Tuesday Debut – Presenting Gabi Snyder!

Welcome to Tuesday Debut, Everyone!

We all have our favorite books from childhood, and one of mine happens to be GO, DOG. GO! by P.D. Eastman.  If you’re as ancient as I am you may be familiar with it 😊 Anyway, although it is new and different, there is something about today’s debut picture book which hearkens back to that a bit, so I instantly loved the look of this brand new title!

Today’s Debut-ess is the lovely and talented Gabi Snyder, here to share with us her journey to the publication of TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE!

Two Dogs on a Trike
Written by Gabi Snyder
Illustrated by Robin Rosenthal
Abrams Appleseed, May 19, 2020
Fiction; baby to 5 years

Two Dogs Cover

Count up to 10 and back down again in this picture book starring 10 traveling dogs and one very tenacious cat!

 

SUSANNA: Welcome, Gabi!  Congratulations on the publication of your delightful book, and thank you so much for joining us today to share your experience!  Where did the idea for this book come from?

GABI: The dog versus cat dynamic that plays out in TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE was inspired, in part, by my childhood pets. I grew up with a cat we called Kinko (named for his kinked tail) and an assortment of dogs. Kinko was the undisputed boss. Now my family includes one dog and one cat. (They take turns keeping each other in line.)

And, as a kid, one of my favorite picture books was GO, DOG. GO! by P.D. Eastman. I must’ve read that book hundreds of times. The silly dogs and sense of movement and fun in TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE are, in part, an homage to the P.D. Eastman classic. (But as one of my critique partners pointed out, “without the weird hat stuff.”)

Gabi work space writing buddies

Gabi’s work space and writing buddies 😊

 

SUSANNA:  How long did it take you to write this book?

GABI: Unlike most of my stories, drafting TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE was fairly quick and painless. It came out mostly whole. Of course, my brilliant critique partners still had suggestions for taking it to the next level.

 

SUSANNA:  Did you go through many revisions?

GABI: With this book, revisions were fairly minimal. But, in general with a picture book, I think it’s helpful to get a complete first draft down in one sitting. And then I like to let the draft sit and marinate for bit – at least a week. If, after marinating, it still shines, still feels like a promising idea, I revise again. Sometimes I revise several more times before the manuscript feels ready for my critique partners.

 

SUSANNA:  When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?

GABI: I didn’t! It’s lucky I shared TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE with my critique partners because I might not have thought to submit the story to agents and editors if my CP Mary Worley hadn’t encouraged me to send it out.

 

SUSANNA:  When and how did you submit?

GABI: I submitted TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE, and many other picture book manuscripts, to agents as well as editors at small presses before signing with my agent, the fabulous Natalie Lakosil at Bradford Literary, in July 2018.

 

 

SUSANNA:  When did you get “the call”?  (Best moment ever! 😊)

GABI: We received an offer from Meredith Mundy at Abrams Appleseed in late August 2018. It all happened very quickly – but it followed a long wait! I’d been submitting picture book manuscripts to agents and editors since 2014.

 

 

SUSANNA:  How did you celebrate signing your contract?

GABI: Honestly, it took awhile for the good news to fully sink in. I didn’t quite believe it and mostly went on in a business as usual manner for a few days. But my awesome critique partners encouraged me to take a moment to pause and celebrate. So I took my family out for a special dinner.

 

SUSANNA:  Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?

GABI: The contract was in line with my expectations. I was happy to have my agent negotiate the contract for me and know what improvements we could ask for. For a first book, I think the advance was reasonable and the royalty percentages line up with industry standards. I’m delighted that 20 author copies will be coming my way!

And, for picture book publishing, the timeline was actually pretty fast—from offer to published book in under two years!

 

SUSANNA:  Can you tell us a little about what the editorial process was like?

GABI: I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with editor Meredith Mundy and the team at Abrams. The suggested text changes were pretty minor, but definitely strengthened the story. Additionally, we made some punctuation edits—changing the periods in the counting down section of the story to exclamation points to heighten the urgency of the chase!

 

 

SUSANNA:  What can you tell us about your experience of the illustration process?

