Friday, February 14, 2020

Listen to Your Heart - and Winston Churchill

By Jill Esbaum


“Never, never, never give up.”

            
Guess what? That’s not what Winston Churchill really said. His exact words were: “…never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”
           
 I like the accurate version better, because it assumes the listener has good sense.
One particular nonfiction manuscript tested my good sense—and my perseverance.

A quick rewind….

Back in the late 90s when I started writing, I was determined to create funny picture book stories. Editors were determined to reject them.

Then I saw a biography contest announced in the Children’s Writer newsletter. Entries were to be under 700 words, targeted to kids’ magazines, and feature anybody notable, living or dead. Eh, why not? Nobody wants my fiction.

I devoted the next month to researching/writing about Morris Frank (first blind American to use a guide dog), Virginia Apgar (the physician who created the Apgar scoring system for newborns), and river activist Chad Pregracke.
           
 A few weeks later I got a phone call from one of the judges. After identifying himself, his first question to me was: “May I ask…how many entries did you send?”
            
Uh-oh. Instantly it occurred to greenie me that maybe you were only supposed to send one. My heart started pounding. “Was there a limit?” Had I missed something in the rules? I felt the burning sting of idiocy.
           
“No,” he said. “There was no restriction. I’m just curious.”
            
Whew. “Three,” I said.
           
“Well, one of them won 5th place, which means you win $200, and the others took 7th place, and 11th place,” he said.
          
“Out of 12?” I joked.
           
“No. There were more than 1300 entries.”
            
Oh. Okay, then.
            
All three manuscripts were quickly accepted for publication. Fired up, I wrote another nonfiction piece, also published—an incident from the life of Calvin Coolidge.
            
The universe was tossing me a soft lob:  Here’s a clue.
           
I missed it. Thud.
            
Instead, I kept writing fiction picture books, because—whew! —they’d started selling. For the next six or seven years, I wrote no nonfiction.
           
 In 2007, while researching a topic from the 1920s I intended to fictionalize, I stumbled onto a guy who was my favorite kind of hero:  The flash-in-the-pan.
            
You know how it goes:  Somebody does something unbelievably gutsy or selfless, their name is splashed across the front page of every newspaper in America … and a decade later nobody remembers their name.
           
His name was Jack Knight, a gutsy airmail pilot who, in 1921, accomplished a feat nobody thought possible. It involved a dramatic all-night flight over unfamiliar territory, through a raging blizzard, in an open-cockpit bi-plane. To deliver mail. Well, sort of. There’s lots more to it that I won’t go into here. But he was HUGE news. You know, for the next week or so.
           
My then-agent sent the manuscript to 8-9 publishers over the next couple of years. Rejections trickled in. One editor said she “loved” it …but then she couldn’t get the rest of her staff on board. (If only, they said, the flight was carrying life-saving medicine to an isolated village, rather than “just mail.” Sigh.) My agent advised me to put the manuscript in a drawer for a while.
          
I had no choice. But I wasn’t giving up on it, wasn’t giving in. In my heart I knew it was a cool story worth publishing. Someday it would find a home.
            
A couple of years went by. I asked my agent to send out the Knight manuscript another time or two. Or five. Nothing. Well, one lowball offer was rescinded during the negotiation process. Back into the drawer.
           
 Still, my heart couldn’t give in to defeat.
           
 About this same time, I fell into writing series books for National Geographic Kids. Those helped me (re)discover how much I loved researching and writing nonfiction.
          
In 2018, I mentioned my Jack Knight manuscript to my now-agent, Tricia Lawrence. She sent it to one (brilliant) editor…who made an offer.
            
Finally, finally, somebody besides me understood that the story wasn’t about the mail. It was about a person who believed in something so strongly, was so determined to succeed, that he was able to push himself (nearly) beyond human endurance to make it happen. (And then I got to add gobs of back matter that was about the mail, the history of which is riveting. Who knew?)
            
Anyway, at long last, my debut nonfiction picture book is scheduled for publication. Watch for Jack Knight’s Brave Flight in 2022 (Calkins Creek; illustrated by Stacy Innerst).
          
 So here I am, living proof that, if your good sense and nonfiction-loving heart is telling you to hang in there for a manuscript, then you hang in there.
           
