Tuesday Debut – Presenting Gnome Road Publishing!

It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means!

Time for another exciting installment of Tuesday Debut!

Today’s debut is a very special one! Not an author. Not an illustrator. But a brand new publishing company!

You have a unique opportunity here to learn about this new resource in children’s literature and get in on the ground floor. Publishers need manuscripts to turn into books, and you are the talented people who write them!

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce Sandra Sutter, Owner-Publisher, and the creative force behind debut Gnome Road Publishing!

Gnome Road Publishing – Logo Design by Wendy Leach

SUSANNA: Hello, Sandra! We had you here on Tuesday Debut with your delightful picture book, THE REAL FARMER IN THE DELL, back in April of 2019, but we are delighted to welcome you again as Owner-Publisher and creative mind behind a brand new publishing company – Gnome Road Publishing! You are a published picture book author.  What inspired you to start a publishing house of your own?

SANDRA: Gnome Road Publishing has been on the horizon for quite a while. I knew in my heart that becoming a publisher was my ultimate goal when I first began writing for children in 2017. I am a behind-the-scenes kind of person, and I love bringing ideas and people together. Once upon a time (in former lives), I was a counselor and a mediator, and those same skills and enjoyment found in collaborating with others seem to be at play. Now, with my experience in the publishing industry, I have the tools and information I need to finally move forward.

SUSANNA: How did you choose the name “Gnome Road Publishing” and what does it represent?

SANDRA: Little did I know when I chose the name (way back in 2019!) that gnomes would be as popular as they have been lately. I’m taking that as a sign of good things ahead. The name comes from a real place (an actual road) in the mountains of Northern Colorado, near where I grew up. It would be much more interesting if I had a story to tell about gnomes and how that relates to a publishing house, but the truth is I simply like the earthy, mythical, and somewhat mischievous nature of gnomes. And, the name reminds me of a childhood place associated with happiness and the outdoors. I think illustrator Wendy Leach, who I hired to design the logo and artwork for the website, was able to capture that feeling and history for me. I really love how it all turned out.

SUSANNA: What do you hope to accomplish/what are your goals/what is your mission as a publisher? (What do you want from authors and illustrators, and what do you hope to provide for readers?)

SANDRA: If you look on the GRP website, you will see two mission statements. One is for the (future) readers of our books, and the other for creatives that come to work with us. I feel a responsibility to not only produce books that children love and want to read time and again, but to also shine a light on the talented people who create these stories. My job as a publisher is to be a bridge that connects authors and illustrators together with children that love good storytelling and reading.

SUSANNA: Can you tell us about your staff members and staff structure? Associate editors, art director, art editors, etc?

SANDRA: Well, there is me at the very top. And then there is me at the very bottom. This is a small, start-up press so I am responsible for almost all aspects of the publishing process. However, that does not mean I work alone. I have a team of helpers, from members of my Acquisitions and Editorial Advisory Board to consultants on design and marketing strategies. And, this is a family-owned business, so I have hands-on support at home, too. As the company grows, I look forward to building a staff dedicated to furthering the GRP mission. 

SUSANNA: What will you publish? Board books? Novelty books? Picture Books? Early Readers? Chapter Books? Graphic Novels? Middle Grade? YA? Fiction and/or Nonfiction? Please be as specific and detailed as you care to be – the more information the better 😊

SANDRA: Can I pick “D. All of the above?” I certainly wish I could publish them all! But starting out, my focus will be on picture books through early middle-grade and a select number of upper middle-grade and young adult novels. As much as I like board books, I am not actively seeking them. Long-term, I am interested in producing novelty books and items under the Gnome Wild! imprint. But all in good time.

Logos and Art by Wendy Leach

SUSANNA: As owner/managing editor, what is your wish list for each category?

SANDRA: The GRP website has a wish list for each of the imprints which I hope provides guidance on what we are looking for (and what I particularly like as a publisher). But no matter the specific topic or style of writing, one thing a story must have is the “R” factor. Re-readability! I want to publish the story a child will pick out at bedtime three times a week, the one with the tattered corners and curled pages from being checked out and loved so much at the library, or the one a classroom of children beg the teacher to read at story-time. Please – send that story to me!  

