A few years ago, I was just about ready to begin the adventure of trying to publish a children’s book that I had written. Then, as I started researching the publishing process, I came across website after website that said editors almost always throw children’s stories about inanimate objects in the trash. Books about dogs, monkeys, bears and other animals were publishable. But inanimate objects? Forget it.
And just like that, BAM!
My hopes of publishing that book were squashed. I set aside that doomed manuscript and instead focused on writing my novel.
Then, about a year later, I went to Barnes & Noble to buy a gift. The minute I walked into the children’s book area, I scolded myself for believing everything I had read on the Internet. I was SURROUNDED by books about inanimate objects. Not only were these books successful enough to make it onto the bookstore’s shelves, but they were facing forward on the shelf.
The most prominently displayed book, The Day the Crayons Came Home, had a display case all to itself. I of course bought this book because it is one of the funniest children’s books I’ve read (my kids loved it too!)
Then I walked by several other forward-facing books: Stick and Stone, Happy Birthday, Cupcake, and Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast. All of these books are engaging, funny and beautifully illustrated. All of these authors made the inanimate stars of their stories believable and real. They, unlike me, must have scoffed at all of the inanimate object warnings. They believed in their story and pursued publication regardless of what the multitude of writing blogs said.
Do I think those blogs contained inaccurate information?
The problem, I’ve since realized, was that I was reading dated advice. The information was current, but it wasn’t forward-thinking. It’s kind of like looking at stars: the light you’re seeing was actually emitted from those stars years ago. You’re essentially looking back in time. And from what I’ve learned about the traditional publishing industry, it is sloooow, and can also take years to progress from story submission to acceptance to appearing on store’s bookshelves.
I have since decided to be more careful about which online writing advice I take. What is more important than all of the what-to-dos and what-not-to-dos is whether I believe in my story. I do plan to try to publish my children’s book, which personifies an inanimate object, and this time, I won’t let all of the helpful advice get in my way.
Do you or your kids have any favorite books about inanimate objects? Leave a comment below to share!
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