Shenanigan books. Crap. But, I take responsibility for this. I submitted my PB waaay too early and had no idea at the time. On a bright note, getting a true rejection (not from a agent, but from an actual publisher) actually makes me feel more like a writer. Crazy?
Dear Author, Thank you for giving Shenanigan Books the opportunity to review your manuscript. Unfortunately, it is not right for our list. We hope you will continue to find joy in writing and we wish you the best of luck in finding the right publisher for your story. Sincerely,Winston ConnAssistant Editor, Shenanigan Books
I'm just around the corner from being done with Sally Circle. I have cleaned it up and now I love it even more.
The original form of it was sent to 6 publishers. Luckily, there are a lot of other publishers out there. But this time I'm scared to submit...it's like I want to make damn sure that everything is perfect and exactly the way I want it to be.
The thing that's frustrating me is that a lot of publishers don't accept your work unless it comes through an agent. Oh, and then it gets interesting because....agents don't accept picture books!! (the vast majority of the time).
This is kind of a kick in the balls for all of us first time PB writers, isn't it?
Ick. It kind of narrows the field down, anyway.
I haven't heard from some of you in a while. Hope you are all writing up a storm and learning from my mistakes!
Well, I got my critiques done...and I loved them! I mean, in a way I hated them....you know, you're always secretly hoping that the person will e-mail you back and be like "HOLY CRAP THAT'S SHEER BRILLIANCE! NOTHING NEEDS TO BE CHANGED!" But, honestly...when does that happen? Okay, if it happened to you, no need to tell me about it.
Anyways, I really liked the feedback. I thought they made some awesome points and they really made me think of things I'd never thought of before. Also, because I know how I want it to read, I'll always read it the way I want to hear it- but it's nice to have someone read it with fresh eyes/ears and they can hear little mess-ups in the rhyme that I was previously blind/deaf to. I am now learning (yes, slowly but surely) the importance of critiques.
On a downer, I already submitted Sally Circle in it's original form to several publishers. Oops. Newbie Alert. Too late to judge me, but go ahead...I mean, I do deserve it, really.
What I want to ask the more experienced writers- does this mean I can't send an *edited* version of "Sally Circle" back to those publishing houses that got the original? Are they now out of the game, so to speak? Anything feedback is helpful!
I'm having what's called a BAD DAY. This morning I was supposed to take my my oldest kid to the doctor's office. I got them both ready to go and, with my son in my arms, I reach into my purse and I realize...my keys are gone. And I have absolutely no idea where they are. Still have no idea. Not only that, but I'm feeling sick myself. Ughhh. AND I just realized, after about a 2 hour call with my mother in Atlanta, that I called her home phone on my cell and went over on my minute-plan by... a substantially large margin.
On a brighter note I spent yesterday writing a short story that I entered into an online contest. I love writing adult short stories. It's one of my guilty pleasures, like hiding candy under my pillow or something. Not that I do that...
Someone recommended the most wonderful website to me: kidmagwriters.com
It's a wonderful resource to find children's magazines that accept freelance submissions. It's got quite a funny "About us" page, referring to children's magazine writers as the "red-headed step children of the children's writing world." I imagine this is because people think of children's magazines as something to build up their writing resumes in order to get a foot in the book publishing door. But honestly- I'd be ecstatic to be published anywhere. I honestly love the idea of writing something that children and parents can both enjoy. I don't care what the "medium" is.
I have come up with a really short and simple poem for the magazine BABYBUG. It's basically a magazine for children from 6 months-2 years. I tested out my poem with my one year old little man and he loved it. Thinking about submitting it. It's super short (they only accept poems that are 8 lines or less). Anyway, I'm also looking at other magazines. It seems to be a wonderful market and I'm excited about it.
Have any of you written for children's magazines? I'd love to hear about it.
On another note, I'm super excited because my blog is receiving more and more hits and I'm pretty positive this is due to verlakay.com and having my blog as part of my siggy. Love that website- because of it, I now have an emerging critique group AND another follower!
