'The Good, Bad, and The Celebrity Picture Book'

young mother and child in bookstore
young mother and child in bookstore

An Open Letter to Celebrity Children's Book Writers

My wife did something shocking that rocked the foundation of our marriage. A betrayal so heinous I asked myself, "Et tu Tracey?" What was this Judas-kiss you ask?

She bought a picture book written by a celebrity.

I know in the grand scheme of things, or in any scheme of things for that matter, this is small potatoes. But you have to understand, I am a children's picture book author and the celebrity picture book is the bane of my existence. To give you a sports analogy, it would be like a husband being a Red Sox season ticket holder sitting next to his wife in the stands and she is wearing a Yankees jersey.

Wars have started for less.

You see, as a children's picture book author, I have painfully worked on my craft --attending conferences, workshops and critique groups. Writing and rewriting manuscripts in order to perfect them because the competition is so incredibly fierce. Recently an editor from a major publishing house told me she received 15,000 submissions this year alone. Out of that batch, she may pull one for publication. To put this into perspective, she is one of several editors in that house and they all get the same number of submissions. The odds of publication are extremely rare.

Even as a published author, rejection is a way of life. You constantly hear, "I loved the story but I didn't connect with the character," or "I'm sorry but it's not right for our list." However, most times you do not hear anything at all. This is all part of the writing process. Unless you are a celebrity. I realize celebrities have faced rejection in their careers however, a publishing house sees a celebrity as instant cash because of their fame. They already have a fan base and readers will buy the book solely based on the name and not the quality of the story. I don't blame the publishers. They are in this business to make money, and I certainly don't blame the celebrity. They see this as a way of getting their name out in the public. But aren't there better avenues for celebrities to take without interfering in my career? How about a scandal? There is always the ever-popular reality TV show. Who doesn't love "Dancing with the Stars"?

There's no need to publish a picture book. But I'm sure my request will fall on deaf ears. So Mr. Nathan Lane, Mr. Jimmy Fallon and you to Ms. Whoopi Goldberg, I am going to give you a taste of your own medicine. You've forced my hand in this and I do this out of necessity and not out of spite.

I have decided to become a mega movie star.

Just remember the next time you sit down to watch a movie your loved one may say, "Let's see that new movie written, directed and starring that children's book author Paul Czajak." Please understand, I didn't create this terrible movie to make any money but only to further my writing career.

Oh, Madonna and Kanye, you are going to hate my album.

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