Monday, April 30, 2018

You Heard it Here First: Viviane Elbee's Cover Reveal!

Today I'm delighted to introduce you to Viviane Elbee and her debut picture book, TEACH YOUR GIRAFFE TO SKI (Albert Whitman, November 2018). I met Viviane in 2010 when she attended the Charlotte, NC critique group which I led. She came to our group brimming with ideas but without the writing or publishing experience to bring her manuscripts to life. I remember suggesting that she join SCBWI and attend the Carolinas conference. She recently told me she was glad I convinced her to take those steps! 

Although I don't have a picture of Viviane and I (my cell phone didn't take pictures then!), here's where we first met:



And here is Viviane with her sparkling smile now:




Path To Publication


Without further ado, let's hear from Viviane.

CAROL: How did you get to this point in your writing career?

VIVIANE: I've wanted to be a writer since I was 8, but I couldn't seem to finish any of the novels I started. After the birth of my first child I fell in love with picture books and board books. About 8 years ago, I wrote a few stories and joined an in-person SCBWI critique group. My supportive and encouraging critique partners urged me to turn one of those stories into a picture book. A year later, I joined SCBWI and went to my first SCBWI conference, which was inspiring and informative. 

Three years after I joined the Charlotte critique group, one of my very prolific critique partners (Dorothy H. Price) got a publishing offer. I was very excited for her, and her success taught me an important lesson. Prolific authors are more likely to get publishing offers. I had spent three years perfecting one manuscript but I had nothing else in the pipeline. To push myself to be more prolific, I joined Julie Hedlund's 12x12 community. With the help of 12x12, I was able to write 12 new drafts that year. 

After many years of writing, reading and learning, I got my first acceptance from Highlights High Five magazine and was awarded a diversity scholarship from 12x12.

CAROL: What was your inspiration behind TEACH YOUR GIRAFFE TO SKI?

VIVIANE: I share that journey in this blog post.

CAROL: How did you meet your editor, Annie Nybo?

VIVIANE: I signed up for a critique at the SCBWI-Carolinas 2016 conference, and was very lucky to get Ms. Annie Nybo as a critiquer. I was convinced she would have tons of fabulous advice on how to improve my manuscript. To my surprise, when I walked in, she exclaimed that she had been looking forward to meeting me. She was very enthusiastic about TEACH YOUR GIRAFFE TO SKI and asked me if I could change the ending and submit the story to her. Then she asked me if I had any questions, but I was in such a state of shock I'm not sure any questions came to mind. 

After the conference was over, I changed the ending and submitted my manuscript to her. I didn't hear anything for months. When I finally decided to nudge, I discovered Annie had left her publishing house. 

A few months later, one of my critique partners texted me. Annie Nybo had joined Albert Whitman and Company. I decided to send her a nudge email, though it had been nine months since the initial submission and I wasn't even sure she would still remember my story. I included the full manuscript with my nudge email, just in case. 

Twenty-four hours later, Annie sent me a publishing offer. My manuscript was the first one she showed the editorial staff at Albert Whitman!

CAROL: What a great story, Viviane. How did you get your agent?

VIVIANE: I signed with Natascha Morris at Bookends Literary Agency after getting the offer of publication from Albert Whitman. I sent "Offer of Publication" queries to five agents including Natascha. She was already familiar with the story because she had seen it while working at Simon and Schuster. 

Cover Reveal


Now for the moment you've all been waiting for, here is Viviane's cover marvelously executed by Danni Gowdy!




GIVEAWAY

Leave me a comment and your email address (if you are new to my blog) and I'll put your name in the hat to receive the ARC of this humorous picture book. I'll be reviewing it later this year and I'll give it away then. 

Remember! One way we support our favorite authors is by pre-ordering their books. If you pre-order now, you don't have to pay for shipping! Here's the link to Barnes and Noble. 


36 comments:

Michelle Leonard said...

Congrats! How wonderful! It would be so great for Viviane’s local indie if they got the first shot at preorders instead of sending people to Amazon, who doesn’t really care about authors or books-just money.

Linda Vigen Phillips said...

Great, encouraging story of perseverance, Viviane and the books sounds so fun! Thanks for posting, Carol.

Rosemary Basham said...

My kind of book! Congrats and I can’t wait to read it!

Connie said...

I love the cover and the story sounds like so much reading fun!
Blessings,
Connie
cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Rosemary, LInda, and Michelle for your comments. Great point, Michelle! I'll check with Viviane to see if she's working with anyone!

sheri levy said...

