Good news and bad news on a Monday morning…

First the good news: jennifer_j_s e-mailed me to tell me we both have books on Maryland’s Black-eyed Susan award, just in different categories. I knew Trading Places with Tank Talbott was on that list, but it was still nice of Jennifer to tell me just in case I didn’t know. As I was e-mailing her back, it hit me…I know Jennifer’s books. She writes for the same audience that Trading Places with Tank Talbott is aimed at, so why would our books be on different grade level lists??? So I followed her link to the Black-Eyed Susan Award website (thinking maybe Jennifer had taken up writing picture books or YA novels since I last chatted with her) and discovered she wasn’t talking about Trading Places with Tank Talbott, nor was she talking about the 2006-2007 list. She was talking about Do You Know the Monkey Man, which is on the grades 6-9 Black-Eyed Susan Award list for 2007-2008! So that’s exciting — that’s the fifth state list for that book!

Now the bad news: I was paging through the Benchmark catalog this weekend and noticed a couple of the scripts I wrote last year were pictured, but I haven’t received author copies yet. So I e-mailed my editor there to ask him about it. He said that it’s their policy to send out author copies SIX MONTHS AFTER PUBLICATION! (I’ve been writing for Benchmark for several years and this was the first I’d heard about that policy. I never even noticed that it took them six months to send author copies.) Benchmark is great to work with…they pay well, the editors are great (well, the two I’ve worked with are, anyway) and they do some really neat things. But why in the world would they wait a full six months before sending copies to authors???

My editor says “the publisher just wants the marketplace to have the books, first.” They don’t want to take a chance of “copies from an author making their way into other hands….” O-kay! He did also say that if I really need copies now to let him know…well, I don’t exactly NEED them. I certainly don’t need them before any other authors “need” theirs. So if their “policy” is to wait six months, I guess I’ll wait six months.

Other bad news: The writing conference I was scheduled to speak at in Lawrence, Kansas next week has been canceled. The conference was for winners of a writing contest…and the winners this year all live pretty far from Lawrence, so the organizer said he wasn’t surprised, but that’s still disappointing. I’m still going, though, because I was also scheduled to speak to high school students. So there is a silver lining.

Good news/bad news…just another typical day in the life of a children’s book author.

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