Thursday, January 9, 2014

From Query to Book Deal in 72 Hours

From: If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, DON'T!
Updated 7/8/24

The writer's equivalent to winning the lottery is what happened to author-illustrator Elise Parsley. She sent a query (just one), and the agent signed her up the next day. The following day the agent conducted an auction. (That's when an agent sends a book to several publishers simultaneously.) And the day after that, Parsley landed a contract with a major publishing house.

The reason this story made headlines is not just that it fulfills a wish - to gain fame, fortune, and a major publisher without having to suffer through countless rejections - but that it is pure fantasy.

Elise spent years perfecting her craft. She went to art school, where she honed her skills as an illustrator, and then attended SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) conferences. She joined a critique group, and she didn't contact an agent until she was confident she had a book that would sell.

Since her first book, Elise has written two more, each one expanding on the misadventures of Magnolia, who in the first book has a really terrible idea (bringing an alligator to school for show and tell). The series has gotten rave reviews from Kirkus, New York Times, and Publishers Weekly.


Source: Publisher's Weekly.

From Query to Book Deal in 72 Hours: Debut Author Elise Parsley

By Sally Lodge, Dec 17, 2013

It’s a true story that reads like fiction – and it’s one that should raise the spirits of any aspiring author. Elise Parsley, a 27-year-old piano teacher in Plymouth, Minn., leapt from being an unpublished, agentless author-illustrator to one with both an agent and a book contract in three days.

The quick-fire timeline went like this: Parsley sent Steven Malk at Writers House an e-mail query on Tuesday, November 19; he signed her on as a client on Wednesday, and on Thursday submitted her picture book, If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t!, to multiple publishers. Connie Hsu at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers made a pre-empt offer on Friday, which Malk and Parsley accepted that evening. The book is scheduled for fall 2015 publication.

“It’s really crazy to think that a month ago, nobody knew who I was, and now several people do!” said Parsley. She explained that Alligator, the story of a spunky girl named Magnolia who sets off a domino effect of chaos when she brings an alligator to school for show-and-tell, is “my third story that I’ve tried to see through all the way to the end, but it’s the first one that has gotten really good feedback.”

Read the rest of this story here.

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