Friend Friday

What a pleasure to welcome Anne Belov to my blog today. She has quite the story to tell about her new picture book, her first (she has four collections of her comic, The Panda Chronicles). So without further ado, I’ll let her tell you all about it!
Anne Belov and friend
It’s finally happened: Pandamorphosis, my wordless picture book, is in print. It didn’t happen the way I thought it would, and there have been more twists and turns than a panda can count on her paws.

Pandamorphosis is the story of a cat which longs for love from her panda-obsessed owner, and on a moonlit night, when magic is in the air, she makes a wish, and a transformation takes place.

I did the responsible, writerly thing while working on Pandamorphosis: I shared it with critique groups, teachers, and librarians; signed up for consultations with visiting editors, illustrators, and agents, all the while gathering input, some of which was useful, some of which was not. Because it evolved into a wordless picture book/ graphic novel format, I felt that I would gain from the experience of doing the entire thing in as final a state as I could, knowing that I might have to do some of the drawings over.
I submitted it to agents and editors. The prevailing response was “we love your artwork, but…” Then I took it to a regional SCBWI conference, and was fortunate to get a critique with (insert name of art director at big publishing house here) and he not only loved it, he asked to take it with him.  He sent it on to the acquisitions editor where it disappeared in that black hole of submission hell, never to be seen again.
This story could end right here, with my pandam-opus residing forever in a drawer. But after a year of keeping the pandas under house arrest, I realized I needed to try one more time, so that I could move on to other projects.
I showed it to an editor at the Whidbey Island Writers Conference, and she loved it, and eventually accepted it for publication.  Now you may think you are going to get a happy ending, and you are, just not the one you thought you were getting.
Events transpired, and suddenly, my editor left the publisher. Without my editor to champion and protect my book, I felt staying with them would do Pandamorphosismore harm than good. After weighing all the options (staying, going, starting up the rounds of submissions again, publishing independently,) I decided that independent publishing was my best option to complete this project and be able to move on.

Previous to signing with the publisher, I ran a Kickstarter campaign for production funding which was wildly successful. The support of my panda fan-base gave me the funding to pay a book designer and get marketing help, as well as print books for Kickstarter rewards.
What also came in abundance were the offers of support and assistance from my loyal PandaChronicles readers, many of whom supported my Kickstarter campaign. With their enthusiasm and encouragement, Pandamorphosis is off to a great start.
Talk about magical wishes…
Anne Belov has been drawing and painting since the time she could hold a crayon.  After receiving a BFA from The Philadelphia College of Art, she moved west and, since she didn’t learn everything the first time, went to art school again, receiving an MFA in painting from the University of Washington.  She now makes her home on Whidbey Island.  There are, to her knowledge, no pandas in her backyard. You can find her panda satire cartoons at The Panda Chronicles.

No Responses to “Friend Friday”

  1. Rosi

    Fascinating. What a story. The book looks so cute. Thanks for an interesting post.

  2. miz "b"

    Thanks for inviting me to be here, Kirby. And thank you, Rosi for your comment. I’m really happy to have the pandas out in the world.

  3. Sandra Parshall

    Your story is very familiar to most writers. You need thick skin and a strong stubborn streak to achieve your goal. I’m so glad you persevered and published your beautiful book!