Hey there, everyone!
Welcome to Tuesday Debut!
Each week, I really love getting to showcase a brand new author and her/his first-ever picture book. It’s such a huge accomplishment to get published, and it’s a real treat to get to share in the celebration! But I especially love getting to introduce a debut author who has been a devoted follower of this blog, taken the time to help other writers on Would You Read It Wednesdays, participated in multiple writing contests here, and taken my class – in short, someone I have seen working hard on her craft and whom I now have the pleasure of introducing as a newly published picture book author when all that hard work has paid off! So without further ado, please welcome Jenny Buchet as she shares her journey to publication with LITTLE MEDUDA’S HAIR DO-LEMMA!
Title: Little Medusa’s Hair Do-Lemma
Author: Jennifer Buchet
Illustrator: Cassie Chancy
Published By: Clear Fork Publishing, 2021
Fiction, Age Range: 4-8
Synopsis: Little Medusa is the first Gorgon who doesn’t enjoy having her best serpentine friend wriggle through her hair. She finds herself torn between following family customs and keeping herself and her best serpentine friend happy. In fact, Little Medusa begins doubting if she even wants to scare anyone to stone with a stare!
SUSANNA: Welcome, Jenny! Thank you so much for joining us today! Where did the idea for this book come from?
JENNY: Little Medusa’s Hair Do-Lemma origins are woven betwixt 3Ls. The library, the laundry room, and my daughter’s long (tangled) locks!
After seeing a reptile show at my library, I was intrigued with snakes. Smitten, but not enough to purchase one, I began writing a funny snake story. A month later in the laundry room, I was sorting clothes and revising sentences. Deep in thought about girls and snakes, my own little girl skipped in with very tangled hair. I found myself facing a real-life Little Medusa!
Little Medusa….snakes….hair…scaring things to stone with a stare… I put aside my original tale (and the socks!) and dove into the mythology of Medusa.
SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?
JENNY: The first draft came quickly yet the revisions took months! The story went through several iterations, from swapping Little Medusa’s biggest challenge to revealing how she solves the issue by herself. Not to mention that making one of the world’s best known super-villains into something kid-friendly takes hard work!
Thanks to my critique partners continued feedback, I pinpointed the strongest version that not only had heart, but also humor and a unique twist. Two years and ~60 drafts later, I felt submission-ready.
SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?
JENNY: I knew Little Medusa was ready for submission because I couldn’t write it any better. I’d done my writing homework and then some. Pacing and page turns? Check. Rising incidents? Check. Humor? Yup. Feeling for the characters? Check. Strong ending? Checkity-check.
But before I submitted, I knew I had to write that golden query letter and pitch. Thanks to your Would You Read It Wednesdays, I received invaluable feedback on my pitch!
SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?
JENNY: I subbed Little Medusa to agents for almost a year. After several wonderful “champagne rejections” from agents, where I was close but not close enough, I researched several independent publishers.
SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”? (Best moment ever! 😊)
JENNY: Within a month after submitting to those independent publishers, I received my first “yes.”The long dry spell was finally over!
SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?
JENNY: I’m pretty sure I screamed with delight at the offer and enjoyed a lovely bottle of bubbly with family and friends! I’m not sure I ever came down from Cloud 9, but I did make sure to check and verify all contract minutia. Once all signatures were in, we had another bottle of bubbly—or maybe two!
Then it was back to work. (Yup, you think your story is perfect when you start submitting, but trust me, your stories will be tweaked and tweaked again before final printing!)
SUSANNA: Can you tell us a little about the editorial process?
JENNY: An editor’s role is to make your story stronger; more kid-friendly and /or marketable. Although I thought my work was pretty perfect, my editor felt it needed a bit more “heart.” Rather enigmatic, no?! So we talked and shared ideas, and I revised a bit more, crafting an even better tale.
SUSANNA: What was your experience of the illustration process like?
JENNY: The overall experience was rather collaborative. It took almost a year between signing and acquiring an illustrator, which was a lot longer than I ever imagined. Plus, I was super nervous that I might not like the illustrator’s ideas and I had no idea if I could, or should, say anything.
Fortunately, Cassie Chancy’s work is simply beautiful! From the first round of pencil sketches, I knew I was blessed with an extraordinary illustrator! I stepped back and gave Cassie room to work, answering questions whenever she had them.
During the proofing rounds, I shared my thoughts and any edits with both Cassie and our art director. I’m not a design expert, but I have worked in print before, so if I had an idea, I respectively shared with the team. I’m so happy that everyone worked so well together and we were all open to give and take.
SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.
JENNY: As with many independent publishing companies, the brunt of the marketing falls to the author. Plus, I’m launching in the (hopefully) tale end of a pandemic, which is challenging. So I have to be creative. Although I’m not able to do in-store events or book fairs during the initial launch, I have other marketing ideas extending through the fall. For instance, I’m visiting with several bloggers such as yourself, planning a summer contest & giveaway, and relying on a wonderful network of fellow authors to help provide reviews to Goodreads & Amazon.
SUSANNA: How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?
JENNY: I thought I’d have my first book published two years ago; I had no idea it could take so long! It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I’ve been a part of three different debut groups but on the plus side, I’ve made lots of wonderful new friends and I’m blessed with their support to this day.
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?)
JENNY: These tips truly resonated for me when I started out:
Tip 1: Invest your time and money into kidlit writing classes. You are worth it! I learned so much in one magical month with Making Picture Book Magic!
Tip 2: Join a group of other kidlit writers. You’ll need their support, whether it’s an editorial eye or a boost after yet another rejection. Kidlit peeps understand other writers!
Tip 3: Read a ton of picture books and…. take it to the next level by typing out that story. Study the page turns. Note the path of the arc. Read it aloud.
SUSANNA: Anything else you’d like to share about your book’s journey from inspiration to publication?
JENNY: Wishing on stars and casting dandelion dreams is fine, as long as you have the work to back you up. Because it’s all about getting the “write” story in front of the right person at the right time.
And if anyone has any questions, please comment below, or shoot me an email. I’m always happy to chat kidlit!
SUSANNA: Jenny, thank you so much for joining us today and taking the time to share your experience. We so appreciate it! And I know I speak for everyone when I wish you the very best of luck with this and future titles!
Jennifer Buchet is an award-winning author, pre-kindergarten educator and self-proclaimed foodie. Her kid lit career officially started in 2011, writing for Cricket Media. Today, she is a feature contributor for Faces magazine while also creating new picture books and chapter books, many which feature mouth-watering meals and even a few cute, twisty serpents.
LITTLE MEDUSA’S HAIR DO-LEMMA (Clear Fork Publishing) launches May 2021.
You can swap tales & recipes with Jennifer here:
- Twitter @Yangmommy
- Email: Buchetbooks@gmail.com
- Website: buchetbooks.wixsite.com/mysite
Readers, if you have questions for Jenny, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!
You may purchase Jenny’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)
Julie Rowan-Zoch – Louis (picture book illustration debut!)
Gnome Road Publishing (publishing house debut)
Julie Rowan-Zoch – I’m A Hare So There (author/illustrator debut)
Nancy Derey Riley – Curiosity’s Discovery (author/illustrator self-published debut)