My husband has taken my daughter to church this morning and I'm here with my son, who is currently laying down for a nap. We have friends coming for dinner tonight and I need to clean this place up, so no writing for me today. Well, except on here.
I had TWO gigantic turkeys in my garage freezer and I've decided to cook one today and use turkey leftovers for as long as possible. Not sure how much turkey I can take, but we'll see.
Anyway, thinking about adding a poll on here again...not sure what to ask you guys...but keep an eye out!
Realizing how naive and foolish I've been. But, you've got to learn somehow. I guess I just learn the hard way. I must remember to not work all night on a MS and then, in a fit of exhaustion and impatience, submit it at 3 am and have it rejected literally the next day. Sigh. Thank God for tough love, though. This can only make me better.
Will post later, but I wanted to say thank you to all of you who have given me helpful advice/resources! Next week my goal is to join an official writers group/guild. I've had a few suggested to me, the big one obviously being SCBWI, but joining that is just not in my budget at the moment- although I will join it, eventually. I've been looking for some groups in my area, but the only one I've been able to find that seems to meet regularly is SCBWI related.
I'm getting really excited at the prospect of really learning about all of this- attending conferences, meeting other writers, etc. I honestly feel like a kid on Christmas morning! All of these awesome resources, people and support, and I had no idea it existed! It's so refreshing and nice to talk to other people with similar dreams/aspirations/goals as me. Everyone I've talked to so far has been awesomely supportive and necessarily critical (in a nice way), even though they don't really know me...but the thing is, you guys understand me.
Random thing- I got a critique by a lovely person online who told me that I had a great name for an author! I don't know why, but that made my day!
Okay, so yesterday I submitted one of my new PBs to Adams Literary (they take online submissions). TODAY I got a rejection e-mail. Wow, that was fast. Especially since they say you should expect to hear from them in 3-4 months. Really, was it THAT bad?
Here's the thing. I also submitted "Sally Circle" to them on Dec. 28 2009 and I never did receive a rejection via e-mail. Do you guys know what that means? Have they just forgotten about it? Are they considering it? Basically wondering if that's a good or bad sign. I mean, they were extraordinarily quick to dismiss "Baby Dragon" but I still haven't heard anything about "Sally Circle" and it's almost been a month.
I have another follower!!! My goal for this past week was to get at least two more, but I think this is good enough!
Thank you so much to the new member...you know what this means, right guys? My little "online story" can continue! (If you don't know what I'm talking about, go back a few posts!)
I will post another "installment" as soon as I can. It's nothing I plan on getting published, it's just for fun!
Anyhow, I have joined all of the wonderful, resourceful websites that you all have suggested. I am so thankful to you guys! And really, thanks for visiting my website every now and again. It makes me happy to know that I amuse you in some way...ha!
Because I spent so much of yesterday writing, I've decided to really make today a "girly" day with my almost 4 year old daughter. So far we have played with princesses, watched "My big fat greek wedding" and made grilled cheese sandwiches.
I am in the process, however, of creating my own online PB critique group. So far I have my new friend Lori joining me. Let me know if you'd like to be a part of it!! Lori has already critiqued two versions of my new PB and I have helped critique her writing as well. She is so creative! The competition is pretty hardcore, that's for sure!!
Anyways, I am off to play with my little boy now.
Love you guys- have a wonderful weekend (but keep checking back with me, I'll continue posting and at some point I'll post the second half of my story!)
Remember my coffee break earlier? I took that time to finish the picture book I was working on the other day- entitled "Baby Dragon." It was the one that I was trying not to rhyme- but I did incorporate some rhyme in the end. Honestly, I couldn't help it. Trying to find someone to critique it for me so I can revise it and maybe even begin the process of crafting a cover letter/query, etc. Hopefully you guys can help me?
