Thursday, August 8, 2013

Prairie Grl Regrets Not Paying Attention

Agent?  I don't need no stinkin' agent.
Remember way back in June when I was angry with my classmates for demanding the scoop on book publishing?  (Go to our achieves and either experience or relive the rant in "Prairie Grl Is Shunned.")  I recently finished rewriting and spit shining one of my children's books, Dragon Mom.  Yahoo!  I have finally finished a piece of writing and am ready to send it to publishers.  Unfortunately, I wasn't paying attention to any of the publishing talk.  Instead I was internally composing a blog  about how annoying my classmates were for wanting to know about publishing.  My lack of focus is clearly shone by my notes:
  • Go to a bookstore.
  • Don't write about a talking dog.
  • Good reference - The Children's Writers Reference
  • (Personally, I love talking animals of any sort.  Remember Black Beauty?  Prairie Sherry)

I talked to Prairie Sherry about my dilemma. (Like my children, Eydie seems to think I know a little bit about everything.  Like when my daughter, Jo, actually thought I would be able to explain to her how messenger RNA works.)

Me:  What should I do?  I feel overwhelmed and anxious. 

Sharon:  What were you doing?  Thinking about recess with Nellie Olson? (I have sat through enough meetings with Eydie to know that she is often off-task.)

Me:  No.  I was thinking about my next blog.  Please help me.

Sharon:  You're as bad as our students.  I hope you remember that. (And I will be sure to remind her ad nauseum.) 

Another thing you might not know about Sharon is, sometimes she is absolutely no help at all.  Sometimes she would just rather pose with a goat treadmill than help. (Sometimes I just need to go to my own happy place.)

(Happy, happy, happy...)

Any whoo.  I am a smart grl.  So I went to my kids' bookshelves and pulled out some of our favorite titles.  (Scaredy Squirrel Goes to the Beach, Mr. Pusskins, and Hot Rod Hamster)  Briskly, I listed the publishers of each book and cross referenced the publishers in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books.  Here is what I found out:

  • The first publisher won't look at manuscripts unless you have an agent.  (Note to self:  figure out how Sharon can be my agent.)
  • The second publisher only publishes Canadian authors.  Great news for our Canadian Prairie Friends, but not so great for this Wisconsin Prairie Grl.
  • The third publisher will take unsolicited manuscripts, but doesn't recommend it.  This is code for "Your manuscript will be thrown into a slush pile for summer interns to mock and recycle."
Then, I did what I am sure many writers do.  I shut down.  Stacked everything in a pile and wandered off to make some pesto. (My recipe.)  This is why so many fabulous manuscripts are still sitting in piles, in drawers, in notebooks . . . (But freezers everywhere are stocked with this tasty treat.)

One of my Grandma's friends was a talented poet.  During a salad luncheon one day she loudly blurted, "Isn't it enough that I give birth to my poems?  Now I have to peddle them?  Really?"  She dejectedly sniffed and continued on eating shrimp salad.  At the time I thought it was odd, but now I get it. 

Alright.  I had my day to shut down.  Today is a new day and I will begin figuring out the publishing process again.  Hopefully it won't include contacting my former classmates. 

 Look for Dragon Mom in a bookstore near you in 2014. (It is really good!  Much better than Mr. Pusskins.)

Prairie Eydie (and Sherry)

“I heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience; let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.”
Anne Lamott

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