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12 X 12 May 2017 Featured Author – Chana Stiefel

12 x 12 May 2017 Featured Author – Chana Stiefel

12 x 12 member Chana StiefelRecently, a friend asked me why I’m so excited about the release of my debut picture book, DADDY DEPOT. I mean, it’s all I’ve been yapping about for months. We 12 x 12ers get it. Debut. Picture. Book. Hellloooo?! But my friend’s question was really this: “What makes this book different from all of your other books?”

Truth is, I’ve been working in publishing since Bill Clinton was president. (Ahhh, the good old days!) I’ve published more than 20 books for kids. So why am I blowing up the Internet with my DADDY DEPOT posts? Like my own kids, I cherish each and every one of my books and I don’t like to choose favorites, but here’s how DADDY DEPOT stands apart:

DADDY DEPOT by Chana Stiefel

  • All of my previous books are nonfiction. For a while, I was the Queen of Natural Disasters. I wrote books about thunderstorms, tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes. I also wrote a three-book series on Ye Yucky Middle Ages (how yucky was it to be a knight, live in a yucky castle, and eat yucky food?), as well as a six-book series about a family farm.Chana Stiefel Nonfiction titles DADDY DEPOT is pure fiction (you can’t really exchange your old dad for a new one at the daddy store, as far as I know.) It’s the first book I conjured from my own imagination. 
  • I wrote all of my earlier books as an unagented freelance author. I was hired by editors at various educational publishers to write books on specific topics. Many of these books had Work for Hire contracts, meaning that I was paid one lump sum, without royalties. For about half of my books, I received a small advance and royalties. DADDY DEPOT is the first book that I pitched and sold with my agent John M. Cusick. He negotiated a much better deal for me with a “Big Five” publisher (Feiwel & Friends is an imprint of Macmillan.) (FYI I met John at a 4-minute agent pitch at the 2013 NJSCBWI conference, but we’ll get to that soon!)
  • The writing process for my earlier books was completely different. First, editors assigned these books to me. I never had to pitch or go through a submission process. (Imagine that!) The writing is all mine, but the topics came from an editor. I still worked plenty hard and enjoyed the process. DADDY DEPOT is my first original story that I shaped using the elements of fiction–character development, a story arc, conflict, resolution, … plus lots of humor! It was a process that I learned over a long stretch of time (well, the humor was there all along).
  • All of my previous books are informational texts, not narrative stories. They were written for the school/library market, not trade. My goal was to make science and history fun for kids. (Exploding volcanoes! Stinky castles! Wow!) A few of the books were for classroom guided-reading programs. That meant they had strict guidelines about using certain vocabulary and structure and had to comply with a specific reading level. (You may have seen these books in school libraries with letters or numbers on the back to indicate their reading level.) DADDY DEPOT allowed me to stretch my creativity and go to town with storytelling.
  • I had to write my other books fast…in about six to eight weeks. The books were published relatively quickly too, within a year! By comparison, DADDY DEPOT has been an eight-year journey from first draft to book launch!
  • For each of my non-fiction topics, I did tons of research online, in books, magazines, and through interviews with experts. I often had to backup every fact with two sources! It was lots of exercise for my “left-brain.” For DADDY DEPOT, I wrote from my heart and let my imagination run freeeeee! Now my “right brain” was firing on all burners. It was like winning a shopping spree in a big box store! Wheeee! Daddy Depot Shopping Spree

Now back up a sec. You may be wondering: How do you get an editor to assign books to you? Sounds like a dream, right? That has been a journey too. I got my start in journalism. I earned a Master’s degree in Science & Environmental Reporting from New York University. While at NYU, I got an internship down the block at Scholastic. Once I started writing for kids, I was hooked. I got a job as an editor at Scholastic’s Science World magazine and worked for several years with some awesome editors (hi guys!) who were my mentors and taught me the ropes of writing nonfiction for kids.

After the birth of my second child, I left Scholastic and began freelancing. Freelancing is all about networking. My friends from NYU and Scholastic were a HUGE help in sending me work and helping me make connections (and as you know, the kidlit community is the most supportive group out there!). Before long, I had a steady flow of work (more-or-less) and enjoyed the ride. (A quick tip: If you want to break into freelancing, start with building a clip file of magazine articles. You will have to go through the submission process, but you’re probably an expert by now!)

