Wednesday, June 15, 2022

writing and opportunities
                                                                                                            Publisher of Baxter's Corner and grandson


You know the proverb all good things must come to an end.  One could say that about my first book Maggie and the Summer Vacation Show-and-Tell.  As a book produced by a small press, it actually sold very well and it was time to move on to other projects.  But I wasn't sure what those would be until an opportunity fell into my lap. 

When I attended the Kentucky Book Fair in Lexington to acquaint the public with Maggie, I met the publisher of Baxter's Corner, a small press located outside of Louisville.  Mary Ellen sat next to me selling her company's books, but we didn't have the chance to talk much until after the event.  As we packed up, she gave me a copy of Gerome Sticks Out His Neck.  This book takes a novel approach by telling an educational story in rhyme. I was impressed by the book and told her I'd love to write for Baxter's Corner. 

Two months later, we met for lunch.  I learned more about Mary Ellen's life, her goals and her company.  As we waited for our food to be served, she pulled out a book contract.  It felt surreal, magical, and empowering.  She wanted me to write books for her company that would have a positive effect on kids.

Baxter’s Corner uses storytelling as a way to affect positive behavioral choices for children from birth to eight years old.  The books highlight specific themes such as respect, anti-bullying, compassion, determination, and overcoming obstacles. 

Each book focuses on making good choices in difficult or confusing situations and using the endearing animal characters to make the point.  These cute creatures show children how to think and dream, how to be curious and courageous, and how to be kind and compassionate.   

The goal of Baxter's Corner is to put value-based books into the hands of children and to give caregivers, who may be reading to the child, strong examples that teach approaches to some of the struggles that children face in today’s world. 

My role with Baxter's Corner would be to assign a value to a specific character and write a 32-page story in rhyme while capturing the unique personality of that character. 

Six of the animal characters have been featured in books.  The newest characters, an orangutan and a tarantula, needed to have stories written about them.  I gravitated to the tarantula.  At first, I thought I'd never be able to write his story because spiders creep me out, but I changed my mind upon seeing how this furry creature had been rendered.  Tajo is not scary-looking.  He is actually an adorable character.  
After going back and forth with the publisher on pinpointing the objective, I got the green light to develop a story for the meek but courageous tarantula.  Six months later, the publisher accepted Tajo Speaks Up and then—the pandemic struck.  Unfortunately, as COVID ran rampant, Baxter's Corner pushed back its publishing schedule and therefore, my book was put on hold. 
It was disappointing because I had put so much work and love into this book.  But all was not lost.  I learned a lot about publishers and most of all, about the significance of opportunity.
Opportunity presents itself everywhere.  It takes being aware and taking advantage of what comes our way.  When we do, we have the potential to allow good things to happen.  The key is to develop the vision to see it.  For writers, good things can happen if we continue to submit, take a workshop, communicate and connect with other writers, go to book signings, join critique groups, or participate in literary fairs.   

The ability to discover opportunities depends on luck and chance as well as awareness and a positive attitude.  The ability to make the most of opportunities depends on not waiting for something better to come along, but to take advantage of the situation as soon as it presents itself.  

Taking part in the Kentucky Book Festival presented me with an amazing opportunity to meet a publisher and to write a children's book.  And I jumped on the chance to make something good happen.

I don't know what will become of my book for Baxter's Corner.  There's a possibility it may get published.  After all, the publisher has the completed version and she may feel inclined to move forward with it.  If that doesn't happen, I will consider it a valuable experience which has helped me grow as a writer.    

One could say good things came to an end with Maggie and quite possibly for Tajo.  But maybe not.  With eyes wide open for opportunities, good things will continue to happen.

✌ and 

How to Take Advantage of Opportunities on a Daily Basis

No comments: