Your hands are sweating. You lie awake at night. You can’t stop thinking about your face-to-face critique with the publishing professional of your dreams. On the day of the conference, you manage to stumble to the registration desk, blurt out your name to the welcoming lady behind the table, and get your shiny folder which includes everything you need to know … including your critique assignment.
You open the folder.
Are you gearing up for a conference and find yourself wondering what to wear, what to bring, and how NOT to make a fool of yourself in front of editors and agents? Then this is the article for you.
Practical Do’s and Don’ts for Attending a Children Writer and Illustrator Conference
1. Do NOT harass editors and agents to see your work.
I have run into countless writers who have spent hundreds of dollars on literary agents, vanity publishers, and book doctors, in the hopes of making it big in children’s publishing. It really breaks my heart to hear this because the truth is, there are people out there feasting on hopeful newbie writers, turning a very legitimate business into something reeked with fraudulence. THIS ANGERS ME.
Targeting submissions to editors whom you’ve never had personal experience with can be well-worth the research effort. While it is true that infomation you find on the Internet can become outdated, an editor’s preferences for humor versus boy books versus girly historical fiction doesn’t really seem to change over time
Under [Editors->Editors], you’ll find articles on beginning your editor search, how to communicate with editors, submisson protocol, as well as a monster list of editor links.
Have a suggestion for an article? Can’t find your answer here? Leave a comment.
LAST UPDATED ON May 25, 2009. For the latest information, please visit the Children’s Book Publisher Directory
Do you have a massive case of web-head–a medical condition caused by prolonged surfing of the Internet? Do symptoms include dizziness? Blurred vision? And a sudden loss of ability to Google?
Look no more. I have a cure. I’ve done a lot of the work for you and compiled it here. As I find more interviews and blogs, I’ll add to the list.
Do you know the difference between a status query and a status update? It goes something like this:
- status query: you are asking about the status of your manuscript. You hope information will come back.
- status update: you are notifying someone about the status of your manuscript. You do not require information to come back.
So things haven’t gone as you’d hoped. Your manuscript went off months ago, and your phone didn’t ring off the hook with five editors or agents vying for your awesome book.
You find yourself wondering – what are they doing with my manuscript?
Did it get lost in the mail?
Did my dog Rufus eat my rejection letter?
Did I even include my manuscript in the submission?!
Status queries is a touchy subject where people will have different opinions.
Say you’ve just realized you made a bunch of typos in your manuscript or you forgot to enclose an SASE AFTER you sent the whole thing off. Should you try to contact the editor or agent and correct your mistake? Um….no.
Why? Mistakes will happen no matter how hard you try to make it perfect. RESIST THE URGE TO MAKE IT RIGHT. Trying to apologize will only point out your error and demonstrate to the editor/agent how neurotic you are.
No one can read more into words than a writer. It makes sense. Why? We write. We play with context and permutations of words every day. So it’s perfectly logical we’ll analyze any letter from an agent or editor better than a forensic analyst working for the FBI.
Whether your submitting to agents or editors, you’ll need to understand what the difference is between exclusive and simultaneous submissions.
- exclusive – once you send your work to the agent or editor, you do not send it to anyone else. You wait until you hear back or until the exclusive expires.
- simultaneous – you may send your work to more than one editor or agent at the same time.
Whether you’re submitting your children’s book to agents or editors, you’ll need to understand the difference between exclusive and simultaneous submissions. A wrong move here and you could torture yourself needlessly. Read post, exclusive submission or simultaneous submission?
Now that you understand how exclusives work, we’ll get more into the manner in which you submit to your top picks.
THIS ARTICLE APPLIES TO ALL CHILDREN’S BOOK MANUSCRIPTS – INCLUDING PICTURE BOOKS.
Here’s what I do in Microsoft Word. (If you need a visual, an example is included in the book version of my Crash Course.)
Font and Paragraphing
- Twelve point font. Times New Roman. (Courier is another acceptable option – but that font hogs up the paper). Whatever you do, please don’t try to flag the attention of an editor by using splashy font.