Those of you who know me may or may not know that I've been writing for 12 years.
I started in 2004 when my daughter was born and I had 5 months of paid maternity leave. I was immediately hooked and haven't looked back since.
I've had a tough road in publishing. I've written about 9 books over 12 years rejected by agents and editors. I had an amazing agent and then mutually parted ways.
I ended up indie pubbing my Nature of Grace series (before it was cool) and worked hard to sell over 100,000 copies. I also worked hard to rise above the stigma of self-pubbing and turn off all the naysayers and criticism I received from many. TO be honest, I worked through many tears to get where I am. I stopped writing for 6 months and almost gave up at times, but I found my way back to loving writing again.
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE indie pubbing and still do. It was the best decision I ever made (besides my husband :) But I always wanted a traditional deal. Whether I felt I needed to be legitimized or that I needed to prove it to myself or whether it was because I wanted to be a hybrid author and do both indie and traditional, I don't know.
But one day I got super lucky and found a new agent (my agent soulmate) and we have worked hard together to make that dream a reality.
So today, after 9 books, 2 agents, 12 years of writing, and months of holding in a secret and avoiding talking to anyone because I can't keep secrets very well...I can finally announce my first traditional deal. :) And I get to see my name in Publisher's Weekly - a dream come true.
And what's even better, it's with my best friend, Kimberly Derting (author of the Body Finder series).
Virginia Duncan at Greenwillow Books preempted world rights, in a two-book deal, to a picture book series called Luna and the Scientific Method! by Kimberly Derting and Shelli Johannes-Wells. The first book is set for fall 2017. Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown Literary represented Derting, and Lara Perkins, also at Andrea Brown, represented Johannes-Wells. Rennert said the series is about a “science-loving, question-asking girl” who discovers that “scientific inquiry... can lead to a lot of fun and adventure.” Derting (the Body Finder series) and Johannes-Wells (who uses the pseudonym S.R. Johannes and is the author of the Nature of Grace series) will be writing the series together; an illustrator for the books has yet to be chosen.
We have no idea who will be illustrating our picture book babies, but what I can say is that Kim and I are crazy-excited to be working with Virginia Duncan, the publisher at Greenwillow, and her amazing team to bring our feisty, science-loving girl, LUNA, and her love science to girls around the world.
To me, this book is more than a traditional deal. More than a book. LUNA is a chance for us to make a difference in the lives of many future scientists to be. :)
Special shout out to our partner's in crime - Laura Rennert, Lara Perkins, and Virgina Duncan/Greenwillow for believing in me and Kim... and LUNA.
Don't give up on your dreams - ever - they can happen.
It just might take some time. :)