I didn’t know where my career was going until one night eight years ago, when my (then) seven-year-old daughter got mad at her dad for reasons I can’t remember. We came up with a bedtime story about a girl who gets mad at her dad and returns him to the daddy store. Boom! I ran downstairs and started writing DADDY DEPOT.

Daddy Depot SardinesWhile I was passionate about reading picture books to my kids, I had never written one before. My first draft stank liked mashed liver, sardines, and a shprinkle of moldy cheese. It was over a thousand words, had no main character, no story arc, and it rhymed…terribly! But I was determined. After some editing, I sent it to one of my dear friends from NYU, Melissa Stewart, who has written over 100 non-fiction books for kids. (I honestly didn’t know a single person writing fiction!) Melissa gave me some sound—but sobering—advice that literally changed my career. She suggested I study the art of picture book writing (which was soooo different from anything I’d ever done), join SCBWI, and find a critique group. Which I did! I realized how badly I wanted to publish a picture book. I treated the writing process like a new profession, working every day toward my goal.

Jump head dozens of DADDY DEPOT drafts to 2013. While continuing to write non-fiction, I had spent years polishing my craft and was determined to publish my first picture book. I attended my first NJ-SCBWI conference and signed up for a four-minute agent pitch. (Beware peeps! It’s like speed dating.) I entered a room, shook hands with a cute agent (I can say that because Julie adores him), and pitched DADDY DEPOT. He laughed and said, “Send it to me!” I think my heart exploded.

Daddy Depot - It was hugeAfter a few more revisions, I signed with John M. Cusick. This. Was. Huge. A few months later, in November 2013, DADDY DEPOT sold to editor Liz Szabla at Feiwel & Friends. I was screaming in my car when I got the news. My dream was finally coming true!

Since then, I have gone through an entire theme park of roller coaster rides working on new stories with the ups and downs of submission and rejection. I feel blessed that I have sold three other manuscripts (both fiction and nonfiction). I’m working on several new picture books and a draft of my first Middle Grade novel. I also started a job as Director of Public Relations at an all-girls high school (great research for my first YA?). I’m working harder than ever but I love and appreciate every minute. I’m grateful to so many people, including Julie Hedlund and Kelli Panique (and you and you and you), for helping me achieve my dreams.

Daddy Depot - Lifetime GuaranteeHere are a few “Lifetime Guarantees” for my friends at 12 x 12:

  • Each of us has our own unique journey. Never compare yourself to anyone else. Keep following your own path. Be persistent, have patience, and persevere. You will get there in your own unique way!
  • If you’re writing nonfiction, try fiction (and vice versa)! Exercise a different part of your brain. You never know where it will lead.
  • Write from your heart. Be passionate about your subject matter. Laugh your head off. You’re going to be doing this for a long time. Do what you love; love what you do!
  • Keep learning! In the eight years it took to get DADDY DEPOT published I could have gotten a second undergrad degree and gone to medical school. I wasn’t sitting around twiddling my thumbs. I was studying the craft and working hard on other manuscripts. Being part of 12 x 12 and participating in many other wonderful picture book groups are major growth experiences and amazing sources of support. [Cue Friday Dance Party music!]
  • Stick with the people who support your dream. That’s the ultimate message of DADDY DEPOT . . .

Sending you all a shrprinkle of unconditional love!

 

Chana Stiefel is the author of DADDY DEPOT (illustrated by Andy Snair, Feiwel & Friends, 2017), a debut picture book about a girl who returns her father to the daddy store. Chana has written more than 20 non-fiction books for kids. National Geographic Kids will publish her new book about creepy critters in 2018. WAKAWAKALOCH, a semi-autobiographical book about a cave girl who wants to change her unpronounceable name, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2019. More good news coming soon! Chana is represented by agent John M. Cusick at Folio Literary. For some “bite-size bits of wisdom for writers on the go,” visit www.kidlittakeaways.com, a blog Chana co-writes with her friend and critique-partner Donna Cangelosi. For more about Chana, visit www.chanastiefel.com and follow her on Facebook and @chanastiefel on Twitter.

This Post Has 249 Comments
  1. This post is super inspirational! And I have to keep telling myself this as rejections pile up:
    “Each of us has our own unique journey. Never compare yourself to anyone else. Keep following your own path. Be persistent, have patience, and persevere. You will get there in your own unique way!”

    And your bullet point about “keep learning” … that’s what I’m doing amidst the rejections!

