Dear Clueless One,
My 7,500 word picture book, “Give an Aardvark an Ambien,” written in bouncy yet mind-numbing (It’s a bedtime story; I was going for mind-numbing. ) iambic pentameter that came to me in a drug-induced daydream yesterday will be ready to submit tomorrow if only my hairdresser doesn’t take too long with my Brazilian blowout and I have the afternoon to rewrite it in its entirety, choose a really cute font, and promote my self-esteem by chanting forty or fifty unreastic affirmations while having a few drinks.
It is the best book ever written.
Do you think I need a beta reader before I send it off?
Also, people keep saying not to include art from illustrators who aren’t me unless they have a Caldecott, which I had never heard of so how big a deal could it be, seriously, but my cousin Missy has done a the cutest sketch ever of the scene when the insomniac aardvark goes out back for a smoke. I should send this in and say that Missy has to be the illustrator or I’m “hoppin’, skippin’, jumpin’ down the road and round the happy pumpkin,” (a heartfelt line ripped straight from the oevre) right?
To which I reply
About the beta reader: of course not. It is, after all, the best book ever written. Trust your instincts.
As for the illustrator, get real! How many pictures of insomniac aardvarks taking a smoke do you think editors have seen? You have a truly unique concept and you will only increase your chances of hooking up with a publisher deeply committed to your vision by acting inflexible, petulant and ever so slightly unhinged. Artistic temperament being what it is.