 Meanwhile, I’ll be chasing down the universe to ask for a do-over.
This time, I won’t miss.

           

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Jill Esbaum is the author of 40 children’s books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her newest picture book is We Love Babies! Her 23rd nonfiction title for National Geographic Kids, Little Kids Big Book of Where, will be published in April.

Jill co-hosts (with NF Ninja Linda Skeers) the Whispering Woods Picture Book Writing Workshop. Learn more about the workshop or Jill and her books on her website (www.jillesbaum.com), on Facebook at Author Jill Esbaum, or on Twitter @JEsbaum.




ABOUT THE PRIZE


Jill Esbaum will be awarding a critique of any type of nonfiction picture book.

Leave one comment below about what struck you in the post.
You’re eligible to win if you’re a registered NF Fest participant and you have contributed one comment below.
 

171 comments:

  1. What a great story! I love that encouragement and needed it sooo badly! :-) Those waitings times and patience sure make me struggle! I will continue to follow my passion with this nonfiction-loving heart of mine and work on my good sense. :-)

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  2. Jill, I’m so glad you started writing nonfiction and didn’t give up on Jack Knight’s Brave Flight. I have a dear friend, Lila McGinnis, also an author who is in her nineties now, whose favorite quote (misquote?) is “Never, never, never give up.” She glued it in the front cover of a notebook she gave me for Christmas which I’m using for Nonfiction Fest. I think it’s a sign! Thank you for your post.

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  3. I love your message of persistence. Persistence seems to be a quality that writers must have or cultivate. I'm working on mine. Thank you for sharing your inspirational story.

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  4. What struck me in the article? The ball you lobbed. No, how funny you always are. I did not know all this about you, but it is very interesting. I'm currently sending out my own NF pb and being repeatedly rejected, so this article speaks to my heart. Wish I was coming to Whispering Woods again. Though I can't make it this time, my friend Ann will be there. Congratulations on all of these wonderful successes!

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  5. Thank you for your inspiring article! I loved the hopeful message of persistence!

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  6. Really inspirational post! Love your story and how you got where you are. Thanks for sharing it!

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  7. Thanks for inspiring, Jill. Always listen to your heart...and Winston.

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  8. I'm struck by your admiration of "flash-in-the-pan" heroes. Before I read your article, I would have said that any hero worth admiring should have a long string of startling accomplishments. I imagine that Jack Knight practiced "not giving up" in his everyday life in order to have the grit to accomplish this one feat. Without those seemingly meaningless victories, he would not have had the courage to pull off the feat. I'm looking forward to reading about him.

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  9. Thank you, Jill, for sharing how not to miss the lob and to follow your heart stirrings.
    Quite an inspirational story that I will think about often.

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  10. I love that the universe was sending you a message. And you didn't listen! I think we all do that at times. Thank you for your post. Persistence is such an important quality in this business. Your encouragement is exactly what I needed right now.

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  11. Thank you, Jill. Your post is an inspiring example of the adage never give up!

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  12. Favorite line: "So here I am, living proof that, if your good sense and nonfiction-loving heart is telling you to hang in there for a manuscript, then you hang in there." YES!!

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  13. Wow, Jill. I didn't know that. But how cool is it that the story has finally found a home and will be flying onto bookshelves in the near future. Congratulations!!

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  14. Love, love, love this story, Jill! Thanks for sharing...and not giving up!

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  15. Perfect post for Valentine's Day!

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  16. This gives me hope for some of my stuck-in-the-drawer nonfiction manuscripts! I'm in love with the topic, I just need others to get on board LOL!

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    1. Solidarity Tanya! I have some that I hope are soon sprung from the drawer when I find the right editor to share my passion.

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  17. Hmmmm...what struck me in the post? Everything.

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  18. What a long book journey! Jack Knight isn’t the only determined one in this story!

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  19. Ooh, I cannot wait to read what was special about that mail that Jack was determined to deliver! LOVE your story about perseverance with that story and had to chuckle on you ignoring the signs that the universe (and those judges from that contest) were clearly telling you, LOL. Congrats on all your successes!

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  20. This gives me hope for some of the manuscripts hiding in my desk drawer. Thanks, Jill.