I'm starting to realize that 2010 doesn't have to be the year. I was so set on getting published this year, but I'm realizing that 2010 might just be the year to learn and grow as a writer. I am (if you haven't already noticed) a pretty impatient person, wanting all of this to just happen now now now!!!! The thing is, I've already learned a lot from you guys and all the resources you have given me. I'm starting to warm up to the idea that it's okay if I don't get published this year. I'm totally new to this and I need to practice! Now, like my previous post mentioned, if only I could find the TIME! Right now my daughter is in preschool and my son is down for a nap, so I better work with what little time I've got. You know, after I get my coffee.
I haven't been writing much lately because, honestly, I just don't have the time. As much a I want to be a great writer, I'd much rather be a great mom to my kids. Trust me, it's tempting to just go put my son down for a nap and put my daughter in front of a t.v. all day so I can write, but I just can't do that to them.
How do people have time to write/revise/get critiques/research the market/writer queries/revise, etc. All the things that are required in order to have a shot at getting published? It's like I wish I could just take my computer and go spend a few days in a cabin or something in perfect solitude so I could get to work, but that wouldn't do any good...I know in the end I'd just be sleeping because having a 3 year old and a 1 year old is exhausting.
After doing my research, I can see that "Sally Circle" just doesn't fit in the picture book category- but then again, it doesn't "fit" anywhere. Crap. Oh well.
The problem I'm having with writing picture books is- how do you end it? Picture books, from what I've read, shouldn't teach a lesson or have a moral (like Sally Circle)...so how do I end them? Agh. Right now I'm writing a PB about a little girl who believes her brother is a baby dragon...but the problem I'm having is where do I go with it? Does it need a resolution?!
Okay that's my rant for the moment- got to go bathe the kids before I start dinner.
I'm not happy about having to wait 5 months for responses, that's for sure...but that's not what's getting me down. From what I've read recently, rhyming children's books are taboo. Most editors (allegedly) don't like them, but yet almost every single one of my 3 (almost 4) year old's picture books rhyme. Go figure. The thing is...I love to rhyme. I'm good at it. And I have been writing a new children's book and honestly, I'm trying to not rhyme it but everything within me WANTS to make it rhyme. It's honestly hard for me to not rhyme. I enjoy writing rhyme but it's like the whole writing world doesn't have a place for it- not even greeting card companies, apparently. I feel like rhyme is one of the things that makes my children's books fun and unique. But yet everyone says not to do it. What's a girl to do?
Anyways, that's what's been going on here. I've got a new picture book in the works and I'm trying my hardest to follow the 'rules.' Who knew there were rules to being creative? I'm starting to have a revelation now, and it's somewhat of an unhappy one. Creative writing, when done as a profession, does seem to have a FORMAT. It's like I'm in journalism school all over again (if you don't know what I'm talking about, go back and read my second post and I explain my hatred of formats)...
Will formats EVER GO AWAY?!?!?! Surely it just stifles creativity...but then I remember that the world of publishers/editors is a big-ass (excuse my language) business. It's not just for fun. And now I'm wondering if it's just not for me.
Sorry I haven't posted since Friday- I actually got a weekend away with my husband this weekend! Feeling refreshed- and watching the Golden Globes on T.V. Unbelievable how trivial and pretentious it is but I just can't....look...away!!!
Anyway, I see that 3 of you have read the start of one of my short stories and you actually seemed to like it! I'm guessing the three of you who voted are all of my 3 followers! I'm very happy you stopped by again!
I wanted to know if it was worth continuing, so I thought I'd tease you with a little bit of it. If I can accumulate 2 more followers this week, I will continue to post more and more of it :-) It's not something I plan on trying to get published (as it's a short story), but I thought you guys might enjoy reading it whenever you get bored! Does anyone have any more ideas about how to bring more traffic to a blog? If only I could hand out free burritos!
Anyway, I will post again tomorrow kiddies. Bring others you know to this site if you'd like to read more of my story! (Sad ploy, I know, but I'm desperate!)
Hi again kiddies. Well since I last posted I sent my book to Shenanigans Books- the last place I'm sending it. No more submissions- I think that made six, so that's enough. Just have to wait for another 5 months or so. In the meantime, I'll be writing a new book that I already have an outline for...the only problem I'm having is deciding exactly what age group to put it at. I might have to take a trip to the library to get my self familiar with that type of thing. In any case, I like the idea that I have- I just hope it translates well to paper, know what I mean?