Wonderful story to share. It will inspire others to keep trying and not give up. Congratulations. What an adorable cover!!
www.sherislevy.com

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Sheri! Your name is in the hat!

Melissa Stoller said...

Great interview! I love the cover, especially the giraffe with the cute scarf! Congratulations Viviane!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Melissa!

Debra Shumaker said...

What an adorable cover and inspirational story! Can't wait to read this book!!!!!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks , Debra! Your name is in the hat!

Anonymous said...

I love 12x12 success stories! So true about being prolific when it comes to writing picture books. I've taken that lesson to heart. This book looks like kids will love it! Congrats to Viviane from a fellow 12x12er!

The Winding Ascent said...

Here is the link to Park Road Books (Vivianne's local indie bookstore), but I'm not sure how they'd do preorders...

http://www.parkroadbooks.com/book/9780807577677

Great interview, Carol! I meet Vivianne sometimes just to sit and write together. I'm so glad you started that critique group, so we got a chance to meet!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Megan! Viviane is looking into getting a pre-order link for me.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Jillian. I'd never heard of it before!

Amber Hen said...

So proud of Viviane and love seeing her cover. This is going to the top of my preorder list for sure!

Viviane Elbee said...

Thank you Carol for hosting me on your blog, and thank you everybody for leaving such kind comments! I am checking with Park Road Books about a pre-order link; hopefully I'll hear back from them soon. :)

Young Authors Program said...

Yay, Viviane!! I am soooo excited for you! This has truly been a journey worth traveling my friend. By the way, thank you for considering me a "prolific writer". I appreciate that. Can't wait to get this book!

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carol,
Thank you for sharing Viviane's amazing story and the wonderful cover for her book, "Teach Your Giraffe to Ski."

Humor is healing and delights the audience. I look forward to seeing your book in print. I'd love to win.

Sincerely,
Joan

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Joan and Dorothy. Isn't it cool to have one of our own join the ranks of published authors?

Young Authors Program said...

It sure is!

Jennifer Hunt said...

So happy for you, Vivian! Thanks for sharing the good news, Carol!

Jennifer Hunt said...

So happy for you, Vivian! Thanks for sharing the good news, Carol!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for your comment, Jennifer. What is your email address?

Mich Mash said...

Carol what an inspiring post! Vivienne your perseverance with Annie Nybo paid off, and I appreciate you're sharing the details of how your book got published! It shows that editors do move around, unbeknownst to many out here. (If that was the only reason it takes 6-9 months to hear from publishers, then that's understandable, but it seems typical to wait for responses in batches of months in any case.) Thank you for sharing that writing prolifically is the key, and congratulations on your adorable picture book cover. Can't wait to read it! Best, Michelle

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Michelle. I need your email address to enter your name in the giveaway. Your comment is so true!

Derick Wilder said...

Congratulations, Viviane! It's been great seeing your hard work and perseverance pay off. Can't wait to see the published version of this fun story!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Derick. Appreciate your comment!

Vijaya said...

Thank you Carol and CONGRATULATIONS Viviane!!! I love all the stories behind the story and I can just picture all the mayhem on that first ski trip with your kiddos.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Vijaya! Who knows where our life experiences will show up in our stories, right??

Manju Howard said...

Congratulations, Viviane! Thanks for sharing your road to pub. When you sent "Offer of Publication" queries to five agents, were they all agents you queried previously?

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Manju. I'll make sure Viviane sees your question. Carol

Viviane Elbee said...

Hi Manju. I queried 5 new agents that I had not yet queried but they were on my “to query" list. I had been sending out one query a month (that’s a bit slow), but when I got the offer I realized I needed to hurry up and contact all the agents on my "to query" list. I also sent three nudge emails to agents who already had my work but who had not yet responded (8 emails/query forms to agents in one day). Since I had already carefully researched and selected those agents it felt right to contact them. Most agents were looking for email queries, so I could write Offer of Publication in the subject header. However, Bookends has an online query form and their form did not have a spot to write Offer of Publication. I was lucky that Natascha looked at the online queries within the short response timeframe.

Manju Howard said...

Hi Viviane, Thanks for replying. I've started submitting directing to editors, so your answer is very helpful.

Carol Baldwin said...

Manju, I need your email address to enter your name for the giveaway.

Kathleen said...

I'm very late in commenting on this, but I wanted to say Congratulations to Viviane! What a wonderful path to publication story! So excited for her :)

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