GABI: As a newbie, I didn’t know what to expect, but was happily surprised that Meredith kept me apprised of each new development with the art. Once we had a finished book, Meredith asked me whether the illustrations matched what I envisioned when I submitted the text. In truth, the book’s illustrations are even more adorable and humorous than I’d imagined. The 80s retro vibe/wardrobing of Robin Rosenthal’s characters is very much in line with my aesthetic. It may sound clichéd, but there’s something magical about the picture book collaboration between an author and an illustrator. The whole is so much more than the two parts!

Art notes played a huge role in my manuscript! For example, at the start of my manuscript, I included this overarching note:

{Art: A cat watches as her dog escapes their yard through an unlatched gate. The reader sees the cat follow, but she is unseen by the dogs. With each new mode of transportation, another dog joins the adventure.}

Here’s one of the finished spreads, showing the cat in hot pursuit!

Two Dogs Int. Spread

 

And here’s another one just for fun 😊

Two Dogs Int. Spread 2

 

SUSANNA:  Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc?  What was that like?

GABI: So I’d heard several writers and illustrators advise new authors (and really all authors) NOT to read reviews. They can sometimes be disheartening; not everyone will love everything you write. And I was all set to follow that advice! But then in late February my editor emailed me with the news that TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE had received a Kirkus starred review! Reading the review still gives me a thrill. You can read it here: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/gabi-snyder/two-dogs-on-a-trike/

Though not as glowing as the Kirkus review, SLJ also gave the book a positive review, calling it, “A recommended purchase.”

The downside of that fur-raising first review from Kirkus is that since then I’ve been waiting and watching for more reviews! I’m embarrassed to say I’ve been Googling my book. Not recommended!

 

 

SUSANNA:  How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?

GABI: I received my advance copy in December 2019, so from offer to first copy was only about 16 months – super fast! The announced first print run was 15,000. Fingers crossed all those copies sell!

 

SUSANNA:  What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?

GABI: I think the bulk of the pre-publication promotion has focused on advance mailing to trade reviewers, educators, and librarians. I believe Abrams intends to promote more at publication with targeted outreach to parenting websites and blogs as well as social media campaigns.

 

SUSANNA:  Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.

GABI: I joined a debut group, the 2020 Debut Crew, to help with marketing and promotion. We share marketing strategies and help spread the word about each other’s debut picture books.

And Robin Rosenthal has created a whole bunch of amazing graphics, including this one, to promote the book.

Two Dogs Promo Graphic

 

SUSANNA:  That is beautiful! 😊  How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?

GABI: It depends on your definition of “writing seriously” – LOL! I studied creative writing in the early aughts but then mostly set my own writing aside for several years.

Fast forward to 2013: when my kids were little (3 and 5), we moved from Austin to Corvallis, Oregon. With a break from work following the move, I found time to get back to my own writing. Only by then, reading daily with my two littles, I’d become immersed in the world of picture books and fallen in love with this form of storytelling. In 2014, I wrote my first picture book and soon after started submitting to agents and editors. So you could say I’d been writing seriously for children for four years before I sold my first picture book, but I’d been a writer much longer.

 

 

SUSANNA:  What is the most important/helpful thing you learned on your way to publication? (Or what is your most helpful piece of advice for up and coming writers?)

GABI: Be gentle with yourself; in other words, don’t expect instant brilliance, instant success. And be especially easy on yourself right now when your attention is likely pulled in so many directions. In times of stress, it can be easy to fall back on bad old habits, like berating yourself for not getting enough writing done or mindlessly scrolling through social media when you mean to be writing. That’s when it’s especially important to lean heavily on your good habits. If taking walks helps clear your head and let you focus, then (assuming you can safely walk right now) keep taking walks!

(Also, keep writing new stories not just revising the old!)

 

SUSANNA:  Anything else you’d like to share about your book’s journey from inspiration to publication?

GABI: You never know what’s might inspire a story; keep an open mind and jot down every idea!

 

SUSANNA: Great advice!  Thank you so much, Gabi, for taking the time to participate in this series and pay it forward to other writers!  I know I speak for all of us when I say congratulations on your starred debut and all the best of luck with this and future publications!!!

