Friday, March 4, 2011

Tips for the Journey to Publication

Week of February 27—One Writer’s View of the State of Picture Books
Friday, March 4—Tips for the Journey to Publication

In my journey toward publication I have sent out my fair-share of unsolicited manuscripts. But I also have developed other means of making contact with editors and agents that have been more beneficial to me.
1.  Attend regional and national SCBWI conferences.
2.  Pay the little extra to have a critique or consultation while at a conference. (My first book contract came from a consultation session with an editor at SCBWI, LA. It was worth the $100.00 fee!)
3.  Attend book camps or other training events by reputable authors (aka: ones you admire and aspire to be like).
4.  Enlist the services of a writer who provides professional critiques (that means quality critiques for a fee). I only ask people I have met and/or heard speak to critique my work. Writers who have continued success publishing and helping others get published are the ones to work with.
5.  Join a critique group. You will be making contacts and friendships that can last for your entire writing career. You may very well meet someone who knows someone who is the second cousin to someone who is looking for exactly what you are writing!
6. Above all else, keep on writing!


Deanna Elaine Piowaty said...

I have been enjoying reading your blog and hope you can offer a new writer some advice.

I have written two very different picture books, one is about a boy's ability to overcome a bleak situation through the use of his imagination to recreate the neighborhood junkyard into a safe and quiet refuge as well as a place for beauty and adventure.

The other is about the escapades and mischief created by three high energy children over the course of their mother taking her shower.

Because I have only had my poetry published, my picture books would fall under the category of "unsolicited manuscripts." Any ideas of who might be receptive to publishing either or both of them?

Rob Sanders said...

That is the million dollar question—where to send a manuscript. It seems every editor/agent/house has such different wants and likes. Any interest in my writing has all come from people I’ve met face-to-face at conferences (or if not face-to-face I heard them at a conference). I’m making attending national SCBWI conferences, conferences in my SCBWI region (Florida), and other conferences I hear about a priority. When you attend always pay the little extra for a one-on-one critique.

Other places I consult for ideas for submitting non-solicited pieces are: “The Children’s Book Insider” and “CBI Clubhouse”, SCBWI newsletters/updates/discussion boards, Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, and “Guide to Literary Agents” blog I’ve not had a non-solicited manuscript picked up at this point . . . but my rejection letters are getting better! LOL!

Do any of the places that have published your poetry also take children’s poetry, books, etc.? That could be a great foot-in-the-door. Do you belong to a critique group? Those friends will have leads on publishers, too.

Finding the just-right place for your manuscripts will be a journey . . . but keep your eyes on the destination and enjoy yourself along the journey! Good luck!