Article by Allyn Stotz
I am so pleased to be guest blogging today and would like to thank Karen for allowing me to do so. She has asked me to talk a little bit about my road to publication. It’s not a very exciting story, but it’s MY story!
My road to publication began about four years ago; I am now 55 yrs. old. As a child, I enjoyed writing stories, inventing them, and playing them out with my siblings. We were always putting on some type of skit for our parents. They were so patient and tolerant! Until now, my career mostly consisted of administrative jobs and/or working in human resources. On those jobs, I wrote several procedures manuals, created newsletters, and did lots of memo writing. Those were always my favorite parts of the job. My husband’s company has transferred us many times so I’ve lived in several cities in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi; therefore that led to me having quite a few different jobs along the way.
My family is made up of several journalists. First is my father, who owned and wrote our town newspaper. My mother helped him with that newspaper and wrote a weekly column. One of my sisters majored in journalism and is now a freelance editor and writer. So I believe that writing was always in my blood, it just never screamed out to me in volume.
The Wow Moment. Then one day while reading my brother’s blog, I came across a story he was toying around with. My brother is not a writer per say, but you wouldn’t have known that by reading his descriptions of a computer game he loved playing. After reading his descriptions of that fantasy game world, I had the big “wow” moment go off in my brain. My first thought was, “Wow, he can really write!” Then I thought to myself how fun it would be to write a fantasy story and I decided to investigate it further.
I did a little research about the subject of writing for children and then sat down to begin. The words just began to flow from my fingertips and have not stopped since!
Submissions and Rejections. My road to actual publication took a little over 1 ½ years, which in retrospect, was pretty quick. Some authors have to wait years before they are fortunate enough to become published. I did a good year of research on writing children’s picture books and enrolled in the Institute of Children’s Literature. After doing both of those, I finally became confident enough to send out my first submission. I was one of the lucky ones and had that first submission accepted by an online children’s magazine. From there, I spent the next ten months sending out more manuscripts and receiving many rejections. Then to my surprise, I finally heard back from FutureWord Publishing who wanted to publish my story The Pea in Peanut Butter. Talk about thrilling!
Getting published is not an easy process and most times, not quick but it is a journey that is well worth the time and effort. There is nothing more satisfying to me than hearing that a child or their parent enjoyed the words that I wrote. But everyone’s journey is different and so is the outcome. If you are one of those people contemplating becoming a children’s writer I would say to you that your first step should be to find your truth. Dig deep into your soul and find the real reason you want to write. Then never forget those reasons, get out that pen and write, write, write! Always remember that you can’t get published if you don’t submit your work. But most importantly, never give up.
And on that note, I’d like to tell you all that after my 83 yr. old mother watched me get published, she decided to work on making her dream of writing a novel come true. She and my editor sister have written a book together and the first of the series will be published soon! So if we can do it, so can you!
Allyn’s first children’s picture book titled The Pea in Peanut Butter was published by FutureWord Publishing in June 2011. Allyn graduated from the Institute of Children’s Literature and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
The Pea in Peanut Butter is available in paperback, Kindle, and coloring book format on Amazon as well as other online retail stores. It is also available at Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, LA, Barnes and Noble, Mandeville, LA, Bible and Book Store and Learning Express, both in the Baton Rouge, LA area. Allyn lives in Baton Rouge, LA with her husband, two crazy dogs and one fat cat.
13 responses to “Kids’ Week – Writer Allyn Stotz”
What an inspiring post! And, I love how your mother followed her dreams at 80 – yes!
Thanks! And yes, we are so excited for my mom and sister. Their book should be out any day now.
Oh what an inspiring story! I agree with Katherine, I love how your mother followed her dreams too! Your book titles are fabulous and I will put them on my list (that’s what I love about reading Karen’s posts, I’m always finding new authors to read). What particular books did you read, or research did you do about writing picture books?
Thanks, Jessica. I’m glad you like my book titles. That’s actually how I wrote The Pea in Peanut Butter. I started with the title and went from there!
To answer your question about what books did I read, I read everything I could get my hands on that had to do with children’s picture books. There are many good ones out there and tons of information on the web.
Your story is inspiring, Allyn! I love the titles of your books, too. And what you said about finding the real reason to write and never forgetting that…so true!
Thanks, Janice. Yes, I have to tell myself over and over the real reason I’m writing these books because sometimes this business can be very demanding and hard. But the kids are what keep me doing it!
Thanks for sharing your journey. It sounds like you did things right — you started by studying the industry and taking classes. It’s not easy to break in, but working on your craft and understanding the biz help.
Thanks for your comment. I believe that in order to achieve publication, every writer needs to do their research. They may still eventually get published but I’m sure it would take a lot longer. You really can’t just write a story, send it in an ‘waala’ magically published! There are a ton of rules and guidelines to follow first!
What a wonderful story Allyn, thanks for sharing. Although our paths may have taken different turns, it seems we all have one thing in common, determination to see our goal of writing and publishing a book realized.
Amen to that, Darlene! Thanks for your comment. And goodluck with your own journey.
I was away from my desk all day, but I see Allyn handled all commenters! Thanks again, Allyn, for participating in Kids’ Week.
What a stellar week it has been. Gosh, I love my theme weeks! I love connecting writers. What a great way to meet new people, like-minded people. And what inspiration y’all give me. I’m so happy right now! 🙂
And thanks to you, Karen for having me! Your blog is a great one and we all appreciate your hard work.
What a wonderful and inspiring story of family talent, perseverance, and accomplishment!
Thank you, Karen, for introducing us to such wonderful writers and interesting people!