Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

Debut Authors Pass On the Inspiration

Status:

Friday! Except I’m headed home to edit so really the weekend won’t be starting quite yet for me.

Listening To:

THINKING OUT LOUD by Ed Sheeran

After listening to an amazing series of keynote presentations at the 2015 National conference of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), during which authors wear their hearts on their sleeves, I feel the need to pass on the inspiration!

From the Success Stories Panel:

  • Ten years from first conference to first book published. And when editing with a critique partner, editor, or agent, recognize and acknowledge the issue, and then find the fix that works for you, as it’s your story. —Anna Shinoda (author of Learning Not to Drown)
  • When you decide you want to be an author, you need to try for real. —Mike Curato (author of Little Elliot, Big City and Worm Loves Worm)
  • You have to show up every day, and a lot of what you create will stink. Don’t wait for perfection. —Lori Nichols (author of Maple and Maple & Willow Together)
  • Torment your character. Give him/her a goal and spend the next 70,000 words thwarting it. —Stacey Lee (author of Under a Painted Sky)
  • You don’t need to win an award to acknowledge your talent or become a published or successful author. —Martha Brockenbrough (author of The Game of Love and Death)

Writers, keep writing! Keep the faith, and as Kwame Alexander reminded us in his SCBWI 2015 closing keynote speech (“Six Basketball Rules of Publishing”), “You’ll miss 100-percent of the time if you never take the shot.”

Creative Commons Photo Credit: @wewon31 #365

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3 Responses

  1. Kim said:

    Some great advice. As a disabled person it’s unlikely I’d be able to attend one of those conferences so thanks for the words of wisdom, Kristin. Much appreciated.

    I especially like Stacey Lee’s quote. Oh, those characters. Sometimes they have a mind of their own and at others they resonate with such beauty. Thankfully I’ve been able to corral mine and keep that tension going. As for roadblocks, my art tends to inform my writing and vice versa. Hoping to take a shot with my new novel soon.

  2. Barbarann K. Ayars said:

    Stumbling all over the net looking for a comment you recently made about a book you went on to applaud, and can’t find it, so forgive my winging it here, please. In essence you were lamenting yet one more WW 2 story, and were not up for one more, but in the end what you read won your focus, attention and your heart. Okay. That’s how I recognize a valuable human, who just happens to be an agent. What I want to say to you, though, is that the world’s deadliest, largest war, with so many books telling the story, is hardly tapped. Those stories are endless, each of them a scrap of an enormous whole. Six million WOMEN stepped up to contribute. Their story is barely known. By now they are in their nineties and who will tell their story, their contribution, their sacrifice? I will. I’m one of their daughters. They are the bedrock of the women’s movement, who discovered themselves in that crucible. They lost their jobs at war’s end, and it was back to apron and stove for them. Mama was a boom boom girl, making ordnance for the Navy, the plant blowing up around her four times. Post ww2 was hard times for returning soldiers and for their women, who tasted earning power and independence for a minute there on the world stage. Mama stashed me in an orphanage while she did her part. After nearly five years she brought me home. A house with dysfunction was the norm then. Nation building was tough with few jobs. Feeding a family was a challenge. Just know, won’t you, that this layer of recovery is barely examined. So, perhaps when the proposal is formatted and ready, I’ll send it out to agents who have demonstrated interest in the subject. The completed memoir sits on my desktop, waiting. I just wanted you to know, when I tell inquirers what my book is about, so many say, oh yeah! My Mom worked for the war too! Six million women. There’s not enough of their stories told and it’s getting very late.

    Enjoy what you can on your holiday. Me? I’m going to sing a service for a friend who died, and Sunday I’ll participate in a house blessing! In between, I’ll be building queries and sending them out on Wednesday. I don’t mean to lecture or scold. I do mean to say there’s still more to write, about such a time in the life of millions of American families.
    Barbarann

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