Uncategorized, Writing for Children

All Summer in a Day: The Sweet (and SHORT) Journey of a Picture Book

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on my blog, but it’s almost Thanksgiving! So I wanted to take some time to reflect and share something I’ve learned to be thankful for over the past few months.

I was privileged to share a three-part series with our Michigan SCBWI blog, The Mitten, over the past few months. You can enjoy the three posts here, or read the entire story below. So many of you have been along for the ride, and have encouraged and supported me along the way. I can’t say “Thank You!” enough. I hope you enjoy not only reminiscing with me but finding out what I’ve learned along the way!

Here we go:

All Summer in a Day: The Sweet (and SHORT) Journey of a Picture Book by Patti Richards

I think I was in middle school when I first read Ray Bradbury’s, “All Summer in a Day.” Then I got to study it in more depth in high school and fell in love with the journey of Margot, the girl who believed that the sun was going to come out after seven years of rain, and her classmates who didn’t. When their lack of faith and what she knew was true ultimately collided, she ended up locked in the classroom closet, just as the sun came out. The children, forgetting about Margot, ran from the school building and stepped out into the most powerful light they’d ever seen. Then, almost as quickly as the sun came out, one raindrop, then another, and another fell, until the clouds rolled in and the sky closed over it again. How long did all of this take you might ask? One. Single. Day.

So, what does this story have to do with my publishing journey? I’m glad you asked.

Part 1

Back in 2019, I participated in a Twitter pitch party called #Faithpit. Faithpit was designed for authors who write faith-based children’s books to share their pitches in the hopes of grabbing the attention of agents and editors. As you all know, finding an agent in this business is extremely challenging. Writing for both the mainstream and faith-based markets makes it even more difficult. There are very few faith-based publishers that take unsolicited manuscripts, so I knew this Twitter pitch event was a good opportunity. I had written the first draft of a manuscript called MRS. NOAH about eight years earlier, and after many rounds of critiques and drafts, I had a picture book I was ready to submit, and the #Faithpit sounded like a good place to begin. So, I pitched!

Miracle of miracles, I got a heart for MRS. NOAH and for another manuscript. I followed the submission instructions for the interested publisher, and in a few months, I got the email offer for both books. This was in October while at a writing retreat with my critique group! What a sweet moment I got to share with my dear friends. I had the contract in my hand by Thanksgiving, and by Christmas, I had signed a two-book deal with release dates planned for 2021 and 2022. This was in late 2019. Enter 2020 and. . .


In the first few months of 2020, I received my first round of edits for MRS. NOAH. Revising is one of my favorite parts of the writing process, so I was excited to dive in. By March, both of my adult daughters were back home, and now there were four of us working from all over the house. Thankfully, I had moved my office out of the corner of the dining room into a spare bedroom, so I could shut the door and enjoy the process of seeing MRS. NOAH come to life. No matter what was going on outside, I forged ahead.

An early sketch of Mrs. N!

It didn’t take long until the first interior sketches hit my inbox for my feedback. I still had to stop now and then, take a breath, and make myself believe this was happening. I was running around in the sun like the children in “All Summer in a Day,” enjoying every moment of this thing I had worked so hard for and waited so long to come to pass. But then. . .

More. Covid.

As the year progressed, it became clear the continued shutdown was having a significant impact on the publishing world. Small houses were already having trouble staying afloat. My publisher began working on new projects to help increase revenue, while we continued getting MRS. NOAH ready for her debut. By the end of 2020, we were still on track for a Fall 2021 release.


Part 2

First raindrops fall.

For those of you who have been through the process of publishing a book, you know that just about anything can happen after the ink dries on a contract. Illustrators walk away, release dates change, and marketing plans and budgets (if there are any) get reduced or eliminated. I knew this and hoped none of it would be the case for my book.


First Week on Amazon!

But before we could get to release day, my editor left. Then the release date got pushed back, and we learned things weren’t improving for the publisher. But hey, I had a book coming out! I still believed that with a strong showing from MRS. NOAH and the publisher’s other fall releases, they would survive a little while longer. Their internal struggles also meant I was on my own when it came to planning release events. I’d helped so many others along the way get the word out about their books, I was not daunted. Head down. Swim on!


Then, on October 28, 2021, MRS. NOAH was born! She was the number 1 new release on Amazon for her category for several days, and she stayed in the top 100 in her category almost the entire time she was available. I was so excited!


Diving In!

On the shelf at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids.

By the end of 2021, my fellow authors and I heard from the publisher. They were going to be doing a major restructuring of the company starting in 2022. When January rolled around, my publisher got sick with Covid. This, combined with their business woes, caused the marketing help promised in my contract to evaporate. What did that mean for MRS. NOAH? I needed to keep her strong start going.