Yesterday I got so carried away when writing that I almost forgot to pick my daughter up from preschool! Thankfully I look at the clock just in time. And the Mom of the Year award goes to me.
Anyways, I don't think I've been getting much traffic to my blog at all, which is discouraging, but hopefully that will change. Today I'll try and find ways to increase readership, you know, when I'm not changing diapers, picking mac and cheese off the floor, avoiding squirrels (I hate them), and imitating the cookie monster.
The trouble is, there's always trouble. Trouble keeping the peace, trouble keeping my temper...trouble, trouble, trouble. How long have I been here? Too long I think. Staring at the clock, I find myself counting every second although I have no idea when I'll get out of here. I'm hoping for freedom,but there is no certainty that it will ever come. That hope will always be there; just like trouble it has a way of finding me in the most desperate situations.
As I sit here, trapped, I let my thoughts wander. My thoughts take me to another place where I'm free to imagine other realities that escape me. Why did she have to say such hurtful things? I didn't want to hurt anyone- all I ever wanted was to be free of pain. Unlike physical pain, which is fleeting and simple, I was afflicted by emotional pain that wrapped itself around me like a vine, choking the life out of an otherwise healthy tree. Although I suppose healthy is hard to define. As the saying goes, I'm like a swan swimming against a current-smooth on the surface, but turbulent beneath.
The day I got myself into trouble was like any other day. I had been watching her doodle on her book jacket absentmindedly, looking lovely. I'd been admiring her from afar, just imagining how silky her golden hair would feel between my fingers. I had been so full of hope that day. I can remember wearing that itchy turtleneck and the smell of my aftershave. We had no idea it was coming, it was so unexpected. Just one moment shared between us- that was all it took to change both of our lives forever.
Rise and shine, everybody! Well at least to those of us who live on the east coast. I'm about to take my daughter to preschool again, let's hope it's not as eventful as last time. On my agenda today: re-write my cover letter and re-format my manuscript. The manuscript won't be hard at all, it's almost perfect as-is. But I'm pretty sure (from what I've read) that I say way to much in my cover letter AND my queries. Not that I'm surprised, I'm always spouting out random crap everywhere without thinking. In other words, I'm a self-professed loud mouth. Blah blah blah, here I go again. I can't even make it stop when I'm typing. Now I'm talking about being a loud mouth.
Anyway, onto other things. I made another new friend on Jacketflap and she pointed me to her website (which, I'm sad to say, makes this one look pretty bleak)- but the great news is, it's FULL of advice/tips for writers. That's where I found all the information that is making me do some re-writing/formatting. Her name is Wendy, and her website is http://quillfeather-blog.blogspot.com/.
BUT....obviously, as you can see, I had to rid of my old blog template ***SOB***
For whatever reason, that blog template disabled my comments section (which is the entire reason for this "Support" blog!) ...so until I can fix it (or get a new template) I'm reduced to this plain generic one for now...
But don't worry, hopefully a nice one will be up and running in no time!
Thank you to Tammy, one of my followers, for bringing this to my attention!
