Joan Holub: When I was trying to get published in the 1990s, my husband and I called my manuscripts “boomerangs” because I’d send them out, and they’d come right back, rejected. I was already illustrating children’s books by then and had been focusing on the art in them. The turning point for me as an author was when I began reading tons of children’s books, studying the book market, and talking to real kids about their interests. In 1996, I sold three book manuscripts in three months. My first board book -- Boo Who? A Spooky Lift-the-Flap Book (Scholastic, 1997) – can still be found on the holiday display table in Barnes & Noble most years around Halloween!
Suzanne Williams: I was an elementary school librarian when I started writing for children, so I was already reading tons of children’s books and talking to kids. My turning point came when I took a class on writing for children through the Institute of Children’s Literature. My first submission ever resulted in a sale to Teaching K – 8 magazine (“[Little Boy] Blue Writes to Santa (and Other Activities): Six ideas you can use to involve your kids in creative writing) Nov/Dec 1987. Buoyed by that early success I went on to write a dozen more magazine articles and stories, all of which were rejected in quick succession. Finally, Cricket bought a Thanksgiving story, “Dear Tom: A Thanksgiving Fable” (Nov. 1989) and I sold my first picture book Mommy Doesn’t Know My Name (illustrated by Andrew Shachat, Houghton Mifflin, 1990). Like Joan’s Boo Who?, my first book is also still in print.
Many, many books later Joan and I can tell you that the thrill of seeing a new book come into being never grows old. Right now the two of us are looking forward to receiving our very first copies of Goddess Girls #6: Aphrodite the Diva, which pubs August 9th!
--Joan and Suzanne