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Carter Boucher

Tiger Dave

How did an artist become a children’s book author?  With all due respect to those authors who dreamed the dream, I fell into it.  I found myself with a daughter who loved to be read to.

My daughter, Mary, wanted me to read her 3 – 6 stories a night.  She would hold onto my thumb and rub the fingernail.  As I read, she slowly went to sleep.  One night she wanted more books that were within reach, but she would not let go of my thumb.  So, I made up a story.  Then another and another.  Mary quickly began to request made-up stories.

On the way home from an away Artist Residency, I had an idea while riding down the road.  A limerick went through my head over and over, smoothing itself as it went.  I pulled over and wrote it on a Burger King napkin.  That was Tiger Dave.

That night Mary had a friend sleep over and she asked me to tell them some stories.  I started with Tiger Dave and then I went on to an assortment of my stories.  Mary’s friend looked at me at the end and opined, “Your stories are better than the ones in my books.  Why don’t you have a book?”

Being an artist of course I drew pencil drafts of illustrations to go along with my book.

I sent it to Richard C. Owen and they published it!!!  No, dear reader, that is not how it went.  I followed a marketing plan.  I got a copy of Writer’s Market.  I sent the stories to every publisher who said they accepted children’s stories.  They all rejected them.  Never having intended to become a children’s book author, I quit.

Later, I was waiting in a doctor’s office and read an article that said if you are a new author, do not send illustrations with your children’s book.  That’s because the publisher will want to pair a new author with an established illustrator in order to increase the chance of success.  I omitted the illustrations and the very first publisher I sent the stories to was Richard C. Owen.  They offered me a contract.  Tiger Dave found his home.

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