My New Project

My email inbox is like a grab bag full of costume jewelry with a few gemstones floating around inside. I never know when I open it and reach in if I’m going to pull out a dime-store bauble or a rare ruby.

Most emails are  junk — press releases, spammy people wanting to post an article to my site, offers to share an exclusive contest *insert eye roll* . . . Those I can immediately delete and forget.

Then there are the ones that look promising, but upon further investigation (and wasted time going back and forth in email) I determine are not worthy of my site or my time and effort.

And every once in a while, I get that rare ruby — the one that I know immediately could really be something cool. Like my Olay/Cosmo photo shoot and my invite to join the Target Inner Circle.

A few weeks ago, I opened my inbox to find an email offering me the opportunity to write a book — a children’s book, actually.

Now I have to tell you, as the Book Deal has become the “new black” among bloggers, I have secretly hoped that someday I will open my inbox and find an offer to turn my blog into a book like Scary Mommy and The Bloggess and so many others. I also have toyed with writing an eBook about real food for real moms or gluten free recipes and lifestyle tips. In fact, “Publish an eBook” is #8 on my 2013 Bucket List.

But a children’s book was NEVER on my radar. 

At first, I discounted the entire idea. This is crazy, I have no idea how to write fiction, I kept telling myself.

Still, I was intrigued so I investigated further and discovered that my friend Susan at 5 Minutes for Mom wrote Part One of this series called The Pest Detectives — the adventures of Millie, an 8-year-old insect lover, as she solves real-life pest mysteries with her father, a pest professional.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA), a non-profit organization committed to the protection of public health, food and property, was looking for another blogger to partner with them on a second eBook that would be the next in the series.

I immediately emailed Susan to get her input, and she had nothing but positive things to say about the experience.

I read her eBook and all of her blog posts about the process, and it all started to seem possible. Maybe I could do this.

I decided to chat on the phone with the NPMA and find out more about the process and what they had in mind for this second book in the series.

They explained that I would have a lot of creative freedom if I want it, but they are there to support me and would brainstorm ideas with me and give me assistance where I need it. I can decide if I want to continue the story that Susan created or write a spin-off story. They want to include her characters in my story, but they don’t have to be the main characters. Or they can be if I want.

It was beginning to sound realistic.

After talking with my husband and some friends, I finally decided to go for it.

I signed the contract yesterday!

It may not look like what I had envisioned, but I do in fact have a book deal. The NPMA will own the end product, but my name will be on it as the author! The illustrations will be provided by Colleen Madden, the same talented artist who illustrated Susan’s book.

In case you’re curious, here are the next steps in the process:

  • April 12: Tomorrow  I meet with the NPMA and present 3 concepts for my story. I already have thought that through and know what I’m going to propose. I also know which one I want to use, so I hope we agree on that. I’m very excited to get together and talk it out!
  • April 18: We finalize the concept for the story and I can begin writing the manuscript.
  • May 16: I will present the first round of my manuscript to the NPMA and illustrator.
  • June 3: I present the second round of my manuscript with revisions based on the feedback from NPMA.
  • June 12: I present the final manuscript to NPMA and illustrator.
  • September 2013: eBook Launch! WOO!

The eBook will be available on iBookstore, BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com and PestworldForKids.org.

Needless to say, I will be eating, sleeping and breathing bugs for the next couple of months. Who knew I would ever be excited to say that!

Join The Conversation

39 Responses

  1. CONGRATS!! I am excited for you! Can’t wait to see what you come up with. Jo-Lynne, children’s book author….has a very nice ring to it!

  2. That is awsome! It sounds really cool, we live near wooded areas and creeks in Nashville and my husband is always picking up frogs, worms, or bugs to have our children touch and feel them. (and then wash their hands of course) One of our three Christmas gifts to our 6 year old this year was a microscope so that she can look at insects on her own. We just looked at a tiny spider the other day that we found in our home. Who knew they had so many eyes?! Kinda creepy but fun for our children to learn. I am excited to buy these books for them. All the best!

  3. When I was in college getting my degree in elementary education, I had to write and illustrate a children’s book for my children’s literature class. Aside from my nieces and nephews, it has been read only to a few local homeschool students that the professors brought in for a “book reading” at the end of the semester, and has been packed away ever since. It was a great experience and i loved it even through the stress of not being able to draw to save my life! 😉 It’s exciting to know that yours is already bound to go much further than mine ever did before you even write it. 🙂 Have fun being creative and congratulations!

  4. Linked over from Susan Carraretto on Google+. I share everyone else’s congratulations on the children’s book. How exciting. I’m also wanting to follow the progress and process. Keep up the good work! See you along the way.

    The Cheeky Daddy

  5. Shut. Up. That is awesome!! Whether it looks the way you expected or not, a book deal is a book deal. And to think I can honestly say that I knew you way back when…

    Yay! Super excited for you 🙂

  6. Wow! How exciting! What an interesting opportunity. I am looking forward to reading about your journey! Congrats!

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