Last March, I wrote about the completed dummy book for Milkshake Heist. Since then, we not only received helpful critique from industry professionals and writing colleagues but have revised the dummy. It hurt to take nearly rendered pages out and I learned that roughs need to be just that, ROUGH. It was all worth it to have a version of the story that works far better than the original. I can flip through the current dummy and confidently say it’s ready for agent/publisher submission.

I have been taking the book to schools to see what kids think of it! The fifth graders at Southeast Elementary were a perfect focus group. I observed their reactions while reading the Milkshake Heist. That’s the most important part because it’s so pure… it’s the real reaction from a group of kids in our demographic. The less important part, but honestly the most fun, is just asking the kids what they thought. I say less important because the kids care what their friends think during this portion. There are other factors that make the reaction less honest than how they reacted during the reading itself. We had a great time together and their feedback helped shape the book in this last stage before submission.

Submitting to agents/publishers has been a process one year in the making so it felt amazing to finish the submission up. The cherry-on-top was finishing the cover art! We wanted an image that commands attention, builds interest for the project, and is a solid representation of my illustration style. I am only sharing a small thumbnail of the work online but will release the full illustration when a publisher gives the project a green light.

With the submission ready to send all that is left to do is research which agents/imprints are the best fit for Milkshake Heist. We’ll sift through submission guidelines for each recipient and tailor the submission just for them.

Lots of business-oriented things are on the horizon with the Milkshake Heist project. It’s still important to keep my illustration skills sharp through this process and I plan to draw illustrations from portions of the book that excite me the most. I’ll keep drawing as the official submission goes out and we’ll keep our fingers crossed that the book finds the perfect publisher!