Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 26, 2012

Kudos – Success Story

Jersey Girl Corey Rosen Schwartz let me know that her second book, THE THREE NINJA PIGS was coming out on September 27th and it was illustrated by Dan Santat.  What a combination.  I knew everyone would like to hear the story behind the story, so I asked Corey to write up something answering my questions.  Here’s Corey:
I always joke that you can “make” a baby (or two) in far less time than it takes to write and sell a 32 page picture book. But in this case… it took exactly the same amount. Nine months from concept to contract. 
In January, 2009, we were in a restaurant and my daughter told the waitress, ” I speak a little Spanish.” My son, who was three, not wanting to be outdone, said proudly “I speak a little karate!”
And KIYA! I knew I had an idea that was a winner! 
I drafted THE THREE NINJA PIGS in February. The manuscript practically wrote itself! 
I revised, revised, revised… and brought it to an SCBWI one day mentoring workshop at the end of March. I got positive feedback from agent Sean McCarthy (one-on-one critique) and editor Catherine Onder (first page session) and, with a few final tweaks, felt it was ready to submit. 
I sent it out to a small select group of agents in late April.  

Agent Kendra Marcus of BookStop Literary Agency got back to me in June saying that she loved the premise, but the execution needed a little work. She gave me some very specific feedback and said, “Feel free to call to discuss.” I did not call.She then called me in July to discuss the story and said to call her back anytime. My husband, David, told me, CALL HER. I did not call.  

Instead, I emailed her with some revisions.That may sound very weird, but David still jokes that when we were dating, he would say, “Bye, I’ll call you.” and I would reply, “Nah, that’s okay. Just shoot me an email.”

I guess I was nervous I would “blow it” on the phone.

Kendra and I finally spoke, and I felt like she really got the story’s humor. She said it had Susan Kochan’s name all over it and sent it off to Putnam.

By October, we had an offer!
I was ecstatic. I called my friend Tara Lazar to share the news, and she said, “You know who would be the perfect illustrator… Dan Santat. You should suggest him to your editor.” Well, picture book authors don’t usually have a say as to who is selected, so I was hesitant to bring it up.
Lo and behold… guess who Susan chose? DAN SANTAT! I couldn’t believe it. I guess his name was written all over the manuscript too. And it turns out, he holds a black belt in Shotokan!
Dan was perfect. His ” comic book–style spreads have a Crouching Wolf, Hidden Pig feel” to quote Publisher’s Weekly. I’m thrilled with how it turned out.
Dan also made an awesome book trailer: 

So watch out wolves! On Sept 27th, THE THREE NINJA PIGS will be out everywhere!

We are very happy for you Corey.  The book looks like it is going to be a real winner.  I interviewed and showed off Dan Santat’s illustrations last year.  It was hard to stop showing his work, because he is so good and so funny.  Here is the link for anyone who missed reading about his journey. 

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Hooray, Corey! And I had totally forgotten I said that about Dan…!


  2. Oh, how cool is this?! Congratulations, Corey 🙂 This is absolutely adorable, and I love the trailer! Did you know your book releases on the same day J.K. Rowling’s new book does? Yay! And how cool is THAT?! 😀


  3. Thanks for sharing your story behind the story, Corey! Can’t wait to read it!


  4. So thrilling, Corey! Cannot wait for it! 🙂


  5. Corey, good luck with this title. It looks like a book kids will love! How wonderful for you, and I love your son’s comment, “I speak karate.” Isn’t it amazing how one line can inspire you to create a book?


  6. I love ninjas and I love pigs. How awesome is this?


  7. Looks like a fun book. Out of the mouth of your son and into publication Fantastic!


  8. What a great story!!! Thanks for sharing.


  9. Wonderful post. It was fun reading about the exciting events leading up to getting your contract Corey! Thanks for sharing with us.


  10. Hoory, hooray, and yes, a third hooray is in order!


  11. Congratulations and great story! I love thatKendra is actually on the phone in the picture- she was serious about the call!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: