Three Cheers for John Condon

Today is a great day to be a Celebrations Editor. Just before I attend a Sara Grant Bookbound masterclass I find out that the wonderful John Condon was picked up by Nosy Crow at a similar event!

John writes about his experience:

My good news is that Nosy Crow will be publishing my first picture book in 2019. It’s a long way off, but I believe that good things, such as being published by Nosy Crow, are worth waiting for. Thankfully, I’m a patient person.

The best bit is that it happened (almost) in the space of one day. In November of last year, I attended a Nosy Crow picture book masterclass, part of which was dedicated to manuscript feedback. I had brought along a pirate story that I was very pleased with, but I also knew it had plenty of room for improvement. 

The lovely Ruth Symons read my text and when we sat down to discuss it she seemed very excited. Ruth felt so strongly about my story that she wanted to show Kate Wilson, Nosy Crow’s MD, straight away. Before the end of the masterclass, Kate had read my text and given it her approval. All we then needed was for Head of Picture Books Louise Bolongaro, to say yes too. Unfortunately, she was away, so I had to wait…for almost a month. That is by no means unusual for the industry and in the grand scheme of things it’s no time at all, but having had such a whirlwind day in November, it was almost unbearable. I know I said that I’m a patient guy… but I lied, I could barely stand it. Thankfully, just in time for Christmas, Louise got back to me with wonderful news; they wanted to offer me a contract for my pirate story.

I’m now looking forward to working with my wonderful editor, Miranda Baker, to refine the story and ready it for publication. The next big milestone for me will be the cover art reveal. The thought of a fantastic illustrator bringing the story to life and no doubt adding further depth to it is too much; I can hardly wait, as you now know.

So, my advice for any unpublished authors is to make the most of your industry contacts. If you don’t have any industry contacts, go out there and get some. Interact with them on Twitter. Speak to them at SCBWI events, such as the Conference party, or the Agents' Party. Ask them questions at a Nosy Crow masterclass. And say yes to every offer of feedback that they kindly provide, because you never know what it might lead to.

Okay, if I had one more piece of advice it would be to have as much patience as you can muster. I had been writing for ten years, three of those exclusively on picture books, before Nosy Crow picked up my story and whilst the journey has been difficult at times, I didn’t think for one second that I might give up. I believed that if I kept my focus, kept meeting the right people and most importantly, kept writing, it would eventually happen. With my fantastic SCBWI support network behind me all the way, self-doubt didn’t stand a chance.

Actually, that would be my final piece of advice, Believe in you, as much as SCBWI does.

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  1. John, that's fantastic news. Congratulations!

    1. Thanks, Candy. Michelle, Anita and yourself were the first people I ever met in SCBWI, and from the second I met you you were inclusive and supportive. It's been hugely appreciated.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Emma, same to you for your Slush pile Challenge success.

  3. Brilliant news! Hoping you celebrated in style!

    1. Thank you, Ally, that's so kind of you to say. And, to answer your question, you better believe I did. : )

  4. Really happy for you John. I first got to know you via an SCBWI online critique group and I know first hand how dedicated you've always been to your writing. And your advice is so true - especially the 'keep writing and believing in yourself' bit. You are an inspiration!

    1. Thanks so much, Ali for the kind words and your continued support for my writing. The feeling is mutual.

  5. Congratulations John! That is absolutely amazing and what a wonderful story - a dream come true. So pleased for you.

  6. Oops, I missed this one. Thank you for those lovely words, Fran.


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