Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Image credit: Beckett Gladney. All rights reserved.

I am thrilled to be helping to promote friend and Canadian illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s first picture book on my blog. I hope you saw I’M BORED on my Perfect Picture Book Friday post last week. Today, Debbie has graciously agreed to do a guest post on my blog, and I am so grateful to her for sharing her thoughts about why, for her,  the long wait time in the traditional publishing process was worth it.

Debbie Ridpath Ohi writes and illustrates for young people. She is the illustrator of I’M BORED by Michael Ian Black (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, Sept/2012) and her work also appears in the teen fiction anthology, TOMO (Stone Bridge Press, Mar/2012). Represented by Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown Ltd. For longer bios, see:

Also, see the interview Joanna Marple did with Debbie on September 5th.

There are oodles of links near the end of this post — and there’s a GIVEAWAY! Any comment on this post will be entered for a chance to win a copy of I’M BORED. The winner will be announced next Monday, September 17th.  Read to the end of the post to find out how to get an EXTRA entry!

And now let’s see what Debbie has to say. I assure you, you won’t be bored!


a guest post by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

In order to stay sane in the publishing industry, you need to learn perseverance and patience. Perseverance is important when you’re sending out your submissions. Patience is especially handy during the publishing process.

Beth has asked me to write about the waiting time between acceptance and final release. Her suggested topic is well-timed since I’ve been thinking a great deal about the whole process recently, now that my book is actually in bookstores.

I was first approached about illustrating I’M BORED for Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers back in August, 2010, when Justin Chanda saw my portfolio at the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA (read the story here: How Rejection Got Me My Book Deal).

Meeting with Laurent and Justin. Image courtesy Debbie Ridpath Ohi. All rights reserved.

Next, my agent negotiated terms with S&S, and the actual contract was signed Sept.13, 2010. Justin had already sent me Michael’s unedited manuscript for I’M BORED, which I loved. Seriously — it made me laugh out loud, and I could see right away why he thought my art was right for the project.

Here’s how the rest of the I’M BORED timeline progressed:

I worked on several rounds of character sketches as well as very rough sketch ideas through 2011, as well as meeting several times with Justin and my art director, Laurent Linn. I handed in the final artwork in August, 2010.

Outfit Sketch. Image courtesy Debbie Ridpath Ohi. All rights reserved.

Character Notes – Girl. Image courtesy Debbie Ridpath Ohi. All rights reserved.


My f&gs (stands for “folded & gathered” and are the printers’ proofs) arrived in mid-January, 2012, and I made a few small adjustments to color on a couple of pages, resubmitted them. Meanwhile, these f&gs were being used by S&S to do early promotion of the book as well as show bookstore owners and other industry people.

Bologna Book Fair. Image credit Benjamin Rabe. All rights reserved.

Book Expo America. Credit Julie Duffy. All rights reserved.

Six months later (July/2012), I received a sample copy and near the end of August, my box of I’M BORED books arrived, yay! I’M BORED officially launches in bookstores on September 4th, 2012.

Unboxing I’M BORED! Image courtesy Debbie Ridpath Ohi. All rights reserved.

Total time between first offer and the book being available in stores: almost exactly two years.

This may seem incredibly slow to some people, and I know that the slow pace of the traditional print publishing industry is one reason that writers sometimes consider self-publishing. For me, however, it was definitely worth it.

S&S was very good re: keeping me informed about what was going on with the book, especially in the longer waiting periods. My book had a professional interior and exterior book design, and some of the color tweaks I made were the result of my art director painstakingly going over every illustration to check for quality and consistency. There were months when my work was finished but a ton of production, marketing and sales work had begun.

I look at the final version of I’M BORED and I’m so aware of all the work that so many people put into this one book. So often we see a picture book and just think of the author and illustrator. I recently collected a list of everyone at Simon & Schuster who were involved with I’M BORED in some way:

The Simon & Schuster Team Who Helped With I’M BORED  (Note from Beth — be sure to click on that link to see the list of nearly ONE HUNDRED names!)

