Welcome to Tuesday Debut, Everyone!
You may remember today’s debut-ess. She was part of the first of our picture book collaborative series with Picture Book Junction back in January.
Today she’s here to tell us about her journey to publication with her debut picture book, PATTERNS EVERYWHERE, which is her first book, but not her only one. She has quite a few titles coming out over the next couple years, so I’m thinking we can all learn a thing or two from her today! 😊
Please join me in welcoming Lisa Perron!!!
Lisa Varchol Perron
April 4, 2023
Look around and discover patterns in the natural world—from leaf veins to snowflakes to sand dunes. Rhyming verse is accompanied by stunning photographs, and brief sidebars explain how these different patterns form.
SUSANNA: Where did the idea for this book come from?
LISA: The idea sparked during a family hike, and I was further inspired by my husband’s scientific research (which includes wave ripples and the spacing of ridges and valleys). I started asking lots of questions and then reading some books, and I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to write about the breadth of patterns in nature. I’m always interested in exposing kids to more information about our natural world because the more we know and appreciate about the Earth, the more invested we become in taking care of it. When generating ideas for a new a project, I think about what matters to me in general and how a given manuscript connects to that area of meaning.
SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?
LISA: Including research, writing, and revising, it took about a year between getting the idea and submitting the manuscript to Millbrook Press. I was working on several other projects in the meantime. It often helps me to step away from a finished manuscript for a little while and then return to it with fresh eyes.
SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?
LISA: With rhyming manuscripts, the minor revisions are countless. But the structure of this manuscript stayed the same as when I first wrote it, and a few of the stanzas are almost identical to the first draft. Once my nonfiction manuscripts are complete, I ask an expert in the field to review the main text and backmatter for accuracy, and sometimes I have specific questions that I’ll ask an additional expert. Then I revise some more based on their feedback.
Lisa’s work space: her dining room table (and her laptop was decorated her daughters)
SUSANNA: I already have a follow-up to that question which I hope you can answer in the comment section: Where do you find the experts you need? I think our readers might wonder about that! When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?
LISA: I won two professional critiques with published authors, and they both told me to send it out and recommended the same editor at Lerner/Millbrook.
SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?
LISA: At the time I submitted the manuscript (fall of 2020), I wasn’t yet agented and had only sent out a handful of queries. One of the authors who recommended Lerner/Millbrook also told me that I could use her name as a referral, which was very kind and generous. I had the opportunity to submit to Carol Hinz after my local SCBWI agent/editor day, so I chose this manuscript and mentioned the author who referred me.
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”?
LISA: I think it was six or seven months after I submitted the manuscript that I learned it was going to acquisitions, and then I got the “yes” the day of the acquisitions meeting.
SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”, which these days is more likely to be “the email”? (Best moment ever! 😊)
LISA: I was walking to meet a friend from graduate school when I got the email on my phone. It was amazing timing because this friend was visiting from out of state, and she has always been incredibly supportive of my writing. (She had me write a poem to read at her wedding!) I was so grateful that I got to celebrate my very first book offer with her.
I wasn’t asked to make any changes prior to the offer, but the editor did ask if I would be willing to have the book photo illustrated. I had included reference images with my submission, as well as illustration notes, and I was thrilled with the choice to use photographs.
SUSANNA: How long was it between getting your offer and getting your contract to sign?
LISA: Once I received the offer, I asked if I could follow up with agents because I had some open queries. I signed with my agent during that time, and so the contract then went through the agency. Lerner sent it almost immediately after the contract terms were set.
SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?
LISA: I celebrated the offer over coffee with my good friend and then dinner with my family, but I don’t think I had a separate celebration for the contract. I was happy it was official, though!
SUSANNA: Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?
LISA: I had no expectations with my first contract! The terms were standard for a debut author with this house, and my agent negotiated on some of the terms such as author copies. The publication timeline was exactly what we agreed upon, and communication with the editorial team was wonderful throughout the process.
SUSANNA: Can you tell us a little about the editorial process?
LISA: It went very smoothly! There were minor revisions on the main text and sidebars, and I had the opportunity to add two additional spreads. (I’d accounted for more endpapers, so we had room to add more content once the layout was determined.) The editorial team also asked me for additional backmatter, including a glossary and further reading list. Our vision was aligned throughout, and everyone was a pleasure to work with.
SUSANNA: What was your experience of the illustration process like?
LISA: This was a photo-illustrated book, and I was consulted along the way to make sure the photographs accurately matched each pattern described in the text. We made a few adjustments during the editing process, and I’m very pleased with the design team’s beautiful work!
When I submitted the manuscript, I included art notes suggesting a child and grown-up could be exploring through the seasons (with a circular arc of spring-summer-fall-winter-spring). I think the editor’s vision to use photographs really adds to the sense of wonder, and the seasonal arc is still subtly there in the images.
Millbrook Press ™, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group
SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc? What was that like?
LISA: Yes—and I was especially happy to learn that PATTERNS EVERYWHERE received a starred review from School Library Journal! Reviews are very subjective and I think it’s important as a creator not to get too attached to them one way or the other. But it’s very nice when a reviewer recognizes a book’s strengths and helps to get that book into the hands of more readers.
SUSANNA: How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?
