Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hop! Plop! - Life of a Picture Book, Part III - Labor Pains (a.k.a. The Contract)

Okay, I know I am stretching this metaphor a bit too far. But I am already entrenched.

We sent Hop! Plop! out to publishers in the fall of '02. It was late Sept, 13 months since we had come up with the idea. It might have gone out sooner, but it had been a crazy year. I had gotten engaged, pregnant, and married, in that order. (I was 36, so I figured "why wait?") Then, at the end of July, in my 22nd week of pregnancy, I lost the baby. I was devastated.

Subbing Hop! Plop! was a way to try to get my life going again. Our manuscript went out to a half a dozen carefully researched publishers, and the waiting game began. It turned out that my friend, Katie, had a friend, Beth, at Walker. By November, I got the scoop that Walker was interested.

I was desperate to get pregnant again. My life consisted of the following:

1) Peeing to a stick to see if I was ovulating
2) Checking the mail
3) Checking answering machine
4) Checking AOL
5) Peeing on a stick to see if I was pregnant
6) More checking the mail, voice mail, and email
7) Repeating steps 1-6

It was not a great way to live. Because I had been expecting a baby in Dec, I was underemployed, with far too much time on my hands. I tried to write, but I was anxious and depressed and didn't get much done. One by one other rejections trickled in till all my eggs were in the Walker basket. I continued to hound Katie who hounded Beth, but all I could get was "We are still interested, but because Corey is a no-name author, we don't want to make an offer till we have secured a very established illustrator. But she shouldn't get her hopes up. It can always fall through. " How long could it take to sign on an illustrator? Month after month passed. No pregnancy. No contract.

I tried to imagine what the phone call would be like. "Hi, this is Beth Marhoffer. I'm calling to offer you a contract." Would I scream? Jump up and down?

In the end, it came by email. Tali had just walked out my door. I went to my computer and there it was. A note from Beth. I ran to try to catch Tali by the elevator but I had missed her. I called her on her cell and got her in my lobby. She came back up and we screamed together. I felt joyful for the first time in months.

The contract came on June 9th. Three days later, I went for IUI and conceived my daughter, Jordan.


BookChook said...

That was a wonderful story! So glad things turned out well.

So many wonderful picture little time!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

Nice. Maybe we can do a repeat!

Corey Schwartz said...

Ha! No, I am done with the baby thing :)

Rachel Hamby said...

Wow, those days must have been tough. It's so nice to know there was a happy ending!

Laura - Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy? said...

What a stressful time you had - but all worth it in the end I'm sure!

Hey, thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. When I followed the link to your blog I thought I recognised the illustrations on your book. With more investigation I have discovered that it's the same guy who did Gossie and Friends which my kids love!

hytime said...

just discovered your blog and read each and every post. I laughed, I cried, I loved it.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Wow--what an intense time for you! I'm glad it turned out well. Well, except for the worthless agent and marketing and all...good luck in the coming year!

Anonymous said...

Great story. Well, I mean, the story was good, but living through it must have been tough...

Clementine said...

What a wonderful story! I just love happy endings. Do you have an agent now? I'm still submitting to publishers that don't require an agent...and I don't know whether that's a good thing or not. Gulp.