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Jacinta Farragher has spent the past couple of years or so knuckling down and learning the craft of writing for children. Through networking, study and obtaining thorough feedback, Jacinta’s road to publication was finally achieved, and her hard work and dedication paid off. Thanks to Jacinta for sharing her journey to publishing her first picture book, Joy’s Journey! 🙂
Article by Jacinta Farragher
“What would you do if you could do anything?”
When someone asked me this question in January 2020, it dawned on me that the thing I would do – writing children’s books – was actually possible for me.
I started writing the next day.
Not long after, the Covid-19 pandemic started spreading throughout the globe. Although I was suddenly busy home-schooling two small boys, there was also a stop to the usual bustle of life. It seemed like time had slowed almost to a stop, and that anything was possible.
The next few months were spent in a frenzy of writing. I would finish one story, and begin another the same day. By July, I had written seven manuscripts, as well as a variety of poems and short stories.
I joined writing clubs, read articles and watched videos about writing for children, and I made lists of publishers, and began to submit two of my manuscripts to a select few of these.
I was patient… at first. But eventually, I started wondering if my work was as good as I thought it was. I wondered if it was good enough.
In October 2020, I engaged the services of manuscript assessor Kellie Byrnes to assess all eight of my manuscripts.
The next day I found and fell in love with Manka Kasha’s illustrations on Instagram. Manka’s illustrations had the exact look and feel I wanted for my manuscript “Joy’s Journey”. This, along with my chats with Kellie, and my impatience to see my work published was pivotal in my decision to look into Hybrid publishing.
Kellie assessed one or two manuscripts at a time, allowing me the time to edit my other work based on her feedback before submitting each one to her. This was incredibly valuable, similar to having a mentorship, and I’m so grateful to Kellie for that experience!
The first assessment Kellie sent me was forthright, detailed… and incredibly overwhelming. After reading through it once, I felt completely disheartened and out of my depth. I actually spent the following week pretending I hadn’t received it yet!
By week two, I was able to approach the feedback more objectively, and I read and re-read everything again and again.
At the end of that week Kellie’s advice clicked with me. I understood what she was saying and how to improve my manuscript. Filled with inspiration, I edited the whole thing in a few hours, and was so pleased with the finished draft that I immediately sent it to Little Steps Publishing – a hybrid publisher I thought I’d like to work with.
Four days later I received an acceptance email from them!!
I was ecstatic!
Inspired by the message; ‘The joy is in the journey, and you are the orchestrator of your own life’, “Joy’s Journey” was the first manuscript I wrote, and very close to my heart.
Although it seemed that my own journey to publication was coming to a close, of course it was only just beginning.
There was editing, storyboarding, illustrations and approvals to be done, followed by a long wait for printing and shipping in a world still hobbled by covid-related delays. And now the journey continues with marketing, distribution and promotion.
Navigating the children’s literature industry is not for the faint of heart! There is so much to learn and consider… but it is also a loving industry, full of friendly, encouraging people who genuinely want you to succeed. There may be difficult, and sometimes crushing lows, but there are also brilliant, dizzying highs!
The past two years have brought many blessings, and now I’m so excited to be able to share “Joy’s Journey” with the world… and to see where my next journey will take me!
“Joy’s Journey” is available through major bookstores and online at www.jacintafarragher.com.
While living in Thailand, Jacinta Farragher found that snippets of quirky verse popped into her brain every time she had a massage. Naturally, she wanted to explore this further and started having massages twice a week. Now she’s a children’s picture book author! Jacinta is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Creative Kids Tales, and the Australian Society of Authors. She dedicates her time to writing and having massages.
Jacinta’s passion is writing fun picture books with messages that uplift and empower. She plans to spend the next few decades writing books that will inspire children and adults alike for generations to come. Jacinta’s debut picture book Joy’s Journey is an adventurous quest story about realising the joy is in the journey. This will soon be followed by a second book Joy’s Way – a fun story about doing things your own way.
Visit Jacinta at her website: jacintafarragher.com/
JOY’S JOURNEY is available for purchase through: Jacinta’s SHOP | Little Steps Publishing
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