It’s what my daughter calls a “wrap-around.” I have no idea if that is the proper term, but here’s the cover in its full, honey-dipped glory—front and back.
I can’t tell you how incredible it is to have characters that have lived in your imagination for so long brought to life on the page. Allow me to introduce you!
The big bear with the tiny pink apron is LouAnn. She’s a baker and she has cooked up a doughnut feast as a late fall, pre-hibernation treat for herself. YUM! But just before she takes her first bite, the bell rings—ding-dong! Her friend Woodrow drops by. LouAnn is happy to share her doughnuts, but as soon as they sit down to eat—ding-dong! Clyde is at the door. One by one, LouAnn’s friends come over until it’s one big party. LouAnn makes batch after batch of doughnuts, always dividing them equally among her friends. (Yes, there’s some math involved.) But LouAnn makes one BIG miscalculation: She forgets to save any for herself!
You can imagine how a “hangry” bear might behave.
It’s OK, LouAnn. We’ve all been there.
Presenting this cover is only one of many milestones that this book (like any) has gone through to get the publication. Every story is different, but it’s fun to look back on the twists and turns, and I thought I would share some of the milestones in the DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS journey.
May 28, 2015: An idea!
I recorded the idea for DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS in my Storystorm idea document. Tara Lazar’s Storystorm challenge (which at that time was called PiBoIdMo, and took place in November) was long since over, but I use the same document all year to record my ideas. I even brainstormed a few possible stanzas/rhymes that I thought might work (NONE of which made it into the final manuscript).
June 3, 2015: Draft 3 shared with the Poets’ Garage, my online poetry/rhyming critique group
I don’t usually draft that quickly, especially with a rhyming story, and looking back—it was waaay too early to share with anyone. But I was excited about the idea and the draft maybe wasn’t ALL terrible . . . only MOSTLY terrible.
July 16, 2015: Draft 6 shared in a peer critique group at a writing retreat
This was a huge moment for the manuscript because one of the other writers who was also a teacher (I’m looking at you Marcie Atkins!) suggested that I shift the story slightly so that it could be used for math instruction—showing each batch of 12 doughnuts divided equally, first by 2, then 3, 4, and 6. Brilliant!
July 22, 2015: Draft 12 shared with the Poets’ Garage . . . again
These people are saints!
January 15, 2016: Draft 29 shared with my picture book critique group
Looking back, I am SHOCKED that I did not share the manuscript with my picture book group earlier in the process because I rely on them for everything! At the same time, I was getting critiques from other sources and I’m glad I could preserve my regular group’s “fresh eyes” until later in the process on this story.
February 17, 2016: Draft 40 sent for an editor critique at the New England SCBWI conference
The number of drafts is getting high, isn’t it? When I work on a story, I save a new draft every day that I work on it. Some of these drafts represent substantial new work. Others might involve changing only a line or two.
April 30, 2016: Received editor critique at the conference
This was another vitally important step. The editor was very enthusiastic about the manuscript, had tons of great suggestions for changes, and expressed interest in seeing a revision. Yay!
July 1, 2016: Draft 54 sent to agent for feedback
I signed with my agent, Linda Epstein, in January 2016, and was excited to share this manuscript with her.
July 15, 2016: Draft 56 sent to picture book critique group . . . again
After revising a little based on my agent’s feedback, I sent it through my picture book group again.
July 13, 2017: Draft 62 sent out on submission by agent
Did you notice a WHOLE YEAR went by? That’s because I had other manuscripts already lined up and going out on submission. Some of those got traction and even “came close” to an offer, but none of them quite made it. In July of 2017, we decided to dust off DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS and give it a chance.
October 30, 2017: Second round of submissions by agent
During the first round of submissions, we had strong interest from a couple of editors. But after being patient and nudging for a few months, my agent got tired of waiting and fired off round 2.
November 15, 2017: An offer is made!
One of the round 2 editors was VERY interested in the story, and suddenly some of the round 1 editors were also very interested and then everything happened really fast. (Yes, fast!) I was thrilled to accept an offer from Putnam.
This seems like the end, but actually it’s only another beginning, because then I got the editorial letter (January 2018), revised multiple times, sharing with my various critique groups each time (they’re still saints!), and through several rounds of edits with my editor until finally Draft 89 was accepted as final. Whew!
Then there was the happy moment on May 3, 2018, when I learned that Brianne Farley would illustrate, and the deal was announced in Publisher’s Weekly on May 10, 2018. Then things were quiet for a long time (on my end!) until I got a peek at some sketches on January 28, 2019. From there it was just a hop and a skip (for me, not Brianne) to final art on July 29, 2019, and a final jacket on September 11, 2019.
And—WHEW—today, October 21, 2019, we get to share that cover far and wide, just 4.5 short years after my initial story idea. And there’s only a teensy bit more waiting before we can finally, FINALLY, share the whole book with you in July 2020!
Carrie Finison writes poetry, stories, and picture books for children. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Highlights, High Five, Ladybug, and Babybug magazines. Her debut picture book, DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS, will be published by Putnam in 2020, with DON’T HUG DOUG following in 2021. She lives outside Boston with her husband, son, and daughter (who all love doughnuts), and two cats who allow her to work in their attic office. She is represented by Linda Epstein at Emerald City Literary.
Follow author Carrie Finison:
Carrie’s newsletter: Get notified about DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS publication, events, giveaways, and more.