It’s Tuesday and time for today’s version of the Tuesday Debut theme song which you may sing to the tune of Happy Birthday 😊
Good morning to you!
It’s Tuesday Debut!
We’re so glad you joined us!
Hope you’ll learn something new!
I know. There’s nothing like starting your day with a little song written by moi 😊
Are you ready to meet today’s debut?
I’m delighted to introduce Kimberly Wilson, and give you a glimpse of her fabulous picture book, A PENNY’S WORTH and her journey to its publication!
Picture Book Title (Fiction): A PENNY’S WORTH
Author: Kimberly Wilson
Illustrator: Mark Hoffmann
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Date of Publication: April 19, 2022
Age Range: 4-8
SUSANNA: Kimberly, thank you so much for coming to talk with us today! Where did the idea for this book come from?
KIMBERLY: Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Susanna!
A Penny’s Worth began as a Storystorm 2019 idea. I looked at the coin jug on my kitchen counter and saw something more––a plucky penny on a mission to prove she’s cent-sational, despite her face value.
Through Penny’s journey, I realized I not only had the opportunity to make readers laugh with countless puns and introduce them to money math, but also to show them the importance of self-worth.
SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?
KIMBERLY: From first draft to the revision that received an offer was about a year and a half.
SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?
KIMBERLY: I did six major revisions on this manuscript. I save my work quite often because I like to go back and forth between versions, etc., and I saved this manuscript approximately 200 times before the official rounds of edits began! I did a lot of layering while writing the manuscript: weaving puns throughout, creating each character’s unique personality, sneaking in some early money math into the dialogue, and forming the ever-important emotional arc. One of the biggest challenges I faced was using the word “worth” both as the face value of money and “self-worth.” I also had to think about how an anthropomorphic inanimate object like a penny could move around from pocket to purse while remaining active in reaching her goal. Sometimes she had to be picked up or passed around, but when motivated, she had to make a move. So, like any penny would, I had her pop out of a hole in a pocket, roll down the sidewalk, and even ride a wave (out of a soda cup, thanks to Mark Hoffmann!).
I was so lucky to have my amazing critique partners with me every step of the way, cheering me on, through frustration and celebration. Writing (and revising!) a picture book takes a village, and I’m extremely thankful for mine!
SUSANNA: That is so true – critique partners are priceless! When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?
KIMBERLY: I knew the story was ready for final submission when I revised the manuscript from my heart. It was then I finally felt Penny’s triumph in learning the difference between face value and self-worth (and my CPs felt the same!).
SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?
KIMBERLY: I had a critique at the SCBWI NJ Conference in June 2019 that turned into an R&R!
SUSANNA: That’s amazing! Take heart, everyone reading this – these things really do happen at conferences! How long after you found out about your book going to acquisitions or after you submitted were you told it was a “yes”?
KIMBERLY: My R&R was approximately a year-long process. I worked with Page Street Kids on a few rounds of revision. But once I had that feeling about the emotional arc we discussed in the last question, the offer came quickly.
SUSANNA: When did you get the email?
KIMBERLY: I received the email offer when I was at the DMV with my then 15-year-old daughter! She had just passed her permit test and we were in the parking lot walking out to the car. Needless to say, I was shaking as she drove us home for multiple reasons 😉
SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?
KIMBERLY: I turned up some 90’s music, popped a bottle of bubbly, and had a little dance party in my kitchen!
SUSANNA: Can you tell us a little about the editorial process?
KIMBERLY: If I could use one word to describe my experience with the editorial process, it would be “collaborative.” This book has been a team effort all the way through, from the bigger picture edit rounds, to line edits, and small tweaks as the art developed. We did a lot of brainstorming at each stage, which is one of my favorite things to do. My editor encouraged and challenged me in so many wonderful ways, and I have grown in my craft as a result.
SUSANNA: What was your experience of the illustration process like?
KIMBERLY: So exciting! I received the first character sketches on my birthday––best birthday gift ever! I was looped it at every step and asked if I had any feedback, from sketches to final art. It was amazing to watch Mark Hoffmann’s talent at work bringing Penny to life on the page. His unique style and amazing color palette complement the story perfectly. I’m thrilled with how our book turned out.
SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews?
Have you ever seen someone dance in the middle of the dentist’s office? That was me when I received the Kirkus Review and read, “Filled with clever and chucklesome wordplay, Wilson’s spry narrative is engaging but also educational, providing a solid, accessible introduction to basic money equivalents.”
I had the same reaction when I later received the Booklist review, “[…] This tribute to what is, the author notes, still our country’s most minted coin offers a perfect opportunity to discuss the difference between mere purchasing power and real value.”
SUSANNA: Very nice! How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?
KIMBERLY: It was approximately 20 months from offer to publication date, though I was able to hold a hard copy a few months in advance.
SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?
KIMBERLY: When I had my marketing meeting, I was amazed at everything they had been doing behind the scenes! They’ve done everything from marketing to booksellers and libraries, to reaching out to social media influencers, submitting for reviews, creating activity guides and bookplates, handling book giveaways, connecting me with bookstores and school visit opportunities––and the list goes on and on!
SUSANNA: Here is a link to a book guide created by the publisher if anyone wants to have a look!
SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.
KIMBERLY: I was so lucky to find my debut group, Kidlit Caravan, early on. We became fast friends and worked hard to create our platform on social media, our website, etc. Working with them and having their support on so many levels has been a highlight of the last year and a half!
I also come from a marketing background, so my wheels are always turning. I’ve been working on social media, a pre-sale campaign, scheduling school visits and library story times, and writing guest blog posts.
Mark Hoffmann, the amazing illustrator of A PENNY’S WORTH, and I have a virtual event tonight, April 5th at 7pm, and I have an in-person (yay!) event Sunday, April 24th at 12pm, at Park Road Books in Charlotte, NC.
SUSANNA: That’s terrific! What an asset to have a marketing background. How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?
KIMBERLY: After dreaming of becoming a writer since the third grade, I finally started taking it seriously in 2017. I joined the SCBWI shortly after, in March 2018 and received my offer for A PENNY’S WORTH two and a half years later!
SUSANNA: What is the most important/helpful thing you learned on your way to publication?
KIMBERLY: I could go on and on about what I’ve learned. But the biggest lesson for me, has been patience––with my own writing, querying, all the way through publication process (and beyond). With that, I also try and focus on things I can control versus the things I can’t (sometimes easier said than done!). Just recently, due to shipping delays, the publication date for the book was pushed back two weeks to April 19. I couldn’t swim out into the ocean and bring the books ashore, so I’ve used the extra time to reach out to more bookstores and schools.
SUSANNA: Thank you so much for joining us, Kimberly, and sharing your knowledge and expertise! We so appreciate the opportunity to learn from your journey! Wishing you all the best with this and future titles!
Represented by Victoria Selvaggio, Storm Literary
A PENNY’S WORTH (April, 5 2022, Page Street Kids)
A DOLLAR’S GRAND DREAM (Spring 2023, Page Street Kids)
Readers, if you have questions for Kimberly, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!
You may purchase Kimberly’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)
Kate Allen Fox – Pando: A Living Wonder Of Trees (nonfiction)
Rebecca Mullin – One Tomato (board book)
Cynthia Argentine – Night Becomes Day: Changes In Nature (illustrated with photographs)
Anne Appert – Blob (author/illustrator)
Karen Condit – Turtle On The Track (hybrid publishing)
Renee LaTulippe – The Crab Ballet (picture book poem)
Amy Duchene – Pool Party (collaboration/co-writing)