Unfortunately, it happens to everyone. Publishing is a very subjective field. One agent/editor could LOVE your manuscript and another agent/editor hit the REJECT button before even getting to the second line. It has taken me a while to realize that it's just part of the business...EVEN after you find an agent...EVEN after you publish your first book...EVEN after you publish your 10th book. After a good wallow, brush off the disappointment and move on to the next submission, contest or manuscript. I have heard this over and over again—this is one of the secrets to writing SUCCESS.
When I started out I thought my work would get snapped up by a publisher and I'd be holding my book within 6 months...it quickly became obvious that this was NOT going to happen. I think this is a common misconception most writers can relate to. It helped enormously when I learned to be realistic with my expectations.
When you can be thankful for critiques pointing out flaws in your beloved story, your work will only get better for it. Celebrating any (even tiny) step forward you make e.g. finding a great new resource, making a new writer contact, feeling proud of a great first line...is the best way to progress. Less disappointment more dancing!!
I know for a fact that if I did not have the support of other writers I would have given up writing a long time ago. Knitting, embroidery, sourdough making...all hobbies I have started and never continued. I am TERRIBLE at sticking at things. The single factor that kept me going was connecting with the writing community who are probably the nicest group of people on earth! The best way to do it is through local SCBWI meet & Greets, conferences and online communities (12x12, storyteller academy, SCBWI blueboards, twitter.)
Having attainable writing goals can be helpful to focus your attention. Make sure you take into account what you can vs what you can't control.
What you can control:
- getting the writing done,
- learning the craft,
- researching agents/editors,
- sending out queries and entering contests.
Out of your control:
- Getting an offer of representation from an agent.
- Getting a publishing contract.
- Going to conferences/writing events out of your budget.
- Winning writing contests.
After you make yourself a Twitter account (see T) then you will want to find other picture book writers to connect with. One of the best ways to do this is by using hastags. Some good ones to search include: #PBChat #SCBWI #amwriting #amquerying #kidlit #12x12PB
Once you are on your feet and connecting with other writers it is easy to spend your time scrolling Twitter, reading blogs and listening to podcasts. This is great!...but don't forget to WRITE. To write great stories you need to experience LIFE. So put down you phone and go hiking a forest trail, drive to the ocean, walk around your block, play dress-up with your kids/grandkids...whatever it takes to get inspired.
Thank you for reading! Please comment below with any tips you have to share with fellow writers...
I've discovered making a website is not easy!
In fact, writing as a whole is not easy. I am still a traveller plodding along the storybook road. The publishing Emerald City a sparkling, green glow on the horizon.
Still, when I glance back I realize how far I have already travelled. My feet ache a bit and there are times I don't want to take another step.
But... when I feel disheartened it helps to think of the steps, yards, miles I have taken so far. Along my journey I have been given many golden nuggets of help and support. Each one giving me a boost, a skip in my step.
I hope that someone on their journey will find a golden nugget here.
The ABCs for New Picture Book Writers
This is crucial for succeeding in the children's writing world. It takes drive and perseverance to continue despite rejections, lack of 'hearts' on twitter pitches, and contest entries that end up in the digital trash can.
Sometimes it feels like you are getting nowhere...but be like the cowardly lion and find COURAGE!
I can not tell you how amazing it is to see fellow writers who I've followed over the last 18 months win competitions, find agents, announce their publishing deal on Publisher's Marketplace, reveal their book cover...
It CAN happen for you too!
There is a huge amount of information to be found online for free. In fact, it can become overwhelming. These are some blogs that I like, and that have helped me:
Picture book builders
They do cost money, but if you can manage it there is a lot to be gained by meeting other writers and learning from agents, authors, and editors in person.
Going to your local SCBWI conference is an excellent place to start. It will be less expensive and, hopefully, you will be able to save on hotel costs.
Reading out your work in front of other writers and industry experts will be worth the shaking hands and nausea!
If an in-person conference isn't an option, then there are some great online conferences for writers too. These are very reasonably priced (and you can stay in your pajamas!!!)
Write On Con
Picture Book Summit
To be Continued...