Many SCBWI members have launched their careers with connections they made at a conference and Veronica Rossi is no exception. Her world turned upside down when she met lit agent Josh Adams of Adams Literary who was speaking at the Summer Conference in Los Angeles. Intrigued by the premise of her dystopian romance, Adams asked to read her manuscript, signed her, they collaborated on a polish, and then the book went to auction: all in a matter of months. Veronica’s trilogy called “Under The Never Sky” sold to Harper Collins and is being edited by Barbara Lalicki. The trilogy has also been licensed in twenty-two countries. And the icing on the cake? It all culminated in a feature film deal with Warner Bros.
Though it sounds like an “overnight” success, that is hardly the case. This was years in the making and a lot of perseverance. Veronica has attended several conferences during the past seven years, taken writing courses, had her worked critiqued at conferences and she belongs to a critique group. All of her hard work paid off at last years summer conference when she connected with Adams and an editor reviewed her manuscript, “ It was pure insanity, but of the best possible kind. Everything from the conference until now has felt like one giant sprint. I had the critique on Saturday morning of the conference, and it was wonderful. While I'd been getting good feedback on the manuscript from others, it was at the critique that I firmly came to believe I could sell the manuscript. It's hard to explain, but I left feeling like something truly special had happened. Like I'd finally broken through. And I had!”
One of the most popular events at the annual SCBWI’s summer conference are the one on one manuscript consultations. In addition to being an incredibly useful tool to assist writers and illustrators, they also serve as an excellent opportunity to get feedback from industry professionals. According to Tracey Adams of Adams Literary, “ Critiques are invaluable to us because we have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with someone whose writing we believe in, with whom we may not otherwise have connected. Adams Literary has found many new clients this way! We always approach critiques hoping to fall in love. “
When Josh met Veronica, he was immediately taken with the idea of her novel and the world she had created. He responded to her passion and asked if he could read the manuscript although it wasn’t quite finished. “I told her the truth: 'We look for potential, not perfection.' But I remember thinking to myself, 'I hope it's as good as it sounds.' I was so excited to read the novel that I kept refreshing my email on my phone to see if she'd sent it. When it finally came in, I immediately read the beginning and thought, 'It is as good as she described it.' But what I didn't know until after I had finished the novel was that it is even better. It not only had potential, but it was pretty close to perfect as well. We may never have connected without the SCBWI."
If Rossi could give other writers one piece of advice it is to continue to have their work reviewed, particularly at conferences. She feels they make all the difference in the world, “I had submitted two years earlier when I went to the national conference. I had a great critique then, but it felt like almost every critique I've had. Some good points, some points to work on. So I had literally no expectations for this one. I just thought, I'd never walked away from a critique without learning something, so why not? I can honestly say that meeting was life changing. You just never know when it's going to be the right person seeing your work, and placing their faith in your writing. It only takes one critique to set you squarely on the path to being published.”