Thursday, July 30, 2020

Interview with Rachel Pellegrino, Owner of Little Lamb Books

We're thrilled to welcome Rachel Pellegrino to Lands Uncharted today! Rachel is the owner and publisher of Little Lamb Books, and she stopped by to answer some questions about herself and her publishing company. Enjoy!!

Hi, Rachel! Tell us about Little Lamb Books!

Little Lamb Books launched in 2015 and is a premiere publishing company focused on publishing faith-based stories for elementary, middle grade, and young adult readers. Our mission is to shepherd the next generation of faithful readers.

What prompted you to start your own children’s publishing company?

I was a teacher for 15 years and I love to read, so the ambition to be in the publishing industry has always been with me. However, I actually launched Little Lamb Books in 2015 after suffering a particularly traumatic miscarriage. I was at home with a two-year-old and asking the Lord what do I do now and how do I move forward. I struggled with going back into the classroom and I was spending time searching for faith-infused books for my daughter. I loved the general market books we were reading, but I wanted more substance and more encouragement of her relationship with God. What grew from this blend of events was a business plan for Little Lamb Books. I couldn’t have predicted this direction in my life, but when the idea for Little Lamb Books took root, it wouldn’t let go. I believe it was God’s answer to my prayers.

How incredible that God could bring a new dream out of such a tragic loss. We so appreciate your willingness to share about your journey! What is your favorite part of the publishing process? Which aspect is the most challenging?

What a great question! I have two favorites. The first is actually acquiring books that completely grab me. When I feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I talk with an author about representing them, I get so excited. Of course, the next part is releasing the actual book. Being a part of seeing the author’s dream come true and all our hard work come together is incredible. I still look at all of our books in awe!

The most challenging aspect is all the middle pieces. Editing takes time. Illustration takes time. Layout and design take time. And, they all take money. We all wish things could move faster and release sooner, but honestly, to have a beautiful and complete final product, it does take patience and time.

Publishing certainly requires a lot of patience through all its steps, but what fun to bring authors' dreams to life! What do you look for in taking on a new author or project?

It’s different for every project. Sometimes a story just tugs at my heartstrings. Sometimes I laugh out loud. Sometimes I look at the author and what they are bringing to the table. We get many queries, but usually it’s the ones who follow our guidelines and have something unique to bring to the table that grabs us.

Little Lamb Books is also the host of #FaithPitch! How does it work? Can you share any examples of success stories?

#FaithPitch is such a great group of writers and we are blessed to host this event three times a year. Basically, #FaithPitch is the Twitter pitch party specifically for writers of Christian fiction and non-fiction to pitch their most recent, completed, edited project to industry professionals with the CBA market. For 12 hours, writers can pitch their unrepresented manuscript and if an agent or editor heart it, the door opens for that writer to submit a query directly to the agent or editor. It’s also a great opportunity for our community to network and support one another. Knowing that there are other writers going through this process helps everyone not feel so isolated.

We have had numerous success stories! In fact, Little Lamb Books found our YA author and our chapter book author through #FaithPitch. And, just while we were doing this interview I received a post from an author that had signed a contract (Shout out to Terrie Todd!). But, each event varies, so sometimes we’ll get 5+ connections that turn into contracted books while other events it may only be 1-2.

It sounds like a fantastic opportunity for writers. What advice would you share with aspiring authors?

There’re so many recommendations already available to authors right now, but my number one piece of advice is to write your story and then edit it and be ready to query. So many times, we see authors jumping the gun, so to speak, and being worried about the trends or finding representation, but the best thing to do is write the best story you can write, edit it, tweak it, read it out loud, pray over it. THEN, begin building your platform, growing your network and seeking an agent or publishing house.

It's so helpful to hear from an industry professional, this is wonderful advice! Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Rachel! You can connect with Rachel on her websiteInstagram, and Facebook. And here's a little more about our special guest:

Rachel Pellegrino is the owner and publisher of Little Lamb Books, an award-winning publisher of children’s books. Launched in 2015, Little Lamb Books has produced almost a dozen titles, all of which have won over a dozen national awards. Rachel is passionate about collaborating with fellow publishers as well as empowering authors to be successful. Based in Texas, Rachel talks with her hands, offers individual author coaching, prefers Pepsi to coffee, and has a growing plush lamb collection much to her daughter’s delight.

Like so many businesses, Little Lamb Books has been hit hard by the pandemic. If you'd like to help support quality faith-based stories for children (and to see their list of amazing rewards for supporters!), make sure to check out their Kickstarter campaign HERE To find out more about Little Lamb Books, stop by their websiteInstagram, and Facebook page!

Thanks again for taking the time to visit us, Rachel!! We wish you all the best in your Kickstarter campaign and the future of Little Lamb Books!

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