SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Looking for guidance and direction

Discussion started on

New Poster
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region michigan
Hello, all!

I wasn't sure what to title this post or where to post it, so hopefully this works. I'm hoping for some advice as I find myself more stressed during this unusual time we're in with COVID-19. The long story short is that I aspire to write across PBs, chapter books and YA (and maybe more!) and have a decent amount of PB manuscripts, an idea I'm building out for a chapter book series, and a YA duology with the first book in revision mode in my "portfolio". I work full time in a job that takes most of my mental energy, so I have very little headspace left in a day to work on my writing.

I find myself trying to "do it all," putting pressure on myself to get all my YA revisions done and an entire chapter book series written before I feel I can take the next step in my writing career (which would be querying agents). This leads me to trying to work across all my projects in little bits, versus focusing on one and being able to make a lot of progress. But I don't know if this "everything must be perfect and ready to go" mentality is accurate? And quite frankly, I think it's hurting my work right now, more than helping.

So I'm hoping this community may be able to help guide me a bit. Do I need to have all of these pieces of my writing portfolio (the full chapter book series, the perfect YA draft) ready before I can query? Or are agents open to writers having those as WIPs with potential, if my PB portfolio is strong enough to get their interest and move forward with in the short term?

Any thoughts or comments would be helpful - I'm just spinning my wheels over here and digging myself into a stress pit.

- Alicia
#1 - May 12, 2020, 07:29 AM
twitter.com/ACurleyWrites
www.aliciacurley.com

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region midatlantic
Hi Alicia,

I hear you! This is a tough, tough time to keep the creative juices running. The most important thing to do right now is take care of yourself. . . the writing will always be there.

But, to answer your question, if you have something (which in your case sounds like a few PBs) that you feel is submission ready, your critique group or beta readers feel it is submission ready, my advice is to start querying your strongest piece. So if that's a PB, send the strongest PB. In the final paragraph in your query letter before you sign off, you could say something on the order of "I have 2 other polished picture books. I also write chapter books and YA." Or something like that. Be sure you query agents who rep PBs and YA.

This is a slow business. So if you get interest in your PBs, they may ask to see your YA or ask questions about it. Just make sure what you're subbing is as polished as you can make it. Start with that, work on writing/polishing your other while you wait, because you will wait. But there's no harm in getting in the queue now if you have something ready!

Best of luck!
#2 - May 12, 2020, 09:20 AM
Freaky Funky Fish ( Running Press Kids, Spring 2021)

Admins and Mods Emeriti
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region midatlantic
I think Debra's advice is right on!
#3 - May 12, 2020, 10:06 AM
VAMPIRINA BALLERINA series (Disney-Hyperion)
SUNNY'S TOW TRUCK SAVES THE DAY (Abrams)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region iowa
Hi, Alicia.  :flowers2 You don't need to have multiple items ready to go unless you're querying PBs, in which case an agent will very likely ask to see several more. Whatever you query with, you want it to be as polished as possible, which means sending it past other people's eyes.

As for the CB series, I definitely wouldn't write the whole series to start with. If that's what you want to use to hook an agent, get the first polished up and be able to explain (briefly) how the series would unfold. But most books don't get an agent, and maybe half of manuscripts agents submit to editors don't get published. If you spent three years writing a whole series and no one picks up the first book... :sigh

 :goodluck
#4 - May 12, 2020, 01:35 PM
Learning to Swear in America (Bloomsbury, July 2016)
What Goes Up (Bloomsbury, 2017)
Twitter: KatieWritesBks

Reader, Writer, Teacher, Wife & Mother
Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
:welcome Alicia. Like you, I write PB through YA, fiction and NF, and even sometimes for adults. I find novel writing to be the most immersive, ie it's difficult to work on anything else but, perhaps some related NF. When I'm too distracted, it's easier to focus on the shorter books or magazine stories. Given how little time you have, work on the project that's clamoring to be worked on. There's such a joy in completing a story, even if it's just a 3-line haiku :) All the best with all your writing endeavors.
#5 - May 12, 2020, 04:42 PM
Max & Dagny, Why in the World, Tongue-Tied, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region longislandny
What they said, and good luck. (Because added good luck never hurts.)
#6 - May 12, 2020, 06:17 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

New Poster
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region michigan
Thanks, all. I really appreciate it. Sometimes I feel so lost and wonder if I'm going about all of this the wrong way, or just letting my self doubt get in the way.

Sounds like I'm doing the right things, but could give myself a little slack and focus in on what brings me the most joy, and what is closest to submission ready. :)

Appreciate you all!
#7 - May 12, 2020, 06:30 PM
twitter.com/ACurleyWrites
www.aliciacurley.com

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.