Welcome back to Tuesday Debut!
Today’s debutess has a lovely book called FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE. I can’t wait to show it to you! You might recognize the illustrator too, since she was on Tuesday Debut a few weeks ago (Beverly Warren.) How fun is that?
So without further ado, I’m thrilled to present Candace Spizzirri! She has all kinds of helpful tidbits to share!
Title: FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE
Author: Candace Spizzirri
Illustrator: Beverly Love Warren
Publishing House: Clear Fork Publishing/Spork imprint
Date of Publication: April 19, 2022
Fiction, Ages 3-8
SUSANNA: Welcome, Candace! Thank you so much for joining us today! We’re looking forward to all you have to share.! Where did the idea for this book come from?
CANDACE: Thanks so much, Susanna, for having me on your blog. It is a pleasure to be here! The idea for FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE came from my own childhood. My grandpa Henry and I loved to go fishing together. It was our special thing. This story is about the events of one particular day spent on the lake that is very dear to my heart.
I often look to my own life as an idea generator. The spark for my second picture book, FINLEY; A MOOSE ON THE CABOOSE, was inspired by a trip to beautiful Alaska, where moose roam about freely. (and they’re so adorable!)
SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?
CANDACE: The rough draft of FISHING was written in a few hours one afternoon at my local library. I like to find a cozy corner in the quiet section, be alone with my thoughts, and just let the words flow naturally. But trust me, they’re not all gems on the first go around. I always attempt to write a new story in one sitting, try to turn off my internal “editor” and just get it all down. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a pantser, not a planner, when it comes to writing.
SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?
CANDACE: I don’t know exactly how many revisions there were for FISHING, but not as many as usual for me. The story follows the actual events of one particular day on the lake with my grandpa Henry, so it was fully formed from the beginning. It did require a lot of tightening/cutting of darlings and line/word edits.
I generally go through many revisions before I feel a manuscript is ready to submit. After I write a new story, I like to put it away for a week or two. Then I generally do a bit of revising and send it off to my critique partners.(I don’t know what I’d do without them!) After each has weighed in, I carefully consider all of their comments/suggestions while staying true to the vision for my story.
SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?
CANDACE: My critique partners often tell me when they believe a manuscript is ready to go. Thanks, CPs! I also get a gut feeling that a story is finished. If the story arc is all there, the characters are developed, each line/word has been examined, and I’m happy with the beginning and ending. (endings are the hardest part for me) then, I submit and see what happens. It doesn’t mean there won’t be rejections…there are always rejections when you are a writer. It’s part of the process. Just keep going until you get your “yes”!
SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?
CANDACE: I submitted FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE directly to Callie Metler at Clear Fork Publishing in August of 2018. I was unagented and Clear Fork accepted unsolicited manuscripts.
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”?
CANDACE: FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE went to acquisitions in October 2018 and I had my YES in January 2019.
SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”, which these days is more likely to be “the email”? (Best moment ever! ☺)
CANDACE: My “call” was an in person meeting. How exciting is that?! And yep, it was the best!
Callie Metler had a conference in Southern California in January 2019 just minutes from where I live. We arranged to meet for dinner. I was nervous, but she is so warm and friendly. I have to admit my eyes welled up when she said she loved my book and wanted to publish it. Woohoo!
SUSANNA: How long was it between getting your offer and getting your contract to sign?
CANDACE: I had my YES in January 2019 and signed my contract in early February 2019.
SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?
CANDACE: My husband took a picture of me signing my contract to commemorate the occasion. We had a wonderful dinner and a glass of champagne. I celebrated with my kids and grandkids too. Cheers!
SUSANNA: Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?
CANDACE: The contract was exactly what I expected from a small independent publisher.
SUSANNA: Can you tell us a little about the editorial process?
CANDACE: Much of the editing for FISHING happened prior to receiving my contract. The manuscript went to acquisitions in October 2018 and came back with notes/suggestions to revise and resubmit. At that point I worked with Callie Metler and freelance editor Lynne Marie, now Editorial Director at Clear Fork Publishing, on revisions prior to it going back to acquisitions in early December 2018.
I felt that Callie had a great vision for FISHING and really loved my “slice of life” book. After the illustrator, Beverly Love Warren, paginated the book, we did some additional edits based on page turns. Then, we made a couple of small text changes just before the book went to print.
SUSANNA: What was your experience of the illustration process like?
CANDACE: Early in the process, Callie Metler shared art by a few illustrators and asked for my opinion. I was thrilled when she ultimately chose Beverly Love Warren to illustrate FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE! Callie showed me initial sketches and I loved the direction it was going. I also saw what would become the cover (oh my heart!) and spreads along the way. Bev did an amazing job and I couldn’t be happier with the result. I felt her style fit my story perfectly and she even had a few surprises, like the sweet little dog that accompanies Grandpa and Skye on their fishing trip. Oh, and I didn’t include any art notes in the manuscript for FISHING as I felt they were not necessary.
SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc? What was that like?
CANDACE: I am waiting on reviews.
SUSANNA: How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?
CANDACE: Callie Metler at Clear Fork sent the contract for FISHING in early February 2019 and I held an advanced copy in my hands on March 14, 2022. I must admit, there were tears of joy!
SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?
CANDACE: Clear Fork sent out FISHING to reviewers and did a promotion of their Spring releases. They also sent me high resolution cover art and a PDF version of my book so I could send it out for reviews as well. Clear Fork, Callie Metler, Beverly Love Warren, and I have worked together to market and promote FISHING.
SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.
CANDACE: I belong to two awesome promotional groups @KidLitCollective and @PB22Peekaboo. They have been absolutely invaluable! We share about one another’s books on social media and support each other on this writing journey.
For FISHING, I scheduled an interview blog tour with book giveaways during April, May and June. I created bookmarks, stickers, and other swag. Beverly Love Warren made some fun coloring pages. I have a couple of appearances scheduled and an author visit to my niece’s second grade class.
SUSANNA: How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?
CANDACE: I first started writing back in 2016, but didn’t get serious until January of 2017. I joined SCBWI and Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge, connected with critique partners, started taking classes/webinars, and absolutely fell in love with writing! I sold FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE in February 2019. So, a little over two years.
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?)
CANDACE: Be patient. Work on your craft. Take classes, attend conferences, find critique partners, join writing groups, and connect with the kidlit community. What an amazing, supportive group they are! And most importantly…never give up! You’ve got this!
SUSANNA: Anything else you’d like to share about your book’s journey from inspiration to publication?
CANDACE: I just want to say to pre-published writers, believe in yourself and keep at it! Write the stories only you can tell. Enjoy the journey and make some friends along the way. The kidlit community is truly an amazing group.
I’m so happy to be on your blog today, Susanna! And thank you for all you do for the kidlit community!
SUSANNA: My pleasure, Candace! Thank YOU so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers! It’s such a wonderful opportunity to learn!
Readers, if you have questions for Candace, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!
You may purchase Candace’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)
category: Tuesday Debut
tags: author, illustrator, publisher, title, debut, picture book, picture book writing, publication process