Welcome to Tuesday Debut, Everyone!
You are in for a treat today! Our debut-ess is sharing some fabulous information on her writing process, query letter, and marketing that we can ALL learn a great deal from!
I’m thrilled to introduce you to Sharon Giltrow and her very entertaining debut picture book BEDTIME, DADDY! which, incidentally, would make a ***fantastic Father’s Day gift*** for anyone who happens to need one! I have had the pleasure of reading it and can highly recommend it, and there are purchase links below for your convenience!
But now, without further ado. . .
Synopsis- Putting Daddy to bed can be hard work but it can be lots of fun. This story will show you how to wrestle your daddy into his pyjamas, read just one more story, battle bedtime excuses and uses go away monster spray to get your daddy to sleep. Full of heart and humour, BEDTIME, DADDY! is for anyone who wants to try and put a grown-up to bed.
Release dates – 1st May 2020 (Australia)
12th May (America), which is today – Happy Book Birthday to me. 😊🎈🎉
Here’s a birthday cake to celebrate. Let’s eat!!
SUSANNA: Welcome, Sharon, and Happy Book Birthday to you!!! We are all as excited for you as you are, and thrilled to have you here with us today! Where did the idea for this book come from?
SHARON: The idea for BEDTIME, DADDY! was sparked in 2017, during Tara Lazar’s writing challenge – Storystorm. A writing challenge where you are encouraged to be open to ideas and write down thirty ideas in 30 days. On Day seven of the challenge my husband was putting our eight-year-old son to bed, after my son brushed his teeth, he found his daddy lying in his bed. That gave me the idea of a role reversal story where the child puts their daddy to bed.
SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?
SHARON: In June 2017, I took my idea and started brainstorming how to put a grown up to bed. I planned out all the steps in the bedtime routine. I researched funny parenting memes, and parenting blogs. Then I used this brainstorm and research and wrote the first draft of BEDTIME, DADDY!
SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?
SHARON: Once I was happy to share my story, I sent it to my international critique group – THE WORDLIES. We share stories at the start of the month through a google docs group and critiques are due by the end of the month. I took the suggestions that were helpful and revised and revised and revised. Version six sold to EK Books in June 2018. One year after I wrote the first draft. Here is how the beginning of BEDTIME, DADDY! changed from version one to the final published version ten.
|How to Put a Grown-up to Sleep – version1||Bedtime, Daddy! – version10|
|A grown-up can get grumpy.
A grown-up can get tired.
A grown-up sometimes needs to be put to bed.
And this is how you do it.
When your grown-up starts rubbing their eyes and yawning.
Announce “It’s time for bed!”
Your grown-up will start crying immediately.
HOW TO CONSOLE YOUR GROWN-UP
Give your grown-up a cuddle.
Wait for them to stop crying.
Explain that bedtime happens every night and that it isn’t a punishment.
And wait for crying to stop again and say, “still bedtime”.
Then watch your grown-up move at a snail pace to their bedroom.
|When you see your daddy rub his eyes and stifles a yawn.
Announce, “Bedtime daddy!”
Your daddy will start crying immediately.
Give him a cuddle until he stops.
Tell your daddy, “it’s still bedtime.”
Watch as he moves as slow as a sloth to his bedroom.
SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?
SHARON: In November 2017 I started submitting BEDTIME DADDY. But, after receiving a number of rejections, I decided that the story wasn’t quite ready. So, with more help from my critique group and a publisher’s critique I started submitting again.
SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?
SHARON: In June 2018, I submitted directly to EK Books who are an Australian publishing house who accepts unsolicited manuscripts. Here is the query letter that I sent.
As an author with an interest in humorous picture books with heart, I am seeking representation from a like-minded publisher. Pasted below for your consideration is my 343 word, 5-8-year-old, – humorous, plot driven picture book manuscript, Bedtime Daddy.
Putting a daddy to bed can be hard work. But it can be loads of fun too. A little girl wrestles her daddy into his pyjamas, reads just one more story, battles bedtime excuses and uses go away monster spray to get her daddy to sleep. Bedtime Daddy, a story for anyone who has ever tried to put a grown up to bed.
Readers of such picture books as Jean Regan’s How to Babysit a Grandad, Tammi Sauer’s Your Alien and Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Bedtime for Mommy will similarly enjoy the story Bedtime Daddy.
I am a member of SCBWI and the 12×12 picture book challenge. I am also an Early Childhood teacher working with children with Developmental Language Disorder. I have several other submission ready PB manuscripts available upon request.
Thank you for your consideration and time. I look forward to your response.
I still use a similar query format for current submissions but my bio has now changed and now includes my publishing credits and writing awards.
SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”? (Best moment ever! 😊)
SHARON: Two weeks after submitting to EK Books I received ‘the email’ while on a family vacation. I read the email over and over again to make sure it was real. Then I researched EK Books some more, looked at their published books, emailed one of their published authors and then made the decision to accept their offer. EK Books didn’t request any revisions and I signed the publishing deal in August 2018, two months after I submitted BEDTIME, DADDY!
SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?
SHARON: To celebrate signing the contract my family and I went out for lunch at our local beach side café. After lunch I made them take photos of me, thinking that these would be my author photos. I later got professional author photos taken 😊.
SUSANNA: Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?
SHARON: As this was my first publishing contract, I didn’t really know what to expect. However, through the great KidLit community I knew what clauses to be wary of. The contract didn’t contain any red flags and was straight forward and fair. I didn’t receive an advance. I receive 15% royalty of the publisher’s net receipts in Australia. For copies sold overseas I receive a 10% royalty of the net price received. In addition, I receive 7 author copies. Ten additional copies have been sent to book reviews and KidLit gurus around the world. I was also able to purchase author copies at a discounted rate of 40%.
SUSANNA: Can you tell us a little about the editorial process?
SHARON: After sending version six of BEDTIME, DADDY! to Anouska Jones, the editor of EK Books, I made slight changes at the word level which were accepted. Anouska suggested one textual change, which was change the title punctuation from BEDTIME DADDY! to BEDTIME, DADDY! Anouska also suggested that the characters be bears instead of people. I had always pictured the characters as people but when she shared her reason, which was that bears would have more of an universal appeal, I was happy to accept the change.
SUSANNA: What was your experience of the illustration process like?
SHARON: Anouska then asked the amazing illustrator Katrin Dreiling to do some preliminary sketches for the characters. These sketches were of people and bears. I put these sketches up on my wall so I could compare them. Once I had seen the sketches, it became even clearer that bear characters were the way to go.
Then Katrin’s story board was shared with me, which I added my text to. I made a few suggestions and both Anouska and Katrin where very open to these. Katrin revised the sketches and seven months later I saw the first coloured PDF’s. That was a very exciting day.
I was very happy with the way that Katrin illustrated my story and I was very happy that I left room in my text for her to add her illustrative ideas. When I submitted the manuscript for BEDTIME, DADDY! I only had one illustration or art note, which was for the last page. Illo note: Child falls asleep outside the door; daddy gets out of bed picks the child up and puts the child into bed and winks).
SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc? What was that like?
SHARON: Not yet but I hope to 😊.
SUSANNA: How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?
SHARON: Twenty-one months and the initial print run was 2000 books.
SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?
SHARON: Approximately six months from the release of BEDTIME, DADDY I devised a marketing and sales plan. I sent this to EK Books and asked their marketing and sales team what they would do, what I was expected to do and what we would both do. This is the marketing and promotion that EK did for BEDTIME, DADDY!
- Created a Media Press Release
- Sent the Media Press Release to local press, bloggers, reviewers, radio stations
- Set up Media interviews
- Cover release to all online book stores
- Shared the ARC with media and reviewers.
- Posted reviews on their social media
- Designed and printed book marks
EK Books has a fantastic international sales and marketing team which reply promptly to any of my queries They also sent me a guide to getting consumer reviews for my book.
SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.
SHARON: The first and best thing that I did in regards to marketing and promotions was to join a debut picture book group. Our group is called the 2020 Debut Crew. It was through this group that I learnt how to create a marketing plan. Without the support of this group the marketing of BEDTIME, DADDY! would have been a lot harder. Here are some of the marketing and promotion that I did.
- Had professional author photos taken
- Had a Daddy Bear soft toy made through the company Budsies
- Wrote the book blurb
- Made my own stickers
- Organised a cover reveal
- Made a list of KidLit gurus that I wanted copies of BEDTIME, DADDY! sent to.
- Developed a blog tour
- Set up an author page on Amazon, Goodreads and Library thing
- Promoted pre-orders through social media
- Wrote guest blogs
- Set up interviews on blogs
- Planned my launch party and re-planned a virtual launch party.
- Created twitter giveaways
- Created teaching notes
- Created a book trailer
SUSANNA: How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?
SHARON: Five Years
Photo of my family and I with my first copy Photo of my niece and nephew
My work space and work buddy Daddy Bear with his book
SUSANNA: Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers, Sharon! We’re so grateful to be able to learn from all the wonderful specifics you shared about revision, querying, and marketing, and we wish you all the very best of luck with this and future books!
Readers, if you have questions for Sharon, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!
You may purchase Sharon’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)