    Congrats on DADDY DEPOT, Chana! The images you shared made me smile!

  2. Thanks for your post, Chana. You’ve had quite a journey into writing and publishing your first PB. Yes, so important to realize we will each get there in our “own unique way!” So important not to compare our journey’s but to persevere and not give up. Congrats on DADDY DEPOT!

  3. I can’t wait to read Daddy Depot; it sounds fantastic! Thank you for sharing your writing journey and your words of wisdom.

  4. Thank you for sharing your journey and encouraging us not to give up! Big congrats on your debut PB!

  5. How interesting to read your journey to Picture Book debut, Chana, and congrats on the long journey and the ultimate pay-off after all the hard work and commitment to your manuscript. I especially appreciate your advice about how each of our writing paths will be different and we can’t compare ours to anyone else’s path to success. Thanks, Chana!

  6. Congratulations on your Depot debut! I loved reading about your journey to fiction and appreciate your advice about how to hang in there through it all!!

  7. Congratulations! Your debut picture book sounds like great fun. Tgabhs for the inspirational post. All the best!

  8. Congrats Chana on your debut PB DADDY DEPOT! I can’t wait to read it! Thank you for sharing your journey (from the time that Clinton was President until now:>)

  9. Hi, what a wonderful tale about your first picture book. I read your story twice, it was so fun to read. Thank you!

  10. Congrats on Daddy Depot! I can’t wait to read it. I enjoyed reading about your writing journey and your reminder that all our journeys will be different.

  11. Thank you for sharing your journey. As a prepublished picture book writer, you know when I say I am thrilled for you, how Thrilled I am for you. Congratulations!
    I can’t wait to read Daddy Depot.

  12. This is so interesting! It’s neat to hear about some different career paths, especially science and nonfiction related ones. As my critique group (ever-patient as they are) can attest, I’m high on non-fiction and “based on a real story” manuscripts right now. Real life is so inspirational! The walkover to fiction is eye-opening.

  13. Chana, thank you for sharing your journey. So many people think writing fiction for kids will be easy compared to journalism or writing for adults. Your experience shows that it’s work, and if you’re doing it right, it requires just as much, if not more, craft and education.

  14. Thank you for being one of the supportive members of the KidLit community. Your post was very encouraging.

    I can’t wait to read Daddy Depot! Congratulations!

  15. What a fun read. Best of luck with Daddy Depot. It’s a cute idea. And I love the advise of writing from the heart. Those are my best manuscripts.

  16. Love your story, Chana. Thanks for sharing. You’re an inspiration! Best wishes with all your “new” projects.

  17. Thanks, Chana! I enjoyed reading about your journey! It was a great reminder that everyone’s path is different. The key is to not give up!

  18. Congratulations! Your debut picture book sounds like great fun. Thanks for the inspirational post. All the best!

  19. Congratulations on your first fiction book! And thank you for sharing your story and the words of encouragement. I’ve been through lots of ups and downs and am sure to be through more, but I will push on!

  20. Congratulations, Chana, on all of your past successes and your future accomplishments. Journeys like yours give all of us hope of future publications and show us that being our best at all this takes time.

  21. So many wonderful gems in this post, Chana. I absolutely love the pages I’ve seen of Daddy Depot, and the cover, it’s totally adorable. I can’t wait to read your book. Congratulations on sticking to your dream.

  22. Thanks for sharing your journey, Chana! You had wonderful advice and gave me a much needed dose of hope.

  23. What a cheer leader you are! Your encouragement and life testimonial is a tribute to the writing world we all so much want to be a part of sooner than later. Your journey is so unique and hardworking that we could all learn from you on the road we travel to be an author.

  24. What an interesting story you have, Chana, plus those Lifetime Guarantees. Congratulations on Daddy Depot! Thanks for sharing and encouraging 12×12’ers.

  25. Thanks for sharing your journey from nonfiction/work-for-hire to fiction with us. Congrats on your new book.

    Daddy Depot sounds like a fun book. (And Ye Castle Stinketh sounds interesting, too.)

  26. Great and inspirational advice, we all have a unique journey that hopefully leads to a book contract. Best of luck with Daddy Depot and all your other books. Rejection is hard but it is a step in all of our journeys.

  27. Thanks for all your advice here. I especially like your tip about focussing on magazine articles before trying to land work with an educational publisher. I love the concept of Daddy Depot. Congratulations!

