as Emmanuel’s and a testament to the value of persistence, dedication and inspiration. When a story truly calls to us, we must listen and respond. Can’t wait for the details of the super secret illustrator to be revealed. I have a guess, or perhaps a preference…!

    • Thanks, Cathy! I haven’t done anywhere near the things Emmanuel has, but I’m still happy to be called an inspiration. 🙂 And I can’t wait until the illustrator is revealed. You’ll have to tell me if you were right.

  6. Laurie! Greetings from SC. I miss hanging out with writer buds, esp. the monthly meetings, and the annual conference. I saw you on NF4Kids and had to see what you were up to. And boy, what great news!!! I’m so happy that this is going to be a BOOK! Love both the stories of perseverance.

    • Thank you so much, Vijaya! Sorry I somehow missed your comment until now. It’s great to see you here. You’ve been a big part of my journey with the Professional Series Meeting talk you gave and as my Great Critique group leader. Thanks for everything! Miss you!


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