Thirty five years ago, I wrote a wonderful bird’s tale. About a bird who almost lost his tail.
Beta readers, university professors, parents of young children all loved my book about Bert and Bessie, two birds who needed to find each other to find themselves.
Then, “life happened.”
My second child was born soon after I created the story.
I moved from one coast to the other. But during that time, several of my former college friends read the copy and encouraged me to “get it published!”
One of my closest friends gave my story to his girlfriend, Shelley, who was a freelance artist. She fell so in love with Bert and Bessie that she brought them to pen-and-ink life in a few illustrations, sending them to me with a three-word note: “Let’s Do This!”
“Life” continued to happen. I placed Shelley’s gorgeous drawings and my story in the top drawer of my bedroom dresser.
A year or so later, they found their way into a new filing cabinet in my home office.
A few years after that, I re-discovered them, fell in love with Bert and Bessie all over again, and sent my story to a few publishers. Cold calls. At that time, I had no idea the networking needed, the agents to be pursued, the difficulty in sharing a dream with readers.
More years passed.
I published two books of women’s fiction, and in doing so, learned the long and winding road to publication.
I learned one important fact: in seeking publication – in seeking any passion in our lives – use the talents of your friends. Network with those you know and love. Create Local.
And that’s how I achieved a happy ending to my Bird’s Tale.
I had not seen Shelly for many years. But circumstantially (coincidentally, serendipitously?) two years ago when I still lived in California, she and her husband (my college friend) traveled 1,000 miles from their home to San Francisco for a vacation, and e-mailed: “can we get together for lunch or dinner?”
I dusted off her illustrations and my story. Over lunch on a sunny deck overlooking the San Francisco Bay with pelicans squawking overhead, I reminded her of our original efforts. She peered at me over her Crab Melt and said just three words: “Let’s Do It.”
Every month, Shelley sent me another illustration to pair with another page in my Bird’s Tale, entitled Birds of Paradise.
A year later, I attended a mini-college get-together and reunited with a dorm friend who spent years as a graphic designer and then created her own…. ready for this? . . .publishing company – Borgo Publishing.
I just happened to have my children’s story and Shelley’s illustrations with me. Easty, the publisher, spent an hour with the material in her hotel room and then found me with a few other friends. “Let’s Do It!” she exclaimed.
With the help of my friends, my dream of publishing an illustrated children’s book came true. Birds of Paradise, published April 15, is available through Amazon or Borgo Publishing. It’s a “Local” Creation.