"Snippet" -- a small piece or brief extract
I've been working with a young writer who wants to write picture books. As I was sharing with her some tips for starting out on this journey, I sent an email to reinforce some of our conversation, and I thought it might be helpful for others who are aspiring picture book writers. So, here it is for anyone who needs it. Feel free to add clarifying comments or "steps" I may have missed in the comments.
Tonnye's tips for beginning picture book writers:
11. When you have (at least) 5 good, solid, polished stories, you are ready to begin the querying process to try to get an agent. Research agents' MSWL (Manuscript Wish List) to find suitable agents. Use Querytracker and agency websites to determine who is open to queries and matches your manuscripts.
12. Draft a query letter for ONE manuscript that matches the agent who you think might like your book. Be sure to include comp titles (2 or more books that have elements in common with your book that tell publishers you understand how your book fits into the marketplace.)
13. Send your query letter to a trusted critique partner or group and revise it just like a manuscript until it is shiny and polished.
14. When your manuscript and your query letter are polished to a shine, submit your first query. (Most recommend small batch submissions to your top 5-ish agent matches for that book)
15. Do NOT check your email every 5 minutes. ;-) Congratulate yourself for getting this far. Eat some chocolate. Drink some wine (but not too much ;-). Celebrate. Do something fun.
16. Start on a new project. Enter a contest. Research agents for your other books. Take a class. Revise another manuscript. Forget about the query letter. It is in an abyss. Put a note in your calendar for the date when they say you can consider it a pass. When that date arrives, revisit any feedback you received (probably NONE . . .)
17. Understand that EVERY journey is different. It is a matter of the right story getting into the right hands at the right time. For some it happens quickly. For some it takes longer. Sometimes it feels like forever. Don't give up. Take every opportunity you encounter to learn, grow and succeed: pitch parties, contests, webinars, classes, conferences, retreats, critique trades, etc.
18. Revise the manuscript OR send more queries OR choose a different book to query.
19. Repeat ad infinitum until you achieve success. . . .
20. Celebrate BIG when your moment comes!!!
I've been a teacher of K-3 students for over 20 years; I'm also a writer of poems, short stories, devotionals and picture books. I'm wife to an amazing husband and mom to Sparkles, Mocha, and Rusty -- our feline fur babies . I love reading, writing, singing and listening to music. I enjoy nature, Bible study and spending time with friends and family!
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