Day 4 The Making of a BooK, or a Booklet, or a What. . .?
I wanted to use this post to tell you about the publishing journey for this project, and how a little children’s book evolved into a full movie. I originally submitted Miracle Maker in 2009. It was the first thing I had ever submitted to a publisher. Okay actually that isn’t quite true. During the “New Writer” phase I talked about in the previous post, I just started piling stuff up and I wanted to do something with it. Now remember I didn’t know I was a writer, so I didn’t anything about how writers got anything published. So I decided to use logic. (Just so you know the logic of publishing is it’s own animal, but we’ll talk about that another day.) I had a Christmas story that I wanted to publish, so I took out one of my favorite books and found the publisher inside the front cover. Then of course it was TO THE INTERNET * insert amazing announcer voice here*. I looked up the publisher’s address. Didn’t look at submission guidelines, didn’t know not to include my own terrifying artwork, and I believe my query went something like this. I know this isn’t very good, but I kind of like it and I was sort of hoping you could make it wonderful. Well, shockingly that manuscript was returned. They did include a very short and professional form letter letting me know my story would not be published. Again, shocking.
With Miracle Maker I had the help of a critique group (which I highly recommend) who helped me learn about submission guidelines and query letters. It took 7 painful months before a wonderful editor pulled it from the slush pile. I got the email that they had decided to publish the book early one morning. I was just flipping through my emails, laptop in hand, about to sit on the couch. When I saw this email with the publishers name attached. I opened it quickly and in scanning saw the words, ” We have decided to publish your manuscript.” I was so stunned I missed the couch entirely and ended up on the floor yelling, “Oh my gosh!” over and over. I ran through the house yelling the news. The hubs was excited for me, and I’m sure the kids were too, but since most of them were under 12 I don’t think they really understood what I was excited about and really just wanted to go back to bed.
The project changed a lot after that. Because of the recession we had to wait for publication because the book market was just as slow as any other market and the publisher had some projects piled up that needed to be made first. Then we had to find just the right illustrator. In determining and contracting at this point a lot of changes started to happen to Miracle Maker. It went from being a sort of medieval fable, to a Christmas book, to a Christmas movie with a western theme. I hadn’t know they were going to make it into a movie. I was just told they were working on something and that they didn’t want to tell me about it until things were more solid. I imagined all sorts of things at this point. I was sure they were going to make a musical out of it, which I still would love to see. In the end, when they told me about the movie and the addition of a booklet I was blown away, but I didn’t fall off my chair again. It felt too unreal.I just sat there stunned and tried to not freak out over the phone. I had never even dreamed of having something I’d written become a movie. And now I had three projects from this one little book.