Friday, August 25, 2006

quiet births

Many months ago I painted the last painting of a picture book, got on the train and dropped it on a white desk in the lobby of a New York publishing company.

Suddenly, two days ago, a heavy cardboard box shows up on my front porch in West Haven, CT. What the heck is it? Was I up at 3am bidding on eBay in my half sleep again last week? Oh no, it's 20 copies of my 6th book that I worked on for a year and a half.

Books are born without a lot of fanfare. Even my own family has gotten a little jaded about them. I never expected that when I dreamed of being an illustrator. It turns out if you want fanfare you have to make it yourself. The problem is I'm always about as tired as any new mother who's just given birth. Finding jobs, managing a business and painting is already more then a full time job, how can anyone fit PR person and party planner in there on top of it all?

But they do. I marvel at what the other Blue Roses are able to accomplish. I also think being the only non-writing Blue Rose gives me a slightly different relationship to my books. I get a lot of emails from new illustrators wanting to know how to get into the business or what my technique is, but the only 2 pieces of fanmail I've ever gotten were from children who confused me with the author. Doing a booksigning often requires repeated lengthy explanations about the difference between a writer and illustrator and how that arrangement works out. Which I love doing, but sometimes I worry I'm a consolation prize.

I swore the last time I had a book out I wouldn't let it go without throwing it a party, but here it is, and I'm caught unprepared again. Maybe even just a potluck in my backyard would do. Anyone want to come?


alvinaling said...

I'd come!!

Congratulation on your sixth book. I'm excited to see it. But I know what you mean about the fanfare--I guess that's why third and fourth children don't get as many pictures in the photo album as the first-born--it's not because they're loved any less.

Linda S. Wingerter said...

Thanks Alvina!

One of the people I dedicated this book to is #10 out of 11 children! I wonder what that's like.

Libby Koponen said...

I would, too! Better yet, come over here and I'll do the party preparing -- more of a celebration for you?

Linda S. Wingerter said...

You are so sweet Libby. Can we spin fire on the beach again??

Grace Lin said...

i'll make the cupcakes!

Nancy said...



Linda S. Wingerter said...

Thank you, ladies. I love cupcakes and fireworks about as much as anything else on earth.

Meghan McCarthy said...

I'll come to your party!

I hear you 100%. I work at B&N, as many of you know. For my first book, the day it came out they put it all over the store. I was a little embarrassed! For the 2nd book it got a display. For the 3rd... well, I can't remember. Now everyone is like "Oh, you have ANOTHER one out?" as if it's the most BORING thing in the world! Most of my family (I'm talking extended here) doesn't even know how I make a living (ha ha, make a living...). They certainly don't know how many books I've published! My immediate family is encouraging, but they are certainly not excited about my publications much now either. I can't fault them. Neither am I. I'm trying to find other ways of using my books that people would find more exciting--giant sized coasters... Frisbees ... booster seats... toilet paper? Okay, I may have gone too far on that the last one... too scratchy.

The only way I'm keeping the book thing interesting is by challenging myself with each new book. I'm now tackling nonfiction. This is coming from a girl who was HORRIBLE in school (I'm talking high school here, not college). I amaze myself constantly. I often chuckle while doing research. I think "Oh, Meghan, (yes, I talk to myself as if I'm two separate entities ... does this make me crazy?) you were such a bad student. How can you possibly write nonfiction..." But then the other half of me says "I can be GREAT at this. I love the challenge." Who cares if no one else cheers anymore? At least this why *I* won't be using my books as coasters.

Okay, the A.D.D has officially kicked in. I don't know what my point was! What was I talking about? Hmmm. Whatever.


Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Wingerter,

Here is a fan letter. I love your illustration. I buy your books for the illustration and enjoy looking at them again and again.

Looking forward to seeing the new baby!

(Have you written about your current project-did I miss the post?)

A big fan and fellow illustrator,
Katherine Tillotson

Nancy said...

In all seriousness, I have a suggestion... you may already do this already... I would buy myself something very special with the publication of each book. Something unique that you will look at and say, "that's what I bought myself to celebrate the publication of X." And if you haven't already done it then I suggest you go back and buy yourself one thing for EACH book already published. You deserve it.

Anonymous said...

But I didn't know it was fianally out there!

Meghan McCarthy said...

I like the idea of buying something special for each book. I might do that!

Libby Koponen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Linda S. Wingerter said...

Thank you everyone~ Nancy, Libby, Anon ;), and Katherine (thank you thankyou!)

We'll have a party- you all are invited. We'll drink champagne, throw fire, and I'll buy myself something nice (I really need new rollerskates and some double staffs) and then I'll have something to blog about!