Tuesday Debut – Presenting Royal Baysinger!

Welcome to today’s edition of Tuesday Debut, everyone!

I realized, as I’m in the habit of introducing authors here as “Debut-esses”, that today’s debut is only the 3rd man to be presented in our series so far. Out of 105! (The others being Matthew Lasley way back at #12, and John Bray, #97, in case you’re interested 😊) I guess that’s an indication of how much more prevalent women are in the world of picture book writing!

This publication journey is also interesting because the author and illustrator submitted as a team, which is pretty unusual.

So, without further ado, I’m delighted to present Royal Baysinger and his debut picture book, KASANOVA – LOST IN LOVE!

Kasanova – Lost in Love
Written by Royal Baysinger
Illustrated by Tamzon Olmstead
Lawley Publishing, 18 Oct. 2022
Fiction, Ages 3-8

Kasanova is a lonely koala who is tired of hugging his old gum tree for comfort. Desperate for love and someone to hold close, he falls for the first creature he sees – a kangaroo. Confident that she will appreciate his koala wooing techniques, he goes to great lengths to impress her. But will they be enough to win her affection?

Royal Baysinger’s humorous story is brought to life with Tamzon Olmstead’s playful illustrations and lush watercolor designs. Join the fun as Kasanova charms his way into your heart.

SUSANNA: Welcome, Royal! Thank you so much for joining us today! We are looking forward to hearing all about you journey to publication! Where did the idea for this book come from?

ROYAL: I had an Australian roommate after high school, who told me that koalas are listless and docile, except during mating season. He claimed it was due to their diet. As a joke, I suggested that maybe they were just heartbroken and disappointed in love. I wrote the idea in a writing journal and forgot about it. Years later, I came across the note and expanded it into a short poem about a koala falling in love with a kangaroo. Then it sat in another writing journal for several more years.

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

ROYAL: 6 months, once I decided to turn it into a story. For much of my life, I have written ideas, scenes, and poem fragments in journals. I wanted to make writing my profession, but I was scared I wouldn’t be taken seriously. Because of that, I just amassed a lot of wishing, rather than written work. In February 2021, I decided to commit to the craft and become a writer. I sifted through journal ideas, and this one made its way to the top of the pile in April. By October, it was the completed manuscript as it exists today.

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

ROYAL: I did. Initially, I was writing it in rhyme. I got up to 110 words, then decided to scrap it and write it in prose. In about a month, I had a workable draft of 550 words and started sending it out to reading groups, making alterations along the way. At the same time, I pitched it to my sister, Tamzon Olmstead, who is an illustrator. She got excited about the idea and her sketches and storyboarding gave a lot of GREAT ideas that caused me to make some creative tweaks in the story-telling.

SUSANNA: Wow! I love that you are a writer and your sister is an illustrator and you were able to work as a team! What a talented family! When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?

ROYAL: By early October, we had a book dummy put together which made its way through additional reading groups. Based on that final feedback, we changed the ending a bit and felt comfortable sending it out for publication by mid-November. The book dummy included the full manuscript and storyboard, a cover design, and two interior spreads in full color.

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

ROYAL: We submitted our book dummy with a query letter directly to the publishing house in late November 2021. We chose to go with a smaller publisher so that we could be considered as a team. Lots of the bigger publishing houses refuse to take illustrations unless you are an illustrator/author and most publishers, if not all, reserve the right to accept the words without the illustrations (or vice versa).

SUSANNA: How long after you submitted were you told it was a “yes”?

ROYAL: Just under 2 months! I was shocked and thrilled that the response came that quickly! I had expected to wait at least 6 months, as that was the timeline they gave on their website.

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

ROYAL: The contract was fairly standard. I used the sample contract in SCBWI’s “The Essential Guide to Publishing” and took it point for point. It gave all the information you could ask for and made the whole process a lot less stressful. The terms I asked to have adjusted, were easily resolved. But in hindsight, I would have asked for more author copies.

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

ROYAL: I was envisioning a long process with several rounds of editing that would magically change my story into the brilliance of two combined creative minds. In the end, I received a few grammatical recommendations, which I took, and a bit of good advice to write a sentence or two more at the end, which I did. But after that one round of revisions, it was done.

SUSANNA: What was your experience of the illustration process like?

ROYAL: This was my favorite part of the whole process! It helped having a close relationship with the illustrator! I got to see sketches and give input. I live on the east coast and Tamzon lives out west, but with video conferencing and digital drop boxes, it was easy to bounce ideas off of each other. Like any other collaborative effort, there was a lot of synergy involved and things took shape quickly. By the time we had our dummy put together and the book was accepted, there wasn’t anything more to be revised as far as the layout was concerned. Initially, I didn’t have any illustration notes in my manuscript; I only include them when I feel that there is a visual plot devise that I want to leave out of the text itself. But if I were to re-submit this manuscript to a different illustrator today, it WOULD have illustration notes, based on some of the changes we made during our collaboration.

