From Manuscript to Paperback

author 2014In 2005 I sat down to write a story. When I started I didn’t have a path, no conflict or climax, no idea about the ending. But in a spiral notebook I wrote sentence after sentence as they came to me.

I’d been intrigued by the beauty of the Botswana landscape from what I saw on television, movies, and in library books. This was the setting I envisioned. It was powerful and colorful. As I wrote my pen felt like a skinny paint brush over the paper.

After a month of editing I sent it out to a big name publisher that at the time was still taking unsolicited manuscripts. Per rules I didn’t include a SASE. About three months later a letter with the publishers logo arrived in my mailbox. The editor wrote that she loved the story, BUT not enough because she was unable to connect with “the voice.”

I submitted again, and again….and again. Receiving several more personal letters from editors that loved it, BUT couldn’t connect with “the voice.”

When I moved to a new state I joined the SCBWI and later a critique group. I edited it and sent it out again. (I couldn’t change my voice, it was my way of writing after-all).

Now I was getting back form rejections…and more and more.

Then during a clearance sale at a book store I finally was able to picked up a copy of Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul (2009).

I did a HARDCORE edit. And made one final submission.

Two weeks later I got an email…THE EMAIL!!! You know….THE E M A I L!!!!!

My book….MY BOOK!!!! Nonnie and I is available on Kindle and paperback.

*Illustrated by Lisa M Griffin. Published by Xist Publishing.

***UPDATE: A copy of Nonnie and I was sent to Marley Dias for her #1000blackgirlbooks project



  1. I’m so happy for you, Savannah! The road to getting published is rocky indeed. Glad you persevered and came up with a lovely picture book! Look forward to reading it. I wish you much success with “Nonnie and I.”

    • To be honest I believe it was the entire story edit. It meant changing at least one word or more in every sentence. And a deep dive into the story to see what was needed and what was not and what needed change. Overall not being afraid to re-write.

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