So, I became a Canva expert and created engaging social media content to get the word out about my book. I researched contests and made a list of the ones I wanted to enter and how many books I’d need to make that happen. I ordered books from Amazon because I hadn’t received my author copies. I had done a blog tour the week the book was released, so I put all of my energy into giveaways, holiday-themed Canva posts, and the contests I mentioned above. I learned about organizations in the faith-based community and joined them. I bought more books and mailed out press kits to local and national bookstores. I blogged in places I’d never blogged before, and MRS. NOAH kept on sailing.

Storytime at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids.

I attended book-selling events that I never knew existed, and I got to do a couple of story times in places I wasn’t expecting. By the summer of 2022, MRS. NOAH was in several brick-and-mortar bookstores, and on her first birthday (which I celebrated on social media), I got to see MRS. NOAH on the shelf of our local public library. All of my efforts seemed to be paying off. But. . .


Cue Storm Clouds



On the shelf at the Farmington Community Library.

During the summer of 2022, I received a letter from my publisher releasing the rights to my second book back to me. I no longer had a second book coming out. We still held out hope that with a plan to reduce the number of titles the publisher produced each year, they would remain in business. But that was not to be. On December 31, 2022, one year and two months after MRS. NOAH’s release, my publisher was done.


Part 3

People who know me know I’m not a quitter, so after receiving the news, instead of resting on my laurels, I went to one final book-selling event in January of 2023. With my husband’s help (he is the king of schmoozing) I mingled, visited booksellers’ booths, and even had a radio interview and book signing!

After that event, I stocked up on as many copies of MRS. NOAH as I could afford. I kept checking Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and on a day in late June I read the words “out of stock,” and I knew it was over. Approximately 18 months after her release, MRS. NOAH sailed out of online book retailers and stores. But what a ride we’d had. My picture book journey truly felt like all summer in a day!




MRS. NOAH all dressed up in her award swag!

I couldn’t possibly share how blessed I have been by this journey. The frustrations were many, but the reward of getting to see a book you’ve loved into existence in the bookstore and on the library shelf more than makes up for them. I’m also pleased to say that in MRS. NOAH’s short life, she won five awards, including a Northern Lights Book Award for best first picture book. Do I wish MRS. NOAH’S journey had ended differently? Of course! Do I think I’ll try to self-publish now that I have the rights back? Ask me again in a few months when the sting fades a bit.


When the life of a book begins and ends at this record pace, it’s important to pause and reflect.

Here are a few of my takeaways for those who are un-agented that might help someone else:

  1. Do your homework. If you get an offer for one of your books, find out all you can about the health of the company making the offer. Use your SCBWI membership, ask other authors who have published with the same company about their experience, and check with the publisher’s state business website. None of this is foolproof. It’s impossible to predict the future ever, but especially in publishing. Getting as much info as possible can help you make informed decisions for your book.
  2. Lead the discussion. In the excitement of having someone love your book, the temptation is to let the offering company lead the discussion. You might feel like you can’t ask for time to do your research and even to ask for changes to your contract. But you can! It’s also a good idea to have an attorney who specializes in contract law look over your contract to make sure you’re getting the best terms possible. At the very least, an attorney can help you know what questions to ask. Will this cost money? Unless you have a friend who can help, yes. But it’s money well spent. The Author’s Guild also provides contract reviews and other services for their members.


Faith Radio interview at the Christian Product Expo in Georgia in February.
  1. Learn how to market! As you can tell from my story, I had to fast-track my marketing knowledge. If you have the luxury of taking your time with this step, then do it! Budget some of your weekly writing hours for marketing education. Learn how to use Canva. Build a professional-looking website. Take advantage of free services like Pinterest, Goodreads, and Instagram to keep information about you and your books in front of your audience. When that contract offer comes, you’ll be glad you did!
  2. Get your eggs out of the basket! Having a book release and then go out of print so quickly resulted in the entire process becoming almost all-consuming. The fight to keep MRS. NOAH in front of people for as long as I could forced other things to take a back seat. Writing, revising, submitting, looking for an agent…none of those things should stop while you’re in the middle of what feels like a sinking ship. It’s what keeps us balanced as writers. I’ll admit to losing my focus in the middle of the flood of work that came with MRS. NOAH’s release, but I’m grateful I have it back.
  3. You are more than one book. This takeaway speaks for itself. Your success as a writer should never be measured by one contract. No matter how much the end of one book can break your heart, you and your work go on.

So, there you go. The story of a book’s journey…All Summer in a Day! I’m so grateful I got the chance to experience it, and that there are many little loves enjoying MRS. NOAH. That is the best gift of all.

