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12 X 12 December 2019 Featured Author – Dan Marvin

12 x 12 December 2019 Featured Author – Dan Marvin

In this post, I’ll be:

  • Sharing my experiences.
  • Plagiarizing Jerry Maguire.
  • Name-dropping a lot.
  • Humble-bragging a little.
  • Taking an inside joke of a song way too far.

Oh, 12×12 community. You complete me.

I wrote my first draft of a picture book when my kids (now 12 and 11) were toddlers. Reading those books to them, I was reminded just how much I loved children’s books. And my competitive spirit made me think I could do better than a lot of what we were reading.

Four years ago, my amazing wife convinced me to “do something with my writing.” I had joined SCBWI a few years before that. But my wife’s encouragement led to me discovering 12 x 12. More than any other group I’ve joined or any other action I’ve taken, being part of 12 x 12 is what has made me feel like an author.

Jane Yolen 12 x 12 DinnerFrom manuscript critiques on the forum to finding a critique group (hi Christina Gajda and Renee Kirchner) to publishing my first book to winning a critique from the dancing queen Marcie Colleen through a monthly check-in to finding my awesome agent Natascha Morris through my GOLD membership to writing a “How I Got My Agent” article about that experience to lucking into dinner with the legendary Jane Yolen and other 12 x 12ers (photo evidence included) to being the Featured Author and writing the run-on sentence you’re reading right now…12 x 12 had me at hello.

My first book BUT I DON’T EAT ANTS was published a little over two years ago. I got my agent over a year ago, and we’ve had two stories out on submission for about a year. We recently pulled those back and now have a new title out on submission that I’m really excited about. Meanwhile, I keep writing and trying not to think too hard about whether this one will sell or not. My critique group and other 12 x 12ers (looking at you, Gabe Jensen) help me with that.

Dan Marvin author visitIn my four years as a 12 x  12er, this is the first year that I won’t get to 12 drafts. Which bums me out a little. But I’ll be joining again in January and will do my best to hit 12 drafts next year. And I think that’s the only advice I’d impart – what we do is fun, so we might as well do our damnedest.

And now, a song that most of the world wouldn’t get.

“The 12 Months of 12xmas,” (pronounced “Twelve By-mas”) is in the key of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Unlike Christmas, 12xmas is a made-up holiday we can all celebrate. I’d like to think it’s as spectacular as it is secular. If you’re feeling like this article is already running long, here’s a tip: Skip to the last stanza. It’s got all the goodies without the repetition.

The 12 Months of 12xmas

On the first month of 12xmas, my writing gave to me.

A new draft about an MC.

 

On the second month of 12xmas, my writing gave to me.
Two rad revisions.

And a new draft about an MC.

 

On the third month of 12xmas, my writing gave to me.

Three stories simmerin’.
Two rad revisions.

And a new draft about an MC.

 

On the fourth month of 12xmas, my writing gave to me.

Four fab critiques.
Three stories simmerin’.
Two rad revisions.

And a new draft about an MC.

 

On the fifth month of 12xmas, my writing gave to me.

Five coffees drank.
Four fab critiques.
Three stories simmerin’.
Two rad revisions.

And a new draft about an MC.

 

Dan Marvin Reading BUT I DON'T EAT ANTSOn the sixth month of 12xmas, my writing gave to me.

Six webinars watched.
Five large coffees drank.
Four fab critiques.
Three stories simmerin’.
Two rad revisions.

And a new draft about an MC.

 

On the seventh month of 12xmas, my writing gave to me.

Seven stories submitted.
Six webinars watched.
Five gallons of coffee drank.
Four fab critiques.
Three stories simmerin’.
Two rad revisions.

And a new draft about an MC.

 

On the eighth month of 12xmas, my writing gave to me.

Eight agents queried.
Seven stories submitted.
Six webinars watched.
Five barrels of coffee drank.
Four fab critiques.
Three stories simmerin’.
Two rad revisions.

And a new draft about an MC.

 

On the ninth month of 12xmas, my writing gave to me.

Nine Ninja visits.
Eight agents queried.
Seven stories submitted.
Six webinars watched.
Five hundred coffees drank.
Four fab critiques.
Three stories simmerin’.
Two rad revisions.

And a new draft about an MC.

 

On the tenth month of 12xmas, my writing gave to me.

10 pitches proposed.
Nine Ninja visits.
Eight agents queried.
Seven stories submitted.
Six webinars watched.
Five thousand coffees drank.
Four fab critiques.
Three stories simmerin’.
Two rad revisions.

And a new draft about an MC.

 

On the eleventh month of 12xmas, my writing gave to me.

