A few years ago, I wrote a picture book biography, and last April it was acquired by a publisher. Since then, I've billed myself as an author and illustrator, even though I didn't receive a formal offer or contract. I didn't worry about the offer. My editor said it would come and, with me, her word was as good as gold.
As the year progressed, my editor and I discussed the illustration possibilities. Who would illustrate the story, me or another artist? Several months passed with no discussion at all, so towards the end of last year, I sent my editor an email. When she didn't respond, I got worried. After the new year, I sent two more emails. Still she didn't respond.
I stopped telling people about the book I wrote. When people asked, I'd make an excuse. "Publishing is slow," I'd say. "Getting a children's book published can take years." I wasn't lying, the road to publication is long, winding, slow and bumpy. But in my heart, I accepted that the deal had fallen through. In addition, I wasn't having any luck finding a literary agent, so my hope for getting published as an author began to die. I dropped the author billing and re-embraced the sole title of illustrator.
But yesterday all that changed. The offer came! My book will publish after all, fall of 2009, schedule permitting. I'll share some of the details after the contracts are signed.