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

ROYAL: I noticed that they had some social media posts in the first week of the release. But they haven’t really kept us in the loop about what they are doing behind the scenes. We were pleased to hear that they had submitted for a review with Readers’ Favorite. Kasanova received a five-star review shortly after the release. The publisher also gave us a list of things we should be doing to market the book ourselves, which is difficult as I do not enjoy being a salesman nor have I ever been big on social media.

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

ROYAL: Tamzon and I put together a book trailer and book release announcements which we posted on social media. Tamzon made some awesome bookmarks and colouring pages. We are currently working on putting together activities that will be posted on the publisher’s website, but we are waiting to meet with their educational consultant.

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

ROYAL:11 months. In the beginning, when I had more time, I had a daily word count goal of 1,000 words, which I seldom achieved. Now that I am a lot busier being a stay-at-home parent, I switched to a time goal of 2 hours, which I hit way more often.

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?)

ROYAL: Set yourself daily writing goals that work for you and your schedule. Don’t forget to set macro goals (weekly, monthly, yearly) as well to give your writing some direction! Make yourself accountable.

Finish what you start. I don’t know who said it, but it bears repeating: The worst thing you’ve ever written is better than the best thing you’ve never written.

Find as many willing readers for your initial drafts as possible. Feedback is gold when it comes to improving your craft.

Be brave and start submitting. I have read so many stories from other writers that I wish they would submit, because I KNOW they will get published, and I WANT to buy their book!

Contracts are MEANT to be negotiated. Don’t be scared to push for terms that will benefit YOU.

There will always be naysayers, even yourself, but pay them no mind. Just keep writing! Like any other craft or trade, it is one that requires daily practice and endless perseverance.

SUSANNA: Great advice! Thank you so much for joining us today, Royal, and sharing your experience and knowledge. We so appreciate the opportunity to learn from you and wish you all the best with this and future title! Readers, if you have questions for Royal, please post them in the comments below and if he has time I’m sure he’ll respond!

Author Royal Baysinger

Royal Baysinger, Author

website: royalbassinger.com
twitter: @RoyalBaysinger

You may purchase Royal’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

– 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!

Gabi Snyder – Two Dogs On A Trike

Sarah Kurpiel – Lone Wolf

Vicky Fang – Invent-a-Pet

Lisa Katzenberger – National Regular Average Ordinary Day

Pam Webb – Someday We Will

Abi Cushman – Soaked!

Teresa Krager – Before Your Birth Day

Lindsay H. Metcalf – Beatrix Potter, Scientist

Nancy Roe Pimm – Fly, Girl, Fly! Shaesta Waiz Soars Around The World

Jolene Gutiérrez – Mac And Cheese And The Personal Space Invader

Julie Rowan-Zoch – Louis (picture book illustration debut!)

Janie Emaus – Latkes For Santa

Amy Mucha – A Girl’s Bill Of Rights

Hope Lim – I Am A Bird

Melanie Ellsworth – Hip,Hip…Beret!

Rebecca Kraft Rector – Squish Squash Squished

Gnome Road Publishing (publishing house debut)

Sue Heavenrich – 13 Ways To Eat A Fly

Julie Rowan-Zoch – I’m A Hare So There (author/illustrator debut)

Nancy Derey Riley – Curiosity’s Discovery (author/illustrator self-published debut)

Moni Ritchie Hadley – The Star Festival

Sita Singh – Birds Of A Feather

Ann Magee – Branches Of Hope: The 9/11 Survivor Tree

Amanda Davis – 30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag (nonfiction)

Jennifer Buchet – Little Medusa’s Hair Do-lemma

Michelle Vattula – The Stalking Seagulls

Christine Van Zandt – A Brief History Of Underpants (nonfiction)

Candice Marley Conner – Sassafras And Her Teeny Tiny Tail

Ashley Belote – Frankenslime

Becky Scharnhorst – My School Stinks!

