Tuesday, January 8, 2013

20,000 Cloves, Acquisitions, Submissions, and Something New for You and Me

Welp, another year has passed. A year a week and a day to be exact. I’ve been thinking about what I accomplished in the last year. It’s never enough. But I did have more than one manuscript go to acquisitions at more than one house. Actually several. Exciting! And typical that I still haven’t sold a book. Ha! But I won’t give up. What does having manuscripts go to acquisitions make me know? That my writing is good. It’s just finding the right editor at the right house at the right time. Typically, there are a lot of people that have to agree to buy a manuscript. It’s a tall order. Everything will line up one of these days, and I will have fun trying. Just to have an editor who has worked on some majorly popular books gush over my writing is enough to keep me going for a while.

But, as my husband likes to remind me, there is more to life than writing. So this year I also started helping artists with their social media, got approved to be a substitute teacher, planted 20,000 cloves of garlic, and started building a website for the garlic business. Oh! And the family acquired a cabin on a pond that we are remodeling into a very cool retreat aka guest house. And, contrary to my stay behind the scenes personality, I have agreed to be in a musical review. That is a big deal. I do not take getting up in front of people and singing lightly. This past year I have also worked my way into having a full blown teenager at my house. Life is definitely full.

Back to writing though. (I can’t help myself!) I wrote a lot this year. Dozens of manuscripts. Some that will never see the light of day. Some that I am revising. Some that my kids keep bugging me to finish! It’s my process to have a lot of things written and revise bit by bit as things strike me. This year I told my critique group that I didn’t know how to work on just one manuscript. They said to work on the one that pulls at me the most. I said they all do. I think they felt sorry for me. Yes, there were looks of pity. But, having multiple projects works for me. I decided that I’m not going to fight it anymore, but instead accept that that is the way I work.

As usual for a writer, I had an up and down year. I started the year with an agent and after much discussion we both decided that it would be better for me to seek representation elsewhere. That I need someone who can send out more of my work. Yes, sometimes I delve into the potty jokes and that is not for everyone. Educational manuscripts aren’t everyone’s cup of tea either. I can say that I have made a wonderful friend for life and that is the best thing that happened to me when I obtained representation. I’m actually having a hard time knowing which agents to send submissions to now, since I had such a nice agent.

So, I decided to push myself over the last two months of 2012. I did something I’d never done before. Something I’ve often found difficult. I focused on submissions to publishers. Sure, I’ve sent a few out here and there over the years, (that is how I sold Bedtime Monster, after all) but this time I made myself delve deep into world of publishers, and you know what? The more I did it the easier it got. When I quit sending out submissions a few weeks before Christmas I had a grand total of 38 well researched, targeted submissions out. I surprised even myself! It’s great to be going into 2013 with so many possibilities.

Sending out all those submissions also gave me the courage to do something I’ve been thinking about for a long, long time. I've gotten together with a couple of my friends and we’re creating a support group for writers and illustrators who are ready to send their work out on submission! We’ll be opening up our website and chatroom soon, but for now we have a chatty facebook page if you’re interested in taking a look. I'd love for you to join us.

No matter what you do, I hope that 2013 is a wonderfully creative and prosperous year for you! 


  1. Happy 2013, Heather! You've had a great year and should be very proud of yourself. Satisfied even. :)

  2. Wow - 38 out must feel like money in the bank for 2013!

    Assuming, of course, that the fiscal cliff has nothing to do with writing. ;-)

  3. A garlic business, I love it! 38 submissions out? That's terrific!! And I love your new group on FB. I've joined and I look forward to getting to know everyone.

    I actually found my agent through your huge list months ago. I sat there for hours, going as far back as the beginning of 2011. There are so many out there, but you've done an excellent job and lots of work! After I read about her on your list, I read other interviews, and I'm so glad I queried her.

    I wish you all the best in 2013, submissions, writing, and yes, garlic!

  4. 38 submissions?! I am so proud of you!

    Garlic? Um... Sure..... I see you as the Ronald Dahl of galic. "heather and the Giant Clove"

  5. I'm so excited for all the possibilities you're looking at in 2013. Happy New Year!

    I just liked the FB page. I'm looking for a critique group for my picture book writing but am having a really tough time. Would you be able to suggest some? Thank you!

  6. You are all so sweet! And I am so excited for you Candilynn!!! Oh! You are the first person I have heard that has found an agent through the Monster List and signed with them. A Monstrous Occasion indeed! Look at all the exclamation points I am using in this paragraph!!! Whee!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Heather and the Giant Clove, Tini? Bwhahahahahahaaa!

    Navdeep, maybe we can find you one! Why don't you try posting on the Sub It Club page and we'll see if anyone else there is looking. I can help you spread the word a bit from there. You can also take a look at Verla Kay's Blueboard. Sometimes you can find others wanting a group or partner.