Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing. Melinda Haynes
Celebrate writing. What an awesome thought. I really do love to write.
Forget all the rules. When I first began to write, I had no idea what the rules were. I knew a little about grammar and I knew what sounded good to me on paper and what felt good on my tongue when I rolled words around inside my mouth. I’m learning every day, but I still write mostly from instinct.
In truth, I broke a lot of the publishing rules when I wrote Some Secrets Hurt. Some I broke on purpose, others accidentally. Maybe it goes without saying that writing about sexual abuse is taboo. Sexual abuse is a taboo subject. No one wants to talk about it. Let’s pretend it isn’t happening. Let’s ignore it and maybe it will go away. I knew that finding a publisher for sensitive material could be difficult, but I knew what I had to do. I had to write Some Secrets Hurt. It was calling to me.
Picture books are 32 pages. Almost always. Some Secrets Hurt is 64. That’s practically unheard of. That part I didn’t know. Now I not only had to find a publisher who would publish taboo material, but they had to publish it on 64 pages.
My illustrator hadn’t published a book either, so maybe she didn’t know about the 32 page rule. She could have made it 32 pages, but she made it 64. Each of her illustrations are so meaningful and so well matched to the text that 32 pages would have really diluted the impact of the book. Brandilyn went on her instincts too, which proved to be very powerful.
Illustrators are always chosen by the publisher. Always. Sending illustrations with the text to publishers is a big no no. Most publishers will not even look at author/illustrator combinations. I actually knew about this rule, but was drawn to Brandilyn. We had just met, and I knew she was right for the book. I knew it could hurt my chances of being published, but I had to go with my instincts.
I was concerned about finding a publisher who wouldn’t dilute my message. I was concerned that a publisher might want to sugar coat the message or water it down. I knew that the message was inspired. The text and the illustrations were inspired. I knew that Brandilyn and I had gotten it right. I didn’t want some publisher changing it up.
We were so blessed to connect with Shadow Mountain, and Chris Schoebinger who believed in the message and gave us a team of creative giants who brought the book to life. They didn’t change the message or the words. They loved the illustrations. They were true to our vision and they agreed to market the book very close to cost so that every family in America could afford to have this book in their home.
There was just one little problem. They didn’t have advertising dollars to spend on this book. Advertising sells books. There is only one way that this incredibly important book can change lives. That is if we can get it into the hands of those who need it most. Parents, children, families, teachers, and don’t forget teenagers.
Most people haven’t heard about Some Secrets Hurt. They don’t know that it can protect and empower the children we love. They don’t know that this little book can help to prevent sexual abuse. They don’t know that their children could be at risk. They don’t know that Some Secrets Hurt should be in every home.
How can we spread the word? Word of mouth. That’s how to do it. Please tell everyone you know about the little book with the big message. Some Secrets Hurt.
Do it Today.