How I Got My Book Published by Author David Dickerman
I believe the pathway to getting my story published was somewhat unique as I originally had no intention of getting it published. After working several years in the entertainment industry, I returned to school to acquire MS. Ed degrees in both Childhood Education and Literacy. For my final thesis project, one option that had become popular among students was an independent study based around children’s books. The concept was to identify a gap in children’s literature, fill it with your own story, and support that stance with research and a literature comparison to other books about the topic. In addition to always wanting to write a book but lacking the discipline, I felt that the experience of my parents’ divorce had not been adequately conveyed in children’s literature. After the acrimony, I was exposed to many people and experiences to which I would otherwise not have been. This ultimately made my life richer and I felt it could provide a sense of realistic hope to children and families. Most of the stories I saw focused only on the sadness.
So I drafted the story titled Mom, Dad, and Everyone Else as a tool for bibliotherapy and worked with my thesis advisor. We discussed concepts like the amount of white space on a page, word choice, and narrative structure. I had a vision in my head (don’t ask me where it came from, but I guess inspiration can rarely be traced back to its source) of the images being photographs of clay floating heads created with classroom materials in order to create a stronger connection to the text. My advisor’s feedback included comments such as “use more distinguished features as the lack of it can be scary to children,” and “elaborate more about what he does when he is sad instead of saying it – show don’t tell.” After several drafts and readings to children, I submitted and defended my thesis prior to graduation. It was well received.
Some time went by and I worked at a couple schools. One day I just decided to see what the process was of getting published. I did some online research and found that children’s publishing companies were VERY specific in their needs. While most did not take unsolicited manuscripts, they were also only wanted certain things. For example, one publishing company only looked for young adult chapter books with a certain number of words that dealt with family issues and would only accept hard copies of just the text from an agent. That was literally all they published. Since this was not my primary career, I did not have time to find an agent. I decided to submit my story to a small publishing company called Crafty Canuck that specialized in picture books from new authors with a message. They actually accept inquiries for advice, but when I submitted stated that they saw the value of my story and the need for it, so they wanted to publish it themselves.
Since the publishing company was small, I received a lot of attention but communication was slow. They drafted the contract and we negotiated both hard copy and e-book royalties. We made some revisions and discussed preliminary marketing strategies. They offered, and I accepted, to bring in an outside artist to polish the backgrounds, and I redid the clay characters. After a long time perfecting the book, they sent me a prototype. I made some suggestions and they happily accommodated. In June 2014 the e-book was released and the hard copy is now available for print on demand. Sales have been decent for such a specific book but support has been phenomenal. Currently we are working on getting it into the hands of families, therapists, and others who it can help most.
Today, I continue my writing daily as an Assessment Specialist and content provider to many blogs and websites. Much of this work has been a direct result of this publishing process.
Book: Mom, Dad and Everyone Else
Unfortunately today, divorce is an all too common reality. Mom, Dad, & Everyone Else attempts to reframe the idea of divorce for a child in a more positive way. This positive side centers around the child’s world expanding via exposure to new people who love and support him or her while also bringing in new experiences that otherwise may remain elusive. When divorce happens and a child is involved, we hope that Mom, Dad, & Everyone Else might play some small role in helping a child find hope and their voice.