Wednesday, August 7, 2013



Okay, I'll be honest. I have been submitting manuscripts to the publishing world for over 10 years. Yep. More than a decade. And according to the pros, that's a drop in the bucket. In that time, I've had some pretty big bumps and bruises as well as some seriously gracious and kind rejection letters. I honestly was just thrilled to receive a letter that wasn't a template someone slapped in the mail.

Back in March I stopped hovering and decided to join SCBWI (The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). This group is the most welcoming, spirit building, constructive bunch of people I have ever met. On one of my first critiques I was met at the door with hugs. Hugs! The advice I received there was incredible.

Now that I am sending out samples, I have the jitters again. In my research I hear all kinds of scary things like "If you don't xyz ... your art gets TRASHED!" and "If your art doesn't match our style ... it gets TRASHED!" and "If you have a less than stellar award-winning piece in your portfolio ... it GETS ... immediatelysentbacktoyouinthemailviatheenclosedSASE." [pant ... pant]

So I spend hours pouring over market books and publisher's websites. The books are all highlighted and tagged and the websites are bookmarked. I've even researched in places like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (I recommend the last as a handy way to find the most updated staff info!).

The more I read, the more tweets I see from art directors, the more I psych myself out. You are only as good as your worst work. This I learned early on in art school. NEVER include a weak piece.

Well, what IS my weak piece? Right away I pluck out the bad ones. Then I over-think it. THEY'RE ALL BAD!! THEY STINK!

Wait. I kinda like those chickens.

Wait. Are they good?

Wait, that flying pig is pretty fun.

Wait, her color looks garish on the scan.

Then I take a breath. I pick out the one picture that drew gasps from my critique group and plop it on my postcards. Go with the gasps.

I'm sending them. It's a breeze of cool air in the hot summer months. What the heck. I have to start somewhere don't I?

Here's hoping!

– jenny