Monday 6 February 2023

Starting From Scratch by Lynne Garner

When I submitted my first picture book story, I wasn’t surprised when it was rejected. What I was surprised by was it was a handwritten rejection on a compliment slip. It started with the typical ‘this isn’t for us’ but is also said they liked my voice, and asked if I had anything else I was working on. I was working on a new story, so I completed it and submitted. That second story eventually became my first published picture book A Book for Bramble in 2007. This was quickly followed by The Best Jumper in 2008.

I felt I’d made it and I would now be able to continue to get picture books published on a regular basis. But then I had a reality check. My editor left for pastures news. Then the publisher was purchased by a larger company. I found I’d hit a brick wall. I was either receiving the standard rejection letter or no rejection letter at all. After a few years, I gave up and decided to focus on my short story writing. 

I completed my first collection of short stories and started to submit to publishers. After numerous rejections I decided to give self-publishing a go. This change in direction resulted in five short story collections. Around that time I also returned to teaching which meant I had less time to write. So gave up on picture books entirely. Then Covid hit and although I didn’t stop teaching (I taught virtually) I found I was spending less time travelling. So, I decided I’d use this time to revisit the picture book stories that were gathering dust on my laptop.

I revisited the completed and half written stories stored on my laptop and chose four I felt I could improve. I wrote and rewrote and once I was happy I’d got as far as I could without help I found a specialist proof-reader/editor. Together we rewrote, revised and reshaped each story until they were the best we could make them. 

This year I’ve set myself a goal. To place at least one of these stories with a publisher. And although I’ve been published before I know I’m starting from scratch. Now, with this is mind I’ve decided to share my journey here on the Picture Book Den. So, between this post and my next I’ve got some researching to do. Wish me luck. 


Pippa Goodhart said...

Oo, good luck, Lynne!

Anne Booth said...

Good luck, Lynne!

Lynne Garner said...

Dear Pippa and Anne - thanks.

Catherine @ Story Snug said...

Good luck Lynne!

The Best Jumper is one of my all time favourite picture books :)