I feel so bad for all of you- what if all of you were trying to post and you couldn't? Well, now you can! Your life is now complete! :-)
No, not a rejection. But a problem nonetheless. Here's the thing...I went here: http://www.bethanyroberts.com/writing_faqs.htm and discovered that I have not been sending out my resumes in perfect "Manuscript format." Granted, it's been pretty close. But it hasn't been perfect. Plus, if you go to the previously mentioned website, you'll see what it says NOT to do in your cover letter. Oops, I did that. Great. Let's just hope that all of my submissions won't be ruled out before they even read it. :-(
Okay, I'm trying to make it a habit to search for new publishers every day that accept unsolicited manuscripts, and so far I've done it. I just put another MS in the mail and I'm sending it to Philomel Books. Yes, I'm whipping through stamps like wildfire. Yes, it's depressing to realize that most of those publishers probably won't even give my book a second glance. But you never know until you try, right? So I'll keep trying. Just watch me. I'll also try to keep from being discouraged, especially when some of the rejections start finding their way to me (you know, after about 5 months of tortuous anticipation). That's when I hope that you guys will be there (whoever you are) to share in my pain and pick me back up and tell me to keep it up. If "Sally Circle" never gets published, I'll just write another one and keep trying. There aren't many things I feel like I was truly meant to do- but I truly feel like I was meant to write. And so were you guys, so even if you get nothing else out of my pathetic little blog entries, I hope you at least feel inspired to stick to it. If I can do it you can do it. And if I can deal with the rejections, you can too.
Again, I'd love to know who you are if you're reading my blog. Tell me about yourself...this was intended to be a support blog- and even though it doesn't look like much now, I am determined to make it become just that. Just watch me.
****To help victims in Haiti, simply text "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill. For more info, click here: http://blogs.state.gov/ind
I'm so excited!!! No, I didn't get called or e-mailed by a publisher..but I have my first comment on my site! Thanks Tammy! I'm so glad to know that all my ramblings haven't just been for me (and my husband)!
Oh yeah, and by the way- I am mailing a MS to Kane/Miller Book Publishers today. You know what I hate? The waiting. And I will probably be waiting for a long time too :-(
Most of these places have waiting times of up to 5 months. I guess I'll just have to be patient and blog in the meantime. Oh, and take care of my kids. And run my car up curves, eat giant meatball sandwiches...you know, the usual.
Speaking of the kids, I must go feed them now...
I'll type at you later!
(by the way, my 'clock' on here is broken...so no, I'm not really up typing at 5 am...well not all the time...)
Today has been a successful day- I got dressed, fed the kids, took one to preschool, picked her up, took meat of the freezer to thaw, ran my civic up a curve...but more importantly- I managed to e-mail a query to a new literary agency. I thought I'd just highlight the relevant information. If (and that's a big if) I hear back from them I will let you know. Hopefully they'll at least want to see my MS.
Dena has managed to do a poor job at recruiting more traffic to Dena's blog. Dena has also eaten two gigantic meatball sandwiches for lunch and now Dena feels at least 6 months pregnant. Dena has actually submitted some randomness to American Greetings today. No, it doesn't rhyme. Do greeting cards count as being a 'published author?' NO?! Damn. Well not that it matters. Dena isn't published with a greeting card company either.
Dena still has yet to write her second book. Dena has yet to find the time to write a book since Dena has two beautiful children that suck the energy out of Dena. Dena will be back later.
Well, today marks the second day of my support blog and it looks like I'm already supporting...myself. Yep, that ticker over there says there have been 17 visits and guess what- I'm pretty sure all of those 17 visits were from me. At least I haven't started talking to myself in 3rd person yet.
Please, if you happen to read this, humor me and leave a comment or something. Anything to know that this isn't a totally useless effort!
Today I woke up and took my daughter to preschool, my 16 month son in tow. Turns out I was so distracted that I ran my entire civic up onto the curve when trying to leave the parking lot. I leave such a great impression on the other parents.
Now I've just got home and I'm updating this blog because I know that if I leave it for even one little day, it will just fizzle. And even if no one does ever read this besides myself, I guess it can kind of become a therapy journal of some sort...ha!
(By the way I did manage to get off of the curve)...You know, for those of you (me) that are interested.
Well, today I plan on attempting to create traffic to my blog...I also plan on working on my next children's book and sending my manuscript out to at least one other publisher. How much of that will I get done?
Hopefully at least one of those things. I will let you (me) know either tonight or tomorrow how successful I've been.
