SCBWI-KS was top shelf! Friday night kicked off with The Hire Wire Act, featuring Bruce Hale (which I will talk about more on another post), followed by some wonderful entertainment, an awesome display of faculty books, a books signing, and a great social event. During The Hire Wire Act some of us snuck off to have One on One Critique sessions....I was lucky enough to land one with associate editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, Maria Gomez.
Maria reviewed my historical fiction picture book called EVERYONE DID THEIR PART.
*She said I had a lovely voice! (My heart about exploded...)
*Very vivid imagery!
*This is a very nice story but feels like the beginning of a novel. (I let her know that I was also working on a mid grade novel for these characters.)
Things I learned:
*Might be a hard sell to trade publishers...She suggested submitting to scholarly publishers.
*Books set in other countries are harder to sell here.
*Kids don't read author's notes, so make sure if you want them to know something it's in the story.
*Watch that you don't repeat something...wasted words...
*Suggested changing it to third person rather than first person.
Maria is the second person in the industry to suggest I make this into a mid grade novel. (Smile) I started writing it earlier this summer and have about 8 chapters completed. You guys helped me choose the title for it...NOT A HOLIDAY
When Maria suggested that I submit to a scholarly publisher I realized that several pieces I've written were geared to that market....So it looks like I need to do some research...
FYI...If you are going to submit to HarperCollins they now call middle grade novels Tweens....
...If you have a digital idea for a picture book manuscript include it with your query...
...A chapter book is between a picture book and a Tween book it's for ages 7-10...
...All editors and agents looking for... Manuscripts that are FRESH (have innovative plots with new twists), HIGH CONCEPT (stand out), HAVE DEPTH (multifaceted and well developed), and VOICE (have authenticity).
If you go to conferences, (you should go to conferences) spend a little bit extra and do the critique sessions...you won't regret it.
I think some people are afraid to take the plunge with an agent or an editor...it is scary, but you will learn something...I promise!
(When Maria said I should be submitting to scholarly publishing houses, it was like a light bulb went off in my head...I was a teacher for 17 years...I could write a lesson plan to go with most of my stories, so doesn't that make sense? I just didn't see it...)