The Next Big Thing

So, I’ve been writing a while now. At least a few months. And I sent off my first book manuscript, let’s see, 5 months ago? It’s time and more that I was published. Don’t these publishers and agents realise what they’re missing out on? The millions I could make them (and me)? Well, panic no longer. This post will explain exactly why I’m the person you should all be signing IMMEDIATELY, and I shall sit next to the phone once I’ve pressed ‘Publish’ to accept your calls. And your grovelling apologies for not calling sooner.

1. I’m a genius. Children have never read books like mine. I have a way with the written (or typed) word that makes it sing on the page. Children all over the world will have literacy scores through the roof after reading my books. Well, book (see below).

2. I’ll only bother you once. My book is so good, it will keep us all rich and happy for many, many years. There’s no need to write more than one, in fact I’m not even bothering right now. Hear that? That was the sound of all my works-in-progress going in the bin. And that other noise was the cork popping out of the bottle of wine I’m opening to drink instead of writing.

3. I need no editing. I’ve been over my manuscript a couple of times, I know it’s great. Therere absolutly no speling errors, typox or grammer mistakes for you to worries about. I’m a pro. So you’ll actually be saving money on an editor by publishing me.

4. I don’t need an illustrator. I’ve got kids, they can do the drawings. It’ll add charm and character. And again, it’s cheaper. Lots of lovely royalties for us.

5. I’ll be easy to market. Stay at home mum writing with young children? A money maker. If you want me to add a touch of extra pathos, I’ll stash my husband under the patio and ba-boom! I’m also a young, tragic widow. He won’t mind, he’ll know it’s in a good cause.*

6. I’m good to work with. As long as you give me your undivided attention, with a phone call or lunch on the house a couple of times a week, I’ll be happy. Oh, and do try to control the fans, please?

So there you have it. Six reasons why you should be signing me up before someone else snaps me up and you regret your missed opportunity forever.

*no husbands were harmed in the making of this post.

Aaaaand Press ‘Send’…

So, in the last couple of weeks, after putting it away for a while, I have taken out my picture book (which you may remember from my post Lightning Bolts and Dragons). I have revised it, changed the character name a couple of times, tweaked it and polished it. I have bought a copy of the Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2010 and carefully gone through all of the agents and publishers. And this morning I submitted my manuscript. Yikes.

I have done my homework. I highlighted agents and publishers who took on unsolicited picture books and looked at their lists. I followed their advice. I chose 5 agents to submit to first, and I am grouping agents together for further batches of submissions. I put together a CV, a covering letter and two versions of the manuscript. I looked at my documents again and again to make sure they were as good as they could get – and after I sent them I thought of about a million changes I should have made. Does everyone get this feeling?

I went through a long debate with myself, friends and family as to whether I should submit first to agents or publishers. In the end my reasoning was that if I submit first to publishers who then turn it down, there was a slightly greater chance that if they were then presented with it again from an agent it might stand against me (Because, of course, they will remember it however many months down the line. Bear with me, I had to make a¬†choice somehow). Whereas if agents turn it down, they will never know if I then go to publishers with it, except on some prestigious awards night when I am presented with my nth award and they are sitting kicking themselves for turning it down (ok, ok, I’m awake now). So I went with the agent route. And I’ve first chosen the agents who accept unsolicited picture books from first time authors by email – 5 in total on my list. I wrote my letter to each of them, checking for spelling mistakes. I don’t think there were any… And then I pressed ‘Send’. This was the most nerve-wracking, sickening moment I’ve felt since asking people for honest opinions on the book.

I’ve had one answer already, from an agency who are taking on “very few” new picture book authors at the minute but wished me the best of luck. Fair enough. At least I’m only waiting for 4 responses now. But please, all readers, spare a thought for my poor family. I am not renowned for my patience, and as well as listening to me moan about the non-appearance of a baby who isn’t due for another 2 weeks, they now have to put up with me checking the post, email, phone, etc for responses from agencies which may take 8 weeks. I’m not sure who will go round the bend first…

All sympathy comments and stories welcome!