  28. Congratulations on the publication of Daddy Daycare and thank you for your inspiring story. It helps to know that even when published in one genre it doesn’t mean you don’t have to work hard to break into a new one. I can’t wait to read DD. I think it will strike a chord with parents and children!

  29. Chana, love this post from you! You are an inspiration and a motivator. I have read many of your NF books and am excited to read your fiction PB debut!!!

  30. Yay, Chana! Aren’t you glad you didn’t go to medical school? Just a timeline joke, I know, but sometimes this journey is so long and hard, even crazy thoughts like this make sense! Congratulations on hard work and success. 🙂

  31. Wow! This post is chock full of inspiration and voice and humor. Growth=Happiness. Can’t wait to read your debut fiction PB!

  32. Wow – I just love this post!! You’ve had quite a journey with this book – congrats! So interesting to read about your nonfiction career too. Thank you for sharing!

  33. Chana, I love your “Lifetime Guarantees”! Thanks for sharing your story, positive attitude and inspiration. Congratulations on your success!

  34. Thank you for sharing your journey and congratulations on your debut book! It was a great reminder that we all bring a special perspective to the table and however roundabout and unpredictable the journey may be, it is always bringing us fresh fodder and new nuggets of PB wisdom! : )

  35. What an inspirational post! It came just in time for me! Thanks for sharing and reminding us about patience, persistence, hard work, and following our own path!

  36. Thank you Chana, this validates the length of time to get a manuscript off the ground and find an agent and be successful at this writing thing. I love the supportive community we have and just the title of your book
    has set me on a tangent to change some things in a manuscript I had been working on with an ending problem. I need more patience and review of all the things I have learned. Thanks again.

  37. Chana your enthusiasm is contagious! Thank you for sharing, and for the encouragement. Nonfiction terrifies me. It brings back horrible memories of research papers and notecards. Perhaps I need to reframe it in my mind…

  38. How exciting! Thanks for sharing such an inspiring journey with all the shrprinkles to boot. I’m looking forward to reading DADDY DEPOT and it’s so encouraging to read about your successes across the board. Congratulations!

  39. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story! I loved reading about your journey. It is inspiring! Good luck with DADDY DEPOT. I look forward to reading it:)

  40. What a fun concept! I think every kid has secretly wanted to trade their parents in for new ones at some point or another. Eight years is a long time to shepherd a story to its birthday, but it sounds like it is worth it. Thank you for sharing.

  41. Congrats on the release of your debut PB, Chana. DADDY DEPOT sounds adorable! And thank you for sharing your incredibly inspiring story of perseverance.

  42. Thank you, Chana, for your lively and heartfelt post. Reading it I can definitely see how you had humour with you all along 🙂 It sounds like you are having fun, as we all should be on this journey!

  43. I echo Penny Klostermann’s comments. We need to remind ourselves we are all on different journeys and we’ all have different writing gifts. When one succeeds, we are all a part of that; when one of us is rejected, we all understand. Daddy Depot us a sure fire winner. Can I borrow some kids for inspiration?

  44. Thanks for this wonderful and informative (and funny!) post, Chana. I never get tired of reading “path to publication” stories. It’s great to be reminded that each person follows his or her own path and timeline –
    there’s no one “right” way. Your story is also a great example of how the kidlit community supports each one of us, no matter where we are in the process. Congratulations on Daddy Depot – I look forward to reading it!

  45. Chana –

    So fun to follow your writing journey between fiction and non-fiction – I can relate. I’ll remember as you said to follow my own journey and that all of ours are different. And…I can’t wait until I get to scream someday too! Great article and Congratulations on Daddy Depot…will enjoy reading!!

  46. Hi all,
    Thank you all for your warm responses! I’d like to respond to each of you but my computer is acting really S-L-O-W…so please know that I am reading each and every comment and appreciate all of your support! Stick with 12 x 12 and keep working! As my daughter’s little league coach used to say, “If you believe, you will achieve!” and “Practice makes better!” All the best! …Chana

  47. I like your advice to write NF if you’re a F writer, and vice versa. I write zany fiction and the thought of writing NF actually scares me a bit. You have reminded me to get out of my comfort zone in the name of growth. Thank you!

