So about five years ago I wrote a picture book, which I called Lulu’s Piano Fingers. I took the manuscript to the WIFYR conference, and my teacher, Rick Walton, encouraged me to continue working on it. Eventually, I shortened it and added a humorous subplot and came out, I think, with a very fine story that I am trying to get published now.
After some medium interest from agents that never panned out into any tangible results, I decided a few months ago to begin querying publishers directly. Last week I got an encouraging rejection from one of the editors, with an invitation to resubmit. But here’s the very weird part: there’s another book out there, published in 2011, called Lulu’s Piano Lesson.
I wrote this years ago, and I even wrote the query letter a while back. When I was writing the query letter, I did research about what books are out there about piano lessons, and, since this (similarly name, imposter) book only just came out, I never found it. So now I’m feeling a little sheepish that the paragraph in my query which sums up why there is nothing out there like my book actually misses the one that is named almost exactly like my book. Embarrassing.
But the fact that it is so dang similar is very eerie. I almost thought that someone from that original Rick Walton class had stolen my idea. Of course, no one did. The lady who wrote the other one has been writing (and publishing) for years. But, dang it, I liked my name, and now I have to change it. Not fair at all. (But my book is sufficiently different from hers, I think, for it not to be a problem once I change the name.) Now if I could just convince some editors that mine is worth publishing . . .