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  21. ' ... if your good sense and nonfiction-loving heart is telling you to hang in there for a manuscript, then you hang in there.' Always good to hear stories about the journey of a book and the perseverance of the author behind it. Looking forward to reading your new book when it comes out. And you have me interested in querying National Geographic Kids.

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  22. Hi Jill, thank you for your determination to never give in, or up!
    You kept on believing in your story and now here it is.
    My kind of determination indeed.
    Looking forward to reading it, know knowing your backstory.
    Thank you

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  23. The entire post struck me as the concept of never giving up. Perseverance is on of the most valuable trait for any writer. Thank you.

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  24. Thanks! This rekindles my hope.

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  25. Jill, thank you so much for sharing this. What an honor to have all three of your submissions placed so high in the contest! I love your humor and your perseverence. Congrats on your story finally being published! It gives me hope in my own writings. I look forward to seeing Jack Knight’s Brave Flight when it is released. And, I love reading your nonfiction and your fiction. You do such a great job with both! Is the book you wrote about Morris Frank still available by chance? I'd be interested in reading it some time for a project I really hope to get published some day. Keep writing!

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  26. From one Jill to another 😉: thanks for this inspiring post!

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  27. Jill, I've been working on some manuscripts for five years. I still think they are marketable. The right editor just needs to see them! I really enjoyed the retreat with you and Norene in Iowa.

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  28. ”My heart couldn't give in to defeat.” Thank you for sharing a story to give all our hearts strength to persist!

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  29. So inspiring Jill! Thank you for sharing.

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  30. I sure needed to read Jill's article with the never, never, never give up mantra. My courage is back to pick up where I left off with manuscripts under my bed. A big thanks!

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  31. Thanks Jill. I needed this post this am. Glad to hear your story finally made it.

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  32. thanks, Jill, for sharing your inspiring story. I have some of those stories - started a few years ago, spending time in the drawer... waiting for that right moment. Can't wait to read Jack Knight's Brave Flight!

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  33. Congratulations Jill on your story! Your words are very encouraging as we all have a story we love and know needs to be in the world. Thank you! Be Inspired, Nicki Jacobsmeyer

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  34. Love this! Thanks for your outlook and inspiration! I have also found that things that might not seem so interesting become riveting when researched! Looking forward to reading your book!

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  35. Thank you Jill for this very inspiring post.

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  36. Thanks for sharing that! I love this advice from you and Churchill.

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  37. Thank you for sharing your story and words of inspiration! Jill, I am curious: how did you "fall into writing for National Geographic? It's my understanding that you have to be an expert in specific field (e.g. vet, geog, etc) is that true?

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  38. I am writing about one of those flash-in-the-pan biographies. I hope after all of the rejections, the story will find a place just as yours did.

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  39. "So here I am, living proof that, if your good sense and nonfiction-loving heart is telling you to hang in there for a manuscript, then you hang in there." I keep hanging. Thank you, Jill, for your inspiration to never give up!

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  40. What a fun story! So glad your persistence and good sense paid off. I have one of those manuscripts that I refuse to give up on. This post gives me hope.

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  41. Happy Valentine's Day to you too! Thanks for the comments on heart and perseverance. I'm taking it to heart and will persevere.

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  42. What an inspirational story! It is clear how hard you have worked and how you have persevered. Congratulations on all your successes!

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  43. Jill, Your NG books were always a favorite in my 1st grade classroom. Learning about your journey to publication makes them all the more special for me. I look forward to adding Jack Knight's Brave Flight to my collection.

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  44. Great post, Jill! Thank you for inspiring us to keep going with an idea or manuscript that tugs at our heart, I totally understood it when you said, “So here I am, living proof that, if your good sense and nonfiction-loving heart is telling you to hang in there for a manuscript, then you hang in there." I have a middle grade novel that I WILL NOT give up on!!



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  45. Sometimes we miss the obvious, but it seems we only listen when we're ready to hear it, yes? I'm so glad your heart-filled story about Jack Knight will finally be told, especially since Calkins Creek is the "winner." I love their books! Congrats!

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  46. I love your perseverance! Such a great lesson and reminder to keep going. I cannot wait to read about Jack. Thank you for a great post!

