As a writer, I had a lot to celebrate in 2018. I passed the milestone of selling my 50th book around mid-year. Now I’m up to 52 and counting. My picture book, One Leaf, Two Leaves, Count with Me was included as both a Dolly Parton Imagination Library and Scholastic Book Fair selection. I got to research and write new books about some really interesting topics, such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Tecumseh, Abraham Lincoln, Geronimo, and more.
In addition, I continued to do interesting writing and editing work for the Global Reading Network, an initiative funded by USAID to support early grade reading in low- and middle-income countries. In many ways, that work is reminiscent of the work I did for so many years for the International Literacy Association, and I continue to enjoy it.
As rewarding as 2018 was professionally, I am hoping for an even better year in 2019. What’s next? I don’t really know yet. Regular clients, such as Capstone and Cavendish Square, always seem to approach me with interesting topics to explore. New clients often crop up at unexpected times with projects I hadn’t previously considered.
Furthermore, I am working on several interesting books on my own. They aren’t far enough along to discuss yet, but I hope to have news to share as the year goes on. Many of the books I write are commissioned—publishers ask me to write a book on a particular topic, often as part of a series they are developing. I enjoy such projects for two major reasons: 1) I get to research interesting subjects I might not otherwise have thought to explore; and 2) I know if I execute the book well, I have a guaranteed sale. That’s important when you are a freelancer.
The projects I pursue on my own have different appeals and challenges. The main appeal is that I get to choose any subject that interests me and develop it in whatever manner I wish. The main challenge is that I have to convince my agent that it’s a salable book, and she has to then convince a publisher. The risk is that I may invest a lot of time, effort, and passion on a project that may never get published. That does happen, and it hurts. But when it works out, as it did with One Leaf, Two Leaf, Count with Me, it’s truly exciting. Each year, I work to find the appropriate mix of projects.
I also have several school visits lined up for the winter and spring. It’s really fun talking with students about writing and getting them excited about working on their own writing projects. I always look forward to the days I spend in schools.
In short, 2019 is already shaping to be a busy and productive year. And, if recent history is any indication, there are other exciting projects coming down the road that I haven’t even considered yet. I look forward to seeing what lies ahead. One of my goals for 2019 is to be more regular about doing blog articles, and I will keep you posted on my progress on various projects.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2019!
With Dolly Parton at the Library of Congress in February 2018 celebrating the distribution of the 100 millionth book through the Imagination Library.