And did poor Margot ever get out of that closet to see the sun? I’m not telling. You’ll just have to read that story for yourself.

Sensibility and Sense: As this Thankful season settles around us like a warm blanket this week, I want to wish each of you a blessed and happy time with family and friends.


It’s a Cyber Monday MRS. NOAH giveaway!

Dear Friends!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and made lots of memories with everyone you hold dear!  It’s hard to believe Advent is already here and Christmas is just around the corner. My wish for all of you is that you find quiet moments throughout this season to slow down and savor the blessings of home, family, and faith!

It’s also Cyber Monday! And that means it’s a great day to purchase copies of MRS. NOAH for gift-giving this holiday season. With that in mind, I’m offering a giveaway! For every MRS. NOAH purchased from your favorite online retailer, you’ll receive a signed bookplate to add to your copies of the book. It’s a great way to give a personalized and signed copy of MRS. NOAH. Here’s how to take advantage of this offer:

1. Purchase copies of MRS. NOAH through your favorite online retailer on Cyber Monday or Tuesday (today and tomorrow).

2. Send a screenshot of your purchase to pgwrites5@gmail.com along with the names you’d like the bookplates made out to and your mailing address, and I’ll send you your signed bookplates in time for Christmas gift-giving.

It’s that simple! The deadline for this offer is Wednesday, November 30th (that means I’ll need all the info mentioned above by midnight on the 30th) in order to get them mailed out in time.

I hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to get signed author copies of MRS. NOAH for all the little ones in your life this holiday season! Keep an eye on your inbox for more MRS. NOAH giveaways in the coming weeks.







Uncategorized, Writing for Children

MRS. NOAH Turns 1 tomorrow!

In honor of MRS. NOAH’S first birthday, there’s a brand new book trailer I want you all to see!


Check it out here: https://youtu.be/0CwWVtyDm8s



Thanks for all of your continued support over the past year!





Uncategorized, Writing for Children

It’s MRS. NOAH’S Birthday month! Let’s celebrate!

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since the birth of MRS. NOAH! And to celebrate (because I firmly believe in a birthday month:), we’re going to be looking back at all the amazing things my debut children’s picture book has accomplished this year. It’s been a rewarding journey, and I’m so grateful I’ve gotten to celebrate it with each of you!

But looking back isn’t the only thing we’re going to do this month! Celebrations call for gifts, and I’m going to be giving away a few in honor of our dear MRS. N!

Now, you may be asking, “What gift would MRS. NOAH like from each of you for her birthday?” Well, I’ll tell you! Here are three ways you can help the story of MRS. NOAH to keep sailing strong:

  1. Buy a copy of MRS. NOAH for your little friends and loved ones! The holiday season is quickly approaching, so it’s the perfect time to buy a copy of the book and put it away for gift-giving! There are loads of purchasing options, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. Simply Google, “MRS. NOAH Patti Richards,” and click on the best for you!
  2. Write reviews! If you’ve read MRS. NOAH and loved it, can you take a few minutes this month and write a review? It only takes a few minutes to make a huge impact on how MRS. NOAH appears in search engines. And to make it even easier, write one review and copy and paste it into multiple places, like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads!
  3. Ask your local librarian or your child’s school librarian to purchase a copy of MRS. NOAH for your library shelves! The more you ask, the more likely they are to add MRS. NOAH to their collection.

So, let’s get this party started!




Happy Birthday to the Queen and a Giveaway!

Happy Spring, Friends!

Those of you who know me know that I love learning about and writing about strong women! MRS. NOAH may not have done all the things I give her credit for in my book, but I like to imagine her coming alongside Noah, rolling up her sleeves, and getting the job done! Women who are strong, capable, fearless, faithful, wise and smart inspire me to try and be those things to the young women in my life.

That’s why a few years ago I started working on a picture book about Queen Elizabeth II and her life before she ascended to the throne of England. I’ve always admired her, but when I started researching her, I learned so much about her that I didn’t know that she instantly became one of my personal heroes. Underneath the quiet grace the world gets to see is a woman of incredible strength, wisdom, faith, and commitment to the job she’s been given. If you have a few minutes to read any of the wonderful books or articles about her that are available right now to celebrate her jubilee year, I promise you’ll be inspired.

Today, in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s 96th birthday, I’m giving away three signed copies of MRS. NOAH! To enter, simply stop by my blog before midnight tonight (April 21, 2022) and leave a comment about the Queen or about another strong woman in your life. Your name will be entered in a drawing, and I’ll announce the winners on Monday, April 25th on the blog!

Thanks for being with me on this journey!



Sensibility-“I cannot lead you into battle, I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else, I can give you my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.” Queen Elizabeth II

Sense- “It’s worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.” Queen Elizabeth II


Uncategorized, Writing for Children

MRS. NOAH is Selah Awards Finalist!