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  47. Great post loved your sense of humility and perseverance, especially the line about I was determined to create... editors were determined to reject... Thanks

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  48. Thanks for the encouragement! And HOW do you just "fall in" to writing for National Geographic Kids?

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  49. It hit me that Jill knew without a shadow of a doubt what the heart of her story was. And thankfully, soon others will know about this courageous, persevering man. Happy to have met Jill at a writing conference—she’s the real deal.

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  50. It's so funny how I can miss those hints from the Universe the first few times--until they knock me over the head! Thanks for this reminder about how important a role persistence plays in a writer's life!

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  51. Jill!

    I always look forward to reading your books and sharing them with the grands. When the picture book, JACK KNIGHT’S BRAVE NIGHT, makes its debut ya know I’ll be reading it.

    You and Jack have something in common—perseverance and determination.

    Suzy Leopold

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  52. Well, if you miss the hints I guess it's best to persevere anyway. Thanks!!!

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  53. I really needed this post today! Thank you. It is so affirming - we need to believe in our work. It's so hard not to take to heart and as gold - the opinions of rejecting editors. Also, I love the voice of your post. I felt like you were sitting across from me at my kitchen table.

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  54. I so loved your post and the timing was perfect. Thank you so much for it.
    -Karen Brueggeman

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  55. Even this post was riveting. Looking forward to your book!

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  56. Great story, Jill. Thank you for sharing it. One more example of "Never give up."

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  57. Thanks Jill! A much-needed pep talk about persistence.

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  58. I LOVE THIS POST. I wish more people would realize not every picture book has to be fiction!

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  59. What an enjoyable and inspiring post! Had fun reading about your experience. You addressed something that all writers need to hear - be persistent and also believe in yourself. Thanks for the encouragement!

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  60. Thanks for sharing your story, Jill. Very inspiring!

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  61. Thanks for the inspiring post. You reminded me of a story I want to tell.

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  62. Thank you for sharing your story! I'm so impressed with your talent and persistence.

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  63. You don't need a do over. I'll bet that all that fiction you wrote in between was training to make your nonfiction even better. Writing is such a journey.
    Looking forward to reading about jack knight.

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  64. Jill, I love how you didn't give up on the story you believed it. Thanks for this inspiring post.

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  65. Impressed and inspired by your persistence!

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  66. Wow - that's amazing. Lately, I've wondered the same thing -- my fiction isn't selling. Should I try nonfiction? So yes, I'm giving it a try. I've spent years writing for magazines and newspapers, so it's a natural fit. And I've absolutely fallen in love with research! Thank you for reminding me to not give up!

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  67. Jill, I'm so glad you found just the right editor for your story and it's heartening to know that manuscripts that don't get interest might just need time and the right person to see its potential. -Sara Ackerman

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  68. What a lovely and fitting post to read on Valentine's Day! "...my heart couldn't give in to defeat." Inspiring message for today and beyond - I do believe I just heard a thump-thump from inside one of my dresser drawers! Thank you for the (perfect) timely post. I will be printing this out and laminating it to tack above my desk. PS - Congratulations on your future publication of Jack Knight's fascinating story - Priscilla

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  69. Funny + enlightening! Looking forward to reading your NF picture book...finally:-)

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  70. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post! I'm inspired and in awe of the persistence and perseverance that you and so many wonderful writers display throughout your careers. So many things resonated for me this in this post. The most powerful one for me was: Hang in there! Thank-you for emphasizing the need to listen to our hearts and our good sense. I look forward to reading your book!

    Celia Viramontes

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  71. This is wonderfully heartening. I'm struggling with a why-does-nobody-see-how-important/wonderful-this-guy-was-who-nobody-knows-his-name-in-spite-of-a-son-who-was-world-famous manuscript.

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  72. I've recently started unearthing old stories and some are pretty good! It's a freat idea to hang on to all our stories in hope that someday, it will be their time to shine. So glad you hung on to your Knight story!

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  73. Love your story about "Jack Knight's Brave Flight" and the road to publication.

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  74. Perseverance is my favorite theme these days. Thank you for a great post! On another note, I'm totally obsessed with I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo, so thank you for writing that fiction pb :-)

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  75. Thank you for this wonderful post, so timely for me in my quest for the really good story.