Another way to answer this question might be to share a few of our household favorites (picture books, in no particular order):

  • Tyrannosaurus Rex v. Edna, the Very First Chicken by Douglas Rees (Illus. Jed Henry)
  • They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
  • The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins (Illus. Jill McElmurry)
  • The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt (Illus. Adam Rex)
  • The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard (Illus. Oge Mora)
  • A Gift for Amma by Meera Sriram (Illus. Mariona Cabassa)
  • Holy Squawkamole! by Susan Wood (Illus. Laura González)
  • Caring for Your Lion by Tammi Sauer (Illus. Troy Cummings)
  • The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
  • Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert (Illus. Lisa Brown)
  • Read the Book Lemmings by Ame Dyckman (Illus. Zachariah O’Hora)
  • Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book by Yuyi Morales
  • The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig (Illus. Patrice Barton)
  • There are no Bears in This Bakery by Julia Sarcone-Roach
  • Teach Your Giraffe to Ski by Viviane Elbee (Illus. Danni Gowdy)
  • Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller (Illus. Anne Wilsdorf)
  • When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Deenihan (Illus. Lorraine Rocha)
  • The William Hoy Story by Nancy Churnin (Illus. Jez Tuya)
  • In the Sea by David Elliott (Illus. by Holly Meade)
  • Predator and Prey by Susannah Buhrman-Deever (Illus. by Bert Kitchen)
  • Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

There are so many more! A few of my older favorites are The Upstairs Cat, The Riddle Monster, and Calvin and Hobbes comic strips. And if you really want to get my attention, get your hands on a copy of This Room is Mine by Betty Ren Wright (Illus. Judy Stang) and send me something like it for today’s market.

SUSANNA: How many titles do you expect to start with and in what genres?

SANDRA: The plan is to start with 4 to 5 picture books, an early reader or chapter book (with series potential) and one or two MG or YA novels each year, with the first releases coming out at the end of 2022 or beginning of 2023. I would like to double that soon thereafter, but again, one step at a time.

SUSANNA: Will authors and illustrators receive an advance?  What will the royalty structure be like?

SANDRA: Yes, authors and illustrators will be paid on an advance against royalties structure in a traditional publishing format. It should be no surprise that advances will not be as competitive as in a large publishing house, but I believe strongly in providing something upfront for work acquired at GRP.

SUSANNA: What kind of experience can an author or illustrator expect to have with Gnome Road?

SANDRA: I am glad you asked this, and I think it goes nicely with the last question on advances. We know we cannot fulfill our mission to readers without a list of talented creatives! Authors and illustrators can expect timely and straightforward communication from the earliest point in working together, through production, publication, and beyond. As an author myself, I know that feeling valued and appreciated is important to having a good experience in this industry.

Authors and illustrators will be working with me and the GRP team closely to make a book the best it can be, starting with an initial discussion about the overall story vision, what happens behind-the-scenes to turn a manuscript into a physical book, and how we plan to market and distribute the title. We expect authors and illustrators to work collaboratively to the best of their capabilities. I know what I am able to do as the publisher, but I also want to know what each of their strengths are and how that fits with our overall goal to get the book into the hands (and hearts) of young readers. We want to identify those strengths and help creatives to successfully continue down their publishing paths. And perhaps this is a good time to answer the next question . . .

SUSANNA: Will authors and illustrators be expected to have existing social media platforms and presence? How much will they be responsible for marketing and publicity?

SANDRA: Yes. No. Maybe. Is that a good answer? It’s 2021. There is steep competition for space on the shelf, whether that be in a store, a library, school, or someone’s home. Every bit of marketing and positive publicity helps. Although we will be working with a distributor and part of the budget for each title will include an allocation for marketing (and reviews), an author or illustrator should have (or plan to develop) a social media platform to assist in these efforts. Authors and illustrators will not have ultimate responsibility for marketing their book(s), but we encourage active involvement in this process. This can come in many forms – not just a social media platform. But having one is almost essential at this point.

SUSANNA: As a new publisher, how do you plan to tackle marketing and distribution?

SANDRA: “Tackle” is an appropriate word for this topic. Although I love the creative aspects of being a publisher, the fact is much of my time is devoted to making quality products (in a physical sense as much as in the stories told) and getting them into the hands of as many readers as possible. I made the decision early on that GRP would use offset printing rather than print-on-demand services. This provides a wider range of options for distribution and marketing, but it also requires more time and money upfront and greater financial risk. This is one reason advances are less attractive than those found at a large, traditional publishing house. It means I must be very selective about choosing manuscripts and take on a limited number of projects so that resources can be put towards finding book buyers and building the brand as a whole. It is a balancing act of trying to attract talent, making quality products, selling them, and also keeping workload manageable and finding help when needed. Interview me again in five years and ask if all of my hair has turned gray. Chances are it will, and largely because of this.  

SUSANNA:  Will you submit your titles for review by top reviewers (Kirkus, SLJ, Booklist, etc) and for awards?

SANDRA: Yes. I feel this is a core component of a marketing and publicity strategy. But I do not want to discount the importance of less formal reviews and publicity found through connections within the greater Kidlit Community. We will work with our creatives on identifying and creating opportunities for personal growth and publicity through avenues like blog tours, podcasts, online promotional groups, book fairs, school and library visits, honor and awards submissions, and bookstore and influencer relationships.

SUSANNA: Do you have any advice for authors and illustrators who are planning to submit to GRP?

