Blog Archive

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Interview with Allyn Stotz, author of The Pea in Peanut Butter

Today's interview is with a first time author of a children's picture book. Her story is not the norm for struggling writers. Read on to learn more...

Prior to getting this book published what other writing credits did you have?
My first publication was a story called The Witches Next Door ,which was in the October 2010 issue of The StoryTeller Tymes Magazine. Then following that was Oogles of Imagination, published in Spacesports & Spidersilk Magazine. The Guardian Angel/Kids Magazine published my story Grandpa Bud’s Big Blue Truck in their February 2011 issue. I was also recently published in an adult magazine titled, Looking Back. And yes, I feel as though having a few credits to my name might have helped a book publisher see that I'm serious about my writing.

From the time you sent in your manuscript to this publisher how long was it before you got any feedback?
I was definitely one of the lucky few that had everything happen very quickly. I sent my story into the publisher and within 24 hours, I received feedback. And then within 3 days after that, I had a contract. This was very rare and does not happen very often.

I understand that FutureWord only picked 3 picture books to publish this year. What made your story stand out?
I was just flabbergasted that my book was 1 of 3 picture books they published for the year. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure what was so unique about my story that they chose mine over all the other stories they get, except that it was polished and had all the essentials to make a good story.

What other publishers did you contact to produce your book? Did you have an agent?
I only sent my story into 1 or 2 other publishers before FutureWord accepted my story. And no, I do not have an agent but hope to someday. Maybe after my next published picture book!

What was the total time frame from the point of submission of the original manuscript to the actual printing of the book?
I sent my manuscript in on 11/4/2010 and by the end of May 2011, my book was published. Normally it’s supposed to take over a year before the book is sent to print.

What sort of input did you have in regards to the illustrations?
I was sent a first draft with no color and asked to give my input or suggestions. I loved everything the illustrator did so I really made no suggestions. It was my first book so I wanted to be easy to work with, plus I'm not skilled at illustrating so... Then I was later sent the illustrations in color to approve those. It was a very easy process since the illustrator did such a good job in capturing my vision for the story.

What type of publicity does your publisher do to promote your book?
Since my book was just published, I’m a little in the dark about that. I do know they have posted on Facebook and their blog and plan to send press releases out to some health food stores in my area. They are in the process of marketing a book that was just released before mine but will soon be devoted to promoting my book. FutureWord Publishing is a very small organization so they can’t do it all at once like some of the major Publishing houses might.

What do you do to promote your book?
I set up a website and blog as soon as I signed my contract for the book. I’ve been promoting there and on Facebook as well as numerous other book and writing blogs. I belong to several critique groups so I have promoted my book there as well. Recently, I just got back from doing three book signings in my hometown of Edgerton, Ohio which were a huge success. Now that those are over, I can take a deep breath and start looking into book signings, blog tours, and school visits here in Baton Rouge, LA.

What surprised you most about the submission process with this publisher?
I must say that EVERYTHING surprised me about this publisher. I wasn’t expecting to have much say in anything but they were wonderful. I was allowed to make suggestions with the illustrations, however I loved everything the illustrator did so I agreed to just go with it. The publisher did a fantastic job of contacting me whenever they had a question and allowed me to ask any questions I needed. They were also very quick with their responses. Dreaming of getting published with a big “top gun” publisher is still in my thoughts; however I couldn’t be happier that FutureWord Publishing was my first experience. They made the process very smooth.

What do you wish you knew about publishing now that you wished you had known prior to submitting your manuscript?
To be honest, just about everything once again. I was very new to the world of book publishing and really had no idea how the process worked. I did my research but still felt very unsure. However, now that I’ve gone through the process, I don’t think I would have done anything differently. It has been a very good experience for me.

What advice would you give someone who is ready to submit a manuscript to this publisher?
Make sure you have written a good story that has plot, conflict, and is somewhat unusual. I think they look for a story that is not like every other story. Also, make sure you have edited, edited, and edited it more with no grammatical or spelling errors, as much as possible that is. But I would advise anyone to do that no matter what publisher they choose to submit to. And make sure you have followed all their submission guidelines.

What's the best writing advice or tip you've ever received?
The number one best writing advice I have received is that you must submit to get published! You can write, write, and write until you are blue in the face. But if you don’t get the courage to submit your work, then you will never get published.

The number two best advice I’ve received is to not rush into submitting your work until you have polished the story up to the best of your ability. Even if it’s a good story, your chances of getting published are practically zero if you haven’t taken the time to follow the submission guidelines exactly and polished up the story with little to no grammatical or spelling errors.

That’s it for our interview today. If you’ve been hesitating sending out your manuscripts because you’re afraid you’ll be rejected, remember you won’t get published either! Take the advice from Allyn and maybe you’ll soon be excited about getting published, too. If you would like to learn more about Allyn and her writing you can do that with these links below., or


  1. Great interview! Donna

  2. This is a fun interview. Congrats on all your success Allyn.