January 28, 2020
Oops, it’s been another year since my last blog post. And once again I’m revisiting my neglected blog to share super exciting news …

I’ve been waiting to write this post for a very long time.

If you read my I Have An Agent post from last year, you know I wrote my first novel in 2006, so I’ve been working toward getting a book published for fourteen years.
But also … we got the offer for the book in March, so I’ve actually been waiting to write this particular post for ten months!
I’d always heard publishing was slow, but I had no idea! It’s been a real eye-opener for sure, but it takes to time to work out contracts and find the perfect illustrator.
But I’m finally allowed to scream about it publically: BATTLE OF THE BUTTS will be published by Running Press Kids (an imprint of Hachette) in the fall of 2021!!!
Publishers Weekly announcement for Battle of the Butts
Yep, you read that right – fall of 2021! I told you publishing was slow. But I’m sure it will be here before I know it, and I’ll be freaking out that I’m not ready and need more time. In the meantime, I’m so, so, so, excited!!!
If you want the nitty-gritty of how it happened, keep reading. It, uh, gets a little long because I’m so, so, so excited!!!
Last year on March 20th, I had two meetings, which meant I had to put on real pants and leave the house. So I found some pants that didn’t look like pajamas, applied my face, and decided to go all out and add some jewelry.
Now the animal that first inspired BATTLE OF THE BUTTS is a manatee. The Christmas after I got my agent, my family got me a bunch of manatee items for good luck. I decided to put on my manatee earrings for the meetings.
Silver manatee earrings
Then right after I put them on, I checked my email one last time before leaving …
And there was the email I’ve been waiting to read for almost fifteen years! My awesome agent Tracy informed me we had an offer from one publisher and serious interest from several others. Eeeeeeee! Clearly the good luck manatees worked!
Then Tracy said that since we needed to figure out what to do, could I talk this afternoon? Uhhhhhh….
Since my brain had exploded upon reading the words “offer of publication,” I couldn’t think. I should have already walked out the door like five minutes before. And trying to do math to figure out a time to talk between the meetings was extremely tough with an exploded brain. But somehow I managed to type a reply to Tracy.
And then I had to run to the first meeting (like literally run across the parking lot like an Olympic sprinter). Those poor people in the meeting (all strangers but one) were probably wondering what the heck was wrong with me. I was dripping sweat and bouncing and fidgeting in my chair like I’d just downed a dump truck full of pixie stix. I have no recollection of a single word said at that meeting. I’m sure I was super helpful.

When it was over, I hustled to my car, drove to the location of the next meeting, and sat in the parking lot holding my phone waiting for Tracy’s call. I was so wound up, I dropped it when it rang. Tracy talked me through the details, what they meant, and our various options. We agreed on a plan, and then she went off to do the magical negotiating things agents do to get you the best possible offer.

A week later, I got an email from Tracy with final offer terms for a pre-empt from Running Press Kids. For those of you not in publishing, a pre-empt meant we’d pull the book from consideration so no one else would have a chance to bid.
I screamed YES!!!!

*Ahem* I mean, I calmly informed my agent that, yeah, that seemed cool, and sure, why not, might as well go ahead take it.

But you want to know what’s really wild? About an hour before I got that email from Tracy, I tweeted this:

Say wha?!? Those manatees truly are magical!
So then it was time to wait for the contract. Turns out a lot of waiting. I was pretty clueless about the contract part, so thank goodness I have Tracy to take care of the details I didn’t even know you’re supposed to care about.
This is where the story gets bittersweet. I’d been eagerly checking my email daily, knowing the contact would eventually arrive but suuuper impatient for it to be official because…

Then one of my dogs, Chloe, got sick. She was almost fifteen, so it wasn’t shocking, but she went downhill pretty fast. On September 20th, I was snuggled up with her, waiting for the vet to come do the deed, when my phone dinged with an email.

Yep, you guessed it, it was my contract.
My tears turned to sobs.
Then I railed at the universe due to the horrible timing that would forever link my first book contract to the passing of one of my dogs. Although later my sister said it was Chloe’s goodbye gift to me. And I really love that idea. Even as typing it makes me cry again.
(My FB post about Chloe, the goodest girl ever:
Moving on to happier things, it was time to sign the contract! The picture taking of the signing was slightly anti-climatic because everything was digital. All I did was push a button, but here it is for posterity.
Jocelyn signing book contract
Then it was time to get to work! While the search was on for the perfect illustrator, I worked with my fantastic editor Allison Cohen on revisions. It was such a fun process to collaborate to make the book stronger.
In November they sent me David Creighton-Pester’s portfolio as a possible illustrator. We all agreed his sense of humor would make him perfect for the project. Check out his work: And then it was more waiting as his contract was finalized.
In the meantime, David provided some rough sketches for potential covers, and they are awesome!!! I started cackling at one of them and almost fell out of my chair laughing at another. It will be a long while before I can do a cover reveal, butt (ha!) I’m soooo excited to see what he comes up with for the rest of the illustrations.
And now it’s finally, finally official!!! Everyone is on board, all the contracts are signed, and it’s been announced in Publishers Marketplace and Publishers Weekly.
Publishers Marketplace announcement
Thank you to everyone who has been with me on this journey! I appreciate your support as you’ve read drafts, cheered me on, or pretended to be interested as I talk about animal butts. Your support kept me going to finally reach this dream.
My book is going to be published!!!!!!

Jocelyn Rish

Jocelyn Rish is a writer and filmmaker who never imagined her cheeky sense of humor would lead to a book about animal butts. When she's not researching fanny facts, she tutors kids to help them discover the magic of reading. Jocelyn has won numerous awards for her short stories, screenplays, short films, and novels and lives in South Carolina with her booty-ful dogs.