Welcoming a Debut Author

If you aren’t a writer you may not understand the strange passion that storytellers experience when they create with words. Spending time with fictional characters may seem like a frivolous pursuit… just as frivolous as splashing paint on a canvas or producing a series of musical sounds. Trivial stuff that any child can do, right?

But for the artist who struggles to express his creativity, the passion is a byproduct of talent stirred by emotion. I’ve always believed there is a subtle difference between talent and ability, talent being an aptitude or gift and ability being more of an acquired skill.  I’m beginning to think perhaps it’s just a matter of different semantics.

Norma McGuireMy aunt, Norma McGuire, has been heard to say, “My husband was the artist; I paint.” Well, in addition to being an artist, he was a storyteller. Years ago he created a cast of characters for a series of bedtime stories that entertained his sons and later his grandsons.

After his death eight years ago, Norma began transcribing his stories, embellishing them and adding her watercolour sketches to produce a chapter book for young readers. Her goal? “I would like [the manuscript] published as my gift to all children.”

With two friends assisting her in the editing process, she went through nine drafts before beginning to approach agents and publishers. All authors know how long the querying process can take. Finding an agent who will represent you can sometimes take years, and then finding an interested publisher can take the agent many more months.

Steve Laube, president and founder of The Steve Laube Agency, and a 30 year veteran of the bookselling industry, provided this rough guide to the average length of time it takes to get a book published.

  • “From idea to book proposal to your literary agent: 1-3 months;
  • “from agent to editor and book contract offer: 2-5 months;
  • “from contract offer to first paycheck: 2-3 months;
  • “from contract to delivery of manuscript to editor: 3-9 months (sometimes longer);
  • “from delivery of manuscript to editor actually working on it: 2-5 months;
  • “from editor to publication: 9-12 months.
  • Total time from idea to print: approximately 2 years.”

My aunt will be ninety this spring, and her family wanted to make her dream happen sooner rather than waiting for an indefinite later. So… we had it self-published as a surprise Christmas gift for her.

(All photos courtesy of Ra McGuire)

(All photos courtesy of Ra McGuire)

Now that she has had time to recover from the surprise and decide on marketing details, THE ADVENTURES OF JOHNNY AND MR. FREDERICKS is available to order. Information is on her blog, ‘Nonie Grace’ and also on the book’s website here.

I hope you’ll stop by to welcome this very special and talented debut author to the writers’ community and check out her new release.

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9 thoughts on “Welcoming a Debut Author

  1. catknutsson says:

    How awesome is that! Yay!

  2. S. Etole says:

    A truly remarkable gift for all of you.

  3. joylene says:

    Ah, Carol, what a wonderful gift. The look on your aunt’s face… I’m so glad you are able to capture it. That look is … made me teary. What a blessing.

  4. Norma McGuire says:

    Carol, you are full of surprises!
    Although I am now classified as an author, I don’t have the words to express my gratitude for all you have done for me.

    There is an old saying about you can’t choose your relatives but you can pick your friends. I have the happy experience of one of my best friends just happens to be my niece. How lucky can I get!

  5. Shari Green says:

    YAY, Auntie Norma!! :D

  6. Darlene says:

    This in itself is a wonderful story! I am so happy for all of you.

  7. Lovely publishing story, Carol! I know your aunt must be ecstatic to see her book in print.

  8. Carol says:

    Thanks for all the good vibes and comments. It was a delight to work on this project and I’m so glad the surprise elicited such a great response. The photos were taken by Norma’s son, Ra, who had his camera all ready.

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