I started flipping through the book. The name Babybug caught my eye, and I began reading its description, intrigued. At that time, Babybug was brand-new, a magazine geared toward very young children (infants up to age 2). The description mentioned that the editors were looking for fictional stories no longer than 25 words. Twenty five words? How on earth could someone write a story in so few words?
I decided to give it a try. After all, there were still several hours of our car trip left, and I had nothing better to do. I wrote a little list of subjects I thought babies and toddlers might enjoy. Then I picked one... bugs. I made several attempts at writing the story in prose, but I kept reaching the word limit before I'd said very much. Then I tried writing it like a short, rhyming poem, and finally came up with a story called "In My Yard". And, it was only 24 words long! :)
When we returned home from our trip, I took a deep breath, typed up my little story, along with a cover letter, then mailed them both off to Babybug. It was my very first submission to a publisher. I was excited and nervous and hopeful, but also tried to stay realistic. I knew that it's not an easy thing to get published. What's more, I knew how rare it would be for an editor to accept my very first submission ever.
Imagine my surprise and complete joy when I received a letter from The Cricket Magazine Group a month later, saying that they wanted to publish MY story in Babybug!* I felt giddy, and oh, so lucky, for weeks after that. My big dream of becoming a children's author was beginning to come true!
I still had to wait... and wait... and wait some more before seeing my story in print, however. Finally, in the May 1997 issue of Babybug, "In My Yard" was published! I was so thrilled when my complimentary issues of the magazine arrived in my mailbox. There, at last, were my words, my name, for everyone to read. I was excited, also, to see the illustrations that went along with my words, delightful pictures created by G. Brian Karas.
Since that first publication, Babybug has reprinted my story twice, in their April 2001 and May/June 2010 issues. Both times I felt almost as excited and lucky as I did the first time around!
|Covers for the May 1997 and May/June 2010 issues|
(The April 2001 cover was the same as 1997's.)
In My Yard
Butterfly flutters by.
Ant can't. She climbs a plant.
Bee is in the tree.
Snails are making trails.
Firefly lights the sky.
* Even though I was lucky enough to have my very first submission published, I have since tasted the bitterness of rejection letters more times than I can count. I guess I can't be lucky all the time! The important thing, though, is not to give up. :)