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  76. I enjoyed reading your post, thank you! It has inspired me to persist and to check out your books from the library.

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  77. I am developing a love for writing nonfiction. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  78. I love the story featured in your book. And I love the story behind the book!

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  79. Wow, so good to know those stories in my drawer may see their way into the world someday. I can't wait to read about Jack Knight's daring flight!

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  80. What a great share, thank you. Looking forward to the book.

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  81. Thanks for sharing the ups and downs of your journey, Jill. I love your humor!

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  82. Another great post, and I particularly love that this one shows us how giving more, rather than giving up, can (eventually) lead down great paths. Thank you!

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  83. I'm struck by how our persistence makes us sometimes miss the clues and sometimes shine. It's the spice of life. Thank you.

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  84. I love your story of persistence. Congrats on finding your story a home.

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  85. That's an incredible journey of persistence, Jill. Fifteen years from idea to publication. Congratulations! It's inspirational.

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  86. Kathleen Cornell-BermanFebruary 15, 2020 at 6:48 AM

    I love this story Jill. It's about perseverance and believing in yourself. So happy your story is being published.

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  87. Very interesting, Jill! My mentor, the late Lee Bennett Hopkins, was always telling me to have "Sticktoitiveness," so I agree: Never give up on a ms you believe in.

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  88. What a journey! Thank you for sharing that not all writers and stories follow the same path. I can't wait to read it, especially knowing its background!

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  89. Thanks Jill! Your story is fascinating and a true testimony to not giving in. Congratulations!

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  90. Thanks for the Churchillian inspiration today!
    Jennifer Wilson

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  91. I love your post! What a great story and I can totally see you being sheepish about wondering if you had sent in more entries than you were allowed. I'd be the same. Great story about the mail plane!

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  92. Jill,
    Congratulations on Jack's story. I believe that persistence does pay off.

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  93. Love your inspiring advice. It seems simple, don't give up! I will remember your article! thanks!

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  94. I love Jill's circuitous route to NF and can relate to her ignoring the universe's gift at her doorstep (except I have yet to go back to that which I got high praise for). :) But thank you for the exhortation to never give up (though my quote would be from Galaxy Quest, "Never give up; never surrender." LOL!)

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  95. I'm looking forward to reading the Knight story and back matter (I love tidbits about the mail). When I read the quote, I laughed. Sometimes, good sense is hard to recognize in ourselves. But I'm inspired by your story of persevering when we love the manuscript. :)

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  96. If we don't believe in ourselves, and our stories, no one else will! Looking forward to finding out why Jack felt this mail was so important that he risked life & limb

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  97. Thanks for the reminder to not give up, or give in. It's heartwarming to know how you stuck with this story and found success. Looking forward to seeing it, congratulations!

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  98. This post had me on the edge of my seat. I can't wait to read your debut book. Thanks for the reminder to never give up.
    -Ashley Congdon

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  99. Glad you did not give in--so exciting that Jack Knight will finally fly!

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  100. Thank you for the encouragement post today. I enjoyed your contest story and how you at first ignored your nonfiction talent, but then found it again.

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  101. Thanks so much for your post. Your message is one that writers can not hear enough. Never give up! Thanks

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  102. Loved the quote by Winston Churchill. Thank you for sharing. This was so inspiring and encouraging.

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  103. What great stories — both the Jack Knight story finally getting published, but even better, the story of getting back to nonfiction.

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  104. I appreciate you sharing your experience sticking with it to find the right home for a manuscript you really believed in. Looking forward to reading about Knight's super-human feats in the name of mail!

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  105. Jill, thank you for sharing this journey! It is very inspiring. I am sure that many writers, including me, have one or more books dear to their hearts that they don't want to give up on. You've given us hope that the universe may indeed be listening, just slow moving like the publishing industry itself. Thank you!

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  106. Fantastic post - I love it! I have had several stories kicking about in the bottom drawer that I've picked up again, and successfully re-jigged for another purpose (in these cases, picture book manuscripts that have ended up published as educational early readers). I am in the process of waiting, waiting, waiting, for the right place and time to turn up for a creative nonfiction book I've got huge faith in. Thanks for the encouragement to keep going.

