The Making of a Christmas Bestseller

December 2001
by Vicki Lansky

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In 1995, my friend Janie Jasin kept telling me aboutthis little story she’d written about a girl pine tree that hopes to be chosen as a Christmas tree. She’d been using it in some of her seminars (she is a successful motivational speaker), and Janie felt this story should be turned into a book. (Sure, sure, I’ve heard that one before.) It had a “grow-where-you-are planted” message. I showed no interest and gave her no encouragement, partly because I knew that publishing a book by a close pal could be dangerous to a friendship. (Can you show me an author who ever thinks a publisher has done enough for them or their book?)


Janie decided to tape record The Littlest Christmas Tree and to sell the tapes at her speaking engagements. She sent me one as my holiday gift. I popped it into my car tapeplayer on my way to work and quickly came under her spell. So did the people in my office when they heard it. That’s when I decided to plunge my small company into the crowded Christmas book arena.

I knew the book needed some editing. Would she be uptight about us playing with her words? (Fortunately, not.) I had never done an illustrated children’s book before. Where did we even start?? And what should this book look like? I picked up and bought many holiday books that year until I touched one (it was actually a small cookbook) and knew instantly that this was the size our book should be. I h…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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