My second book with a major publisher has been set free into the world. Colors versus Shapes was the second book in my initial two book deal with HarperCollins back in early 2011. I remember when I first heard how far off the first books publication date was, and now the dates for BOTH books has come and gone!
Things have changed a lot in the past couple years, and I still vividly remember the phone call that changed so much for me. But the year leading up to that call is just as etched into my mind, but for a different reason. It happened to be a very rough time for me in my career. A low point. After leaving my job 5 years earlier to pursue my dream in publishing, I didn't really have any direction or traction. I was running out of savings and I worried about providing for my growing family. All these things started to add up and weigh me down. Doubt is never usually far away, but it had moved right in. I questioned whether I had made the right choice to pursue a career and follow this dream making books for kids.
It was the spring of 2010 that the gears of events to this process started turning. I'm sure it was a bit before, but I can trace a few major events back to this as the beginning, which now seem to have been wonderfully orchestrated. One day, in reading my regular blogs that I followed, Dan Santat asked for some coloring help for a graphic novel that he was working on (Sidekicks). On a whim, I responded. I had the hope that I would be able to learn a bit about storytelling and what is really involved in making a graphic novel. I ended up with much more.
That led to me meeting up with Dan that summer at SDCC, where were I also hung out for the first time with James Burks and his agent Kelly Sonnack - who happened to be with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency - where only a year earlier, I had been represented. All these small things led me to just reaching out to my agent again, and before I knew it I was represented again. Jen Rofé sent out my ideas again right away. We had had some early interest in 123 versus ABC (which originally was titled Numbers vs Letters), but initially everyone passed. We did get some great feedback though, and a new vision for the book. Then, a few months later I received that phone call which left me doing a short dance, some tears of joy, and a smile that made muppets proud.
I've had an wonderful experience so far in publishing and gained some wonderful friends (like James and Dan). It is my hope and goal now that this would continue for the rest of my career. I know there will be ups and downs, good reviews and bad reviews (and I've had some of both already), expectations not met, and others blown away, and through this all, probably a lot of middle of the road as well.
I must add a special thank you to my amazing wife and kids, who have been absolutely unwavering in their support and encouragement. I love you.