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  107. Ooh, I LOVE this - I have 1 NF manuscript that I absolutely know should be out there, and this gives me so much HOPE. Thank you for the inspiration! Can't wait to read about jack Knight...

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  108. Great story Jill. You and Jack are both gutsy and determined.

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  109. Jill, that’s such a great story- thanks for sharing it! Sometimes we miss those signals the universe is sending us. There’s one I’d been missing out on for a couple years, but the next time it pops up, I’ll dive right in

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  110. I’m so glad you took Churchill’s advice and never gave in! I love your books and look forward to Jack Knight’s Brave Flight when it flies into the world in 2022. Your persistence is so admirable, Jill! Congratulations!

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  111. Jill, You've made me feel I'm not alone in my quest (going on 7 years!) to find a home for my PB biography which I so strongly believe should be out in the world and in the hands of readers. Great to find so many kindred spirits in this 'comments section' of the NF kidlit world!

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  112. Oh, Jill, I love this story . Never, ever, ever give in or up. I have a few bios rattling around still in my computer files and revisit them periodically when I feel I might have a new twist for them. TY for the encouragement. Congrats on Jack's story getting into the world!!!!!

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  113. It does seem that this business is a "long game" type. Thanks for sharing your story of persistence with us and reminding others to keep chugging, no matter how, toward those goals and dreams!

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  114. Thanks for this inspiring post, Jill! I agree that the universe sometimes throws out clues, and it we are lucky enough, we will receive them! I look forward to reading your new book - it sounds amazing!

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  115. Thank you for sharing your story of passion and perseverance, a wonderful reminder for all of us writers to hang in there!

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  116. I loved you post, Jill. Never give up. I keep telling myself that!

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  117. Slow and steady--that's what the turtle showed us. And you do, too.

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  118. Good to know Jill, thank you. I have a similar tale. I made a pact with myself that I would retire after I managed to have my most-loved environmental story published. It took 7 years and sat with about 4 publishers for extended times. It was published last October and like a child, is the joy of my life. I have however, decided not to retire - it’s too much fun !! I have another in publication currently and a couple more narrative, non-fiction manuscripts I’m working on.
    I love narrative non-fiction because the story is already there. You just have to find it and tell it in your own way.

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  119. You clearly know how to tell a good story--just look at the beginning, middle and end in your post! Glad you found your way back to non-fiction--but really can't we write both fiction and non-fiction and satisfy more than one type of writing itch? :)

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    1. Julie Herman posted the above unknown comment.

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  120. Jill, as a former teacher I enjoyed using your picture books in class because of what you said- they are not just stories about “delivering the mail” (or insert other...) but so much more. I always told my 6th graders that we study pb writers craft because they are the masters at telling such deep stories in just a few words. And, love Winston Churchill’s quote. Thank you for an inspiring post.

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  121. Great post and I appreciate the words about persistence. It's the key, though it's sometimes frustrating...

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  122. What a great inspirational pos . Never give up! Thank you so much!

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  123. Thank you for sharing your journey. "Never give in" is the true heart of today's post. Someone, somewhere will love our stories as much as we do one day!

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  124. Thank you for sharing your story. I smiled, laughed and learned a lot.

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  125. Great post Jill. I'll keep plugging away!

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  126. What a fun post and I love that Jack is coming out. I agree, perseverance is key and sticking with what you love.

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  127. Jill, I'll be looking for the Jack Knight story! Sounds great. And thanks for your encouragement, some six-year-old dormant stories are waking up!

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  128. Good for you for channeling the spirit of Jack Knight and sticking with it until your book found the right editor! Never, never, never give up.

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  129. Jill, thank you for your post about the rewards of persistence. I'm glad your heart-felt bio is finally being published!

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  130. Jill, your story and insights into persistence and following one's fascination with nonfiction inspires at the perfect time. It's easy to lose hope and forget how much research and writing nonfiction is my joy. Thank you!

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  131. Oh, do we "pre-published" folks need that kind of reminder. Many thanks!

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  132. So happy your story is finally being published and for the remember to never give up.

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  133. Can't wait to read Jack Knight’s Brave Flight. It sounds fabulous. Congrats! And thanks for this inspiring post about sticking with it!

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  134. I love your story of perseverance with getting Jack Knight's Brave Flight published!

