Hi there, everyone, and welcome to Tuesday Debut!
If you tuned in to Perfect Picture Books on Friday, this book will look familiar! But today we get to meet the author and hear about how this book came to be.
I’m happy to introduce you to Claire Noland and her debut picture book, Evie’s Field Day!
EVIE’S FIELD DAY: More Than One Way to Win
by Claire Annette Noland
illustrated by Alicia Teba
Cardinal Rule Press May 1st, 2020
Fiction. Ages 4-8
Evie loves to run, jump, hop, and win. She even has ribbons and trophies to prove it. So, when the school’s field day comes around, she is sure she will add to her winning collection. When Evie finds herself ahead of the pack, she is faced with an important decision. Does she choose the chance at a trophy or the chance to be a good friend? Join Evie as she navigates the playground and learns about sportsmanship and the challenge of losing.
SUSANNA: Welcome, Claire! We’re so thrilled to have you here with us today! Where did the idea for this book come from?
CLAIRE: Thank you, Susanna, for this opportunity to share the journey of EVIE’S FIELD DAY. The idea was a long time coming. As a parent and teacher, I know how much kids hate to lose. On the other hand, sometimes the kids who win aren’t always gracious. So, I had a rough idea but couldn’t quite figure out how to tell the story until… I read a call for submissions from Cardinal Rule Press. They were looking for stories featuring children facing an obstacle or problem that most children must deal with. Then the story seemed to almost write itself as I remembered how much kids enjoy the end-of-the-year Field Day activities and decided that was a good setting for a child who hates to lose.
SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?
CLAIRE: I only had a month to write and revise because submissions were only open for a limited time.
SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?
CLAIRE: I meet with my writing group weekly so I revised for each meeting. I have learned that shorter is better so I cut the original manuscript by 200 words. I also went through and cut things that I thought an illustrator could show in the art.
SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?
CLAIRE: I knew my manuscript was ready when my critique group felt it was done and I read it aloud and thought, “kids will like this!”
SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?
CLAIRE: I submitted directly to Maria Dismondy at Cardinal Rule Press during the open submission window. I read most of the books published by CRP and felt that this manuscript would fit in well with the books they publish. I don’t have an agent but am actively seeking representation.
SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”? (Best moment ever! ☺)
CLAIRE: I received an e-mail from Maria Dismondy setting up an online meeting. This was my first online meeting and I couldn’t get the camera on my computer to work! She told me that a friend had recently shared that her son had a meltdown every time he lost a game. Then she opened my submission and found a book on the very topic. She called me a few days later to let me know they would like to publish my book! As people often say, your book needs to come across the publisher’s desk at just the right time.
SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract? (If you care to share ☺)
CLAIRE: I cried happy tears then celebrated with champagne with my husband. There’s just something so satisfying about clinking glasses.
SUSANNA: Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?
CLAIRE: I have been writing a work-for-hire series which pays a flat fee for each book. Since this is my first trade book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was just thrilled my book was being published. Cardinal Rule Press has been wonderful I received an advance after signing the contract and the rest upon completion of editing. I will receive 10% on all copies sold. I also received hardcover and soft cover copies of the book.
SUSANNA: Can you tell us a little about the editorial process?
CLAIRE: There was some editing but most of the work I did after signing the contract was writing backmatter. Cardinal Rule Press publishes books of special appeal to families, teachers, and librarians. I wrote a section for parents and teachers to use before, during, and after reading. I also wrote suggestions on how to help children learn about good sportsmanship as well as a game I call “good sport/bad sport.” I was able to draw on my experience as a teacher and a mom to four children who were all involved with sports and 4H.
SUSANNA: What was your experience of the illustration process like?
CLAIRE: The illustration process was a lot of fun. Maria Dismondy had a very clear vision for the book with strategic use of color. Even the text becomes part of the art with colorful fonts used to emphasize different parts of the story.
I was able to see sketches throughout the process and I even received a pdf of the rough draft. I reached out to the amazing Alicia Teba (who lives in Spain!) to thank her after the illustrations were finished and now, we’re Facebook and Instagram friends. I did not add any illustration notes.
SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc? What was that like?
CLAIRE: I saw the positive book reviews given by Kirkus and School Library Journal. I was a children’s librarian before becoming a teacher and I made book purchases using these periodicals so I was thrilled to see my own book included.
SUSANNA: How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?
CLAIRE: I signed my contract at the end of February 2019 and had copies sent to me in December 2019. I didn’t open the box because I needed to wait until my cover reveal. I was tempted to peek but I didn’t.
My initial print run is 3,000 books.
SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?
CLAIRE: Everything has changed in a short period of time because of Covid-19. I had a series of book events planned including an actual Field Day Launch with games and activities along with the book reading and signing to coincide with the end of the school year. Now we are having a virtual book launch via zoom. We are also planning something super exciting. Just because kids are learning at home it doesn’t mean they can’t celebrate the end of the school year with fun and games. On May 21st, we are having a virtual field day. Families are encouraged to set up games and activities and post pictures on Instagram with #AtHomeFieldDay and #EviesFieldDay. There will be drawings for some fabulous prizes. My publisher has also put together a social media campaign, a book trailer, a preorder campaign, a blog tour, and is helping me to be a guest on podcasts.
SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.
CLAIRE: One of the best things I did was join a debut group of picture book writers. We’re called the 2020 Debut Crew and we work together to promote our books. I wrote a post on field day activities on my blog and am posting on social media.
SUSANNA: How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?
CLAIRE: I have been writing for many years but rarely submitted manuscripts. I finally made writing a priority becoming involved in my regional SCBWI group, going to conferences and workshops, following kid lit writing blogs, and joining 12 x 12. I sent stories to magazines which were my first sales. I even won the Pewter Plate Award from Highlights for the best rebus story of the year.
SUSANNA: Anything else you’d like to share about your book’s journey from inspiration to publication?
CLAIRE: I would like to encourage pre-published authors to really pay attention to publisher’s guidelines. Cardinal Rule Press was very clear about the books they were looking for but received animal stories, poetry, and many other types of writing that weren’t right for their house. Take time to look at the publisher’s catalogs and, as much as possible, the books they publish. Working with Cardinal Rule Press has been a dream come true for me.
SUSANNA: Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers! We so appreciate your generosity in sharing your experience with us so we can learn from it and wish you all the best with this and future books!
CLAIRE: Thank you so much for featuring me on your blog today, Susanna. I’ve been a long-time follower and I’m pinching myself realizing that I now have a book debut to share.
Readers, if you have questions for Claire, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!
You may purchase Claire’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!
Karen Kiefer – Drawing God (religious market)
Theresa Kiser – A Little Catholic’s Book Of Liturgical Colors (religious market)
Lindsey Hobson – Blossom’s Wish (self pub)