  48. Thanks for sharing your interesting journey to publication! I really enjoyed this post. Best wishes.

  49. This post is so inspirational! Thank you. I love your thoughts about persistence and passion. I also loved your thoughts about stepping out of your comfort zone. Yes! Each of our journeys is unique. Thank you for this important reminder!

  50. Thank you for sharing your story Chana! Quite inspiring and I love your message of every journey being different – also love the idea of Daddy Depot! Very best wishes in all that you are doing.

  51. Wow, Chana! So many nuggets of gold here….I particularly love, “stick with the people who support your dream.” That is so true and why I love the kidlit community and 12 x 12 so much!
    Can’t wait to read Daddy Depot!!

  52. Congratulations, Chana, on all your success and thank you for sharing your journey. I’m excited to read Daddy Depot, and check out your nonfiction books too! I’m encouraged by your advice, especially to love what you do and do what you love (and keep going, focusing on my own path).

  53. I can relate to the “every day”-ness of learning. One day, I decided I wanted to write a picture book. My husband bought me a book on children’s publishing the next day. And I read it. And then I read another. And I joined SCBWI and went to the annual NY conference a week later. And then I joined 12 x 12. Every single day since this dream popped into my head, I’ve made it my job to learn and read and research and write and critique and do everything I can to develop my craft. I love learning- EVERY DAY! I get anxious when a day goes by without my doing SOMETHING for my PB craft! <3

  54. Thanks for a lovely post Chana – there’s so much in it! I really enjoyed your journey through NF (Queen of Natural Disasters – hahahaha) and the great list of things to remember at the end. Congratulations on Daddy Depot, can’t wait to read it!

  55. Thank you for sharing the journey of your first fiction PB. Even with all the experience you acquired writing children’s NF, you still had to learn another whole genre of writing! It just proves that this a unique process for each of us. Your “Lifetime Guarantees” are good points to remember! Congratulations on your first PB! I’m looking forward to reading it soon!

  56. Congratulations on your new book! I loved learning about your journey, and your “lifetime guarantees” are priceless. Thanks, Chana!

  57. Thanks for sharing your journey. Your ‘lifetime guarantee tips’ are very motivating. Your words encourage me to keep going in what I’ve found to be a pretty ‘dry spell!” I look forward to reading Daddy Depot. Congratulations…Wishing you all the best.

  58. My favorite sum-up points were:

    Each of us has our own unique journey. Never compare yourself to anyone else. Keep following your own path. Be persistent, have patience, and persevere. You will get there in your own unique way! [Yes, it’s so important for us all to remember this!]

    Write from your heart. Be passionate about your subject matter. Laugh your head off. You’re going to be doing this for a long time. Do what you love; love what you do! [I’m thrilled to have found the work that “makes me leap out of bed in the morning!” In my case, it’s often at 2:30 am!]

    Keep learning! [Enter: 12×12!]

    Stick with the people who support your dream. [My critique group members are my new best friends! We are so good for each other!]

    Thanks for sharing with us!! Congratulations on Daddy Depot!

  59. Enjoying the journey is what it is all about. Growing, learning, sharing. If we only concentrate on getting the thing, we miss out on a lot. Thanks for the reminder. I can’t wait to read Daddy Depot!

  60. Congrats Chana! I love what you said about continuing to learn your craft. I have two fiction books published and another on the way but have just gone back to uni this year to keep working at my craft while awaiting those publications. It feels great to be proactive!

  61. Congrats on your picture book! So inspiring to know you can be successful in more than one genre. Great reminder to just keep writing…She persisted!

  62. Thank you for sharing your story with me. It demonstrates to me how important it is to work on your craft and if given an opportunity to pitch to an agent take advantage of it.

  63. Wow, thank you for the informational and inspirational post, Chana. I will keep working toward my dream. And, I won’t pass up on one of those agent speed-dating opportunities!

  64. Like you, I write a lot of non-fiction for pre-determined themes. And the turn about is quick. I’m also trying to break into the fiction world. Sometimes it’s quite hard to switch gears, but switch I must try! Thanks for sharing your story and keeping us all motivated!

  65. What a story of perseverance and inspiration! Thanks for sharing this with us. Can’t wait to read Daddy Depot! A shprinkling of love back at cha! 🙂

  66. I’ve needed some inspiration. Thank you, Chana, for sharing your writing experience. Congrats on the new book.

  67. Wow! What a great story.. but, the thing I can’t get out of my head is the 8 year journey- I’m 45 years old.. That sounds kind of scary… I guess, I better start writing overtime 🙂 I am also writing a middle grade, that I am absolutely in love with. Good Luck on all your stories, I wish you well. 🙂

  68. Love your bullet points – especially “write from your heart” and “don’t compare yourself to anyone else” – and of course “keep learning!” which is synonymous to “keep writing!”

