Behind the Scenes: “How Waiting Saved My Writing Career” by Kirsti Call

Welcome, Kirsti Call! Thank you so much for sharing this essential part of the path to publication! Waiting is hard. So hard. And after experiencing rejections, even harder. But…patience can make all the difference. 

Kirsti Call Author Photo Color!If you’d like a chance to win a copy of COW SAYS MEOW, just leave a comment after the post to enter Kirsti’s GIVEAWAY! (US address only please)

The winner of a signed copy of MY TREE from Hope Lim is Robin Brett Wechsler! Congratulations!

How Waiting Saved My Writing Career

By Kirsti Call

journalsI’ve always wanted to be an author. I started writing in my journal when I was 8.  Then I wrote short stories. Then novels. Hey, I was ambitious.  Once in a while I threw in a little poetry.  

I basically stopped writing until my 5th child was 6 months old. We had just moved to the Boston area. Towers of boxes filled my new house, the cacophony of my young children echoed, and I remembered.  

I love to write. 

So at possibly the least convenient time of my life, I decided to pursue my career as an author of picture books (and I haven’t stopped pursuing my kidlit career for the last 10 years!)

The Raindrop Who Couldn't Fall COVERSeven years ago I somehow finagled a contract at a small press for THE RAINDROP WHO COULDN’T FALL.

Three months later, I got an offer from another small press on the first picture book I ever wrote, WILMA AND THE BIG SCREAM. I was so excited when they asked me to paginate the story and sent me the contract. I was becoming a real bona fide author! I ordered one of their books to confirm I wanted to work with them, but was disappointed to find their books weren’t up to my standards. I did not sign the contract. I was sure I’d have another opportunity soon. 

I wrote and subbed and wrote and subbed some more. Two years later, I got a call from an editor of a small press. We talked for thirty minutes about my book, COW SAYS MEOW. He said he was super interested, and he wanted me to make a few small tweaks and then I’d get the contract.  Again I was ecstatic!  A second book was finally going to become a reality. But something stopped me from signing that contract too.  mootilda with cow

Fast forward another 3 years. I still had no agent. No contracts. But I couldn’t give up.  I wouldn’t give up. I submitted a story to Prospect Agency through 12×12, thinking nothing of it, since I was a pro at rejections.

And all of a sudden I got my agent, Emma Sector almost three years ago.  

In 2019 we sold three picture books. One of them sold to HMH–Cow Says Meow which mooooves onto shelves on March 16th.  

And my Wilma story?  It just sold to a large publisher.  

All three of the small presses I had offers from are now out of business. I’m grateful I waited. 

Because success lives in the neighborhood of failure. 

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of COW SAYS MEOW! (US addresses only, please)cold turkey cover

Kirsti Call co-hosts the PICTURE BOOK LOOK podcast and co-runs ReFoReMo. She’s a critique ninja and elf for 12×12, a blogger for Writers’ Rumpus, and a Rate Your Story judge. She’s judged the CYBILS award for fiction picture books since 2015. Kirsti is a therapist trained life coach for creatives. Her picture book, MOOTILDA’S BAD MOOD (Little Bee) moooved onto shelves last fall. COW SAYS MEOW (HMH) and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown) release in 2021. Kirsti is represented by Emma Sector at Prospect Agency.


20 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes: “How Waiting Saved My Writing Career” by Kirsti Call

  1. What a writing journey you’ve had, Kirsti! I’m inspired by it. And your books look delightful and humorous:) Congrats to you on publication!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh this is great! It’s so inspiring to hear of all your successes, Kristi, but especially that you embraced the waiting part. And used it to become stronger and more prolific! Congrats on COW SAYS MEOW—it looks hilarious.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing your journey to publication. I still have hopes of making it too one day. Congratulations on your books and thank you for the chance to win a copy for mentor text and sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Kristi & Beth! Hearing about Kristi’s journey makes it easier to wait. It takes a while to get an offer which makes jumping on the first so tempting. Congratulations Kristi on COW SAYS MEOW!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Because success lives in the neighborhood of failure.” Shazam! Although, it almost makes me want to wish Kirsti a few more rejections sprinkled in to secure the success! But they will surely come on their own in one form or another!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It looks like the quality of your work was always high, but you didn’t have access to those bigger and better publishing opportunities until you could submit through an agent. What a hard business this is! I’m glad that your stories are making their way to the shelves. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m glad you waited it out after going with your gut. It lead to the book deals of your dreams. We love Mootilda and look forward to reading your other books! Best of luck with your releases.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m glad you followed your gut and avoided those houses you felt uncomfortable with— and the waiting led to your dream deals! We loved Mootilda and can’t wait to check out everything else to come. Good luck with your releases!

    Liked by 2 people

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