Tuesday, June 7, 2016

                                                           Grady's in the Silo
      I thought I might mention my book, Grady's in the Silo.  I wrote it after hearing two local ladies talk about the famous cow in Yukon, OK. I was teaching 4th grade, and thought a local story might be of interest to my students who were studying Oklahoma history. I've always enjoyed writing, so I whipped up the story about the cow. I didn't realize at the time that a 3,300 word story wasn't a picture book. I read my story to my class, and they enjoyed it.
     Then the town of Yukon celebrated a special anniversary of Grady. I was teaching in El Reno, but there were Grady contests my students could enter. After they learned about Grady from me, they began working on their entries. There was an evening event for Grady's anniversary in Yukon. I attended since I had student winners in my class.  I learned a little more about Grady that night, and revised my story once again.
     It's a great Oklahoma story children like, and I enjoyed telling my classes about Grady. I continued to revise my story each year when I taught a little about Oklahoma. I always mentioned the cow in the silo. As I read it each year, I shortened it. I would read the story over and over, and cut some of the excess words. I didn't realize that I was tightening my story.
     I finally decided to send it off to a big publishing house in New York. They didn't like the story. So, I didn't send it out for about 10 more years! When I did, I sent it to Pelican Publishing Co. in Gretna,  Louisiana. I still didn't know that there were rules on formatting, querying the editor, and trying to fit the story to the right publisher. I just sent it. At the time, it still had a huge word count.
    However, Pelican liked the story and published it in 2003. The book received an Oklahoma Center for the Book award in 2004 as well as a Children's Choice Award.  Both awards were wonderful and unexpected.
     For teachers, many use Grady to teach about farm life or the beef industry. Others use the story to show teamwork, patience, and perseverance. Ag in the Classroom has used Grady's story in their lessons for teachers.  And, some people just like to read cow stories.
    I'll mention more about Grady in a later post. She was an interesting Hereford.
    I hope you enjoyed learning a little about how my book Grady's in the Silo came about. I would encourage anyone writing a story not to give up and to continue sending out your work. Having a critique group will help you find any flaws in your story. Don't wait for 10 years, like I did, before sending out your story again.
Bill Mach with Grady when she was in his silo in Yukon, OK. in February, 1949.

1 comment:

  1. Una Belle, How delightful to hear you have a new book coming out this fall! What is the subject?
    I still remember the great job you did presenting at Wordwrights, the Christian writing group in Edmond. We are now meeting in Oklahoma City.
    Would you be interested in speaking to our group again after your new book comes out this fall? If so, give me a holler.
    Lori Williams