Happy Holidays

December 22, 2016

Christmas came early for me this year. Last weekend, I woke up to find that Nadia Comaneci had posted on social media —"Karlin Gray did an amazing job with this book"—with an image of NADIA: THE GIRL WHO COULDN'T SIT STILL and an Amazon link! I've always been proud of this book but that endorsement was delicious icing on the cake. I'm so thankful to everyone who helped me with this book, from my writing instructor Victoria Sherrow to my editor Kate O'Sullivan at HMH to the talented illustrator Christine Davenier.

I just want to remind writers that I don't have an agent. I workshopped my manuscript for a year. (Yes, my classmates were sick of it!) I sent it to every publisher that accepts unsolicited nonfiction picture books. It was rejected everywhere . . . until one person plucked it from the slush pile.

Since then, I have been writing, submitting, and receiving lots of rejection letters. And then one day, another editor picked up one of my manuscripts. Now my rhyming fiction picture book, AN ORDINARY MOTH, will be published by Sleeping Bear Press in 2018.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this Q&A blog and learning about how writers created their first picture book. It will return in the New Year with new writers and new books. Until then, enjoy the holidays with family and friends before you go back to that drawer full of manuscripts!


  1. December 25, 2016 1:10 PM EST
    Congratulations! What a great story. For about 20 years I wrote The Weigh It Is, a weekly column on food, fitness and diet humor for the CT Post. One day, on the Woman Wise page above my column, the publisher of Greene Bark Press was featured and he was looking for manuscripts. I opened up my manuscript drawer, pulled out two picture book manuscripts that had made the rounds of publishers and literary agents. Sent them off to Greene Bark and received a telephone call upon receipt. I was given 6 weeks to find an illustrator and within six months Queen of the Kisses came out followed by Queen of the Kisses Meets Sam Under a Soup Pot. These were my very first published children's books.
    - Sheryl Kayne
  2. January 6, 2017 1:10 PM EST
    That's wonderful news!! It's all about perseverance, isn't it, and talent too, of course :). Congrats, Karlin!! I will look forward to reading it!

    Happy New Year!
    - Maria Gianferrari