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  135. It's great to know the accurate version of the Churchill quote, and to learn the happy ending to your quest.

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  136. Thank you for sharing the full quote from Winston Churchill. I agree, it's better than the shorter one. And thanks for sharing your story of persistence.

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  137. I love that quote! As a former NICU nurse, I'd love to get your book on Dr. Apgar. I've always been fascinated by the scale and how little room there was for error in assigning scores. So many tools are not nearly that straight forward. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

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  138. Your enthusiasm, inspiration, and persistence is endless! and contagious Looking forward to researching that special person who deserves to be written about. Thanks, Jill Esbaum

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  139. Enjoyed your post and the story of the fearless mail carrier. Thanks Jill!

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  140. I have such a manuscript stuck in the drawer and your story inspires me to not give up. Thanks for sharing your story!

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  141. That's an awesome story! Thanks for the reminder to persevere!

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  142. Thank you for sharing this story! I love reading how a book comes to be, and I'm so glad someone else honored your vision.

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  143. Jill, I had no idea you started with non-fiction writing, left it, and then circled back. So glad you did so, and thank you for the inspirational life lesson not to give in!

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  144. Wow, hearing your path to publication for the Jack Knight book gives me hope for some of my manuscripts. Thanks for sharing!

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  145. What an inspiring story! Thanks and congratulations!

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  146. Thank you for making perseverance not a dirty word but a super power. Maria Johnson

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  147. Well, if Jack could fly through a snow storm, I guess I can get this revision finished!

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  148. Wow, Jill! What an adventure you've had! Thank you for sharing some of your experiences and advice with us. I can't wait to read your story about Jack.

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  149. I'm so happy you didn't give up on Jack, Jill! I have several old manuscripts in a box, and I need to revisit them as I always spent more time doing the research on them than the writing! :) Thank you for reminding me to never give up, and that I need to listen to my own heart for NF!

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  150. I love stories, especially yours and Jack's! It's a great example of how perseverance wins the crown. Fun fact, as a kid Churchill's teachers and parents told him he was stupid, that he would never succeed. I love a great underdog!

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  151. Jill, I agree with you, I like the accurate version better, ““…never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.” Thanks for the story of how your Jack Knight story came to be published, after “somebody besides me understood that the story wasn’t about the mail.”

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  152. I love this! I have one NF and one fiction story that I am not letting go of. A critique buddy said to me, "They are your heart song. Don't give them up." So I take them out every once in a while and wistfully look at them. But NOW I am going to sub them. Just because the first ten didn't like them... Thank you!

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  153. Thanks, Jill. I loved hearing the journey with your Jack Knight story. I guess it's time to go back through my "not likely to ever get published but I'm not ready to toss" file and see if I can't revive something I still love!!

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  154. Great post! What struck me was the time span of your Jack Knight manuscript. Eleven years passed from the time you wrote it until its acceptance. Right? And four more before publication! Talk about inspiring! After a few rejections on a piece, I tend to file it away and forget about it. Perhaps we all should check our files one more time.

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  155. What a wonderful story of persistence both yours and Jack's!

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  156. Your post really spoke to me – ‘keep fighting for the story as you believe in it, not what will sell.’

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  157. Jill, this is perfect for me to hear right now! I've got a "flash-in-the-pan" woman whose story I love, and I'm determined to share it with the world. It's not life-saving, rocket-launching, or death-defying, but it is moving and relevant to kids. Thank you!

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  158. I have been hearing a lot about the aging process for stories whose time is yet to come. Your Jack Knight story is yet another. I will hold on to your example because, who knows what the future market will want?

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  159. You're hilarious! This was a fun post about persistence. Thanks! Also, I just returned several of your books at the library. I love seeing so many authors at NF Fest whose books I have just read.

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  160. I found your post so inspiring--and also entertaining. And I'm so glad you didn't give up--congratulations on your NF book!

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  161. Oh, Jill! I'm so excited about the Jack Knight book. Loved visiting with you in Georgia at WOW. Could tell then that you were an inspiring author.

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  162. Very inspiring nf story of your life!! Thank you!!

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  163. Thank you so much for the wonderful encouraging post!!! I truly needed to read it. 😊

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