Come on in, find a comfy place to sit, get a nice cup of coffee (or whatever you’d like to drink,) and let’s get ready to learn all we can from today’s Tuesday Debut, Ana Siqueira, who has come to share her journey to publication with us! Maybe learning about BELLA’S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS can help us with our quest for success! 😊
BELLA’S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
written by Ana Siqueira
illustrated by Geraldine Rodriguez
Beaming Books, 07/13/2001
Fiction PB, 4-7 years old
Bella wants to find out what she’s good at. But she quits everything she (barely) tries because she’s a desastre. She must learn it’s okay to try again or she won’t be good at anything. #growthmindset
SUSANNA: Welcome, Ana! Thank you so much for coming to chat with us today! Where did the idea for this book come from?
ANA: I got inspired by my daughter who is a gifted and perfectionist girl. She would quit if she was not the best. I also studied growth mindset and I wanted to write a book to show kids making mistakes is not only okay but important for the process.
SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?
ANA: It took me about 10 months. My first version had a girl in a writing competition. Maybe this story is also a little bit about me and all writers out there – Don’t Quit is the message, right? I got help from my amazing critique partners and two professional editors.
SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?
ANA: As I mentioned before, this book went through many revisions. I am a true believer in revisions and trying new suggestions and feedback. But this was the second book I wrote (after my 20-year hiatus when I moved here). So I got a professional critique and that helped me a lot. I decided to change the writing aspect to baking. Then, it was a competition. I removed the competition and add the Abuela. So, this new version went through a complete transformation, but I learned a lot from this manuscript.
SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?
ANA: After 10 months of working hard on it, I got a like at a pitmad event. I revised it a few more times and even though I was not 100% it was ready, I decided to submit it to Beaming Books. And I got an offer.
SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?
ANA: I submitted it directly to the publisher – Beaming Books- on October 22nd, 2019. And a few hours later my mom died. I truly believe my mom has helped me to make this decision to submit it.
SUSANNA: How long after you found out about your book going to acquisitions (if you did) or after you submitted were you told it was a “yes”?
ANA: After two weeks, I got an email from Naomi Krueger letting me know the book was going to acquisitions. Wow. I was so excited. Two weeks later I got an offer.
SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”, which these days are more likely to be “the email”? (Best moment ever! ☺)
ANA: After the offer, I queried some agents with an offer of publication e-mail. And my agent Andrea Walker replied in hours. Then, we had the call. We clicked and I wanted to accept it right away. I asked for a few days, but I couldn’t wait too long and I told her YES! I got another offer after that. Oops. But I am very happy with Andrea Walker and her efficiency. After getting the agent, it took about a month to sign the contract.
SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?
ANA: I went to dinner with my family. We went to my favorite Thai restaurant.
SUSANNA: Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies, etc.?
ANA: To be honest, I didn’t have a clue, so I didn’t know what to expect. Since my first contract was with a small publisher, the advance was smaller than the ones I got with my new deals with Simon and Schuster, and HarperCollins. But I was very happy to get a nice deal. The royalty percentage was negotiated by my agent and they’re standard.
SUSANNA: Can you tell us a little about the editorial process?
ANA: I loved working with Naomi Krueger. We did work on a few, small changes, nothing big.
SUSANNA: What was your experience of the illustration process like?
ANA: I loved the illustrator chosen from the beginning. Geraldine Rodriguez is fabulosa. Naomi Krueger consulted me about the main character and other details I would like to have included. I saw some sketches and the cover right away. I’m still in love with Bella and I know I’ll have to get a Bella doll.
I did include some art notes. For example, when she says her frosting was like cocodrilo skin, I included a note to let them know it was burnt. But for this story, I did not need that many art notes. For my second book about the Bruja, I needed a lot of art notes, since the girl is an unreliable narrator. She says, for example, she is in a cauldron with starving cocodrilos, and she’s really in a bathtub with toys. So I’m in favor of using art notes when needed.
SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc? What was that like?
ANA: Not yet. I hope I will get some good reviews. Crossing my fingers.
SUSANNA: How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?
ANA: I got an ARC copy by the end of May 2021. The offer was November 2019. So one year and a half. So exciting!
SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?
ANA: Social Media Campaign, National trade and library advertising, publicity campaign, special promotions to schools and public libraries, and more.
SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.
ANA: I have been trying to participate in events such as Panels, Conferences, NerdCamps, etc. I also did a giveaway campaign with Las Musas. I am in two debut groups – Story Jammers and 21fortheBooks. I will have a blog tour during July. My virtual book launch with Tombolo Books and The Writing Barn will be on July 17th at 11:00 Central Time.
SUSANNA: How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?
ANA: After my long 20-year hiatus (I had books published in Brazil), it took me one year. I restarted writing in January of 2019 and I sold my book in January of 2020.
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?)
ANA: Learn as much as you can before trying to submit and query. You wouldn’t expect to learn how to be a talented pianist in a few months, the same happens with writing. If you can pay for professional critiques, they can help not only with the story being critiqued but by teaching you a lot. Some affordable editors are fabulous such as Lynne Marie and Angela Burke Kunkel.
SUSANNA: Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers, Ana! We so appreciate you giving us the benefit of your experience and wish you the best of luck with this and future titles!
Readers, if you have questions for Ana, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!
You may purchase Ana’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)