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Posts Tagged ‘critique’

1468803_10151725873696533_2066499872_nIf you haven’t read “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books” then stop reading now.  I read it and somewhat loved it.  The no-nonsense way of telling writers who they can query and who would give a flip is awesome.  I always thought that companies like Scholastic would be open to new authors.  Well they are not.  Even though they might look at your work, they are really closed to new work.  Theses companies want to publish only the authors they have had for years.  The same authors and the same series.  It is their bread and butter.  Sure J.K. Rowling was a new name over ten years ago and sure Scholastic picked her books up.  But does that mean you have the next “Harry Potter” series?  I am pretty sure it’s a “no”.

So the book breaks down what is trade, mass market and independent publishing.  It also breaks down what an agent does and doesn’t do.  Some of the things is pretty standard stuff.  But reading it I thought I would find a golden nugget instead I found flakes of gold through out it.  This is a good thing.  After reading this book you will see that you do have to have connections and everyone in the publishing industry are human and want to be treated as such.  Common sense, right?  Well it should be, but for some writers I know, they tend to think they should do something to stand out in the slush pile.  Big mistakes are made and bridges burnt.  Instead try to learn who is working where and see how great the company is doing.  Is the company getting bought out or the agency closing down?  Is an agent retiring or focusing on their own career?  I looked up an agent once.  I Googled him, facebooked him, and even read his Tweets.  He sounded really good and seemed to be the right fit for me and my work.  Well what I didn’t know until after I queried him was that he just wrote a book.  He asked for my manuscript but was more interested in how his new baby was doing in the market.  Researching agents is tricky because sometimes they are focused on things you don’t know about until they make an announcement.

Publisher’s doors are closed and special invitations are needed to attend the party.  Trying to get in the “in-crowd” is about as difficult as pulling your own wisdom teeth out.  So for all the pain, worry, work, and research you do on your own sometimes it might be best to read a book, like the one I am suggesting above, to give you a clue about what to do next.  This book tells you to join a writing group (I’ve done that), to find writing critique groups (done that too) and to read (done) and write (done) until you have perfected your craft before you query (sigh*).

Well read the book and then tell me what you learned from it.  I’d love to see new advice.

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I know I have covered procrastinating before.  (See “Procrastinating” post: 2011/09/08.)  And I even went so far as to think that I am the only writer who does procrastinate.  But now I find out that this phenomenon is not solely my problem but many other writers as well.  Attending countless writers conferences and hearing agents and editors all say the same thing about the problems of writers I just did not connect the dots till now.  I read an article posted by friend and it says that procrastinating is something all writers face. This is should not be a new concept but let’s just say I was a little slow to finally grasp the connection until I read this.  The article was spot on with all the problems I have and I am so glad to see I am not alone.  So for all I would like to say…..

“Hello, my name is Jessica.  I am a procrastinator.”

Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinator

 

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At the last writer’s conference I had received some feedback on a manuscript from an editor from HarperCollins.  She gave me more than a page of great insight to help me write the best picture book out there.  As I sat in the conference reading her notes the lady next to me said, “Did you get any critiques back?”  I answered ‘yes’.  She then wanted to know if the critique I received was nice also.  So I let her read mine and she said, “This is really good.”  We talked about where we were in our careers and where we wanted to be in the future.  I found that I could talk to her like a comrade in arms.  We both loved the conference and felt it was empowering and had a lot of great information.

When I went to my critque group the others in the group read the critique and there were words said like “this is golden” and “oh my gosh” and so on.  I knew that the critique was good but I thought everyone at the conference was just being nice.  But now I know that these words of encouragement from the editor were more than just words.

So I took the advice of the editor and tweaked just a few parts in the picture book manuscript.  Now it is so polished it could be the sword “Sting”.  I just knew that I could send it somewhere and get it published.

Well I sent it to HarperCollins and recieved a very useful rejection letter from an editor there.  It hurt a little more than the form or generic rejections I have received in the past.  But I see now that everyone is entitled to their opinion.  Instead of getting upset I have deceided to put all my energy into finding the right avenue to have my picture book published.  Whether that be traditional or independent.

The world is changing and we are not seperated by countries or bodies of water.  Technology has made the world we “live in a planetary civilization”.  (p. 459, Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder)  Becoming published is easier than it has ever been before and the time is right for anyone to get their work out there.  People all over the world can buy e-books a lot easier than print.

So I am taking my writing to the next phase, and like someone told me recently to “just publish it.”  So keep an eye out for a children’s book with my name on it.

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Tell me what you think of the publishing industry?

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Critique Groups

How useful is a critique group?  Very!!  Especially if you are a beginner writer.  I belong to one and enjoy it immensly.  Try one out and see how it improves your writing.  Just remember the rules:

1. Don’t argue.  Even if you are trying to justify what you are saying don’t get upset.

2. If more than one person says a comment about your manuscript than there could be a rewrite in your future.

3. Own your work.  People will have advice and so forth but you are the one who has to like it in the end.

4. Have fun!  It is good to get out in the community especially for writers because we work alone.

I hope this helps. 🙂

http://youtu.be/q7ftIG8eiiE

 

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