Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure
by BK Bostick
Expected publication: October 8th 2011 by Bonneville Books
Shannon Whitney Messenger decided it was time to give middle grade stories the attention they deserve, and "Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays" was born.
When his grandfather dies, Huber Hill is devastated---until he opens Grandpa Nick's mysterious box. An old gold coin and directions to a hidden Spanish treasure send him and his friends off on an mind-blowing adventure, but he's not the only one on the hunt. Filled with dangerous animals and cryptic puzzles, this book will have you on the edge of your seat until the last page.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and have been waiting for what feels like forever to write this post! In my opinion, this is a textbook example of middle grade adventure--full of surprise twists and turns, cool bad guys, just a hint of romance (more like a crush) and of course, treasure hunting. This is an especially great MG read for boys, although it will definitely appeal to girls as well.
This week I am super-excited to be able to include a guest post from BK about his writing journey, written just for us! ENJOY!
My Journey to Publication:
I was teaching 4th grade five years ago and Brandon Mull came to visit our school to do an assembly. The kids ate up his presentation and so did I. At the time, about half of the kids in the class were reading Fablehaven. I remember thinking how wonderful it would be to inspire kids (especially boys) to read. I think all of us have a story growing in our minds at one time or another. At that time, Huber Hill and the Dead Man’s Treasure was just sprouting and beginning to take shape.
Soon thereafter, I was inspired to outline and begin writing the story. The first ten pages were the hardest! I spent about a year on the first draft, dabbling here and there at night and on the weekends. I attended writing classes and groups to help me polish the narrative. At last I finished a draft I was happy with. It wasn’t until then that I realized writing the story was the easy part!
Breaking into the publishing industry is a bit like trying to squeeze through a doorway with a hundred other people trying to do the same thing- no easy feat. To help me wade through the process, I purchased the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market Guide and joined SCBWI. I attended conferences and made connections. These connections ended up being vital to my survival as a writer. Not only does having a network boost morale, you can receive guidance and encouragement from people who have been in your shoes before.
Despite all of this, I continued to receive a lot of friendly rejection letters from agents and publishers. At one point I considered giving up and threw the manuscript in the trash. A couple of months later, I reprinted it. I rewrote my query letter which I believe made all the difference. My first query letter, I’d tried too hard to tailor it to what I thought the publisher wanted to hear. I threw conventional wisdom out the window and decided to write the letter in my own voice. I shortened my synopsis and detailed the real reasons I wrote the book. That’s when things started to happen. I soon received a contract and was ecstatic! I even danced around the house (and I don’t dance)! However, it didn’t take me long to realize that a lot of work and stress lay ahead- revisions, deadlines, marketing strategies/costs, disagreements with your editor/publisher, building a fan base, assembly presentations, and getting endorsements all while still working full time and juggling everyday life.
Having said that, the ride has been wonderful and I’m so happy I didn’t leave the story in the trash. The feeling that my story will be read by thousands of kids is one I wouldn’t trade for anything. Plus it's allowed me to help a neighbor of mine which I couldn't have done otherwise. Please visit: www.treasureforalyssa.com
For those who have finished their manuscript and are stuck in the limbo of the submissions process, I say don’t give up. Continue to hone your craft and knock on doors. Eventually, one will open.
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