Friday, January 25, 2013

Critiques, Chocolate, & Chat!

I've been busy working on all things Sub It Club lately but I definitely want all of my blog readers to know about a couple of fun things we have going on.

First of all, we've scheduled our first chat for Tuesday, January 29th at 9 a.m. PST.

And secondly, we've opened up for our first query letter critique and just to sweeten the deal we're adding a chance to win some chocolate.

You can read the details about both these events on the Sub It Club blog. Sorry to be so short, but the family is starting to complain that I'm on the computer too much!

Anyway, I'd love to have you join us as we work our way towards publication!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sub It Club is Open!

Hesitant to query and submit manuscripts? Have I got an idea for you!

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. Too long. So long that I can’t hold back any longer. You see, I wanted to make a club like Fight Club—without the fighting. But, I sort of have to break rule number one if I’m going to get anyone to join me.
(*Fight Club spoiler* I don’t have a crazed alter ego to go secretly recruit people.) Besides, we children’s book writers aren’t really the violent type. But we do have to fight to get our manuscripts out there. We fight time and fear and doubt. We fight the common idea that writing and publishing is easy. We fight the odds!

I used to be terrified to query. Now? I see it as a necessary part of the process. I see you, all my kidlit peeps out there in cyberspace, talking about how hard you work on your manuscripts. We spend so much time perfecting our craft. Going to conferences. Reading books. Networking. Dreaming of seeing our stories as a real live book. Our dreams deserve a chance! Yet I hear from so many people who are too scared to give their manuscripts a fair shot.

So what the heck is this Sub It Club? We're a support group for writers and illustrators getting their work out on submission (or thinking about it). Go check out the first post on the Sub It Club blog and our About the Club page. You can also learn about our partners in submission, Dana Carey and Lisha Cauthen. We're opening up the private chatroom and the closed Facebook group today where we can all feel safe busting out the details of submissions. We're also giving it a one-two punch with Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Hop on over to the Sub It Club website and check us out. I hope you’ll join us as we work toward publication!

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!