A Pitch for #PBpitch: How My Picture Book The Donkey’s Song Was Discovered

Over and over again, I have repeated these words:

It Is A Miracle That The Donkey’s Song Has Been Published!

While I’ll try not to drag you through the entire litany of my publishing story, I’ll repeat a few of the high points.

  1. I had convinced myself that I’d never sell a manuscript for a Christian book, and even though the tale of The Donkey’s Song had been pounding at me for years, I never thought that it would be published, and I didn’t write it. . . until I did!
  2. My first serious effort to get any of my stories published was at a #PBPitch Event in February of 2020. All that day, I pitched several stories. No luck. Finally, I sort of gave up and tried–with an absolutely deflated ego–a pitch for The Donkey’s Song.  For all my other pitches that day, I had boldly attached one of my loud and vigorous illustrations, but I had no idea how I would illustrate a story about Baby Jesus. Besides that, I didn’t think that The Donkey’s Song had a chance. With very little hope, I simply posted a pitch–words only–about my Donkey who had carried Mary to Bethlehem.
  3. Minutes later, “When, what to my wondering eyes should appear…” a heart landed on that post. {For #PBPitch newbies, when a heart appears on a pitch tweet, it means that someone important likes your pitch.] I gasped. Someone named Frances Gilbert had liked my pitch. Now, here is where I truly show how ignorant I was at that time: I had no idea who Frances Gilbert was, and I wondered if this was a cruel joke.
  4. But I timidly whispered a message to this Frances Gilbert: “Uhh! Excuse me, but. . . did you like my pitch?” [For #PBPitch newbies, if you get a like on your pitch tweet, you are supposed to pick your jaw up from the floor immediately and message the sender, telling him or her that you are the author of the pitched manuscript that they had liked.]
  5. Immediately, Frances Gilbert trilled back: “Yes!” She added that she wanted to read my full manuscript, and with those words, she changed my life.

Published by Doubleday for Young Readers at
Random House Children’s Books
October 18, 2022

But had it not been for that #PBPitch in February of 2020, Frances would never have seen my manuscript, and Sydney Hanson would not have illustrated it, and The Donkey’s Song would never have sprung to life.

I shared the rest of that story and other miracles connected to the Donkey’s publishing story about a year ago:

6 Tips to Help You Get Ready for Your Picture Book Manuscript to Be Discovered on Twitter through PBPitch

The next #PBpitch is October 27, 2022. Dust off your manuscripts and pitch with wild abandon, laced with the confidence that miracles do happen and that someone you know not only survived the publishing process but prevailed.

P.S. I learned very quickly who Frances Gilbert is. She is my hero!

Another confession: When Frances said that Sydney Hanson would illustrate my picture book, I didn’t know who that was either.

Double P.S. I learned very quickly that Sydney Hanson is a New York Times Best Selling Illustrator. Furthermore, she is the person who gave my dream its face–[or faces]!

I know, perhaps better than most, that a picture is worth a thousand words.