GABI: I hope my answers are helpful. Thanks, Susanna, for all you do for the kidlit community. Your blog and website are such amazing resources!

Gabi Snyder

Author Gabi Snyder

Website: gabisnyder.com
Twitter: @Gabi_A_Snyder
Instagram: @gabi_snyder_writer

 

Readers, if you have questions for Gabi, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!

You may purchase Gabi’s book at:
(all links below are book-specific)

Indiebound
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

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

– reviewing their books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other sites where people go to learn about books.

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!

Christy Mihaly – Hey! Hey! Hay! A Tale of Bales And The Machines That Make Them

Jessie Oliveros – The Remember Balloons

Beth Anderson – An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin And Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

Hannah Holt – The Diamond And The Boy

Laura Renauld – Porcupine’s Pie

Annie Romano – Before You Sleep: A Bedtime Book Of Gratitude

Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush

Sherry Howard – Rock And Roll Woods

Kate Narita – 100 Bugs! A Counting Book

Vivian Kirkfield – Pippa’s Passover Plate

Laura Roettiger – Aliana Reaches For The Moon

Matthew Lasley – Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story

Natalee Creech – When Day Is Done

Margaret Chiu Greanias – Maximillian Villainous

Wendy Greenley – Lola Shapes The Sky

Danielle Dufayet – You Are Your Strong

B.J. Lee – There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth

Cathy Ballou Mealey – When A Tree Grows

Pippa Chorley – Counting Sheep

Sandra Sutter – The Real Farmer In The Dell

June Smalls – Odd Animals ABC

Jill Mangel Weisfeld – Riley The Retriever Wants A New Job (self pub)

Kathleen Cornell Berman – The Birth Of Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

Eleanor Ann Peterson – Jurassic Rat

Sarah Hoppe – Who Will? Will You?

Marla LeSage – Pirate Year Round

Stacey Corrigan – The Pencil Eater

Shannon Stocker – Can U Save The Day?

Nadine Poper – Randall And Randall

Christine Evans – Evelyn The Adventurous Entomologist

Karen Kiefer – Drawing God (religious market)

Susan Richmond – Bird Count

Dawn Young – The Night Baafore Christmas

Heather Gale – Ho’onani: Hula Warrior

Ciara O’Neal – Flamingo Hugs Aren’t For Everyone (self pub)

Theresa Kiser – A Little Catholic’s Book Of Liturgical Colors (religious market)

Lindsey Hobson – Blossom’s Wish (self pub)

Kirsten Larson – Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents An Airplane

Valerie Bolling – Let’s Dance!

Janet Johnson – Help Wanted: Must Love Books

Susi Schaefer – Cat Ladies

Heather Kinser – Small Matters: The Hidden Power of the Unseen

Kelly Carey – How Long Is Forever?

Mary Wagley Copp – Wherever I Go

Nell Cross Beckerman – Down Under The Pier

Claire Noland – Evie’s Field Day: More Than One Way To Win

Sharon Giltrow – Bedtime, Daddy!

 

 

29 thoughts on “Tuesday Debut – Presenting Gabi Snyder!

  1. Kathy Halsey says:

    Gabi, I appreciate your advice re: writing 1st drafts. I’ve been writing since 2014, too. Your journey gives me hope. I love Go DOGs GO, too. Congrats.

  2. https://katiewalsh.blog/ says:

    Congratulations, Gabi! This was a wonderful and inspiring post to read. Thank you, Susanna, for the great questions and Gabi, for sharing your journey.

  3. Cathy Ballou Mealey says:

    I just love the cover of your book Gabi – Robin did such a great job pairing your text with energetic illustrations! Congrats on your debut!

  4. Cindy Overcast says:

    Congratulations Gabi ~ Great interview, thanks for sharing your experiences. I just checked my local library system website and I see that they’ve ordered seven copies of your book. I hope many more library systems do the same. In my many years of working in libraries, I’ve noticed that parents will often check out new releases to see what their children think of a book before they buy it. Your book looks like a winner to me 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading it and sharing it with friends.

  5. David McMullin says:

    Gabi, Congratulations! I’ve seen you as a positive presence in the PB community for a while now, so It’s exciting to see you finding success!

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