Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Economy Hits Home

I got a call from my editor at Charlesbridge. Actually, she left me a message. This is unusual since we normally communicate by email. I reached her the next morning. She was calling to tell me in person that my next book, The Robin Makes A Laughing Sound: A Birder’s Journal, was being pushed back 6 months, from Fall 2009 to Spring 2010. It’s the economy, of course.

Before this recent economic downturn, Charlesbridge had planned to increase the number of books they publish each year. But sales in children’s books, like everything else, have dropped drastically. To reduce costs, Charlesbridge has decided not to increase the size of their lists for the near future. My book has not been printed yet, so it would save money now to push it back a season.

Yolanda was very encouraging in her explanation. They still are very excited about my book. She thinks the later publishing date may lead to better sales if the economy begins to pick up a little.

Of course, I am disappointed that I will have to wait until Feb. of 2010 to actually get a bound copy of this book that has been such a labor of love. But I have a certain amount of relief, too. I was feeling behind already in promoting this book. Now I have more time to write the extra materials, such as an activities & teacher’s guide, and to get publicity notices out to the right organizations (National & Chicago Audubon, Chicago Wilderness, and other birding and conservation communities, for example).

There is another reason I feel a little relieved—I don’t yet have the next book submitted and under contract. It’s really hard to write when I’m in the heat of bookstore appearances and school visits. I now have a few more months to work. My next project is another idea derived from my journals and artwork, the way Robin is. I am writing a manuscript based on the art from the Moon Project.

So I am taking the advice of Laura Ruby, SCBWI-Illinois presenter at a past Prairie Writer’s Day: “Write the next book!”

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