Thursday, November 15, 2012

Special Guest Author Clara Bowman-Jahn

Today, please welcome Clara. She shares her path to publication for Annie's Special Day with a small publisher. You'll have to read to the end to know what kind of dance she did. I wrote about the book here.

My Publishing Story 

By Clara Bowman-Jahn

After I wrote “Annie’s Special Day” I started sending off query letters that my writing group had critiqued to a list of publishers my mentor friend, Bobbi Carducci had given me. There was a list for snail mail and a list for email.  

I started sending off letters to both of them simultaneously. I got many rejections and few agents were polite enough to say anything on the SASE form letter they sent back to me. 

Then I happened to look at my query letter. I saw blatant errors! Typos! Sentence structure! I couldn’t imagine how I had sent such a letter out on such an important errand! How did that happen? I couldn’t imagine how. I was crushed. It’s one of those things you have one chance at.

Then I learned about the Muse online writer’s conference. On the website I saw where authors could pitch their book to a publisher or agent and maybe get a manuscript looked at. However by the time I saw this there were no openings on the publishers who specialized in picture books. Then, the last day, Saturday, two publishers I hadn’t seen before opened up at 10 a.m. with a pitch session. 

One was eTreasurespublishers. There really was no time for me to any research before 10 a.m. So I put in my request and waited till the time for me to go into the pitching session.

Martha, the publisher of eTreasures was very friendly and easy to talk to (or should I say type to) LOL. She laughed with me when I misspelled her name. That kind of broke the ice right then and there. Martha liked that the kids themselves would be able to read the book because I had written it in easy to read text. She asked for the manuscript right away and from the web site under submissions I saw were she would reply in two to three weeks. 

After three weeks I contacted them asking about the status of the book and she said she had filed the contract in her filing cabinet but had not sent out to me. LOL. So I got the contract! Did my Scooby dance, looked it over and sent it back. And that’s the end of my publishing story.

But when you get a small press the story doesn’t end there. You need to have the illustrator, the book cover, the text embedded and the book formatted. That’s all up to you. Fortunately my husband was up to learning all this with the help of a printer friend, Sue Walls. And my story about how I Found my illustrator is famous. I’ll tell you all about it on another post.

Clara Bowman-Jahn worked as a registered nurse for thirty two years finally trading that job for her true love, writing. Clara’s short  stories have been published in the anthology of the “Campaigner’s Challenges 2011” Book.

When Clara is not writing, she does volunteer  work for a local elementary school and her church. She also likes taking long walks with her husband, blogging, and reading books. She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Pennwriters, Bethesda Writer’s Center and Round Hill Writer’s Group. She lives in rural Loudoun County, Virginia with her brilliant husband, a senior dog and  two cats. And she  is the proud mother of two wonderful grown sons and a grandmother to a delightful grandson. 

You can learn more about Clara over at Patricia Tilton's Children's Books Heal. Patricia's author interview appeared on Nov. 12. 


  1. Oh, the horrors of a bad query discovered when you revisit it after a gap, Clara! I've been through that shock, and I remember being terribly ashamed of myself at having sent it out earlier! It's all a part of the learning curve, I guess:)
    Thanks for sharing your experience here! Wish you great luck with the book.

  2. I am so happy for your success with the "small" press. And I know of what you speak - about sending a letter or email and then finding mistakes! Arg! Cheers to you, Clar!

  3. I love reading about how authors get their contracts. Thanks for sharing your story with us Clar and congratulations! :)

  4. WOW. I can't believe that fact about your query letter! I am glad that your book was still published! :D

  5. Thanks for sharing your story. Sometimes it does pay to check up on your submissions. Twice I did and both times there was a good result from doing it. Anxious to hear about how you got your illustrator.

    1. Janet, Clar wrote about this on my blog yesterday -

  6. Clara, what a wonderful story. I truly enjoyed myself here today. *Waves to Clara and Stacy* I giggled about the query though. Been there, done that! Ha!!! Thank you for sharing and Stacy, thanks for inviting her over here today. (I have been to the Muse online conference many times.)

  7. Nothing like that moment when you find out your book is going to be published, is there? :) Thanks for sharing your story!

  8. Am loving this blog tour and finding out about each step in your process, Clar!

  9. Clara, I know the despair of typos on something important. I love that you kept trying. I've written about it here, but really, really struggle to hit send. I'm glad you did. I enjoyed your book!

  10. Thanks for sharing! Love to read about an author's success--especially after all the bumps and mistakes. Congrats!

  11. What a great story, Clara! It's wierd how we find mistakes/typos after the fact, even if we've re-read it multiple times before sending. Happened to me too. Thanks, Stacy, for having Clara on you blog.

  12. Hi Clar and Stacy,
    Clar your story was refreshing.
    I'm sure most writers have sent in work with typos, and that's even after someone else has critiqued it. "To err is human."
    The part I liked the best was that you followed up based on the submission guidelines. Good thing you did or your wonderful story might still be unpublished.
    Clar, as you know I have your book, and I pull it out every once in awhile to read it.
    Awesome post Stacy!

  13. Wow, I learned so much more than I knew about how Clar found her publisher. Great information. It's fun to watch the different ways authors get published. The Scooby dance?

  14. Thanks for hosting me here, Stacy. And thanks so much for all the nice things all of you said to me about my publishing story. It warms my heart. :)

  15. Wow - congratulations Clar! I think the right connections do happen at the right time!


Comment moderation is enabled. This blog is now maintained at