Now, before you get discouraged, hear me out.
When I wrote my first picture book story, The Human Bean, people really loved it. You should make it into a picture book, they said. The problem? I didn't have the money to hire an illustrator, so the book idea sat.
Sure, I took the story to various grade schools and made it a part of my presentation, but the book didn't have illustrations. I had the children draw their interpretation of the bean with some pretty hilarious results. Well, what would you draw if I told you the story about a human bean?
Picture book ideas kept pouring from my soul, however, but I wasn't able to find an illustrator. Everyone wanted their money up front, and none of them seemed to care about the story itself.
I have since learned that this is the rule rather than the exception for many illustrators, and so for years, I continued to search. In the meantime, I continued to write picture books. I haven't counted them, but I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't have at least 15 ready to go.
The last idea for a picture book came while I was watching an episode of Winnie the Pooh. All of a sudden the story downloaded into my brain! I raced for a writing utensil and a piece of paper. I knew by this time not to ignore the voice.
You need to know that during this time I'd gone into an art gallery in St. George, Utah, as part of my family's summer vacation. My grandchildren thought walking around to look at paintings was the most boring thing on the planet! But sometimes grandma's have to do things that they like to do, right?
So here I was in this gallery when I saw it. It was the cutest thing I'd ever seen; three young cowboys and one young cowgirl, sitting next to each other on a fence. Well, I couldn't afford the original, so I walked away, you know, wishing that I had the money to buy whatever I wanted :)
That's when I saw it. Not the original, but a print of the original which was the size of a postcard. The tag revealed the amazing price: $5
So I bought it, along with another by the same illustrator, and brought the two cards home.
I bet you can't guess what I did next.
I thought about contacting the artist. I even framed the small prints, but I didn't contact her. How could I handle another no?
Maybe you know how it is when you have held a dream close to your heart for years. At first, when the dream doesn't materialize, you get a bit angry, and then you try to forget you had the dream in the first place. You stop asking people to illustrate your book. Your dreams go in different directions - directions that take you to novels with only one illustration or photo to deal with.
And sometimes, you almost give up hope that your dream will ever materialize.
Guess what happened?
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Never give up on your dreams. NEVER. DO YOU HEAR ME?
You never know when a moose with a hungry appetite and a thirst for learning is going to show up!