Time for another epic installment of Tuesday Debut!
Everyone’s publication journey is a little bit different. Today’s author achieved publication by winning a Golden Ticket!
I’m delighted to introduce you to Eleanor Ann Peterson and her fascinating debut picture book, Jurassic Rat!
Title: Jurassic Rat
Author. Eleanor A. Peterson
Illustrator: John Seckman
Publishing house: Clear Fork Publishing- Spork Imprint
Age range 5-8 years
‘Jurassic Rat’, introduces children to the fascinating world of a rat that lived in the Jurassic Period. Young children will enjoy the rat’s clumsiness and misadventures while he’s out hunting for food and will learn other dinosaur’s names of that period, and that rats have been around for a long time.
SUSANNA: Welcome, Eleanor! Thank you so much for joining us today! Where did the idea for this book come from?
ELEANOR: While researching how to remove roof rats from my old rambling house, I found an article about discoveries in Spain and China of a rat as big as a cat belonging to the Jurassic period. Bingo! I thought, why not introduce young readers to the evolution of a species in a fun way with Jurassic Rat?
I’m very curious and eager to learn new things. I surf the web looking for a variety of information that interests me at the time, and many have sparked an idea for a new picture book. I eavesdrop on conversations between parents and their children and jot down notes. Kids can be funny! Observe your environment.
SUSANNA: Great advice for finding ideas! How long did it take you to write this book?
ELEANOR: The first draft took me a few weeks to write. I let it sit for a month then took it out of the drawer and read it out loud. I tweaked it a bit then set it aside once more.
SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?
ELEANOR: The book went through many revisions. I’d put it aside once more while working on other manuscripts.
SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?
ELEANOR: I didn’t.
SUSANNA: I love your honesty on that, Eleanor. I think we all feel like that – at least to some degree! When and how did you submit?
ELEANOR: I don’t have an agent at the moment but would like to have one. I didn’t submit. What happened is that I followed an illustration course at the Children’s Book Academy. I used Jurassic Rat for the text. I illustrated the book dummy and had brilliant critique partners that encouraged me along the way. Then…
SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”? (Best moment ever! 😊)
ELEANOR: The Children’s Book Academy have a contest at the end of the course called the Golden Tickets. I got the call from Mira Reisberg, she was one of the judges. She wrote to me saying she loved the story but asked if I were willing to let another artist illustrate it?
My illustrations were not kid friendly for the age range. I accepted immediately.
Here’s a pic of one of my illustrations.
SUSANNA: Your illustration is amazing! But very different from what ended up being in the book – so interesting! How did you celebrate signing your contract?
ELEANOR: My husband and I went out to dinner.
SUSANNA: Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?
ELEANOR: No secrets. I had no advance, but I got higher royalties, and the more books I sell, the higher the royalties. Being a small house, I can understand that they can’t risk paying advances with a newbie author. I help run a family business, so I know how risky it can be when we take on a new employee. The important thing for new authors is to get their foot in the door. They will understand how the publishing world works and be better prepared when the time comes to submit new projects to publishers or agents. From the time I got the call, it took 20 months for the book release, which is a standard timeline for publication. There’s a lot of work involved in creating a picture book. I will receive three hardcover copies.
SUSANNA: What can you tell us about the editorial process?
ELEANOR: I was impressed with the support of my publisher, editor, and illustrator. Mira Reisberg edited the text, but few changes were made.
SUSANNA: How about your experience of the illustration process?
ELEANOR: As a rule of thumb, authors do not butt in. We can’t give our opinion unless requested by the publisher. In my case, a few months after the call, I received an email requiring feedback about the setting and the protagonist. For example; the birds in the Jurassic period were toothed birds as big as hens. The illustrator had drawn a sort of ostrich which didn’t exist then. He promptly changed the illustration to better suit the period. It was a delightful experience working with Clear Fork and Company.
SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc? What was that like?
ELEANOR: Not yet.
SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.
ELEANOR: I’m very ambitious, and as soon as I signed the contract, I was thinking about marketing tactics. I’ve contacted book bloggers for early reviews, posted teasers on social media, created a puppet of Rat, my protagonist for school visits. I’m preparing a video where I interview Rat, to post on social media to create engagement with my readers. I have bookmarks and will have T-shirts printed with a scene of the book. I’m negotiating prices for a plush toy of Rat with a vendor to add to my giveaways (all depends on the price and my budget), and I’m in contact with a developer for a book trailer. I’ll have free downloadable coloring pages of the book on my revamped website, courtesy of the illustrator John Seckman. I could go on and on.
SUSANNA: I can’t wait to see that video! How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?
ELEANOR: I’ve been writing for ten years, and in the past three, I’ve dedicated my time writing for children. I signed the contract for my debut picture book in 2017. My book will be released on June 4th,2019
SUSANNA: Anything else you’d like to share about your book’s journey from inspiration to publication?
ELEANOR: For Jurassic Rat, I can thank my lucky star and Dr. Mira Reisberg and my publisher for believing in me and my story. I never thought I would win a Golden Ticket at the Children’s Book Academy. I worked hard and long hours to create my book dummy, and my hard work paid off in the end.
SUSANNA: It’s a great feeling when hard work pays off! Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers, Eleanor! We all so appreciate getting to share your knowledge and experience! All the best of luck with this and future books!!!
Readers, if you have questions for Eleanor, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!
You may purchase Eleanor’s book at:
(all links below are book-specific)
We can help our debut authors successfully launch their careers by:
– purchasing their books
– recommending their books to friends and family
– recommending their books to our children’s teachers and librarians
– recommending their books to our local libraries and bookstores
– suggesting them as visiting authors at our children’s schools and our local libraries
– sharing their books on social media
Thank you all for stopping by to read today! Have a lovely, inspiration-filled Tuesday! Maybe today is the day you’ll write your debut picture book 🙂
Missed any previous Tuesday Debuts? Check them out!