13 Oct MEET EDITORS, THEN LISTEN AND FOLLOW UP
If you want to break into writing for children, sign up for writing conferences and sign up for private sessions with editors who will be attending.
Many conferences allow you to submit a manuscript for an editor to critique.
If you meet with an editor, listen and take notes, then ask, “If I revise based on your critique, would you be willing to look at my story again?”
If the editor agrees–great. If no, then ask, “Could I send you another one of my stories?” Editors who attend conferences often tell attendees that they can submit to them and can write “Requested Manuscript” on the envelope. This gets your manuscript out of the slush pile.
I wrote and submitted for years without selling, but I got some good rejections letters that gave me helpful criticisms. I kept attending conferences and making editor contacts. Finally, I had a private session with Mallory Loehr from Random House. When she critiqued my picture book manuscript, she said it wasn’t a good fit for a Random House picture book. I asked, “Just to help me learn, can you tell me why it doesn’t fit Random House?” She said, “That a good question and hard to answer.” Then she thought a bit and answered, “It doesn’t have the Random House feel.”
I went home and read a lot of Random House picture books to try to learn the feel–or the tone and style.
But Mallory Loehr had also told me that Random House really needed readers, not picture books. So I acted on that knowledge. Come back next week to learn how I made that knowledge result in my first sale.