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Foreign Editions July 31, 2009

Posted by Ronica Stromberg in Uncategorized.
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Scanned for you here is the exciting news I just received from the publisher of my picture book, The Time-for-bed Angel. My publisher sold the Finnish and Danish rights to the book!

Danish Version

Danish Version

In the Danish version, my main character, Andrew, is now named Tobias; his guardian angel, Sam, is named Anton; and his teddy bear, Bear, is named Bjorn. What fun to think of little children all over the world hearing my story at bedtime! The book was already in English-speaking countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain (because the publisher is British) and the United States (because I’m American). These translations mean two new print runs.

This news couldn’t have come at a better time. My inspirational romance was just rejected by a publisher after eight months of consideration of the full manuscript. I took this news hard because an inspirational romance the size I’ve written (about 50,000 words) has only a few possible markets. If I had written a children’s book that was rejected, I could probably submit it to another 30 markets, but with the inspirational romance, the year I spent writing it may result in nothing. Discouraging, to say the least. But shortly after receiving this bad news, I received the good news about my picture book. Writing can be such an emotional roller coaster!

Finnish Version

Finnish Version

Picture books are a tough sell to publishers, but one reason I think The Time-for-bed Angel has been successful, even selling around the world, is that it addresses a universal theme–children being reluctant to go to bed–but in a unique way. Many picture books address the “monster in the closet” or “monster under the bed” to try to put children’s minds at ease at bedtime, but when I wrote The Time-for-bed Angel it was the only bedtime story with a guardian angel instead of a monster watching over the child at night. When the idea came to me, I almost couldn’t believe it hadn’t been done before. Surely, an angel would reassure a child better than a monster.

Angels also are fairly universal.  People of all different faiths and cultures–Christians, Jewish people, and Muslims among them–understand what angels are and have them in their belief systems.

It’s hard to come up with anything fresh for a picture book. That’s why it’s doubly delightful to see this angel take flight!

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Famous Author July 9, 2009

Posted by Ronica Stromberg in Uncategorized.
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I’ve been reading my bedtime story, The Time-for-bed Angel, at day cares during the summer. After a reading last week, a child asked me, “What’s it like being a famous author?”

Tough question.

Had he asked, “What’s it like being an author?” the question would have been easier. I don’t see myself as famous. I’m not sure what it’s like being a famous author. Truth is, most authors aren’t famous.

Just recently, one of the publications I read (I can’t remember which one, but it was probably Publishers Lunch) posted publishing stats for the past year. The stats indicated about half a million books were published, and of those, about a quarter million were published traditionally (at the publisher’s expense) and slightly more were self-published (at the author’s expense). (Just for the record, I’m traditionally published.)

With a half-million books being published every year, not every one of the authors of those books can be famous. Or even rich.

I’ve heard from editors and agents that the number of authors who make a comfortable living solely from their books is somewhere between 100 and 200.

If you compare these numbers with the number of books published each year, you’ll see that becoming an author is no guarantee of fame or riches.

So, what did I tell the inquiring child?

“I like being an author. I was so happy when I saw my book in print and could hold it.”

All true.

Maybe I should be a politician.