SANDRA: Let’s call it “Words of Wisdom”. First, learn your craft, get critiques, and write a good query letter. If you submit no query at all with the manuscript, send a 900-word story for pre-school age children, or fail to use any type of standard formatting, it is almost certain that submission will end up in the “no” pile. Almost. I could be wrong, but why take that chance with your work? Make your submission the best it can be. My Acquisitions Team will always appreciate the effort!

Little Gnome – Logo Design by Wendy Leach

Please come visit, get to know, and follow Gnome Road!

website: https://www.gnomeroadpublishing.com
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/GnomeRoadPub
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/gnomeroadpublishing/

Submissions Info HERE

SUSANNA: Sandra, thank you so much for stopping by today to tell us about your wonderful new publishing company! It’s so exciting – for you and for us! I think I speak for everyone when I say we can’t wait to see what you will publish!

And thanks to everyone 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

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Little Tiger AND Little Panda!!!

It’s an extra special Perfect Picture Book Friday today, my friends!

Today we’re celebrating a writer who, like so many of us, shows up and does the work, writing stories, practicing and perfecting her craft day after day, month after month, year after year in whatever time she can find between her work as a preschool teacher, her family, and life in general.  And in the kind of happy outcome that inspires us all, her hard work and perseverance are paying off!

I first got to know Julie Abery (bio and links at end of post) when she began entering my writing contests 5 or 6 years ago with one delightful story after another, several of them featuring the Teensy-Weensy Witch 🙂  In March 2015, she took my class and I had the privilege of working with her for a month while she wrote a wonderful story about a Paper Owl.  She started a blog called Little Red Story Shed (doesn’t that just make you want to go there?!) and then in September of 2017 I was thrilled to see the announcement in PW that she had sold her first two books!!!

I am so happy to share them with you today, just three days after their book birthday!

Although board books and not technically picture books, sometimes it’s fun to share books and activities for youngest readers – the early preschool crowd 🙂 So let’s dive in and have a look at these delightful little books! 🙂

Little Tiger Cover Little Panda Cover

Title: Little Tiger / Little Panda

Written By: Julie Abery

Illustrated By: Suzie Mason

Amicus Ink, March 12 2019, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-5

Themes/Topics: Little Tiger: baby jungle adventure, mother/child love, language fun (rhyme); Little Panda: baby snow adventure, mother/child love, language fun (rhyme)


Little Tiger:
Little Tiger
in the morning sun.”

Little Panda:
Little Panda
spies a snowy day.”

Brief Synopsis: Both stories are “day-in-the-life” adventures in which the little one romps and plays and experiments… but mama is always close by to watch over and keep them safe.

Links To Resources: Special Resources straight from the author!!!

Hi Susanna.

Thank you so much for inviting Little Tiger and Little Panda to Blueberry Hill. We have been looking forward to visiting you on Perfect Picture Book Friday for sucha long time!

We are so happy that you and your granddaughters loved our books sooo much! How about a little painting fun to go with the books.

Little Tiger and Little Panda handprints…

Pandahand         tigerhand

They are TIGER-ific!

Fun and easy to make, just don’t forget to have a bowl of soapy water to wash those paint-covered hands.

Or, how about making bookmark corners? We discovered these origami corners on the RedTedArt website, here is the link on how to make the panda version (https://www.redtedart.com/panda-bookmark-corner/?cn-reloaded=1)

This is me learning how to fold the origami bookmark corner.

And this is what the finished article looks like.


How stu-PANDAS is that!

We hope that you enjoyed the Little Tiger and Little Panda craft time. And we are happy to announce that there will be two more books in the Little Animal Friends series publishing with Amicus Ink same time next year!

Thank you so much for taking time to stop by and share these wonderful activities with us, Julie!!!

Why I Like These Books: the stories are sweet, engaging, and accessible to youngest readers/listeners.  The rhyme is fun to read aloud, with perfect rhythm and fun internal rhyme as well as end-of-line-rhyme (e.g. “Little Panda winking, blinking spies a snowy day.  Little Panda stumbling, tumbling, bumbles out to play.”) Both stories let us play and explore along with baby animals, always feeling the safety of mama’s watchful eye and the warmth of her love. Lovely, gentle reads, perfect for bedtime or any time!!!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂


Julie Abery is a children’s author and Pre-K teacher. Originally from England, she has spent half of her life living in Europe, bringing up her three (now grown up) children and experiencing new languages and cultures. She now calls Switzerland home.

Julie is looking forward to welcoming; her debut board books Little Tiger and Little Panda publishing in Spring 2019 with Amicus Ink with a further two in the Amicus Little Animal Friends series publishing in Spring 2020 ; a nonfiction picture book biography entitled Yusra Swims from Creative Editions (TBA); a true story Mr. Joao and Dindim the Penguin, Kids Can Press (Fall 2020) and nonfiction picture book Sakamoto and the Sugar-Ditch Kids from Kids Can Press (Spring 2021).

She is represented by Essie White of Storm Literary Agency.

 Website: https://littleredstoryshed.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @juliedawnabery

Facebook: @julieabery