Monday, 15 July 2013

You Gotta Be In It - Lynne Garner

Getting published is a bit of a lottery. If you're not in it you're not gonna win it. So in January I made the New Years resolution to write and send off one new picture book story per month. As with all New Years resolutions I was good for the first couple of months but my energy started to flag around April time. So a few weeks ago, in a bid to feel less guilty I decided to search my 'resting' stories to see if I had any I still believed in. I surprised myself and found five stories I felt might be worth sending out again, after the odd tweak.

As a couple had already been sent to the 'usual' publishers I felt it was worth undertaking a little research to find alternate publishers. So I spent a morning reading submission guidelines for picture book publishers. As I did my research I realised how demoralising the process could be. Around 50% of the publishers I found no longer take un-agented authors and suggested getting an agent (that's another post entirely).  Those who do accept un-solicited manuscripts stated:

  • They take one month to reply (note: this was just one publisher out of the many)
  • Expect to wait up to three months for a reply 
  • Don't expect to hear quickly they take up to six months
  • Will get back to you within three months but only if they like your work
  • Contact you only if they like your work - no time frame given

As I found suitable publishers I created a table and placed them in order of response time. By lunchtime I had five likely candidates, all of whom respond within three months. I then spent the afternoon emailing my five stories along with synopsis and covering letter. I didn't have to wait long for the first rejection, just 18 hours!

I may have already received my first rejection but I still have five chances (the rejected story has been sent out to another publisher) of winning that publishing lottery.

So whilst I wait with fingers crossed I'm going to work on a new title and send that out. Hopefully by January 2014 I might have fulfilled my New Years resolution and you never know even signed a new publishing contract.

Lynne Garner

P.S.
I have three new distance learning courses commencing in September via Women On Writing:

11 comments:

  1. Hey, I was trying to do one a month this year, and I didn't make it either. Good luck with the new submissions, Lynne. And day now you'll be shouting 'Bingo!'.

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  2. A timely reminder to everyone how tough it can be, and how patient we have to be. Lynne, you care so much about picture books, and you work so hard to create something of worth to children, I believe you will come through. But it begs the question, how does one make a living out of picture books, agent or no agent? The answer, it seems to me, is that it's nigh on impossible, and other writing has to be done, or you have to have a generous partner. Sorry, that sounds a bit down, but it's not meant to be. It's how it is. Off to write my kid's travel guide now...

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    1. If I could make a living from just picture books I would. So like you I'm off to write (once the contract has come through) something completely different.

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  3. I can really relate to this post, Lynne, as I have just been doing exactly the same thing! Loads of luck with it and hope you get a contract soon.

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  4. Thanks, Lynne, for another great post. I just love this blog. Yes, this is a challenging road we've chosen - to write children's books and get them published. It is most definitely not for the faint hearted. The thing is, I have to write, whether in the end the stories are published or not. It's an expressive need, a creative outlet, and I have feeling that's how it is with most of us writers. I also believe (and I don't think I'm that naive) that if we continue to hone our skills and persist, good thing will happen. Best of luck, Lynne, with your latest submissions. I'm rooting for you from over here on the other side of the pond. Hope we all win the lottery!

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  5. Good luck, Lynne. I've just sent my first out after a break, too. Exciting stuff, even if it's nerve-wracking...

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    1. Fingers crossed for you - keep us up to date.

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  6. Thanks for such an inspiring post, Lynne. And hang in there - I love your work :))

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  7. What a great goal - measurable and attainable. I am actually looking forward to getting my first rejection letter! Now, off to set a goal for myself. Thanks for the inspiration!

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