    The story of your path to your first (entirely your own) publication gives me hope. Thanks.

  69. This is really great. Your journey has taken you from non-fiction to fiction, and editor-assignment to self-initiated work. My journey is working from editor-assigned illustration work toward writing and illustrating my own ideas. I love a story of a successful transition! Thank you!

  70. Thank you for your post, Chana. It helps me to stay patient knowing that I’m on my own, right pace.

  71. I always love hearing about other authors who delve into fiction after focusing on non-fiction! I have had a similar journey but with ‘bleeps’ on both sides of the tracks. It’s never easy, no matter WHAT you write but the message is clear….keep at it and research how to make revisions better! Great article and inspiration.

  72. I always enjoy hearing from other writers who have taken a variety of paths. I have also been down the nonfiction / work-for-hire pathway so I COMPLETELY understand about that picture book deal. It’s a big deal! Seriously folks, it is! Congratulations and thank you for sharing.

  73. For some reason, I’m not seeing my comment… though I promise I made one and I’m sad it’s not appearing! Thank you for the inspiration comments. It’s always interesting to read about others’ journeys!

  74. RESPECT! That’s what I have for you, Chana! I tried writing non-fiction for the first time this year and realized how difficult it is (though, admittedly, both FIC & NF are challenging, each in their own right). Thanks for taking the time to recount your journey for us. It is inspiring and hope-giving to hear how a book/career came to be. All the best to you in your future endeavors!

  75. Sounds like an amazing journey. Patience, Persistence and Perseverance – good watchwords to live by. Thanks Chana and all the success with Daddy Depot.

  76. Wow, what an incredible journey you’ve had so far, truly very inspiring. Thank you for sharing, can’t wait to read Daddy Depot!

  77. Wow! I loved your blog. It gives us all hope. I’ve been writing for over thirty years and am more determined now to get my big break. Thank you for the pep talk.

  78. Thanks for the inspirational story and it was great to hear about your path from non-fiction to your first fiction. I’ve always wondered about work for hire and how to jump to fiction.

  79. Chana, this is so encouraging and inspiring! Thank you for the great post and congratulations on Daddy Depot! I can’t wait to get my hands on this one!

  80. “I wrote from the heart and let my imagination run freeeeeee!” This really hit home. I loved that part of your blog and also some of the timeless advice that so many of us need to read over now and again.

    Congratulations on DADDY DEPOT! It looks super cute!

  81. Congratulations, Chana. I’ve been looking forward to reading Daddy Depot. Your story is an example of persistence, that’s for sure. My thought is .. should I live long enough!
    Thank you for sharing about your continuing journey.

  82. Loved this post, Chana – full of heart and humor Thank you for sharing your inspirational journey! Right back at ya with a “shrprinkle of unconditional love!”

  83. What a neat idea for a story! Too bad such a thing doesn’t happen in real life. Oh well! I’ll have to check it out! Thanks for all the info and pep talk!

  84. Thank you, Chana, for these wonderful words of wisdom. I was just telling a friend how much I loved this PB writing adventure I am on–because the community is so supportive, and I am always learning! We are lucky, indeed, to be part of it.

  85. I love your path to publication story. AND your Daddy Depot story. A truly great concept and really fun execution!

  86. Thanks for sharing your story Chana. I especially liked how you compared your work for hire projects to your trade book projects. Very helpful.

  87. Congrats, Chana! And thank you for sharing! You made me laugh as I was reminded of my older son wanting to return baby brother to the hospital 😉

  88. Melissa Stewart also mentored me at a conference for new nonfiction writers. Her advice to me was sobering,too, but helpful and encouraging. I am so glad she steered you onto the fiction path! Thank you for sharing your journey.
    Following on the path of the best,
    Carmela Simmons

  89. Great post, Chana! Thank you for giving us a peek at your writing journey. At the moment I’m on the opposite road… going from writing fiction to writing nonfiction. Thank you for reminding us to follow our own path!

