Guest blogger Shellie Braeuner, a nanny in Nashville, Tenn., is the winner of the first Cheerios® Spoonfuls of Stories® Children’s Book Contest. The contest invites previously unpublished adult authors to submit their stories for a children’s book. Cheerios provides cash prizes to up to three winners, and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing reviews the top winner for a potential book deal. A book deal is not guaranteed, but last year, Shellie’s entry, The Great Dog Wash, not only won the contest, but earned her a publishing deal with Simon & Schuster as well.
Once upon a time, there was a very busy nanny who also liked to write and tell stories for fun. One day she read about a contest for previously unpublished children’s book authors and thought she might like to enter. She thought and she thought, but she was so busy that she kept putting it off. Then, on the VERY last day of the contest, she got an idea, went home, wrote the story, and submitted it in the contest JUST before the deadline. You’ll never guess what happened next! THE NANNY WON THE CONTEST.
Doesn’t that sound like a crazy story?? Well, I’m the nanny and that’s really what happened to me. I won the very first Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories New Author Contest after entering my story, “The Great Dog Wash,” on the last day of the contest – actually in the last HOURS of the contest. As the winner, I received a $5,000 cash prize from Cheerios, and the opportunity to have my book reviewed by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. Anyone who’s interested in writing knows it is VERY hard to get your book reviewed, so having such a major publisher review my book was a thrill. And, guess what? Simon & Schuster decided to offer me a book deal! My book has since been edited, and illustrated by amazing illustrator Robert Neubecker, and is coming out as a published hardcover in July! As if that weren’t enough, Cheerios specially printed my book in paperback in both English and Spanish, and this spring featured it inside 1.5 MILLION boxes of Cheerios cereal. Do you know how many children’s book authors get 1.5 MILLION copies of their book printed?? Not too many!
To say that this has been an amazing experience is almost an understatement. I, Shellie Braeuner, am now a published children’s book author. Besides the thrill of being published, it is also fun to share this experience with the kids in my life by including them in the acknowledgments in the book. So they are living this with me, too. In addition, I now have an agent, and have a couple more books in the works that we are shopping to a few publishers. I’m still working as a nanny – a job I love – but I am so thrilled to be among the ranks of published authors.
So, what are you waiting for? If you have an idea for a children’s book, and have dreamed of someday getting it published, I’m here to tell you that there’s still time to enter it in the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories New Author Contest. The deadline for entries is July 15, 2009 at www.spoonfulsofstoriescontest.com.
And I hope you’ll look for my book, “The Great Dog Wash” – which was distributed inside Cheerios boxes in May and will be available in hardcover starting in early July through booksellers!