11 elves a’helpin.
10 pitches proposed.
Nine Ninja visits.
Eight agents queried.
Seven stories submitted.
Six webinars watched.
Five million coffees drank.
Four fab critiques.
Three stories simmerin’.
Two rad revisions.

And a new draft about an MC.

 

On the twelfth month of 12xmas, my writing gave to me.

12 manuscripts written.
11 elves a’helpin’.
10 pitches proposed.
Nine Ninja visits.
Eight agents queried.
Seven stories submitted.
Six webinars watched.
Five billion coffees drank.
Four fab critiques.
Three stories simmerin’.
Two rad revisions.

And a new draft about an MC.

 

Dan Marvin is a children’s book writer who also works in advertising as a writer and creative director. He lives in Farmington Hills, MI, with his wife and daughter who are picky eaters and his son who definitely is not. Dan and his son will try almost anything, BUT THEY DON’T EAT ANTS! Connect with Dan on Twitter @dwmarvin or at facebook.com/ByDanMarvin

Dan is offering a signed copy of his book BUT I DON’T EAT ANTS and candy with real ants inside to the winner of the December check-in. So finish this year strong and enter the final check-in of the year! 

This Post Has 54 Comments
  1. I most enjoyed the run-on sentence which made me laugh, was loaded with information, took me for a ride, brought us along on your journey, explained the picture, honored your critique friends, introduced your agent, nicknamed Marcie Colleen, and ended up plagiarizing Jerry Maguire. Again. Well done!

  2. Dan,
    Congratulations on your book and I’m a picky eater too and no I don’t eat ants either so I’d love the book but please no candy with ants! Thanks for your honesty about your PB journey. I hope you get another book contract very soon!

  3. Dan, you are so right! 12×12 is such a supportive community. Your version of the 12 Days certainly hit many of the plusses of this wonderful group. Thank you for a timely reminder of all we have to be thankful for.

  4. Dan, thanks for sharing your journey. I adored the song! Hopefully the new manuscript will sell. Thanks for the post.

  5. Thanks for an amusing and heartfelt piece! Your enthusiasm is contagious. Congratulations on your book and good luck with your other submissions. 🙂

  6. Great post, Dan! Thank you for giving us a peek at your publishing journey and for sharing your insights!! Love your version of the 12 Days!

  7. Dan, thanks for being so down-to-earth about writing and submitting. For those of us in the trenches with you it is a boost to know that there is still room for others in the publication field. Your song rendition is a hit, but maybe not in the top ten forever.

  8. Thanks for sharing your story, Dan, and for that fabulous Xmas song. I’m thinking about roasting some of my manuscripts on an open fire……but that’s another song, isn’t it? Good luck with your submissions!

  9. Fa…la…la..la..la. La…la..la…la! Dan, how fun to deck this page with a fun, 12 x 12 Christmas carol! I can certainly relate to the five billion cups of coffee! Yes, Julie Hedlund and her 12 x 12 troop of exceptionally gifted elves have truly provided wisdom and insight about the hard work of writing stellar picture books. I keep striving to write stories better than so many of the published books that fill a market niche but not the “magical” niche that children and adults long for. Sending you inspiration and energy for your writing journey….

  10. This is hilarious, Dan! Thanks for sharing your story (and sense of humor)! Hope to connect with you again in person soon!

  11. Congratulations, Dan! And thank you for the inspiration! Also, I did skip to the end, but I love your 12xmas song! Happy Holidays! (I can’t help overusing the !!!’s)!

  12. I’m going to be humming the 12xmas song all day now … thanks for sharing and best of luck with the current submissions.

  13. It’s great to see how much 12×12 has blessed your journey. I am finishing up my first 12×12 and looking forward to my second!

  14. I just sung the whole song and am laughing hysterically at the coffee getting bigger each time. Thanks for the boost. Best of luck on your stories.

  15. I second all your comments about 12×12 and the amazing things that happen once you join 🙂
    It’s great to have a like minded community of fellow strivers.
    Congrats on your book. Love the title!

  16. Omigosh. I laughed myself into a coughing fit over this post! Can I get a refill?
    Ok, now that I’ve composed myself, this post also gave me such a sense of community. Like really, who else would get that song? Also added another book title to my reading list!

  17. Thank you Dan for your timely Christmas carol and your hard work to get an agent and published. So it can be done! I am so glad to see others succeeding. Looking forward to next year, too.

  18. Well, reading through these comments is fun – thank you all! I’m glad the post was appreciated and the silly song was enjoyed. May the new year bring lots of new stories for all of us! 

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