Top O’ the Mornin’ to You Friends!

It’s hard to believe it’s the middle of March and almost St. Patrick’s Day! I hope all of you are well, happy and looking forward to the beauty of spring that’s just around the corner. As a gardener, spring is one of my favorite seasons. It’s so much fun to visit my garden each day and see how my plants are getting on. The first thing to stretch its leaves towards the sun are the Lenten Roses. These brave plants don’t mind the leftover (or new) snow or the cold nights. They are determined to bloom by Easter, no matter what comes or what goes. These plants inspire me; their courage to be their loveliest in the face of challenges more delicate flowers can’t tolerate is a perfect object lesson for the writing life. Success in writing can often be summed up in just showing up and doing the work each day, in spite of rejection after rejection. My Lenten roses know what it takes to get the job done. Sometimes it seems the more difficult the spring, the more beautiful they are. The same thing is true about watching a story come to life and make its way into the world. The more difficult the struggle, the more satisfying the result.

I’ve shared with you the story behind the story of MRS. NOAH, and that’s why when wonderful things happen to this book the reward is all the sweeter. I found out a couple of weeks ago that MRS. NOAH is a Selah Award finalist in the picture book category! I was overjoyed to hear her name (and mine) read out during the finalists’ announcements. We’ll find out sometime in June if she wins an additional award, but to be a finalist is such an honor. I am beyond grateful!








In other news, I’ve opened back up to picture book critiques! If you or a writer friend is looking for a thorough and thoughtful evaluation of a manuscript for a reasonable price, please check out the PGWRites Critiques tab above for more information.

Thanks again for being on this journey with me! Here’s an Irish Blessing to take with you today:

May the road rise to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

May the rain fall soft upon your fields and until me meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of his hand.



Sensibility- Recognition of the work it takes can often be a long time coming. But what a gift when it does!

Sense- Take time to research contests as part of your writing week. Contests are a great way to boost your confidence and get the word out about your work.



Uncategorized, Writing for Children

Detroit Writing Room Writer Wednesday!

This week I am honored to be the featured writer on the Detroit Writing Room‘s blog! I had the privilege of participating in their recent awards program where my children’s book, IDA PLUCK’S CLUCK won first place in the Children’s Book category. You can read the post here:



As always, thanks for being a part of my journey!




Uncategorized, Writing for Children

I’m Open for Picture Book Critiques!

After a several-month hiatus for all things MRS. NOAH, I’m reopening for picture book critiques! And for the very first time, I’m excited to offer 30-minute Zoom consultations as part of my Complete Picture Book Plus critiques! Click on the “Critiques” tab for information, payment, and submission instructions for all available packages.

So, if you have a manuscript that’s ready for the next big step, I’m ready for you! Thanks for considering a PGWRites Critique. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sensibility- There is a point when a story that’s dear to your heart needs to spread its wings and test the wind.

Sense- After you’ve written, revised, submitted to your critique group, and revised some more, it’s time to take that next step and enlist a new set of eyes for a different perspective.




January Musings and Good Things to Come!

Hello Friends,

I hope the New Year has been kind to you so far and that you’re finding lots of joy in the everyday! It may sound strange, but January is one of my favorite months of the year. Here in the Mitten, January is always filled with snow, and there’s nothing better than sitting by an open fire, watching fluffy snowflakes fill my backyard as I write. I think it’s the peace after two months of holiday celebrations that speaks to my heart the most. It’s as if I’ve finished a long race and am finally able to exhale. Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE the holidays! But the stillness and simplicity of January days hold a charm unlike any other month of the year.

Sun on snow is one of my favorite January things:)

And because of all its simplicity, January is often one of my most productive months of the year. Having large chunks of uninterrupted writing time means getting to let my mind wander and my muse have her way. It’s amazing what can happen when we have time to create. I hope you’ve found that kind of time this month.


January is also a great month for looking ahead, and I can’t wait to share my next book with you, O POSSUM’S PREDICAMENT! This book was a joy to write and it’s been an even bigger joy to see it coming to life. I’m hoping to be able to announce the release date very soon.

In the meantime, MRS. NOAH is still sailing strong, and I thank you again for your continued support! I would love to share MRS. NOAH and THANKU: POEMS OF GRATITUDE with your students. So if you’re a teacher looking for virtual presentations for March is Reading Month or April Poetry Month, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Here’s to cozy, creative days and lots of good things to come!

Sensibility- Quiet, uninterrupted time is what we need to feed our creative souls!

Sense- Quiet, uninterrupted writing time doesn’t just happen. Look at your calendar and schedule time to be creative.