Monday, October 20, 2014

Rejecting Rejection: Just say, “baaaaaah” to rejection

Feeling frustrated about the long wait times to hear back from editors? Why wait endlessly for an editor’s rejection when you can write your very own? That’s what I did in this write-yourself-a-rejection “assignment.” (My critique group often gives unique assignments such as this to get creative and let off steam.)

Enjoy! And please comment below with your own favorite fun-to-decipher (real or imagined) editorial comments.

Here’s my letter to myself:

Dear You-Wish-You-Were-a-Writer,

We regret the need to send you this form letter for your recent submission.
We don’t want your story.
We don’t want you to revise it.
We don’t want to see it or hear from you again.
Sorry to be so blunt, but we’ve been accused of being unclear in the past.
However, since we kept your story longer than: (circle one)

Longer than the submission guidelines on our website

Longer than we stated in the SCBWI or CWIM market guides

Longer than is necessary, reasonable, humane

Longer than 3 years

Longer than the postal rate on your SASE (that’s why this letter is coming to you postage due)

All of the above

Okay, so we kept it too long!

Since we kept your manuscript so long we thought you’d enjoy a personal note from a real live editor for you to endlessly ponder. Here goes:   

Dear Author,
We passed your story around the office for months, I mean years on end and everyone got a chuckle, especially the janitor. But what’s with the talking bees? Haven’t you ever attended an SCBWI conference? Don’t you know we don’t like talking animals? And while we say that we don’t want rhyme, even though your story does not rhyme, perhaps my underlying message is you might want to try rhyme? 

Still, the janitor liked it so if you want to submit to him in the future, feel free. He just got a new pet goat (that talks by the way). He brings Gertie to work most nights so we should be getting through the slush pile much faster from now on.   
Sincerely yours,

Emily Editor

** No real goats, janitors or editors were harmed in the writing of this blog post. All goats, editors and janitors mentioned here are completely fictitious. Any resemblance to real goats, janitors or editors is purely coincidental.

When I joined The Revisionaries critique group none of The Revisionaries were published. Now we all are. The Revisionaries often give each other random assignments to let loose and keep creative.

When I originally wrote the above rejection letter to myself, I was also unpublished. Now I have the following books to my name, including a story with talking bees! 

This blog post is also posted on The Writing Barn's Rejecting Rejection series:
Thanks, Bethany for including me.

Forecast: Chances of intermittent rejection, with steady times of creativity, humor, heart & hope!
Just say, “baaaaaah” to rejection!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Lee & Low New Voices Award for writers of color: Manuscripts accepted through September 30, 2014

This is cool!
Lee & Low New Voices Award for writers of color:
Check it out. Manuscripts will be accepted through September 30, 2014.
Our fourteenth annual New Voices Award writing contest is now open for submissions!

The Award is given annually by LEE & LOW BOOKS for a children's picture book manuscript by a writer of color. The contest encourages writers of color to submit their work to a publisher that takes pride in nurturing new talent. Past winners include Bird by Zetta Elliott and It Jes' Happened by Don Tate.

Contest Submission
Writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a children's picture book published are eligible.

The Award winner receives a cash grant of $1000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash grant of $500.

Manuscripts will be accepted through September 30, 2014. See the full submissions guidelines here and answers to some FAQ's about the contest here.

Spread the Word
Did you know that last year, books written by authors of color made up less than seven percent of the total number of books published (see these CCBC stats)?

Change requires more than just goodwill; it requires concrete action. We were heartened by First Book's recent commitment to purchasing 10,000 copies of select books from "new and underrepresented voices." Likewise, the New Voices Award is a concrete step towards evening the playing field by seeking out talented new authors of color who might otherwise remain under the radar of mainstream publishing.

Take a look at Arree Chung's and Kristin Aker Howell's Thoughts on the Writing Process Author Blog Tour

Dear Imaginary Readers,
Head on over to Arree Chung's and Kristin Aker Howell's blogs to check out their posts on The Writing Process Author Blog Tour.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

My dear Imaginary Readers, 
Please imagine I’ve been blogging regularly, okay?

Thanks to Frances Lee Hall for tagging me for the Writing Process Blog Tour (and reminding me I have a blog!)  
Okay, onward to the writing process questions!

What am I currently working on?
I am multi-tasking as usual, working on a few projects in different children’s book genres. I’m revising a couple of picture books, one about a cat that might or might not be real.

I’m also diving back into a middle grade novel with a supporting character whose friend might be imaginary. I guess I am working through my own creative imagination process!?

I’ve also been taking a poetry class this spring. I’d made it through high school, my undergraduate career and two masters degrees without ever taking a poetry class—until now that is. Needless to say, it’s challenging but I’m learning a lot. I’m stretching my comfort zone which is always a good thing.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
First off, I write in various genres: picture books, young chapter books, middle grade and young adult. In all of these, I tend to include both younger and older characters, often in an extended family, alternative family or community. Whatever the genre, I aim to write stories filled with humor and heart.

Why do I write what I write?
I don’t seem to have a choice. The characters, ideas and stories come to me and inspire me, but often in incomplete form. My job is to try to capture the heart of the characters and figure out their story or journey on the page.

How does my individual writing process work?
It’s often a puzzle. I’ll have the snippet of an idea that intrigues me, or perhaps a spunky character, a unique question or line of dialogue, or an interesting opening scene. I’ll start writing to see how the scene develops and explore what the characters have to tell me. Then of course, I keep writing more scenes. Once I’ve captured the first draft, I revise, revise, revise, share my work with my trusted critique partners, then revise and revise again.

Who's next? Tag you are it!
Okay, I'm tagging the very talented Arree Chung. Just wait until you see the cool video he made for his book, Ninja! Arree will post his responses next Monday May, 19th

Arree makes picture books but he didn’t always do so. Once he made spreadsheets all day long and he decided that he wanted to make pictures instead. Arree learned how to draw, paint and think a little bit differently at Art Center College of Design.

In the past decade, Arree has worked in the games industry as a designer and Art Director. Arree’s first debut picture book, “Ninja!” publishes June 3rd, 2014. When Arree is not practicing his Ninja moves, you can find him playing basketball or riding his bike.

Tag #2, who's next? Tag you are also it, Kristin Aker Howell!
I'm also tagging Kristin Aker Howell. 

Kristin Aker Howell currently enjoys her job as Teacher Librarian at Ohlone Elementary School In Palo Alto. She has co-written a few musicals produced at the First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, and published a couple of personal essays. Her short story, Bondo, won an honorable mention in the Glimmer Train Fiction Open. Kristin earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Hamline University where she developed a deep appreciation for the revision process, which she continues to practice on her many manuscripts for children and young adults. Kristin is searching for a cure to her bad case of stripes. It is definitely not lima beans. 

While we await Kristin's & Arree's posts, please click below to see more authors on the tour.

If you are on the tour and I missed you above, please feel free to leave a link in the comments. Thanks!

Forecast: More writing with a chance of blogging?