Darshana Khiani – How To Wear A Sari

Ana Siqueira – Bella’s Recipe For Success

Kate Allen Fox – Pando: A Living Wonder Of Trees (nonfiction)

Jenna Waldman – Sharkbot Shalom

Karen A. Wyle – You Can’t Kiss A Bubble

Rebecca Mullin – One Tomato (board book)

Cynthia Argentine – Night Becomes Day: Changes In Nature (illustrated with photographs)

Karen Greenwald – Vote For Susanna: The First Woman Mayor (nonfiction)

Anne Appert – Blob (author/illustrator)

Patti Richards – Mrs. Noah

Dianna Wilson-Sirkovsky – James’ Reading Rescue

Karen Condit – Turtle On The Track (hybrid publishing)

Renee LaTulippe – The Crab Ballet (picture book poem)

Amy Duchene – Pool Party (collaboration/co-writing)

Kimberly Wilson – A Penny’s Worth

Candace Spizzirri – Fishing With Grandpa And Skye

Carrie Tillotson – Counting To Bananas

Patrice Gopo – All The Places We Call Home

Rebecca Gardyn Levington – Brainstorm!

John Bray – The End

Jocelyn Watkinson – The Three Canadian Pigs: A Hockey Story

Katie Mazeika – Annette Feels Free: The True Story of Annette Kellerman, World-Class Swimmer, Fashion Pioneer, and Real-Life Mermaid (nonfiction)

Shachi Kaushik – Diwali In My New Home

Carrie Sharkey Asner – Blueberry Blue Bubble (self published)

Gela Kalaitzidis – Ozzie & Prince Zebedee (author/illustrator)

Caroline Perry – The Corgi And The Queen (nonfiction)

Phyllis Harris – The Gift Shop Bear

28 thoughts on “Tuesday Debut – Presenting Royal Baysinger!

  1. Brenda Covert says:

    Susanna, thank you for this introduction to Royal. I’ve enjoyed his Halloweensie stories, so it was wonderful to learn more about him and his writing!

  2. Royal Baysinger (@RoyalBaysinger) says:

    Susanna, I appreciate the opportunity to be showcased in your Tuesday Debut! You mentioned that I was one of only two men to be featured in the series so far, but I’m sure there have been others. For example, earlier this year, you DID feature author John Bray and his beautiful book “The End” (illustrated by Josh Cleland). I’m pleased to appear alongside such gifted women, and men! And I really enjoy all of the different titles you bring together in all of your series. It exposes me to so many wonderful books I would never have found otherwise! Thank you!

      • seschipper says:

        Wow! Congratulations, Royal! I’ve always enjoyed all of your entries in the various contests as well as the positive, encouraging comments to everyone else’s submissions! Looking forward to reading KASANOVA!
        Tamzon’s illustrations look amazing! Looking forward to adding this to my collection! 🙂

      • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

        Glad you enjoyed the interview, Susan! And Royal was amazing about commenting on all the entries for Halloweensie, wasn’t he! I should have probably given him and extra prize for that! 😊

      • Royal Baysinger (@RoyalBaysinger) says:

        Susan, thanks so much for the kind words! I’m SO pleased to hear you will be adding Kasanova to your collection! Tamzon really does wonderful work! As to commenting on others’ submissions, like I said in the interview, feedback is gold. I know how helpful it can be to hear what you are doing RIGHT and I know I ALWAYS look forward to getting feedback on Susanna’s wonderful contests! It breaks my heart to think of anyone not getting at least SOMETHING after putting in the work. I’ll always try and do what I can.

  3. marty bellis says:

    Susanna, this was a fun one. I, too, have enjoyed reading Royal’s entries in your contests of late and so, knowing he has a book out is extra exciting.
    Congrats, Royal!!!! To your talented sister, as well.
    And I must tell you, I took a screenshot of your writing advice! Love this sentence, in particular: “Finish what you start. I don’t know who said it, but it bears repeating: The worst thing you’ve ever written is better than the best thing you’ve never written.” Great advice!
    Enjoy this new experience, and may you find continued success. All the best to you!

    • Royal Baysinger (@RoyalBaysinger) says:

      Marty, thank you so much for your sweet comments! I always look forward to reading your stories in the contests as well! That bit of advice you quoted resonated with me as well. It is one I STILL need to work on. So many partial stories…still so much work to do. Thank you for your well wishing! I fully intend to just keep on writing. I hope you do too!

  4. kmajor2013 says:

    Congrats to Royal and Tamzon on the publication of Kasanova, Lost in Love! What an interesting story behind the story. I always enjoy hearing about the genesis of books! Also, I appreciate his advice in the interview and his comments on my Halloweensie story too. Thanks for creating such an great showcase for writers, Susanna!

  5. palpbkids says:

    Congratulations! What an exciting time this is for you both. Thanks for sharing that this publisher accepts author/illustrator teams! Wishing you all the best!!

  6. authorlaurablog says:

    I’m thrilled to read this post and have been a big fan of this feature of Susanna’s even before I was a debut back in 2019. I love everything about this post and am going to order your book next. Congratulations, Royal and Tamzon on your collaboration.

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