LISA: It was about a year and a half after the offer. It’s a great feeling to be able to hold the book and read it with kids—including my own!
SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?
LISA: I received a marketing packet about six months before the publication date that included information and tips about marketing activities. The publisher sent the book out to reviewers, included it in their school and library catalogue, and promoted it on social media. They also did the design for the educator guide. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list, just some examples.
SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.
LISA: I’m in two marketing groups, Picture Book Junction and STEAM Team 2023, and we’ve done some group blog interviews and work to promote each other’s books. I’ve also taken part in a few individual blog interviews. I made bookmarks and stickers for upcoming school, library, and bookstore visits, and I hired an educator (who is also an author) to help create the content for a teacher’s guide: https://lisaperronbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Patterns-Everywhere_Activity-Guide.pdf
SUSANNA: How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?
LISA: It was about two years after I started taking classes, going to conferences, and becoming active in the kid-lit community.
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?)
LISA: In addition to peer critique groups, take advantage of opportunities to share your work through conferences, professional critiques with published authors, and contests. It’s a great way to meet people in different parts of the publishing industry and at various stages of their career, and sometimes it leads you to write something you might not have created otherwise.
SUSANNA: Anything else you’d like to share about your book’s journey from inspiration to publication?
LISA: It has been so enjoyable to share this journey with critique partners who have books coming out this year! We ask each other questions, share tips, and keep each other laughing. (Keep an eye out for my friend Suzy Levinson’s brilliant debut next week!)
Thank you so much for having me, Susanna. Your blog and writing contests have been an important part of my growth and learning, and I’m grateful to have the chance to share my experiences here with other writers.
SUSANNA: I’m so glad if anything I did was helpful to you at all! Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers! We so appreciate the opportunity to learn from your experience and expertise! Wishing you all the best with this and future titles, of which I know you have quite a few coming! 😊
Author Lisa Perron
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.perron.7568 (But I don’t really post on FB)
Readers, if you have questions for Lisa, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!
You may purchase Lisa’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 HERE!
30 thoughts on “Tuesday Debut – Presenting Lisa Varchol Perron!”
I’m so impressed with the concept of patterns in nature. It’s surely a book I would have enjoyed reading as a child. Will be purchasing it for my four year old grandson. Love the photos. They are lovely.
Wonderful! I hope you and your grandson enjoy it!
Some children on the spectrum will see this as a help to convince others of what they have been seeing for a while in their part of nature where they live; my daughter included.
Great point–thank you! I hope you and your daughter enjoy the book!
What an amazing concept for a book. Stories really are everywhere. I love the way the text is told in rhyme and the backmatter shared on the page, to extend thinking and knowledge. Congratulations, Lisa.
Thank you, Norah! I love reading books with layered text, and it was fun to write one!
And fun to read, I’m sure.
Thank you for sharing your exciting experience and amazing book!
Wishing you much success!
Thank you so much!
This looks amazing – both lyrical and informative! A great reminder that nature is an endless source of inspiration. Congrats Lisa!
Thanks, Laura. Agreed–nature is endlessly inspiring!
Congrats. Lisa. You know I love this book! BRAVO!
Thanks, Kathy. I’m so grateful for your support and encouragement!
Congrats Lisa!! The book looks gorgeous.
Thanks so much, Lauri!
Susanna said: “I already have a follow-up to that question which I hope you can answer in the comment section: Where do you find the experts you need? I think our readers might wonder about that!”
I know several scientists who study subjects I’ve written about, so I’ve reached out via email with specific questions or to ask them to look over a manuscript. I’ve been struck by how generous and responsive everyone has been. But you don’t have to know someone personally to reach out. A great way to find experts is to read recent journal articles about the topic and then contact the corresponding author. Many people are eager to share their expertise to help kids get accurate information that might inspire them to learn even more about that field!
Thanks for sharing this, Lisa! The photographs look exceptional. I also love rhyme!
Rhyme is great for the development of early literacy skills, and it can help build confidence in more experienced readers. Plus it’s fun to read aloud! Thanks for your support.
Congratulations, Lisa! I’m looking forward to reading your book with my little ones.
Thanks, Sarah. I hope you and your little ones enjoy it!
Beautiful! I love seeing patterns in nature, and amazing photos of that same nature. Wow! Congrats!
Thanks so much, Angie!
Congrats Lisa! That is such a great story and what beautiful photos for your book.
Thanks, Deb. I love the photos, too. The design team did an amazing job!
Love this idea, Lisa. Congratulations! How did you get the photos for your book or did the publisher handle that. I am a photographer and am hoping some day to have a book with my photos and writing paired together.
Lisa, This subject matter is dear to my heart. Nature creates such amazing wonders for us all to enjoy. I can’t wait to get a copy! Congrats on a beautiful debut book 🙂
This is such a cool book idea. I can’t wait to look thru it!
Congratulations, Lisa! This is such a fascinating topic. The photos (which are stunning) give me something concrete to look for when I’m out walking, hiking or kayaking. So cool!!
Congratulations! I can see so many kids of all ages being fascinated by this book. Thanks for sharing your publishing journey. It was so informative!
Yes, Rhyme and pattern are natural partners, aren’t they? Congrats on making this beautiful book! I do think that photo illustration was a great way to go here, since you have so many perfect examples that kids can find for themselves in nature and relate to.