Tracy C. Gold


A Book Deal in the Time of Coronavirus

on March 26, 2020

The evening of Thursday, March 12th, Covid-19 was grabbing hold of the United States. I was sad that my regional SCBWI conference had been cancelled, and fretting about whether we should even see my parents and in-laws for my daughter’s birthday party on Sunday (we didn’t).

I had finally decided to stop checking the news, social media, and my email to hang out with my toddler and dog while we waited for my husband to get home from work.

Then I got a text message from my agent, Carrie Pestritto: “Tracy, check your email :)”

Waiting in that email was glorious, wonderful news: Kelly Barrales-Saylor, the Editorial Director of Sourcebooks eXplore, wanted to publish one of my picture books! 

Cue screaming and celebrating that worked up my toddler and dog, as evidenced by this picture that I texted back to Carrie:

I couldn’t believe this news had come at a time when it felt like all of publishing was scrambling to figure out how to cope with cancelled events, working from home, and a very uncertain future. Even better, as Carrie waited to hear back from other editors who had the book, she worked her negotiating magic and turned the deal into a TWO book deal! The second book is to-be-determined (publishing is weird). I’m looking forward to bringing readers another awesome non-fiction book with Sourcebooks!

It is both fitting and ironic that the book Kelly bought is a Halloween themed book about a bat going trick or treating for bugs, set to the rhythm of the “trick or treat, smell my feet” chant. In this moment of extreme social isolation, this book is a celebration of a day when neighbors knock on each other’s doors and trade sweets. It is slated for publication in Fall 2021. I am hopeful that by then we will be celebrating Halloween again. I’m planning to give away a big chunk of my author copies to kids in my neighborhood and to do all kinds of Halloween-related swag and promotion. This is going to be so much fun!

Here is the official book deal announcement from Publishers Weekly: 

The book, of course, also shares information about bats and how important they are to our ecosystem. When I set out to write a Halloween book, I was brainstorming spooky animals, and remembered a trip to Austin, Texas, where I saw over a million bats fly out from their home under a bridge at sunset. It was an amazing, awe-inspiring sight, and when we can all travel again, I would recommend a trip to Austin just to see these bats!

If you hate getting bit by mosquitos, you should probably love bats, because bats eat bugs. Many bats also pollinate plants, and thus are important to agriculture. Bats pollinate fruit like bananas, and, for the adults—agave, the plant used to make tequila.

Of course, the coronavirus is similar to one found in bats in China, so that adds another level to the striking timing of this book. We need to protect bats’ habitats and give them plenty of room to live and do their job eating bugs and pollinating plants. We also need to shut down wet markets like the one where Covid-19 started so various types of animals, including wildlife, aren’t caged close together. 

Thus, I’m extra glad to publish this book about bats, as they’re going to need a lift for their reputation! 

Thanks so much to super agent Carrie Pestritto for inspiring me to write a Halloween book in the first place, helping me polish this one up, finding it a wonderful home, and negotiating an awesome deal! 

I hope this happy news brings you some joy in a tough time. If you want to keep posted on all of my book news, including fun giveaway details, join my newsletter! I promise I won’t write to you too often! 

One Response to “A Book Deal in the Time of Coronavirus”

  1. Ana Siqueira says:

    Congratulations. I will be so happy to work with you and read your books. Amazing.

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