A Town Without Socks: Serendipity and My Journey to Publication
by Margaret Taylor
My first book, A Town Without Socks, was inspired by a true story that happened in my hometown of Edgewater, New Jersey, located two miles from Manhattan.
Before retiring from my job as the human resources manager of a computer software company, I never considered writing as a hobby, nor as a serious endeavor. Upon losing a very dear companion, however, I realized the gentleman's extended family of very young great-nieces and great-nephews would have no recollection of him. I wanted to do something to help.
I recalled an incident of a neighbor's lost cat, which had occurred a year earlier… and so the idea of a children's book – including my friend's involvement – evolved early one spring morning.
It was a call from the heart. What began as a personal, three-page memorial for family and friends became a nine chapter, 31-page, fully-researched children's book. The project was completed in nine months, with each month filled with unplanned "coincidences" and surprises.
On my first day of writing, I discovered an announcement posted on the library's bulletin board. This was an invitation to join a newly-formed Writers' Group. I began participating in weekly sessions of reading, writing, re-writing and being critiqued. With a totally unplanned agenda, but much encouragement, I decided to expand my simple, three-page story and eventually completed A Town Without Socks.
That same week, I entered a bookstore and approached a local resident with the question: "You and I live in the same town, but don't know each other. However, I've written a children's book. Would you know someone who could edit it for me?"
The stranger turned out to be a retired editor, who agreed to join the project.
Finding a publisher was the next step. Unaware of how to self-publish, I asked another friend for help. The response was an invitation to a publishers' seminar being held that same night at the local library. Without hesitation, I attended and found my free-lance publisher, Bookshapers.com of Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
Seeking an illustrator was a bit more complicated. Researching free-lance illustrators on the internet revealed portfolios of more than 200 world-wide artists. I instinctively selected the one I wanted: a Canadian illustrator and mother of four, Romi Caron. I flew to Canada for a meeting, and soon a signed agreement for the book's color sketches was in the works!
An avid fan of Cape Cod, I've biked all the trails over the last ten years and unexpectedly discovered CapeWomenOnline.com magazine. A recent trip brought me in contact with both the publisher and editor of the magazine, and to the offer of sharing my story with their readers.
The director of my local library arranged a book-signing in June, followed closely by a children's reading at Barnes and Noble Booksellers in Edgewater. In addition, an unsolicited invitation from a New York City school asked me to be a guest-speaker at their "Career Day" for 5th- 8th grade students in May – the very same school I entered as a first grader many years ago! My publisher calls this "destiny!"
My book will be on sale online starting in June, both from BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com. Independent bookstores in New Jersey, Connecticut and Cape Cod have been approached to sell the book. Several have already agreed to accept copies during the summer and autumn months.
On a final note, I've arranged with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society that a portion of all proceeds, for at least the first two years, will be donated to their organization.
The journey is continuing!
A TOWN WITHOUT SOCKS
Written by Margaret Taylor, illustrated by Romi Caron
A TOWN WITHOUT SOCKS is the gentle story of love and neighborhood involvement when a group of children search for a small, lost pet. The values of friendship and commitment are reinforced when these hometown boys and girls engage in a frantic effort to "bring Socks home."
Readers of all ages, and particularly children ages 5-9, will enjoy following the summer adventure of the lovable Socks.
The book will be available June 2011, for $18.95, in local bookstores on the Cape as well as online at BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com. A portion of the profits has been pledged to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Margaret Taylor is a part-time Cape Codder, and the debut author of
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