WAITING

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Waiting for responses can be so hard. In writing, it can be unBEARable (yeah, I just did that).

Why you ask? Well, we send our work off to an agent, editor, publishing company, somewhere, and we wait for a response. We HOPE for a “Yes! You’re work is incredible!” But we know the reality is we aren’t going to always hear that. In fact it can be quite rare. Many times, as I’ve personally discovered, and many writers have mentioned it happening to them, we NEVER hear back- not even a form rejection.

Let me give you some stats that I have over the past year from a picture book manuscript that went through a mentorship at Highlights Foundation, and left in sparking condition:

Sent to 35 agents, editors, small presses, and mentor/fellowships.

16 said no - 15 form rejections and 1 loved it but had to pass

13 no’s because of time, meaning they never replied, even after the three month nudge reminder

6 I am waiting to hear from

1 Revise and resubmit (I’ll be sending a friendly nudge soon)

That’s just ONE manuscript. There were to other PB MSs I sent out to a couple agents, but were either rejected or heard nothing. I did stop sending them after some critiques came back with the same issues. It also does not count the poems- single, groups, and chapbooks- that I’ve had rejected, as well as a couple short stories in the past year.

All told, I’ve had 35 rejections, and waiting to hear from 14.

It’s disheartening seeing those number. I was disheartened counting them. Twice. To make sure they are accurate.

The 29 that have said No to the one PB make me want to give up on it. It’s polished. It’s undergone some changes since April as two editors mentioned the same flaw, and both said how to fix it. One is whom I’m waiting for.

It makes you want to quit.

But, when you love something, and you believe in your work, you can’t. Ever.

So, you don’t. You keep at it and you just. Keep. Writing. And revising. And revising. And rev (okay, you get the point). And YOU SUBMIT AGAIN AND AGAIN!

Tomorrow is a big day.

It’s the reveal of a mentorship program for PB writers from #PBChat. The process of applying was incredible. Regardless of the outcome, it was a thought provoking application to fill out, one that has helped to push me along, and get me back into a writing groove (Even on here!). Tomorrow several PB authors (possible chapter book authors as one mentor was accepting them as well!).

I’ll just have to let you know.

But, for now, we’ll just have to wait.

How do you deal with waiting or with rejections? Let us know!

Rip Van Winkle

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Geez, has it been 20 years already? I didn’t think it’d been that long since I last posted. Now, my beard is even better than Dumbledore’s ever was!

Okay, so neither were true. It’s just felt like 20 years, and I can’t grow a beard past a few months because, well, itchy.

I flat out haven’t posted because the motivation hasn’t been there to write posts. Or write. I’ve been doing some minor tweaking of things, but no major overhauls.

I did get a revise and resubmit (my second ever!) and a really positive rejection back in April. I did resubmit, plus submitting the MS to a couple agents as well. I’m still in the waiting game, but it may be time to put this MS on the shelf for a while, despite the positives I’ve gotten on it from many. Maybe it’s just not good enough. I have been submitting it since the end of Highlights Foundation Summer Camp last year. I think a year of rejections may be enough for one MS for a while.

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Now to figure out what to work on next…

Trunkers

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Those manuscripts that are so bad you want to destroy them.  I have several, some of which I want to work on again, but know they are so bad, they’ll take more time than I really want to give them at this point. Both are hanging out of the trunk, begging for help, begging for lap time on my iPad to break out of the smelly ole steamer trunk in the basement (yup, we own one- I refurbished that $25 trunk about 18 years ago). 

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What’s wrong with them? Well, they suck. No plot, no story development, no character development.  Basically, they’re just a string of words thrown together that don’t do anything except take up space in the trunk. Below the pillows and blankets.  

Eventually they’ll make their way out.  But not yet. Not quite. They keep poking away at my brain, like Ralph’s finger. 

 

Do you have stories like that? They suck so much they make you doubt you have any intelligence whatsoever, but they keep poking away at your conscience?  

CONFERENCE TIME!!

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Yes, it’s that time of year- it’s time for the Eastern PA SCBWI Conference at The Highlights Foundation in the Poconos!  It’s only one week away, and I. Can’t. Wait!

The fooooood.

The sessions. 

The people! 

The chance to be around other writers and illustrators for an entire weekend.

There’ll be a couple keynotes, five different sessions to attend, and, best of all, I signed up to get two critiques from industry professionals! Oh! I’m also part of the Critique-A-Thon: A round table event where I have my picture book manuscript critiqued by three other writers, and I have a critique for each of their stories, too!

I’m also branching out a bit and running the silent auction.  I didn’t think I’d have to talk since, you know, it’s silent, but I guess I have to people it up! Thank god the beer’s free. 

I’ll be posting pictures when the conference is over, but I’m really excited about it! Can you tell?!?!? 

Keep Going

You love writing.  

I love writing. 

I love creating stories, their characters, their worlds, whether they’ll ever get read by anyone else or not. 

I have so many ideas swirling around my head, so many more spewed out onto digital paper, both for children, and adults.

Picture books are my absolute favorite. 

        No matter how many rejections you get, keep going. 

        No matter how many rejections you get, keep going. 

They’re where I want my writing to be focused, and where my writing is focused. 

I recently sent out my polished PB MS to another half dozen agents a couple days ago, already getting one form rejection. I wasn’t disheartened.  It was actually kinda nice to get a response, positive or negative, considering half of my ‘No’ responses from agents and small publishers to this MS are because of time, rather than an actual response, even with a friendly nudge after four months. 

But this means more overall. Once it hits a certain number, I wonder if it’s the MS, and that it needs some new eyes on it.

Enter Eastern Pennsylvania Society for Children's Books Writers and Illustrators (hereforth called EPA SCBWI- I’m hoping why is obvious).

We have our annual conference coming up in April, from the 12th to the 14th. Part of the experience is being able to submit a manuscript/ first pages/ portfolio for critiquing for a lower than usual price something like this would cost. 

                    You know you can’t stop chasing.

                    You know you can’t stop chasing.

I have two that I love, that I think are ready to submit- one that I have submitted many times, and one tht has gone out only a few times. It was time to get new eyes on Number One, but I thought why not get another pair of eyes on Number Two, while sending Number Three in for addition to the critique group option. Number Three is the next one I want to have submission ready should One or Two garner interest and an agent/ editor ask for more submission ready work.

Despite the No responses, and feeling like I have two manuscripts submission ready, and a third close-ish, you need to keep going.  If this is something you LOVE to do, then you can’t stop. If you have a dream, any dream, you have to chase it. That’s what life is for. Chasing your dreams- no, achieving your dreams.

So, no matter what it is, whatever it is you want to do, chase after it, keep going.

                                                          This one, just because it’s funny. 

                                                          This one, just because it’s funny.