This Saturday, I attended our SCBWI chapter's Editor Day with a friend. It had been a while since I spent much time thinking about just writing and I was looking forward to it. Two editors spoke and author Dr. Carmen Tafolla gave an excellent keynote speech. She is quite the storyteller, a very dynamic and charismatic speaker.
I had paid for a critique of a picture book manuscript and Dr. Tafolla was the one who got my passage, so we had a nice 15 minutes where she said some very lovely things about my story. She suggested I try to get an agent. An agent?! I actually think she meant it. Honestly, I've sent out a few letters to agents (a total of five) and when they were not interested, I quit. I know that's not many, not in this business. But we also got these "golden tickets" where we can submit one manuscript to each editor who presented at the conference...which is quite different than submitting to an agent. I will probably try one of the editors first, before trying for more agents, because the golden ticket means my letter won't go in the slush pile-- at least, it's not supposed to. They are supposed to look at each our submissions individually, because we came to this conference.
My brain is telling me it doesn't matter anyway. The chances of anyone ever buying an actual BOOK manuscript from me seems crazy. Yet it helps to remember that I really do get paid to write fiction. So maybe, if I keep trying, one day something will happen and the right person in the publishing industry will see my "personal" work (which is how I distinguish it in my head from my assessment work) and like it.
I'll try to think positive. I'm going to revise my picture book manuscript based on Dr. Tafolla's suggestions and then submit it...to someone who either buys or represents both picture books and MG novels. That's a goal. I'll do it...before the middle of October. There. Now it's in writing.