Last year, I finished writing my middle grade book, Friends Against Bullies. I sent this to agents and publishers and had productive discussions with one publisher in the US. However, they wanted changes that would have made the book completely and utterly different. For example, though it doesn’t say as much, it is clear from the content that the book is set in England. And in England, police are still trusted by most children and other people. And it is totally okay if they come in to a school to find the bad guys. Not in the US. I was advised to keep any mention of the police out of the book, as police and kids aren’t a good mix right now. That is both ridiculous and sad.
The editor suggested other changes and I incorporated many of them, but if I had made all the changes they asked for, it would have been a different book. So much so that it wouldn’t have been mine. So, I took my edited draft to a school and tested it out on them. They loved it. They wrote glowing reviews, made excellent suggestions (many incorporated in the current version) and asked when I’d be illustrating the rest of it.
Deadlines and moving to Spain got in the way of further progress last year, but now I’m ready to work on the book again. As a way of keeping me on track, I thought I’d share the process of illustrating the book (I did rough illustrations for chapter 1 for shopping the book concept around, but the other 11 chapters need illustrating) and setting it up, with the aim of self-publishing it later this year.
So, to begin with, I’m working on some rough character sketches to get back into the swing of things.