I missed Mr. V’s book-signing debut last night, as I had a debut of my own. I made my first visit to a class — Austin Community College’s Writing for Children — as a children’s writer. I was astounded at how fast the 45 minutes went by, and by how much I enjoyed myself. I was especially tickled by one student’s bulging eyes when I mentioned that my first submitted version of The Day-Glo Brothers was 6,200 words long. Obviously, the class had already covered the minor fact that most picture books are under 1,000 words.

I’d started to become a little resentful of the time eaten up by my preparations for the class, but this morning I’m so glad that I did take that time to get ready. And now it’s a two-way race between my ACC honorarium check and the first half of my Day-Glo advance — one of them will become the first cash money I’ve received as a children’s writer.

I know I wrote a couple of weeks ago that my manuscript had gotten its sign-off from the powers-that-be at Charlesbridge, but I’m delighted to report that earlier this week I got word from my editor that we’d worked out the last two lingering editorial details. “We are officially done,” she said. Nothing could have sounded better.

Meanwhile, an editor interested in Smith has asked me for some supporting information to help convince potential doubters at her house that Smith was a nationally significant figure, rather than one who would resonate only regionally. So, this a.m. I spent a chunk of time pulling together market research — yes, market research. Of the “people who care about Smith’s work are 129% more likely than the average US consumer to read The New Yorker” variety. I could have told her what kind of coffee they prefer, but didn’t.

At lunch yesterday I continued working on a new version of my James manuscript, and also got caught up on some recent back issues of Publishers Weekly. I found a couple of editorial staff changes I’d missed, which may come in handy at the end of the year. Come the last week in December, I aim to get back on the submitting-to-editors train if there hasn’t been progress on the agent front.