The Picture Book Contract_Then and Now

Almost twenty-five years ago, I sold my first picture book. I was living in Philadelphia. My husband took me out to a restaurant called Dante and Luigi’s to celebrate.  I had been sending manuscripts out to publishers for three years and had experienced rejection but most of it was positive and with requests for more portfolio pieces and other manuscripts. So, when I sold my story, I was thrilled with the inexperience of youth.  I remember feeling that I had waited long enough for success to come my way, not knowing that others wait many more years to sell a story or never have the chance at all.  How na├»ve! 
Now solidly at my half-century mark, I know that the success game has variations. I am equipped from motherhood with super time-management skills and extreme multi-tasking capabilities all adorned by the crown of my almost non-existent ego.  I have failed at the simplest tasks like showering and knowing how to open a computer file.   I appreciate every little success that comes my way.  I have learned to take nothing for granted and that plans can diverge on an minute to minute basis whether they suit me or not. 
So, needless to say, I am thrilled that I have sold my story, THE BIG ADVENTURES OF MR. SMALL to the wonderful editor, Marissa Moss, at Creston Books.

The happy desk in JoAnn Adinolfi's studio.
I savored her saying that she was interested.  I gladly made the changes she requested without thinking that my work was perfect just the way I had submitted it.  I happily thought:  I can come up with something new.   I proudly negotiated my contract without an agent and look forward to letting the story I wrote and illustrated take me to places that I have not yet imagined.  I no longer have a vision of what the book will be but hope it will lead me to know what it wishes to become under the helpful and watchful eye of a great editor and art director.  Hoorah!  I have sold an illustrated manuscript and I am nervously, appreciatively happy and am soberly aware that at any moment it can all change.