    Congratulations on publishing your first picture book, “Daddy Depot” is on my Amazon Wish List

  90. Thank you for the inspiration! Your post came at the perfect time for me. Thank you for sharing your journey and I can’t wait to read your book.

  91. Love the message. Thanks for sharing! And CONGRATS to you on your original, fictional, deep-from-inside-your-imaginative brain book!

  92. It’s true that stretching yourself to try different writing forms can pay off. I wrote some Work for Hire books last fall and the process had a really good effect on my non-WFH writing. 🙂

  93. Congratulations on your new book! It sounds adorable and I just love the unconditional love message. I’ve been writing a lot of fiction but would like to learn how to do non-fiction so thanks for sharing your experience.

  94. Thanks Chana. I’m a scientist turned accounts clerk so have always worked in left-brained areas. Your blog post gave me hope that I can switch on my right-brain with help and persistence. Love the premise of Daddy Depot.

  95. You have completely inspired me! I’m trying to come up with my own ‘daddy’ book now. I can’t wait to read Daddy Depot! Congratulations!

  96. What a great backstory to your debut picture book. Thank you for sharing Chana! Can’t wait to read DADDY DEPOT. Congrats!

  97. What an amazing writing journey you are on. Your nonfiction books look great – disasters! yucky medical times! farms! and I can’t wait to read Daddy Depot. The idea is brilliant and it looks like it will be fun to share.

  98. Grounding to see the arc of your own story, and how it’s driven by perseverance, willingness to experiment, faith in yourself, and openness to the suggestions of others. And judging from your voice in your posts, no surprise that your writing appeals to kids!

  99. Congrats on following and achieving your dream. Thanks for sharing your journey, and for the advice.
    Looking forward to reading Daddy Depot 🙂

  100. Chana, thank you for sharing your path. I had to go back and reread the medical school part. I did not see the could have and thought she EVEN went to medical school. Sometimes this is harder:), I look forward to reading some of your books.

  101. Love the words of wisdom (and also loved hearing your story!) Thanks for sharing and good luck with your writing.

  102. Thank you, Chana, for that post. It was definitely inspirational. I started out writing for magazines, then did some editor-assigned nonfiction, before I started writing middle-grade fiction. Then life happened and I wound up being out of the “game” for about eight years. It definitely feels like I’m starting over. But that’s okay. It’s good to hear about other people’s success stories — they help us keep going. Thank you, again, for sharing with us your experience!

  103. This is exactly where I’m at….published in work-for-hire nonfiction and love it but am working hard on my craft for fiction. Thanks for the back story and inspiration. And congratulations!

  104. Thank you, Chana, for the great laughs! “Daddy Depot” looks like a hoot – I will be on the lookout for it. You also made me chuckle at your reflections on the crazy journey called “getting a fiction picture book published”. Congrats on your victory!

  105. I SO needed to hear that tidbit about NOT comparing myself to others…if persistent and patient, I will get there in my own unique way. Love playing around with all my manuscripts, but have to get to where I’m actually submitting, again! Thank you for the inspirational pep talk, Chana! Happy end of May, beginning of June! Can’t wait to see your Daddy Depot book…sounds adorable! 🙂

  106. Chana, this is truly inspiring! I am so thrilled for you. I love buying books my colleagues at 12X12 have written. I proudly display them for when I have kids visit for Storytime. I’m looking forward to adding Daddy Depot to my collection. The amazing community of 12X12 constantly amazes me- I am so THANKFUL to be in the company of such talented people 🙂

  107. Thanks so much for the inspiration and advice! I love hearing about your writing journey and the evolution of this book. Congratulations on Daddy Depot–can’t wait to read it!

  108. I love your description of your first draft. I had a similar one, but it was after writing other picture books. We have to start somewhere and then keep going.

  109. Chana,
    Your post is lifting me up. It’s going to take me at least 8 years and i”m enjoying the journey. congratulations on Dady Depot. i”m looking forward to reading it.

  110. Thank you for your inspirational post and reminding us that writing and publishing is a journey.

  111. What fabulous advice! I’ve always adored non fic but now I will give writing it a whirl! Thanks for sharing.

  112. What a great post! I think it’s so important that people understand how writing fiction PBs (and I guess all PBs) are so different from other types of writing. Not easy at all! Congrats!

  113. Congratulations on Daddy Depot! Thank you for sharing your inspirational story and for the encouraging words of perseverance. Best wishes for success with you’re debut PB. 🙂

  114. Thanks for sharing your experience. 8 years passed before you could see your Picture Book in print, quite a remarkable journey! I thought 3 years was too long to keep the story alive! You’re an inspiration to me.

