Hello fellow Children’s Writers and Friends,
Welcome to this fortnight’s blog post and a special welcome to the many new visitors on this shared road to publication, it’s good to have you as our travelling companions.
I should be published! I really should be published by now. A strange way to begin, I know but I promise it is said without any conceit, on the contrary it is not the editors’ fault, not the publishers’ fault and in some ways it is not even my fault. Of course no matter what else I say, if I had submitted a highly polished manuscript to the right editor at the right publishing house at the right time, I would be published by now as would I if I had written and submitted more to magazines or had I gone the self publication route. None of this has happened although I have come very close a couple of times. (I have actually also been published in Anthologies and while that definitely counts it is not what I am talking about today.)
Why then haven’t I and perhaps you been published yet then? Well, in my case it is very much to do with the way I have (largely chosen to) undertaken my quest for publication. I know it is common knowledge that a writer seeking publication should write every day, should submit as often as possible, that you should expect to accumulate 99 rejections for every 100 submissions (or so I’ve read). The fact of the matter is that I can claim none of these things. I have approached my journey to publication a lot like I approach everything else in life, with Hermionesque (from Harry Potter not Greek Mythology nor Shakespeare) caution and a need find a library before making any decisions. I have researched, undertaken courses (the first one pre children about 16- 20 years ago now) spoken to the experts in the field i.e. multi- published and multi-awarded authors, read widely and oddly enough to a lesser degree written.
Why in heaven’s name you are no doubt asking haven’t I written as much as I probably should have? And, if you’ve thought about the beginning of this post, why haven’t I submitted more? The two are obviously connected and as it turns out the reasons are the same. These reasons range for crippling fear, crippling doubt, money, time, finicky inspiration which quite literally for me comes in flashes of lightning shaped scars…um whoops got distracted… Oh yeah there’s that too – distraction in the shape of work, family, television, Facebook, physical books and the list goes on. The good thing is that I share at least two; crippling doubt and inspiration in flashes with Picture Book great, Mem Fox and probably many others. She from memory is also still fearful, despite all of her success and talent, of being able to come up with another good idea and in a lot of ways this (yes I’ll admit some pride was involved here) is what I was afraid of- what if I never come up with something as good as I know this is. (Quite amusing to look back at a couple of them now!) Then I’d doubt again, I’m a Libra and so have the tendency to chop and change somewhat like a pendulum or maybe… a scale. When the manuscript is rejected by just one publishing house, I hit the books again, so my manuscripts take considerably longer to be submitted to all suitable houses than they should.
I know it’s the norm to revise and edit before you submit again to one or more houses, however, this is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about learning more and more about the craft of writing, especially Picture Books before I tackle that manuscript again.You see I used to be determined to just get published and never thought much further than that and although I have yet to achieve that dream, I’m not all that worried.
I’m not worried because in the process the dream has grown and mutated, I have learned so much about the industry, meet and befriended both on and offline, the most wonderful people who share many of my views, interests and passions. People who gently assist my growth and yes, sometimes stoke my ego too. Not what I’m in it for, but hey I’m not complaining. Rambling now, but in short, that’s my non-traditional journey, it may be the scenic route, the non-recommended route, but it’s my route and it’s working for me. I am changing my travelling speed and direction somewhat this year, but I honestly feel I’ve been where I needed to be, when I needed to be there to get to the point where I am now. The point where I can power ahead with a clear direction and plan for the future and see where the road takes me next. What has your journey been like? An express trip, (you lucky duck) a long hard slog (good for you!) or a more meandering Sunday drive like mine? I’d really love to know, so please don’t be shy and let us all know in the comments below.
Farewell for now fellow travellers,
Savour the quest,