I’ve concentrated on looking for a literary agent this morning. If you’ve not done this task before, you might think it can’t be that hard surely? Google, get an email address and submit. You’d be very wrong, to say the least.
Starting with Google is a definite, but then the hard work really comes in after that point. So you find an agent, you then have a look at their successes, what clients they represent and what books have been published. It’s at this point where you leave the website and go back to square one. More than likely you’ll find out around this stage if your manuscript would have fit in. If it did, then you would have gone to the submissions page. So you research again, and again and you keep on going until you find one that ticks all of your boxes.
Then next you look at the agents and what they are seeking, if they aren’t looking your type of work then go back to square one again. Keep on going until all of the above has been addressed.
Finally you’re at the exciting point, the submissions page. If you’ve done your homework then typically a good 80% of their criteria has already been completed, and you just tailor the covering letter, maybe change the font or file size quickly – all are simple jobs.
The process, for me this morning, has taken an hour. Just to find someone who will represent the children’s picture book I’ve written. I’ve even tried looking for a publisher directly who will accept unsolicited manuscripts, but I think I’ve got the determination and the skill to find an agent and go down a more accomplished route. The more I do all of this, the more I’m picking up the necessary abilities to accomplish my task. I will get there!
As you know, I’ve spent years and years, on and off with this project and the story itself is complete. I went to format it for submission a few nights ago, and I realised I wasn’t happy with the title at all. Trying not to go down the JK Rowling path and calling it “Person Personally and the things thing” is tricky because this is where my brain keeps taking me. I’ve always known it to be its current title but I think it needs something more punchy, something memorable and now I’m stuck!
Presently, I’m at Starbucks, today with my tonsillitis riddled husband, so the plan is simple – get brainstorming, get feedback and then get submitting!
Over on the writing picture books
website I’ve discovered a list of resources for writing for children, the most recent book amongst the collection is from 2012 but I think a helpful book is still just that, regardless of age. I’ve listed them below but they are all listed fully on the main website.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books, by Harold D. Underdown and Lynne Rominger, Alpha Books, 2008
The Business of Writing for Children, by Aaron Shepard, Shepard Publications, 2000
Picture Writing: A New Approach to Writing for Kids and Teens, by Anastasia Suen, Writers Digest Books, 2003
Writing With Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books, by Uri Shulevitz, Watson-Guptil, 1997
It’s a Bunny-Eat-Bunnny World: A Writer’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Competitive Children’s Book Market, by Olga Litowinsky, Walker Books, 2001
The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories for Children, by Nancy Lamb, Writer’s Digest Books, 2001
The Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Marketplace, published yearly by Writer’s Digest Books
Writing Fiction for Children: Stories Only You Can Tell, by Judy K. Morris, University of Illinois Press, 2001
Children’s Picture Books: The Art of Visual Storytelling, by Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles, Laurence King Publishers, 2012
Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew, by Ursala K. Le Guin, Eighth Mountain Press, 1998
Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg, Shambhala Library, 2010
Hopefully they’ll be useful to someone.
Typically I’m quite good at finding quirky names for people, places and things in my stories but I seem to be facing an obstacle with project three. I need a name for an area of land and, to keep it short and sweet, I’m stumped!
It’s not stopping me from formatting the rest of it but it’s a bugbear, to say the least, so close to the end!
Tuesdays are typically my Starbucks-Writing day. Today I didn’t feel like going, whether it’s the weather – the lack of any sort of cold anywhere, or my ideas didn’t feel like being typed out with the help of a Latte, I’ll never know. Instead, I ran a few errands and was home before 10am. For the first time in days, I opened up Project Three and edited a bit more.
I think one more draft, and then it’ll be sent off for submission – if I’m honest, I think that’ll happen by the end of the week, it’s that close to the end. I’m looking forward to having another piece of work sent out into the ether, waiting for a positive response. It will happen one day. It has to.
Tonight I’ve sat and gone through project three, my personal favourite for many reasons and I’m happy with the results so far. Either tomorrow or in a few days I plan to go back to it and edit again, eliminate everything wrong with it etc. As it’s a rhyming story it is somewhat harder to polish up as there are challenging restrictions but in two hours I’ve managed to do a significant rewrite on the original, so I’m going to leave it there and let the dust settle for now.
Currently, my google searches mostly consist of
- “What rhymes with …”
- “Synonyms for …”
They have helped massively.
If you’ve written a rhyming story, have you got any advice or tips you’d like to share?
After browsing for an agent to submit my work to, I came across Maverick. I won’t be able to send my current manuscript to them as the story does not fit their requirements BUT I did find some helpful tips for those who could do with a bit of guidance.
I think project three will be suitable for Maverick though, so let’s see what happens once that is ready for submitting.
With Project Robot, I’ve previously mentioned that it needs a lot of reshuffling around and a lot of work put into it. At the minute, I feel like I need to let it rest and let my brain do the thinking so will shelve this project for a later date.
Which means I’m moving straight to project three – my favourite! It’s the story I’ve had for years and is inspired by my eldest. I’m very excited to be editing as it does need doing but I feel it’s closer to completion which encourages me to get a move on with it.
How are your projects coming along?
I opted for the gym as it’s equally important to exercise my body as well as my mind and I can happily say, from a vigorous workout, I’ve been rethinking project robot.
Its nothing major but the first draft, I think, needs a bit of shuffling around somewhat so instead of just rewriting the sentences I should map it all out again and from that framework of view find the best way to get to the end.
As a short story it should still be accomplished within a couple of weeks.