You have had a brilliant idea.
You’ve gotten it on paper.
You have gone over it a zillion times and perfected it.
Now WHAT TO DO???
You have to market yourself and that dear manuscript you’ve taken so much time with.
There are plenty of places to find out where to send your ms (manuscript).
The Children’s Writers & Illustrators Market is a book that comes out every year. Granted, once you get yourself in gear and have been at your craft for a few years you can skip buying this every year.
There are plenty of websites out there that lists publishing houses too.
Once you know which publishing house you would like to submit to, go to their website. While on their website look at the book catalog. Also search around and find what their writer’s guidelines are. Some publishing houses have specific guidelines that you need to follow. Look at them closely. Do they only publish non-fiction, fiction, or a mixture of both. Do they publish picture books, mid grades, young adults? Really pay attention. You’d be surprised to learn how many writers don’t do this simple step and get a rejection immediately because they send the wrong genre, subject, or don’t follow guidelines.
Once you find that gem in the rough you’ll need to see if you send a full ms or a query.
When you query, let the editor know your key points in your story. Include things like: word count and genre in your first paragraph. In the second paragraph you want to give the beginning, middle, and end of your story. Try doing this in 3 or 4 sentences. Keep you wording interesting… you want to hook that editor so they will request the ms!!! Sometimes I’ll include an extra paragraph by stating why I think this ms would suit their needs. Or how I may be qualified to write this story. Or why I think there is a need for the storyline in my ms. The last paragraph I thank them for considering to read *insert story title* and tell them I look forward to their response. Try to keep it to one page.
When sending in a full ms you’ll send in a cover letter. Basically I follow the same template of a query. The main difference is that I don’t include the whole story line. I want to make the editor turn to the ms and begin to read.
Then get yourself some envelopes. I use the yellow 9×12 ones so I don’t have to fold my ms. Of course if you write something longer you may need to get a thicker size one or use a box. Oh, for queries you can tri-fold your query and use business envelopes. You’ll need 2. One you’ll address to yourself (SASE) and one will be address to the editor. I have the postmaster weigh both envelopes and the ms with cover letter. You will need postage to cover your ms in case they decide to return it.
Now put your ms and SASE in the envelope made out to the editor. Close it up. And kiss it good-bye.
The REALLY hard part comes now. W-A-I-T-I-N-G G-A-M-E ! It can take anywhere from 6 months to 9 months to hear back. I know CrAzY!!! But think about it. A publishing house receives hundreds of submissions a week. That can lead up to thousands of submissions coming in during one month! Oi! No wonder it can take so long.
And when you get it back, chances are it will be a rejection. BUT GUESS WHAT?!? With that first rejection, you are officially a writer. Yep, I said it! A WRITER! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Scary, I know.
Don’t give up though. I’ve been writing for almost 11 years now. (just a couple of months til my anni) When I first started writing I heard that it can take (on an average) around 5 years to break into magazines and 10 years for a book. WOW! Definitely a waiting game.
It is SO worth it though. Don’t give up. *Dream*Believe*Reach for the Stars*
Til next time,