-Andrea Brown Literary Agency -Adams Literary Agency -Walker & Company 1/8/10 -As Simple As That (e-mailed query) 1/10/10 -G.P. Putnam's Sons 1/11/10 -Albert Whitman & Company 1/11/10 -Dalmation Press (e-mailed query 1/11/10)- E-mail returned (address not found)
-queried Stimola Literary Studio via e-mail (1/12/09)
Please write me and share your journey of becoming a published author- this is open to those of us who have yet to become published and those of you who have already reached your goal. I will pick a story every week and publish it so everyone can get to know each other and be inspired. None of us are alone- and we can all learn something from each other! Please email your stories to Dena.email@example.com
Well I'm not really sure when my journey began. I'm pretty sure it started years ago, when I was asked to write a poem in 3rd grade. I remember all of the other kids having such a hard time with it and I pumped one out in under 10 minutes. When I told the teacher I was finished I remember her looking at me skeptically and then picking up my paper and taking a gander. I'll never forget the feeling of pride I had when I saw the expression on her face... not only had I done it quickly, but I had done it well.
I won several different writing awards when I was a kid. Nothing huge, but it was just enough to encourage me to continue. When I was in middle school I started a young adult novel entitled "Lake Valdoom." I remember sitting in my room and writing it all by hand, with a pencil and really terrible cursive. Now it's collecting dust somewhere in my parents' house.
I have always had a knack for rhyme. Not the most lucrative skill. Most people don't like rhyme...from what I've read, even most greeting card companies shy away from it. So what was I meant to do with this random talent? I had no idea.
I ended up majoring in journalism. I figured it was a way to write that actually had a career in front of it. (Yes, you fellow journalism majors, go ahead and LAUGH). It really was a bad decision, because I quickly learned how much I hate writing with a FORMAT. I hate that word more than I hate schedules. But alas it was too late- I'm very sequential, so starting all over again with a new major just wasn't going to happen. My senior year in college I took one creative writing class on a whim. I absolutely loved it- I thrived on it. We got to write short stories and then print out copies for the class and critique each other's work. The most wonderful thing about this was the affirmation I received by my other classmates. Sure, my mother had always told me how great my stories were. But that didn't count for me. Seeing and hearing people talk about my stories- seeing how much they enjoyed reading them-that counted. If it hadn't been for that class, I might have stopped writing creatively for good.
To make a long story short, I graduated college, got married, got a job in a completely unrelated field (as most of us do) and have since had two beautiful children. As a result, I began writing again- I thought that the best thing I could do for my kids was write for them so they can have it as a keepsake when I'm not around one day. Thus began the birth of my children's books. And BINGO- I had a use for my random gift of rhyme.
At the end of 2009 I had written a book entitled "Sally Circle." It's a children's picture book and my preschooler loved hearing me read it. After some encouragement from my husband and mom (my forever fans), I have started the process of becoming published. I kicked off 2010 with a feverish desire to get published- somewhere, anywhere. I started by submitting a short story of mine that I had written in college for my creative writing class entitled "Masked." The first place I sent it rejected me. Ouch. But I sent it somewhere else and it got published under Black Lantern Publishing (blacklanternpublishing.com). Granted, it did not pay. Granted, it's just online. But someone out there had read my work and decided that it was good enough to put on their site. This was what I needed. I immediately sent out a few other works of mine- and got another rejection. But that one acceptance was all I needed.
I am now writing new things every day, mainly short stories and PB's. I truly hope that you join me on this journey and I would love to join you on yours as well!
Please note that this is not a "how-to" blog by any stretch of the imagination. I have absolutely no idea how to become a published author, but that's what I'm trying to do. I'd like to create a community for those of us who desperately want to see their name on the cover of a book- those of us who have caught "the bug" or have dreamed of being authors since they were children. Hopefully this blog will not only become my story of how I became published, but also a place for all of us to exchange ideas/tips/constructive criticism and share websites and other advice that can lead us all to that elusive, lucrative book deal!
Hi, I'm Dena...writer of randomness, lover of bathroom humor, and mommy to two gorgeous kids. Currently published online with Black Lantern Publishing as well as the May issue of "A Fly in Amber," an online e-zine. I'm still praying for a book deal! Click on my FACE for even MORE info about me!