This photo was taken at sunrise after a hike up to the top of Spyglass Mountain in the British Virgin Islands with my husband Sam. At the end of the programs, we write our goal cards. One of my goals was to write a book.
My writing journey started over a decade ago with the desire to write a book. The goal morphed into writing children's books when I became a mom, almost 7 years ago. When covid hit, those who had heard me say "I want to write children's books" over and over again had heard enough of me saying "what if" and not actually doing anything about it, especially my husband. So, Sam gave me the not so subtle nudge to finally do it. I had the time. I had the ideas. I found the class. I started writing, and I loved it. I wrote more, loved it more. My free time was dedicated to writing. I ended up writing six manuscripts, but I have tons of ideas in my head.
Fast forward to late April, early May, I thought, maybe someone will want to publish my stories? So, I started walking that path. Submitting or querying publishing houses and agents is a very detailed, time consuming, and complex process on its own. But, I went for it. Publishers started responding. A few contracts came my way. I didn't know what to look for and found out pretty quickly that I needed help reviewing contracts before I sign them. Rights, Distribution, type of printing, illustration discussions, the list goes on and on and on. I am not a literary lawyer and I know absolutely nothing about publishing. I found some great people in the industry to help guide me, I hired a literary attorney to help review, the whole time knowing that I really ultimately needed to be working with an agent because my personal situation was getting pretty complicated.
After querying more agents than I'd like to discuss, I found one who loves my stories, believes in me and wants to work with me. Jeanie with Loiacono Literary Agency decided to sign me on and all six of my manuscripts! Whoo Hoo! I am getting a lot of questions. The most common is, what does it mean to have an agent? This means LAA will help edit the manuscripts and put together submission packages to query publishing houses that I wasn't able to submit to myself. She will negotiate the contracts on my behalf and help guide me to making the best decision for me as an author. I was taking care of the submission process before on my own, but now Jeanie and her agency will take care of that entire process. So to clarify, the announcement about LAA signing me is about them believing they can sell my stories to a publishing house. I still have that very big step to go. LAA is an agency, not a publishing house. It's a HUGE RELIEF for me, a big reason to celebrate, and one step closer to getting my books into the hands of children worldwide.
Thank you for the continued support and excitement. It's a wonderful outlet for me and a big weight off my shoulders to have experts working on my side. Time seems to be a bit scarce for me lately as I'm starting back with Global Expeditions Group next week. I'm also currently in season as the head JV field hockey coach at Collegiate. (Go Cougars!) A lot of friends think I'm crazy, but I have found things I love. I'm busy doing things that fulfill me in different ways... and it's great. Fueling the passion!
More to come...
It's been a long summer of crazy highs and lows for me on this journey to publication. I thought I'd share some incredible resources I've found along the way while navigating these really big decisions. At times, I've felt completely frozen and unable to decide which avenue will be the best for me; making what seems like impossible decisions. So, in case you find yourself in my position needing good, honest people's advice and help to review publishing contracts, agent contracts, or need to get a literary lawyer involved to help with negotiations, here are the BEST OF THE SUMMER 2021 (in my honest opinion) because, guess what, I've had to use them all 🙃
In no particular order...
The best pitch / query / critique services for Picture Books: Sara Kruger
You can get in touch with her on twitter @sarakruger and she will work with your pitches, query letters, and also offers full PB critique's. She's fast, honest, and doesn't cost too much money. I haven't found a critique group yet, so she was very helpful to me when I needed another set of eyes. She's really good at what she does!
The best mentor / writing coach: Rosie J. Pova
You can reach Rosie via her website www.rosiejpova.com or on twitter @ROSIEPOV She is very professional, to the point, incredibly knowledgeable about the industry and will pour energy into her students. She is well connected and offers honest feedback. She offers classes online with Writing Workshops of Dallas and also one-on-one mentorships. You can't go wrong working with Rosie!
The best picture book literary attorney: Melissa Edwards
If you find yourself in a situation where you need someone to review or negotiate a picture book publishing offer and you don't yet have an agent, she's your gal. Well, for one thing, she's a picture book agent, so she knows what she's talking about. Throw in there that she's also a literary lawyer, and you have a double bonus. You can hire her just for a contract review or to negotiate with the publisher on your behalf. Up to you. You can find her on twitter @MelissaLaurenE or her website: www.melissaedwardsesq.com
The best publisher offering great advice: Eric with 5310 Publishing
You can find Eric on twitter @eric5310pub He offers an amazing amount of helpful information to authors when it comes to contracts. He will review a publishing contract or an agent contract and offer advice for what is the "norm" in the industry. He posts about things to look for, average royalty rates, copyright, insurances, morality clauses, etc., things that maybe you might not know to look for. I had no idea about any of this. He is a wealth of knowledge.
The best picture book course: Writing Picture Books from Creation to Publication with Rosie Pova and Writers Workshops of Dallas
If you feel like you have a story inside of your head and you don't know the first thing about writing a picture book or how to get it on paper, this course will help you do it. It gives you the foundation and tools you need. I was lucky enough to take this course back in January and absolutely loved it. I enjoyed working with my critique group and watching other's stories transform from idea into polished manuscripts. You won't regret it! Bonus, there is a class that starts August 30, 2021! You can apply online here.
The best pen to write with: Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball
That's the best pen I've been able to find 🤪And bonus, they come in a pack of 8 different colors for those of you who like to color code agendas & planners and manuscripts like me!
That's all for now. Stay tuned for some more updates on all things publishing and updates on my endeavors coming soon. I hope the #writingcommunity will find some of the information in this post helpful. I sure could have used this back in May!
Hope everyone has a great week 💙
Thank you for your calls, texts, voice messages, and the love and encouragement over the past few months, especially the past few weeks. You all have given me offers to host book signings, offers to host me as a visiting author at schools, offers to sell my books in your stores, buy my books in bulk for corporate gifting, seriously your love is overwhelming! I can't wait to take you up on all those things.
At the moment, I'm taking my time while I make some really big decisions involving multiple manuscripts of mine. I can't wait to share more news when I can. Until then, please know much much I am feeling the love and I can't thank you enough! This is both a long process that feels painfully slow some weeks, but also, in publishing world standards, this is happening lightning fast for me. Thank you for following along this crazy ride with me! Rosie, Blake, Joni, Dallas Writers, you continue to be the best professional support system ever!
Blair has travelled extensively all over the world. She and her husband enjoy taking their kids on big adventures together. Blair writes children's picture books for all ages! Most of her stories are inspired by life events that have happened during their adventures. They feature kids curiosity, love of the environment, laughter, and fantasy.