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.

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.

    • Aw, Annie, thank you so much for the love­ly, kind words! I do hope you’ll even­tu­al­ly fol­low the taps and see where they point you. I’d love to read your sto­ries. Hugs!

  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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