  115. Thank you so much for sharing your story about how long you took to write this, and how you got your agent. Very inspiring. Congratulations on your first fiction picture book!

  116. Love to read authors’ journey to publication as they are always so varied. So much valuable advice in this post!

  117. Chana,
    Lots of humor, great attitude, and perseverence throughout your piece. Congrats on Daddy Depot! And thanks for continuing to inspire.

  118. What a great success story. And I’m secretly thrilled that you (we) can still experience those “first” after 20 years in publishing. Congratulations, Chana!

  119. Lots of helpful suggestions here. Thanks. It’s encouraging to see that after years of work, your dream really did come true!

  120. Congratulations, Chana, on your PB debut! It looks like such a fun story! And thank you for sharing your experience and your encouraging words. You have helped me to remember to “enjoy the journey!”

  121. Thanks for sharing your story, Chana! Congratulations on your debut fiction PB. Isn’t it wonderful being an “overnight” success! 🙂

  122. Chana, Congratulations on your debut PB DADDY DEPOT! Thank you for sharing your story and the encouragement to never give up on your dreams.

  123. What an interesting post. Following your journey and seeing how your career has evolved is affirming to all of us I think. Thank you for sharing your story and best wishes and congratulations on your new book, Daddy Depot!

  124. I just love hearing how you had published books in the educational market; but, now this one book that’s all you is being published. That’s so exciting!! Congrats.

  125. Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring journey!! I especially love your lifetime
    guarantee for 12×12 🙂 Congratulations on all your upcoming books and
    your new job sounds like the perfect place for research 🙂

  126. Congratulations on the publication of your book Daddy Depot (looks great!) and for sharing your inspiring story. Thanks too for your great advice! Gives me hope to press forward.

  127. Congratulations on the publication of “Daddy Depot.” It sounds hilarious! So interesting to read about your varied experiences in the kidlit world.

  128. Thanks for the words of encouragement…its been a difficult couple of weeks…in a slump…
    But your post was uplifting!
    Thanks!
    Gabrielle

  129. Chana,
    There certainly is something wonderfully rewarding about investing as mush time as you did in this one project along with the use of creative juices and the relationships that a writer can develop with their characters.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Mark

  130. Congratulations on your fiction PB debut. Had to laugh – my first PB MS was a rhymer too, and 1,300 words to boot (clueless). You are so right, it’s such a supportive community, and that makes all the difference.

  131. Chana,
    Thanks for the inspiration. Just when I start feeling discouraged (at least five times a week) I read something from another writer and realize this …takes… time, and determination, persistence, everything you mentioned. Thanks for the sot in the arm!

  132. I have shelved your non-fiction books in our library! Congratulations on your debut picture book!

  133. I loved reading this and hearing your journey. I also love that you said everyone’s journey is unique. Congrats to you and I am going to try exercising both sides of my brain! Thanks!

  134. Chana, your post had me laughing out loud! Thank you for sharing your journey with us and congratulations on Daddy Depot!!!

  135. I enjoyed reading your post. It is a great inspiration for me, just getting back to writing after a few months of life intervening. Thanks.

  136. Thanks for sharing your process and the differences between educational publishing and traditional book publishing. It was inspiring. Writing books requires so much patience and perseverance. Books have a life of their own. I started with an idea as a picture book and now I’m working on it as a novel. It’s difficult giving books the time to grow. Success with your book.

  137. Lovely write-up! Your words reminded me of a phrase that has been popping up in my life as of late – “Trust the timing of your life.”
    Thank you.

  138. Wonderful tips and inspiration. I’ve recently been looking at educational vs. trade publishing. It’s nice to hear about your process and your journey. Thank you.

  139. Thank you for sharing your creative journey Chana. And congratulations! Looking forward to reading your story.

  140. I am excited to read Daddy Depot when it comes out!! It sounds so freakin cute and funny!!! It gives me courage to keep writing even if I have to work so hard to get there. I just need to be persistent. Your journey has given me hope. Thank you so much.

  141. Chana, perseverance is certainly your strong point to have worked on a draft for 8 years! You were very fortunate to get a 3 to 4 minute block of time with an agent. I liked all your suggestions especially belonging to 12 by 12!

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