Monday, 23 July 2018

Earlier this month my third deal was announced: my fourth book, a contemporary middle grade entitled ON THESE MAGIC SHORES (extra points if you get where the reference is from) will finally be published in 2020 by Tu Books/Lee and Low. In 2015, this little book of mine received the New Visions Honor Award, and after a couple rounds of revision and a lot of waiting, it was finally accepted for publication. What’s more: we had multiple offers for it until I finally accepted Tu Books/Lee and Low, the first house that believed in my writing enough to tell to keep digging deeper, to not give up.

The day a book is announced brings an intoxicating avalanche of emotions. The exuberance of the kidlit community and my family and friends in offering their support and happiness left me with bubbles in my head that have still not gone away. Not really. Because in the solitary hours when I’m drafting a new idea, in the months and years of waiting for a book to finally be published, the feeling that remains is gratitude. I’m grateful I get to write the stories that matter to me, and that people who aren’t related to me by blood or documents believe in them enough to invest time, money, and energy in them too. These people, the industry professionals in my team, are my family, my creative, my dream chasing family, and I’m so grateful for them. The other feeling that remains is wonder. Wonder that the seed of an idea grew into a book that soon I’ll be able to share with readers.

Friends, if you’re reading this and you’re wondering if your work and effort will ever be worth it, I’m not going to give you any empty promises, but I’m sending you strength. Keep writing things that matter to you, things that make you get up in the morning and believe in impossible things. Because during the long times of silence, the thing that keeps me going is the sparks of revelation that make me see the story better. Deal/cover reveal days are like a fast burning firework. Most times the only light is the one you make yourself as you discover your idea alone, in front of a notebook or a screen. Keep making light. The rest will follow in its own time.

One more thing: the New Visions Award is accepting submissions until August 31. If you feel the requirements, apply! Give yourself the chance!

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Yamile Saied Mendez

Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American, Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult author.

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