It’s been a long time since my last update but I have no explanation other than the past year has been dedicated to a full-on promotion of The Illuminated Forest and the ups and downs that come with such an effort. Although it can be fun and exciting, the promotion of a book is always a huge challenge (considering more than a million books are launched annually!). Needless to say, the competition for attention—or even to get briefly noticed—is a battle of epic proportions. But I’m encouraged by the fact that Exit Studio Publishing is still going and going (we’re celebrating our 21st year now)! It leads me to believe that we might be doing something right. Even with the gargantuan obstacles we face, we still manage to offer the best Latin American inspired children’s literature around.
There is something to be said for commitment, determination, and a love for what you do. It makes every rare moment when we have reason to celebrate even more significant. You see, although I didn’t plan it, the release of my first illustrated novel The Illuminated Forest coincided with Exit Studio’s 20th anniversary. But my satisfaction was made even greater when I began to experience all the great reviews that started coming in, not only from critics but from readers as well. Believe me, there’s no greater joy than knowing your work reaches out in such a positive way to so many people.
For me, to have reached a modest place among my reader’s preferences is reward enough. But to my joyous surprise, an even bigger reward came to us here at Exit Studio with the news that The Illuminated Forest had been selected as a finalist in the 2015 International Latino Book Awards presented by Latino Literacy Now, an organization co-founded by Edward James Olmos and Kirk Whisler, and co-presented by Las Comadres de las Americas, and Reforma, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos. The ILBA has already deemed me an Award Winning Author and we will be attending the award ceremony at the American Library Association Conference in San Francisco on June 27 to receive First Place, Second Place, or Honorable Mention. Whatever we receive, we are in good company this year—other 2015 recipients include Carlos Santana, Sheila E, Richard Blanco, Isabel Allende, and many others. I have no words to express my gratitude but it is the kind of thing that fuels my imagination and certainly feeds my confidence, especially during those long periods of uncertainty and self-doubt.
To all of you, thank you for following my every step and for letting me feel your presence through your support and your belief that the Latin American community deserves the best we can offer. I can’t deny this new development certainly makes me feel like Sally Field at the 1985 Oscars ceremony, “You like me! You really like me!”
From Scott and me, please accept our deepest gratitude.
Note: The International Latino Book Award’s winning books will tour to at least 10 major book, media, Latino professional, and Latino consumer events in the USA and Mexico. These events will have a minimum combined attendance of 250,000 people. Please check our websites exitstudio.com and illuminatedforest.com for details on the upcoming 2015 Illuminated Forest Book Tour.