Monday, 26 February 2018

Going Back to School • Lynne Garner

Over the last two years I've been concentrating on getting a short story collections published (suitable for older readers). In order to do this I put my picture book writing on the back burner. However, at the beginning of this year I decided I wanted to return to writing picture books (I surprised myself by how much I've missed them). I also set myself the goal of getting at least one picture book contract signed. I therefore revisited some stories I'd written and had not managed to find place with a publisher.

My collection of Brer Rabbit tales, published Jan 2018   
I selected five I felt may have the best chance of getting published. One of the five I picked had almost been published, but sadly fell at the last hurdle (unfortunately it often happens). Knowing the book market is always changing and is extremely competitive I decided to invest in my writing by sending my stories to a professional to critique them for me. 

I discovered once I'd pressed the send button it felt as if I was back at Uni and I'd submitted my course work. As I waited I began to question myself and my writing. What if I'd lost it? (What ever 'it' is). What if they thought none of them have potential? What if ...? 

Thankfully, when I received the feedback it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I'd feared. In fact it was quite positive. Unsurprisingly, areas for improvement had been highlighted. So, for the first time in years I've been set homework!

I've read and re-read the feedback and I'm now working through each story. As per the suggestions given I'm:
  • Altering the layout of the manuscript slightly
  • Adding an illustration note here and there, to make things more obvious
  • Improving the flow of the text
  • Correcting those little spelling errors I'd missed
  • Inserting (in the stories that need it) a 'second layer' to create a more rounded story
Once I've completed this process I plan to resubmit in the hopes I get the thumbs up. If, no once I do then the stories will be sent off to publishers and agents. If luck is with my I may just get one of them published. If I do it'll prove that it's never to late to go back to school.

Hey, you never know I may even get all five published - us authors always live in hope.



P.S. If you know of a publisher open to un-solicited submissions or an agent looking for a new author to represent please let me know.


Anonymous said...

Hello Lynne look up publisher's who are accepting un-solicited submission. This help me with my process.

Annette said...

Congratulations on the short story collections! That seems to me a harder nut to crack than picture books...or maybe that's just the US market. It's nice to see another author's revision process. Good luck with that!

Susan Price said...

Good luck, Lynne!

Paeony Lewis said...

Good luck from me too, Lynne! Although swapping manuscripts with writing/author friends is valuable, when we pay for a critique we know the critiquer won't be so afraid of hurting our feelings and should have more time to spend on the critique, albeit commercial critiques do vary in quality.