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New Member Jitters!

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I'm excited to have just gotten my SCBWI membership this afternoon; I'm overwhelmed with possibilities! I'm hoping this community can help take me under their wing,  and put my mind at ease about finally pursuing my passion for kidlit.

I'm nervous as can be! I drafted a manuscript for a VERY rhymey picture book (I know, I know. Sometimes you have to risk it for the biscuit!). I personalized query letters and sent them to three different agents. However, I didn't have access to The Book at that time, or have my work critiqued before sending. I still feel pretty confident in my story, but now I'm TERRIFIED that I ruined my chance at success because of formatting or possible breach of etiquette???

Am I overreacting? Does anyone have any experience like this, or can give any advice? Is there hope for me still?

I could absolutely use a mentor, and of course am open to critique for the above-referenced work as well. If anyone is interested or has questions, I'm an open book (pun intended). I appreciate you all, and am delighted to be part of this community!

#1 - October 13, 2020, 06:54 PM

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Hi. ::-) Congratulations! I just read a FANTASTIC new PB that was done in rhyme.

I haven't queried any children's books yet, but I'm published in adult fiction, and when I sold my first book the only person who'd seen my writing or my query was the editor who bought it! So I definitely know how stressful it is.

(And I don't think it gets better as time goes on, unfortunately. I'm a wreck every time I send something off.)

If it's any help: people in publishing are so busy they don't have time to hate you for little mistakes. I've received emails from senior editors with major typos in them!

But, yes. Once I send something I sit here convinced I've sent off the wrong document, or left personal notes in it, or that the formatting fell apart on the way across the internet. The only thing you can do is not go back and obsessively reread your submission. Just move onwards and start working on something new.
#2 - October 13, 2020, 08:28 PM

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Welcome Hollie!

Yes, don't waste time obsessing over things already done. BUT, I would hold off on querying more agents until you've had a chance to get your story critiqued by others until you are sure the meter and rhyme sing.

You can always post your story for critique on this board:
https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?board=121.0

Or try to find a critique group here:
https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?board=127.0

In addition, I'm not sure if you're aware, but when you query agents with PBs, if they like it, they will typically ask for more manuscripts you've written. PBs are not a great money maker so they want to be sure they feel they can sell more than the one book. So if you don't have 2 - 3 polished PBs, I would recommend holding off on querying more agents until you have a few more manuscripts written.

But so glad you found SCBWI. It's a great first step on moving ahead on your journey! Take some time to read various threads, ask questions when you have them, and most importantly, have fun writing!
#3 - October 14, 2020, 06:07 AM
Freaky Funky Fish ( Running Press Kids, Spring 2021)
Tell Someone (Albert Whitman, Fall 2021)

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First, breathe. In and out, in and out. Okay, now let's think. Does your manuscript suck? Maybe. Can it be fixed? Most can. Will those agents hate you and put you on some sort of blacklist because of one bad manuscript? No. They don't have that kind of time or those memories.

So onward: You can take Deb's advice above, get the manuscript critiqued and make it sing while also working on others. You won't be able to resubmit this manuscript to the three agents who have already seen it unless it has been significantly (meaning it's pretty much a new story) revised, but there are plenty more agents out there. And you'll have a few more manuscripts to send to these three too.

Now take it one step at a time and good luck, because that never hurts.
#4 - October 14, 2020, 06:05 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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I'm excited to have just gotten my SCBWI membership this afternoon; I'm overwhelmed with possibilities! I'm hoping this community can help take me under their wing,  and put my mind at ease about finally pursuing my passion for kidlit.

I'm nervous as can be! I drafted a manuscript for a VERY rhymey picture book (I know, I know. Sometimes you have to risk it for the biscuit!). I personalized query letters and sent them to three different agents. However, I didn't have access to The Book at that time, or have my work critiqued before sending. I still feel pretty confident in my story, but now I'm TERRIFIED that I ruined my chance at success because of formatting or possible breach of etiquette???

Am I overreacting? Does anyone have any experience like this, or can give any advice? Is there hope for me still?

I could absolutely use a mentor, and of course am open to critique for the above-referenced work as well. If anyone is interested or has questions, I'm an open book (pun intended). I appreciate you all, and am delighted to be part of this community!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Do not be a nervous Nellie about writing.  We ALL started somewhere and made lotsa mistakes.  :>)
Just keep writing and querying . . . you will wake up one day and be a published author!
Best, Joanne Linden



#5 - October 21, 2020, 03:47 PM
« Last Edit: October 21, 2020, 06:30 PM by David Wright »

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Onward and upwards. It's a learning curve, and there are other publishers to send to too (after more checking and potentially manuscript revision). Many have been at this for a decade or more, so give it time. We are all in this together. Enjoy the ride.
#6 - October 22, 2020, 02:38 PM
Odd Bods: The World's Unusual Animals - Millbrook Press 2021
Coming up: CSIRO Publications, Australia

www.juliemurphybooks.com

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Onward and upwards. It's a learning curve, and there are other publishers to send to too (after more checking and potentially manuscript revision). Many have been at this for a decade or more, so give it time. We are all in this together. Enjoy the ride.

Coming up on 2 decades for me. And I still have no books that were mine from idea to execution to publication. (All are work-for-hire.) But we don't fail unless we stop trying.
#7 - October 22, 2020, 06:04 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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As Debbi said, no one's going to blacklist you over a few rookie mistakes. The worst case scenario if that your manuscript will be rejected.

I know I've sent off some bad queries/manuscripts in my day!  I've also been guilty of sending manuscripts off too quickly. It really is smart to get feedback, do revisions, and then let the manuscript sit for a few weeks or months while you work on other manuscripts.

#8 - October 25, 2020, 01:36 PM
STORY MAGIC (Jolly Fish Press 2020)
DEAD BOY (Crown BFYR 2015)
MONSTER, HUMAN, OTHER (Crown BFYR 2017)

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