“I wrote the book in the fall of 2005. I had heard the story on National Public Radio, talking about how Americans eat two billion hot dogs in the month of July,” Sylver said. “That got me thinking, wow, that’s just a crazy number. I thought about kids and who doesn’t like hot dogs. I started doing some research. It seemed that everything I looked at was more interesting than the last.” Her research even turned up that hot dogs were eaten in space during the Apollo 11 trip, the first time man walked on the moon.
While researching and writing the book was quick, the road to publication wasn’t. Sylver met an editor from Dutton Children’s Books at a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference a few months later and he told her to send him the book.
She already had sent out a few queries to publishing companies to gauge interest in the manuscript.
“There was one very small publishing company that liked it and had it under consideration when I sent it to Mark [McVeigh],” she said. “When I met him and told him about it, he said, ‘wouldn’t you rather publish with a big publishing company.’”
So she wrote the small company to withdraw it from consideration. There may have been times when she wasn’t sure if she had done the right thing, because the publication process stalled. It took almost a year before the editor came back with a formal offer. The initial editing process was quick, but the search for just the right illustrator was lengthy.
“I think I’m lucky to be paired with Elwood Smith. His illustrations are fun,” she said. “Every time I flip the page, there is something new every time you look through it.” Just when it seemed all systems were go, the editor left to go to a new publishing house. The result was like starting all over again.
“I had a new editor who wanted me to make the book much shorter, which I did. Then they said they wanted the book to be longer with more fun facts. I did more research found out more fun little things,” Sylver said. “I broadened the scope a little bit. There is a page I talk about how a hot dog is a staple at a baseball game in America. We went into how if you went to a baseball game, what you would have there. It talks about other countries, other cultures. It adds some more appeal.”
That appeal has resulted in good reviews across the board, which makes the book viable for schools and libraries. It also can be found in local bookstores and online.
Sylver will have her first signing at Books and Books, 265 Aragon Ave. in Coral Gables on May 22 at 11 a.m. Naturally hot dogs are on the menu. She also will sign on June 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, 12405 N. Kendall Dr.
Sylver is giving away autographed copies of Hot Diggity Dog on her website at < www.adriennesylver.com >