Sudipta Barthan-Quallen started off her PB workshop by saying, "There are writers and there are authors. Writers write for the pure joy of writing. They write what they love. Authors write to get published. They know the market and they write to it. There is nothing wrong with being either one, but you should know which one you are." (Okay, she may have said it a little better than that, but you get the gist.)
I knew the answer.
I started out as a writer who thought she was an author. I wrote cute, sweet little stories with great language. I happened to get lucky... I got a contract for Hop! Plop! in 2003.
In 2008, I became an author. I know the exact moment when it happened.
I subbed a PB manuscript to Stephen Barbara.
He wrote back saying, "I can see the Dr. Seuss influence here and the fine and playful grasp of language you have. I’m concerned though that this may not be quite a big enough concept in this difficult picture book market. Are you working on anything else?"
And I suddenly got it.
I had received five years of rejections saying, this is charming and we love your rhythm and rhyme, but we have to pass. But in that one line from Stephen Barbara, I got the gestalt. Something clicked. I finally understood that if I wanted to get another book published, I needed to WRITE SOMETHING BIGGER.
Something high concept. Something with mass appeal. Something with a strong hook.
Shortly after, I wrote THE THREE NINJA PIGS. I knew immediately that this one would sell. And it did.
Which category do you fall into? Are you sure?