As you can see from the list above, there were a large number of people involved in helping with sales and distribution of the book, and all these people needed to become acquainted with I’M BORED. It took time for the marketing team to plan their strategy, and for the publisher to send out f&gs for review, contacting appropriate media outlets, placing the book with the right retailers, wholesaler & trade catalogs, taking lead times into account. AND (of course) there are many other books in the pipeline for S&S as well.

Once I discovered how much effort and time that people at S&S were putting into making I’M BORED as high quality and successful as possible, I realized that the waiting time was well worth it.

Instead of fretting about how long things were taking, I used any downtime to work on improving my craft as well as working on ideas for new projects. There are so many books I want to write and illustrate!

No time for being bored. 🙂

Helpful resources:
Six Reasons Why Everything in Publishing Takes So Long – by Cheryl Klein, Scholastic editor)

Why Is Publishing So Slow? – by Rachelle Gardner, literary agent


Beth here: Definitely no time for being bored! And there’s lots more to come, fantastic links, the MUSIC VIDEO that has to be one of the best music videos EVER. But first I want to remind you about the GIVEAWAY! One lucky commenter will receive a copy of I’M BORED, direct from the publisher. Every comment will be entered (unless you have a good reason not to be entered, such as you already have the book).

*******If you want an EXTRA entry, simply mention a use for potatoes in your comment.

Crafts, science projects, recipes (sorry, Potato).*******

(A potato figures largely in this book.)

The winner will be chosen via, and will be announced next Monday, September 17th.


Now — MORE! MORE! MORE!!!!


I’M BORED is a new picture book written by comedian/actor/author Michael Ian Black & illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi, published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. Publication date: Sept. 4th, 2012.

I’M BORED (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, Sept/2012)
Author: Michael Ian Black. Illustrator: Debbie Ridpath Ohi.
Hardcover, 40 pages | Ages 3-8 / Grades P-3
ISBN-10: 1442414030
ISBN-13: 9781442414037

About I’M BORED, from Simon & Schuster website:

There is NOTHING boring about being a kid, but one little girl is going to have to prove it in this anything-but-boring picture book from comedian Michael Ian Black.

Just when a little girl thinks she couldn’t possibly be more bored, she stumbles upon a potato who turns the tables on her by declaring that children are boring. But this girl isn’t going to let a vegetable tell her what’s what, so she sets out to show the unimpressed potato all the amazing things kids can do. Too bad the potato is anything but interested.

This tongue-in-cheek twist on a familiar topic is sure to entertain anyone who’s ever been bored—or had to hear about someone else being bored—and is filled with comedian Michael Ian Black’s trademark dry wit, accompanied by charismatic illustrations from newcomer Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

Publishers Weekly starred review:

Excerpt: “Black (A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea) keeps this simple concept funny all the way through its final, LOL zinger. Debut illustrator Ohi’s minimalist, scraggly digital drawings are anything but boring, and speak volumes about irritation, desperation, and disdain.”



THE VIDEO! (I couldn’t get it to embed, so please click the link. You’ll be glad you did.)

I’M BORED music video



I’M BORED Facebook Page

I’M BORED Scrapbook (Photos, sketches, process, kid lit tips)

I’M BORED Bonus Page (Activities, classroom, handouts, info)

I’M BORED In The Wild photo challenge



Twitter: @inkyelbows

Blog, INKYGIRL, for those who write & illustrate for young people

DebbieOhi homepage, daily sketchbook, portfolio and links to all her projects & blogs

Author/Illustrator Facebook Page

Webcomic for writers, Will Write for Chocolate

Blog about writing and illustrating picture books for Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Press & bio info


Michael Ian Black’s website

Twitter: @michaelianblack

***NOTE: to get tons more info about I’M BORED,

including links, a plot summary, awards & reviews, etc. please send an email to (an autoresponder).


Okay, Debbie, we’ve got your book, we’ve got a potato, we have imaginations — we’re not bored!  Thanks so much for this visit and post today. All the best with your new book!

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